At what point should I upgrade from Amber to Byzantium?

I’ve been looking at the discussions about changing the base PureOS distro from Amber(Buster) to Byzantium(Bullseye) and, while I am interested in making the switch, there is nonetheless a certain (shall we say) “hesitancy” about how pear-shaped things could go…

Is there a simple, straight-forward, step-by-step guide to making the change?

I have an L15v4.

In the Software & Updates app, under PureOS Software I have
Officially supported (main) and Source code both checked. Download from Main server.

Under Other Software, I have
amber-security main and amber-updates main checked.

Debian 9 ‘stretch’ (and Source) as well as buster-backports (and Source) also checked.

So, what’s the process from this base?

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In my experience doing a rolling upgrade is not all ways a good path.

  1. So many things can go wrong, with changed configs, broken dependencies…
  2. Even in your user homedir, software change and you end up with alot of garbage in it.

Personally I backup my whole homedir, then I do a full install, then I restore my old homedir in a separate folder to cherry pick what I really want to restore.

This way you avoid all the depencency issues, config issues, and you start with a fresh homedir ( also remove software local config issues ).

My 2cens :wink: take care!

I’m also on a Librem 15v4 and noticed that on 2021-08-14 Debian 11 “bullseye” was released as the new Debian Stable. So I’m wondering if Byzantium might get “stabilized” for those of us on PureOS 9. Hopefully it’s a smooth upgrade from PureOS 9 to PureOS 10, much like Debian or Ubuntu upgrades.

I was burned a couple of times with the old rolling release model, i.e. before the amber-byzantium split. (I appreciate Purism offering both.) Consequently, I have been waiting for the ‘green light’ to move up as well.

I did update my old Lenovo laptop from Buster to Bullseye. I suspect the procedure will be similar–other than the repository names–but I would not have thought to do the actual upgrade in two steps:

  1. sudo apt upgrade --without-new-packages
  2. sudo apt full-upgrade

I do not know if doing it this way actually helped, but the process went smoothly.

I decided to go for it. I basically followed the directions of buster->bullseye, except that I changed ‘amber’ to ‘byzantium’ in my sources.list.

I did use the two-step upgrade I mentioned above, but I got a dependency error after step 1. It involved the libc6-dev package that is the cause of discussion across the Internet. @NineX helped fix this here. I did not come across the notion of removing both the libc6-dev package and the libgcc-8-dev package anywhere else, but it worked for me.


I feel that if you are looking for stability and to continue receiving automated security updates, then Amber is a good choice. I would wait in this case to update to Byzantium when it is officially released.


Blockquote I would wait in this case to update to Byzantium when it is officially released.

Is there an estimated timeframe for when this will happen? I imagine it’s got to be pretty close now.


Yes, there is an estimated time frame - roughly the middle of October. We’ve made some significant updates and are continuing to ensure Byzantium is up to date and truly stable. There are a couple of packages that need direct attention but once complete we’ll put out an official announcement.


Welp, we’re in the middle of October, and I don’t think we’re ready. We are a lot closer however. Some significant testing of the installer has occurred as well as UEFI work. We’re also hoping to have a look and feel refresh of some things like background, etc. Still a work in progress.


Hi @jeremiah Any update on this? Thanks.

I tried the rolling release idea – by changing the repos – and doing the two-step upgrade that @Wayne suggested, but it didn’t go so well. I think @JJR’s “hesitancy” was probably well-founded :wink: In desperation over the many unmet dependencies I added bullseye main to the repo list, and the computer eventually booted up as a Debian machine, which was intriguing … :thinking:

So, I bit the bullet and did a complete backup of Home and then just re-installed a fresh install of byzantium – basically wiping the disc – and restored the files from Home into the new upgraded PureOS system.

This time I’m trying to stick to PureOS byzantium (and the Debian equivalent which is its basis) to the degree possible. So, repos are only byzantium (plus updates and security of course) and bullseye-backports, with the single exception of bullseye non-free so as to get the Bluetooth driver to work (per this discussion).

Pretty much everything has worked nicely, with the exception of getting my Epson printer to work again – which it did seamlessly in amber. Nothing has even remotely worked so far, so it is a continuing quest

Yes. :slight_smile:

You can upgrade from Amber (PureOS 9) to Byzantium (PureOS 10) whenever you’re ready. There are still some missing packages and some rough spots, fwupd comes to mind. But those spots are being worked on and should be outliers.

PureOS 9 is still supported, so if you find it useful and you have what you need, you can stay with that.

PureOS 10 is now the default OS on our hardware and what we base our convergence on, so that is very good choice for your Librem(s). I’m running PureOS 10 on my mini and my Librem 13 and have found them to be stable.

Am I right in thinking that PureOS 9 (amber) is based on Debian 10 (buster) and that PureOS 10 (byzantium) is based on Debian 11 (bullseye)? If so, why the mismatched version numbering?

Is byzantium officially released?

A long time ago. Crimson, the next release, is in the works now.

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