Please recommend a mobile phone, if any exist, that can run desktop Linux.

  • Any Linux distribution is acceptable.
  • I'm not too concerned about size, but it should be no larger than the largest Android smartphones (a touch larger is fine, but nothing the size of a hardcover book, please).
  • Ideally, at least 720x1440 resolution, but I'm flexible on that as well.
  • Any phone connectivity technology is fine, such as GSM.
  • At least 3G is required. 4G and/or 5G support are fine, but not required.
  • Must support WiFi or Ethernet. Supporting both is a plus, but not required.
  • Any price is acceptable.

Edit: Note that I lowered the preferred minimum resolution to 720x1440, because that is adequate, and it allows the Purism - Librem 5 recommended by Jan to qualify.

1 Answer 1


Purism Librem 5 runs a custom distro developed by the company which made the phone, but you can run it on desktop as well, so I believe it qualifies.

As a bonus, recently the open source GPU driver for that chip has reached performance parity with the closed source one, although I am not sure which one is used in the phone.

  • Thank you Jan! Technically, that phone does not qualify due to the somewhat low screen resolution, so I lowered the goalposts to allow it to qualify! :) Can it truly run just about any Linux application (within reason and its specs)? Dec 13, 2020 at 12:07
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket I have read up on Librem 5 back when it was on Kickstarter, so my memory is somewhat iffy, but iirc that's just a custom distro using KDE. You'd have to do your own research. But supposedly they use the same distro in their laptop products.
    – jaskij
    Dec 13, 2020 at 12:09
  • Also, while my eyesight is quite bad, I have no issues with a 720p phone screen. It looks fine to me (I wrote the post and this comments on one)
    – jaskij
    Dec 13, 2020 at 12:11
  • Thanks Jan. I'll do so more reading, but your IIRC is a helpful positive indication that it's real Linux. And, yes, I agree 720p is sufficient. I generally prefer 1080p in that form factor, but 720p definitely gets the job done and likely increases performance and battery longevity. Dec 13, 2020 at 12:13
  • Wikipedia says it's Debian based, that seems like a good start.
    – jaskij
    Dec 13, 2020 at 12:14

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