Changing to Debian on Librem Mini V2

The support for PureOS is virtually non existant. Customer support simply ignores my questions via email, and the posts here are fruitless also is my experience and observation of other posts requesting support.

There should be preference to the customers that paid for devices as we did, they werent cheap and my perspective is dont scam people by selling things you dont intend to support properly! Alas its too late i took the bait when they said its user friendly and supported- simply not true unless you are quite advanced Linux user

So im considering changing to Debian on the Mini. Will Debian work properly with the Mini including the Librem key?


Yes it will.


Hmm. So, if we purchase a Microsoft Surface or maybe a MacBook, these devices combine hardware and software into one device. In that situation, it would be much harder to switch to Debian for example, and as such the only way to keep the thing running would most likely be through official support of the people you buy it from. They also make you agree to a long license agreement in order to use the device.

The Purism devices don’t have that kind of license agreement, I think because they are styled after a different manner of thinking and a different audience. The hardware and the software are more able to be separate. You can switch to Debian if you want – I would imagine with no impact on any warranties, etc, because the hardware is getting considered separate from the software. You won’t find an annual fee on PureOS like how Microsoft prefers to sell licenses to things that periodically expire.

So, while this means that Purism I’m guessing would only really want to help you with hardware issues and not software issues, it also creates a problem for you because I would imagine Debian would not solve your problem at all, would it? What’s your financial relationship to Debian that they would give you tech support?

If you want enterprise software technical support, maybe you could try installing Windows or Red Hat on your Librem Mini device. I’m not familiar with that, but I believe some of those corporate systems wherein you would pay money for access to the software probably also would be more likely to give you tech support. Seems to me like that’s a little like selling your soul, since it might tie you into a financial relationship from which you might never feel free to escape. But, that’s one way to get the type of technical support you apparently desire. [If I were a betting man, Red Hat would be more likely to work on a Librem Mini, but I haven’t tried either one.]

Purism devices try to offer freedom; so, you’re free to try to put Windows or Red Hat on there and get some software tech support that way if you want. It’s probably a bad idea, but you can.

And, in such a case that you buy some proprietary software that includes tech support to power your device, Purism as a hardware vendor would continue to offer hardware support but probably won’t want to offer you software support, I would imagine.

tl;dr PureOS literally repackages the software from Debian so if you change to Debian what are you even expecting to be different?

Edit: see information posted by others below, some of the information I posted is not correct


Not speaking for the OP but this isn’t entirely accurate.

For one, Purism removes a bunch of packages (for not being free enough) and that process introduces a delay in when packages make it into the OS sometimes a considerable delay, likely in part due to Purisms smaller size. But also results in packages that someone may want not being available.

B. Purism being so much smaller has fewer people familiar with the idiosyncrasies of their OS than Debian and as such support is much easier to find for debian.

So yeah, it’s not just Debian repackaged and to imply it is does a disservice to what Purism is trying to do as well as undersells just how large of an undertaking they’ve taken on.


i dont know, just trying to find a way to get the Mini going thats all, struggling a bit so was thinking more support and docs in Debian thats all. Bigger community…
It has option to just use Libre software too right? So any dis-advantage to putting Debian on the Mini?


Yes, although I do not think the kernel is Linux-libre.

Sure, you have to figure out how to install Debian first.

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i swear you old hand Linux guys get a kick outa watching the newbies struggle, its like some initiation process hahahaha (whats he saying, anyone read sarcasm, is Debian famously hard to install or something?


In the mists of time, I recall something about disabling Secure Boot in the UEFI, signing shim so that Secure Boot permits it to boot as the first-stage bootloader, enabling Secure Boot again, then changing the default boot order to use shim first, then load grub, then boot Debian for the first time.

If you want to see more support and documentation from Debian for what I am talking about, it is here:

SecureBoot - Debian Wiki

Debian works on the Librem Mini v2 and I test it often, including with the Librem Key.

In my opinion, the easiest installation method is using one of the live desktop installers. Debian offers images for GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and others. Go to this page: Debian -- Getting Debian - and look to the right, “Try Debian live before installing”, choose one of “Live Gnome”, “Live Xfce”, etc.

Please note that you must use manual partitioning to install Debian with PureBoot and the Librem Key. In the installer, select manual partitioning. Delete all existing partitions. Create a 1 GB unencrypted ext4 partition mounted on /boot. Create an encrypted ext4 partition using the rest of the disk mounted on /.

After installing Debian, reboot, then perform an OEM reset from PureBoot to reinitialize your Librem Key, sign the new /boot partition, etc.


Linux-libre is a specific redistribution of the Linux kernel and means more than just “Libre” or “FOSS”. I don’t believe the Purism uses the actual Linux-libre kernel. I believe they essentially use the Debian kernel and don’t themselves distribute the binary blobs or allow one to chose that on installation.

See Linux-libre - Wikipedia and

Distributions that compile a free Linux kernel

These distros do not use the packaged Linux-libre but instead completely remove binary blobs from the mainline Linux kernel. The source is then compiled and the resulting free Linux kernel is used by default in these systems:

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@Privacy2- So in summary and so i can close off, if you think its there yet, the PureOS is better than the Debian OS (because no non-free code) even if the latters installed manually?

“Debian (May install binary blobs with the installer or kernel by default.[29][30])”

Anyone else want to add anything in dispute of that?

No I don’t think PureOS is better than Debian OS. But that is an opinion. My opinion is that for the mini, the OS code is effectively the same between PureOS and DebianOS. If anything, IMO, Debian OS is better since security updates get released sooner.

In my opinion, the best distro for the Mini is the one that you actually use and use happily.

I doubt that there will be much difference in “user friendly” between PureOS and Debian. There is certainly a difference in size of user base - so you may find it easier to come across existing answers on the web that apply to Debian (for the specific cases where PureOS and Debian differ).