Any Purism experts in Colorado

I realize this is probably a shot in the dark but here it goes. I recently purchased a Purism Librem 15 and Librem key. I am fully supportive of the stated mission of this company. Nevertheless, despite going over several Linux/Debian tutorials, I am not able to utilize these product(s) to the extent I would like. Is there anyone in Colorado that knows the Librem 15, Librem key and Pure OS operating system well and willing to help me to learn the ins and outs of the system? I don’t think I would need too much time and would be willing to pay $80/hour cash for the help. I am still having difficulty downloading applications like the Monero GUI. Also, I would like more help verifying GPG/PGP signatures. I am a little apprehensive of using my Librem key since I don’t want to screw something up in the process. I would like to explore the full functionality of the Librem key and would think someone already familiar with (and using) the key would be the person to ask. I believe getting help from someone already in the Purism community would be better than just someone familiar with Linux. I already had a “Red Hat certified instructor” try to help with the Monero download and he was unsuccessful. I live in Colorado Springs but would be willing to travel up to a 100 miles if such a person was available. Thank you for your help.

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If you don’t find anyone in Colorado (I like the idea. Probably it’s nice to do something like this in personal contact, but I’m too far away) you could go on and try it with the help of the community here.

By doing so you could support the whole idea: Writing good documentation costs a lot of time and you could invest in that: You could offer to write down thinks in a way you’d understand with the help of people with a higher level of knowledge.

By writing down this stuff and trying it out on your Librem you’d learn a lot and you’d help the community. Answers to questions and corrections would be provided willingly by the community here I’d bet.

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Hi ChriChri,

I was hoping to find someone knowledgeable about Librem/Pure OS in my area. Initially, I contacted Purism support and they recommended I reach out to the community via the forum, so I did. Unfortunately, like many others, I work about 70 hours a week with limited free time left over to figure out the best practices on how to navigate the OS using the applications that I want to use. As I stated earlier, I really like what Purism espouses but think they need a detailed video or written archive (or even some sort of meetup groups) to help onboard regular users. Without an easier way to bring new users into the fold, mass adoption will be limited. My desire to learn some new stuff and avoid living in the surveillance state without my consent will keep me working on trying to incorporate Purism products into my life. As I figure it out I will be sure to help others if I can. The people on this forum and at Purism have all been great. Nevertheless, I think it will be awhile before I a am able to contribute to the community in a meaningful way. It appears that I did indeed screw something up last night since I am no longer able to access my Picture, Download and Document directories. I guess it’s time to reinstall Pure OS and see if I can’t do better this time around.

You could also do video conferencing. I think this would open up your candidate list of helpers.

…and there you are - you gotta work for it. I opened a discussion about this work and the way new users could be educated here.

I agree that there should be more material to help users, but on the other hand one should consider that PureOS is nothing more than a Debian subclass. There are things missing that do not adhere to the Free Sofware Foundations principles, but in general it is Debian.

For Debian there is a lot documentation around and probably there is a Linux / Debian user group near you and for sure there will be somebody willing to teach you.

Maybe this helps to find your way into the system: Look at PureOS as it would be Debian, get connected with other Debian users near you and be sure that support and the users here will be open for your questions when it comes to the small differences.

The installation of e.g. the Monero GUI probably is not different inbetween PureOS and Debian. The general use of the LibremKey (which is a variant of the nitrokey) is not really bound to PureOS - the concepts and the use is very similar between other Linux distributions and PureOS. Especially the GPG/PGP features you’re asking for work exactly (as far as I used them) like described by the GPG community for any GPG usable smartcard.

There are things you can only find here in the Purism community. E.g. the use of the LibremKey to validate your bios and boot environment at startup.

This sounds really like one of those problems any Debian administrator could help you to solve. If you prefer to have someone over you’ll probably find people in your area.

Alas I meet only one of those two qualifications, but someday I will have to figure things out.

Buy an inexpensive NUC6 and use it as an inexpensive learning platform. I keep a stack of small SSD hard drives on-hand and when I want to try something risky, I pop in a different hard drive, one I don’t care about it if I screw up the OS with. The worst that happens is that I have to wipe the OS and start over. It’s like a game. When you fatally damage the OS, it’s like you’ve run out of lives (in a game) and have to start over again at the bottom level. After you’ve mastered doing what you need to know, you pop in your good hard drive (the one you don’t want to mess up) and make your changes, doing it correctly the first time. Fear of damaging your OS or files in an irreversible way is a valid fear, and can prevent you from learning. Your problem probably isn’t barriers to learning what you need to learn. But you need a safe learning place.

