For a new PureOS/linux user

Ok, so I’m sure this is one of those dumb questions people say don’t exist, but I will ask anyway, just to show they do. :wink:
I am new to linux, as in have never had a linux machine of any kind, and I am eagerly awaiting my first, the LIbrem 14, hopefully before Christmas.
So other then me clicking on everything and learning my way around, are there any tips in initial setup etc that I should be aware of that may save me headaches later? Even basics like naming the machine? And I will note that I wish to ensure as much privacy as possible, which is why I want the Librem, for all their open source, privacy minded hardware/software etc. and want to leave the Apple sandbox behind completely at some point in the future.
Mind you, I don’t mind making mistakes, and having to redo things, etc, as they are all learning opportunities, and I’m ok with that, but wondering if there are fundamentals in setting up a linux machine for the first time, that all of you do as easy as breathing, that a newbie may miss completely and never know it?
If there are good video tutorials, etc that I have missed on this site, my apologies, and feel free to point me to any helpful threads, videos, etc for beginners with PureOS.

Thanks a lot in advance!

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If you haven’t already, I would download virtualbox and install PureOS (if that’s the distro you’re going to use) and start becoming familiar with it: settings, applications you’ll use, maybe toy with the command line a bit. There are things you do on your Mac that are as easy as breathing that I might miss, find out how to do those things on Linux. Also compile a simple program or two. It isn’t something I do often, but occasionally its very handy.

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Some general information about PureOS:

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Well it’s what comes with the Librem 14, so it will be my start.

Install and use open source applications on your Mac so everything is not completely new when you get the laptop. Firefox, Libre Office, etc.
Go to to see if the software you use is on Linux or there is an open source alternative to the one you are using.


I have been trying out VLC as a music player, and hear good things about Audacious. Will get the LIbre Office as well and start with them, and got Standard Notes for notes.
I think BitWarden will work fine, and can use the ProtonMail website, as not sure there is an app?
Been trying the Brave browser, as well as Dissenter by Gab, and keep hearing mixed messages on Firefox.

When it comes to any Linux configuration work, you may not always be able to find the graphical interface that you need. Over recent years, things are getting better in Linux that way. But still everything you need in Linux may not exist in a graphical interface or if it does, you may not be able to find it. It helps to understand the history of Linux, and to overcome any fears you may have of the command line. Sometimes, a command line call is the only way to bring up the GUI you may need. So Google searches can be used to find critical command line calls. In the worst case, you may need to copy a long command line call from a Google search result, letter by letter in to a terminal command line to get the operating system to do what you want it to do. That long command line with mixtures of numbers, letters, and switches may not even make sense to you, but then it will solve your problem after you enter it perfectly. In the best case, you start to understand and see patterns enough that you learn how to compose your own long and complex command line calls yourself, from scratch. It all depends on how much time you spend doing it and how quickly you learn.

At one time, Linux had only command lines and no graphical interface. Sometimes, I refer to Linux as an a-la-carte’ operating system. By the time you get really good at Linux, the graphical interfaces may feel more like training wheels on a child’s bicycle. For this reason, those who are good enough to contribute to the operating system never bothered in many cases, to go back and write a GUI to go with whatever they built in Linux. Even if you end up hopping from one life raft to another with the GUI’s, and never getting good at the command lines, it helps to understand how this works and why this is the case. These days, the average user may never need the Linux command line. But that command line is so powerful that once you start getting good at it, messing with the GUI’s can become a waste of time. Why search up and down menus when you can just type-in what you want in a short sequence of letters? If there are a lot of typing to get what you use often, you just type-in a line that tells the OS that when you type-in whatever you want to call something, all of these more powerful things happen by entering just a few letters of your choice. The customizations are endless. But sometimes otherwise simple things (in Windows) have no Linux equivalent. In some Linux distros, the only way to create a shortcut to something on the Desktop, requires command line work. In some Linux distros, it takes a lot of command line work, just to make it possible to use the desktop the same way you use it in Windows. Things can vary vastly from one distribution to the next.

Because we all have our own individual levels of Linux knowledge and ability, our choice of preferred Linux environments from one person to the next, can vary vastly. On a PC that I alone use, I maintain customizations that some people would see as inconvenient. I use a terminal window so much that a lot of valuable GUI tools are put away in inconvenient-to-get-to places. In a Linux PC that I share with my sweetheart, I have gone to extensive efforts (at times using the command line to get everything set up), to make every nuance of the operating system look and feel exactly like Windows 7 so that it is easy for her to use. Most of my Linux learning curve came from figuring out how to get the OS to mimic Windows. But then one day you ask yourself, “why am I going to all of these efforts to build and maintain training wheels when I don’t need them anymore?”.


