Add a leafy that tells about the oportunity of installing other OSs

Please add a leafy that tells about the oportunity of installing other operating systems/software than pre-installed PureOS on screens of Librem devices. This tells non-technical users that a computer is a machine that execute exactly the software that the user gives it, and you only pre-installed one to it. This is not obvious to everyone. Also, stop calling PureOS the “official” operating system and call it the pre-installed operating system.

I think you can relate to this, since you favor open and free software/hardware, you are against the idea brought by marketers that the computer would not be universal that the software would define it and be an inseparable part of it (I mean for real there are only computers, not TV, phone, etc. with spesific OS as an inseparable part, but yup some manufacturers lock their devices and do it artificially.)¹. Now, however, you’re marketing PureOS as an inseparable part of Librem devices like Apple does with macOS. Please stop it.

Ref 1: “The Librem 5 is the quintessential example of this computer with screen in a phone form factor. Most people have been indoctrinated (read brainwashed) into believing that a phone is something very phone-specific. This is entirely due to how the modern day smartphone developed around business models that incentivized vendor lock-in, mobile-specific OSes, application “stores” that offer mobile curated applications only for mobile, and a multi-billion dollar business to ensure things stay that way. The Librem 5 had forethought. It was created from industry veterans who understand that “this is a computer, it just happens to be in a phone form factor.” So we set off to do exactly what I wanted when starting Purism, to have the same OS for server, desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. So we wrote libhandy, phosh, phoc, released PureOS for two architectures (x86 and arm64), and are building real convergence, where your desktop computer can also be your phone.”

Something like these, but with beautiful Cantarell font, GNOME icons and other graphic art.

Read more here:


Any thoughts?

I guess the problem with “you can install whatever operating system you want” is

a) the support headache, and
b) the reality.

Sure, Purism absolutely does not want to stop you installing whatever you want - so there’s no locked bootloader and no Microsoft-signed root of trust etc. etc. - but that doesn’t mean that everything you install will actually work.

A typical Purism customer might have done some “research” on the internet before making the purchase and hence already have a fair understanding of the Purism philosophy.

I suppose also Purism needs to attract a range of customers. Yes, the kind of customer who would try to install “distro XYZ built from sources” on the Librem 5 just to prove that it does / doesn’t work - but also, yes, the kind of customer who would not be capable of doing that and wants things to “just work”.

My personal preference at this time: Purism focuses resources on making PureOS as functional as possible - and if you want to install “distro XYZ” then you are on your own.

Maybe down the track it would be good to have a list of distros that have been tried, what was necessary to try them out, and what the results were - but that’s something that the Community can organise.

Purism has a focus on upstreaming so that there is at least some chance that a random Linux distro will work but how far do you take it? Want to run iOS on your Librem 5? Android? Microsoft Windows?

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It’s unnecessary. And the only way I can make it make sense to explicitly tell people they can do what they want with their hardware is if I accept that the default mode is you can’t do whatever you want with your hardware.

The default should be no leaflet required and anything that locks you down should require a notice that their device blocks or otherwise hinders such actions.

I would like to see that … :slight_smile:

I think that any customer doesn’t assume that Purism supports random distribution. And if one customer assume so, what’s the problem with answering to he, nothing.

And when the user goes to do this optional installation then he has to Google “Librem 5 operating systems” and what he sees first are guides and big distributions like Debian, Fedora, postmarketOS.

I think this is really not as big of a problem as it may seem.

Okay, I can see that, but the reality is different. Even Purism does this by calling PureOS the “official” operating system of Librem 5. Well, let’s move to that topic. I think we at least should stop calling PureOS as “official” and call it just a pre-installed OS. And e.g. the documentation should also take into account other operating systems.

But it’s also the “supported” OS. If you want to install Hackix on your Librem 5 then that’s all good with everyone in this forum - but if something doesn’t work correctly, you shouldn’t ask Purism to investigate and fix. Purism can ask you to reproduce the problem with PureOS installed (whether it’s a potential hardware problem or a potential software problem). In that sense, PureOS is the “official” OS.

In a more general context there may be no pre-installed OS i.e. when you buy there is a pulldown menu saying:

You can install whatever operating system you want but

  • pre-install operating system X
  • pre-install operating system Y
  • no operating system pre-installed

(If you buy a computer that does not have any disks installed, it is impossible for the vendor to pre-install an OS anyway. Obviously that doesn’t apply to the Librem 5, as the eMMC drive is soldered in, but it could apply to the Librem 14. So that would also feed in to the pulldown menu logic.)

A highly security-conscious customer might choose to reflash / re-install immediately on accepting delivery even if an OS is pre-installed.

I guess in the far future if/when Purism is offering alternatives, tackling it via the Purism shop order page would be one approach. That is, the pulldown menu implements your cardboard insert, slightly more cheaply and with the possibility of linking to the needed caveats (1. You can install whatever you want but it might not work. 2. If you request support from Purism, Purism can ask you to install PureOS in order to reproduce the problem.)

This approach also makes it clear that what you are choosing is what operating system is pre-installed, and sidesteps questions about what “official” means.

Final comment: A lot of vendors do want to pre-install something because they want to do QC before the box goes out the door. So it is actually a hassle for them if you order without a disk installed. They might have to install a disk, do the QC, and then remove the disk.

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Actually, when I looked at Purism’s website, it seems that they don’t prefer “official” either. They consistently say “comes with PureOS by default”, great. Although pre-installed would be better.

So only documentation correction and hopefully the leafy, and done.

Send your feedback and ideas to Purism.


I think there’s also a philosophical question here. Does one want the Android model or the Apple model?

The Android model is that the software is decoupled from the hardware. Google writes the software. A number of large companies develop and sell hardware that will run Android, with those companies making limited changes to the software. Updates often don’t flow through from Google to the end user via the large company. Most Android phones are abandonware after a few years. Pricing is attractive.

The Apple model is that the software is tightly coupled with the hardware. One company develops both. One company controls both with an iron fist. Prices are higher. Support periods are generally better. There is at least the potential for better coordination and higher reliability.

Which of those gives the best outcome for the customer?

With those as two poles in the world, where does Purism sit?

Is it possible for Purism to walk the line, embracing the tight coupling of Apple but also embracing the choice of the open source world? Is it possible to keep the hard-core tinkerers happy while also keeping the light tinkerers and the non-tinkerers happy?

You’re forget that there’s also a Windows model, where Microsoft’s changes go pretty well to the end user versus Android. And you’re forgetting that Android/iOS/Windows aren’t really the only models, because there’s also Linux model, an open-source model.