Can't have a root access for modification

Hi all,

Just received the librem 13 and feel happy about it so far. I can now be released of my mac book ^^
So, I’m a newbie with linux in general; as I understand, here pureos is based on Debian distribution with gnome3 desktop environment.
I’m having different issues using it :

  • even if i’m logged in with the admin account, I can’t make any modification any folders and documents like ‘etc’ ‘usr’ (apart from anything inside the ‘home’ folder); it says I don’t have the permission to do so…
  • from there, I can’t add repositories for example;
  • I install various software as Synaptic or my VPN software provider (privateinternetaccess) and when I start them nothing is happening…

Thx for your help and advice on this.

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You can’t log in as administrator, you are logged as plain user with administrator privileges. When you want to start a command as administrator, you do that by issuing sudo before the command. For example, start terminal, and run this command:

sudo apt update

This will update sources. You can upgrade your system with sudo apt upgrade. You can remove a file with sudo rm /path/to/the/file, but I strongly suggest not to remove files from /etc or /usr if you are not an experienced user.

Repositories list is inside /etc/apt/sources.list file. You can edit it like this: start Terminal and run sudo gedit, type in your password when requested. This will run text editor with administrator privileges. BE SUPER CAREFUL WITH THIS!

Synaptic is not yet ported to the new graphic display server protocol (“wayland”) that we use by default in PureOS. I am not sure I understand the part with vpn, but if you need vpn, make sure you have “network-manager-openvpn-gnome” packet installed (sudo apt install network-manager-openvpn-gnome), then open WiFi settings (upper right corner). When Network settings windows comes up, click the plus sign at the lower left corner, and you have option to configure OpenVPN vpn connection.

Thanks for the quick reply with such detailed information.

For example, I want to install qtox, so as the installation required on their website i do :
'sudo echo ‘deb /’ > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/qtox.list ’
then I get permission denied…

and if I do what you suggest ‘sudo gedit’ I have : no protocol specified. unable to init server.

Okay, don’t do that. First update your system (use sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade command), then use Software & Updates program to add additional sources.

well I’m a bit confused why I can’t modify any files inside the home directory, for example modifying the list of repo…
in the 2 subjects below on the forum it seems that it is accessible and required in some cases…
if I want to learn more about how to use properly Linux, step by step I should look into it I guess

(wget && dpkg -i pureos-archive-keyring_2016.09_all.debà ) -> It doesnt work for me…

PS : do you have any advice regarding a book to start with to learn and easily going into Linux and Debian infrastructure, to understand the distros and who it is basically operating ?

List of a repo is placed inside /etc/ directory, so you cannot edit it there. If you copied the file from /etc for example, as root, the file kept its permissions, so even it being in /home/your_name directory, you cannot edit it. Use chmod and chown commands to change permissions of a file/folder. For example:

chmod 666 /path/to/my/file.txt will make “file.txt” readable and writable for everyone.
chown myname:users /path/to/my/file.txt will make “myname” as the the owner of the “file.txt” and will set its group to users.


Also, if you plan to use command line often, familiarize yourself with the man command. man chmod will give you short manual on how to use the chmod command.

And another thing: if you want to change software sources use SOFTWARE & UPDATES program. You don’t have do to this manually. Just make sure to update your system first.

Don’t mind these topics, they are old and outdated.

There are plenty of those on the internet, you just need to search a bit. For example:

You can also check our wiki pages:

I have planned to create a user guide for PureOS, similar to what Linux Mint project and other GNU/Linux projects have, but it might take some time to materialize.

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to be specific, for example I add a line like that :

instead of ‘DISTRUBUTION’ do I put pureos or something else ?

That depends on the repo provider (in this case I presume Tor project?). You can see this here:

But why are you adding tor repo when tor is already in PureOS’s repo?

it was just an example, I’m a beginner with Linux so I try to understand how it works and from my understanding so far, to add a repository it has to be done with the linux distribution we are using (like on that example). am I right ?
so it is why I’m asking, is it pureos or something else ?

Again, that depends on the provider of the repo. If the repo is meant to be used on your Debian “stable”, then according to you should use deb stretch main, if you are using Debian unstable, then you should use deb sid main, etc. Tor project does not have pureos repo, putting deb pureos main will produce an error.

You should probably use stretch here. PureOS is based on Debian testing (buster), but Tor project does not have currently have a version for it (Sorry, this version is not available when you select “buster” from the drop-down list on

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