@Zigmeister - you deserve a lot of credit for your moxy and willingness to not just commit to a new platform but stick with it. I don’t consider myself a Pure OS expert, and I don’t live in Colorado, but perhaps if you’re willing to list a number of items you’d want a video tutorial on, myself or others may be able to whip up a quick tutorial and post it online.

You guys are great! Thanks for the support and willingness to help. I have learned a lot over the last 10 days with my new Librem 15. I may take you up on that offer If I just can’t seem to figure it out. I’ve made some headway which is encouraging. Initially I was going over an online Linux course via the Linux foundation which was good but too general in its scope. I have now focused more specifically on Debian tutorials which seem more useful. Thanks again.

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Hm, maybe I forgot something essential I did: I setup virt-manager to use virtual machines (probably the program “boxen” can be used also).

By doing so I can have a Debian and PureOS system up and running in a virtual machine. After installing a virtual machine you can take a snapshot that conserves the actual state. If you brake the system on your virtual machine by trying things out you can just hop back in time to that snapshot.

It is really a computer inside your computer and by design you cannot break your host system (the software running directly on your hardware - well, if you’d find a way you could give a talk at some security conference :wink: ).

Edit: Thinking about it, I’d say that using a virtual machine for training using a remote connection and VoIP could be an idea. There wouldn’t need to be any user data in that virtual machine (wherever it resides) and nothing seriously needed could be broken. Trust would also be much less of a problem than with a direct connection in a production system.

Did you try following these instructions to install Monero?

If that doesn’t work, then Monero also has a package in the “sid” repository of Debian, so you might be able to add the sid repo and install it. See these instructions, but replace “testing” with “unstable”:

If you have specific questions, then ask them on the forum, and someone might be able to help you.

Oh yes you can, only problem is figuring out what the cause is, whose fault it is, and where to report it. I’m in the middle of that right now, with qemu and a BTRFS host filesystem, where a qemu crash corrupts the host filesystem even when qemu is using a loopback and the underlying disk image is on a different partition.

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O.k., to comment on that - we’re relative safe. Even if in the end it comes out that there is a bug in qemu that affects a btrfs filesystem, the Librems are by default not using btrfs.

I wish you good luck in searching for the root of the problem and just by intuition I’d point in the direction of btrfs (not saying that it is broken or bad, just a feeling and just deducted from the fact that a crashing process could compromise a whole filesystem?).

There may well be a problem in BTRFS, as it’s CoW and compression means raw IO can cause problems (hence why no swapfile before linux 5.0). But that’s not the only problem, as the loopback device is supposed to turn raw IO into proper file IO. Since qemu is running not as root, without write access to the drives, I’ve pretty well ruled it out as the culprit. This leaves the kvm module as the likely culprit, as it has the ability to fsck the drive and the problem seems to go away when kvm is not in use.

But as you say, it’s something of an edge case (or it would have been found and fixed already). Also, @Zigmeister might want to consider a simple chroot, it gets similar isolation to a full VM, but with less overhead.

You could try ZFS instead of BTRFS to confirm whether it’s the file system or something else, correct?

Yup, or probably just ext4. The really odd thing is one time it slagged a partition on a drive that is unrelated. So far it hasn’t slagged an unmounted partition. One of the challenges here is that I can’t reliably reproduce the crash, and the crash doesn’t reliably slag a partition. I’m still in the phase of trying to get a reliable and fast way to get it to crash, without risking any important computers (which is hard, since I don’t really have any unimportant computers).

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The reason I threw out ZFS is because it is also a CoW file system like BTRFS but I totally get needing to have a reproducible method first. Good luck.

Do you find this helpful:
What sort of topics would you like to discuss? My assumption might be a “absolute beginners” video might be good as sort of a next step to get one going with daily use of the machine, does this sound reasonable? Something that would help you setup your email and other administrative tasks?

Hi Jeremiah,

Thanks for the link. Luckily, I am beyond the real basics of setting up. The issue that I am having is with Linux downloads that end in Downloads from the Purism software repository are easy to install and run. Even applications that end in .deb are doable. The problem arises when I download Linux applications that end with After I extract them (they usually end up in my home or downloads directory) I don’t know how to complete the installation and get them to launch.

Most likely you downloaded source code. That’s fine, but getting that to run is most likely not what you should be doing as a beginner. It gets complicated quickly. There’s no simple 3 step solution for that.
While I’m a developer, I’m hesitant to build software from source on my private laptop. I keep it tidy and stick to what’s in the repository.
The only thing else that should be simple to use are flatpaks.

What you have is a bz compressed archive. Depending on the tool, it is extracted in one or two steps. If you end up with a tar file, it needs to be extracted once more.