I don’t recommend Brave as it is a very shady company. They lost a lot of credibility when they put an affiliate links automatically without any disclosure:

More problems with Brave:

In addition, it uses Chromium source, which means Google decides which features are implemented and how and therefore Google dictates the web standards through it. If you want to support freedom, you should consider Firefox, which has been working fine for me many years.


Any insight as to why FF banned the Dissenter extension? Seems to be blocking free speech to me?

The only thing about linux that drives me nuts is that “sometimes” installed application does not always make it to the menu. Even though whatever software installer you use, says its installed. Sometimes you have to go to the command line and run it from there. Or sometimes the associated file type it works on will run it.

(This is like a shorter version of StevenR’s post.)

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And not even sure what to make of this…

To make it easy to add things to the menu ,(under Gnome at least) install ‘alacarte’. FYI, it gets installed under the name, “Main Menu”, in the Accessories menu. The Software application has made it easier to find some applications, but it needs some work.

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Perhaps Mozilla is not perfect, but at least AFAIK it’s not evil like Google or shady like Brave. And it is (belongs to) a nonprofit organization.
Some discussion on the occasion:

What’s wrong about it? Sounds like a reasonable research by Mozilla. See also this comment and reply to it:

Strange, never had this problem. Is this happening on PureOS?

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Yes, sometimes you have to manually create a symbolic link (a shortcut) and then find out how to get it in to your menus where you want to find it, all from a command line. I think that sometimes, the diehard Linux people who control the distrobutions set things up intentionally to not look or act like Windows because they want to maintain their uniqueness and separateness from Windows. They don’t see this as sabotage. It’s more like they feel an overwhelming need to say “our distro is different than Windows”, or to say “we make it work the Linux way. If you want it to work the Windows way, figure it out yourself” (from using a command line to do that, naturally…).


In response to “The Decentralized Web of Hate”, sometimes also, political agendas involve attempts to marginalize legitimate issues by calling them motivated by hate, and attaching names to people like “white supremist” In the book 1984, the government controlled the population in part, by altering the language itself to exclude or distort certain intellectual concepts. The liberal media and several silicon Valley entities are trying to do that same thing now.


The single biggest obstacle to your use of linux will be the times you cannot find a GUI tool to do something that you need to do. Remembering command line scripts is impossible, so I recommend you setup a folder in Documents called “Linux commands” where you can save text files with commands and explanations for CLI procedures that you will need from time to time.
Examples of such commands are:

  1. run gedit as root
  2. non-GUI firefox tweaks (mostly for display sizes)
  3. fix apparmor for Thunderbird
  4. pulseaudio tweaks
  5. setup keys for frictionless SSH login
  6. how to use rsync command switches to copy/backup, for example, your Music folder

The list is endless. Of course, as you are creating these help files, you are learning more and more of the basics of linux architecture and you will find knowledge of Windows CLI quite helpful as Windows has always followed a Unix way of doing things.
One very helpful command that avoids the PureOS insanity of software updates is the command “sudo apt upgrade” which allows you to install updates without rebooting.


Yeah, I kinda figured that about the die-hards. My work-around is when I find an app that won’t make to the menu, unless it is critical, I’ll find another one that will. That probably explains the 50 to 1 ratio of live to dead apps in another thread. (Or was it this one? I’m not scrolling up.)

A lot of the previous comments are en pointe. I would like to add a couple myself.

If you are new to Linux and uncomfortable working within the command line, if you are looking to solve a problem where a proposed solution is to perform a certain command - refer to multiple sources before executing the command. Sometimes a search engine will supply a result that has a close but not exact solution to the problem. I have a colleague that has had to reinstall a couple of times because he found suggestions to solve a specific problem like removing all of Python 2.7 and he followed rather unconventional instructions that required precise execution and some underlying Linux literacy to fill in the gaps. He could not, then, just reinstall P2.7, partly in fact due to not being able retrace his steps. He became overwhelmed and reinstalled. Linux is common enough and the user support base is enthusiastic enough that there usually multiple sites out there with documentation of the same problem.

You will want to learn common symbolic notations that experienced users take for granted. For example, when one sees the # prior to a command such as:
#: systemctl restart snapd.service
This indicates that the command needs to performed as root. A common substitute for this is to use sudo instead like so:
$: sudo systemctl restart snapd.service

There is so much more. The metaphor I like to use with learning and using Linux is that it is comparable to learning to drive a stick shift. At the outset, it requires more mental engagement but the outcome is a more intimate relationship with the tool. And this intimacy will lead to being able to things simply difficult with other operating systems (see grep, awk, and sed).

It’s the core reason I find myself unwilling to use any other OS as a daily driver. The degrees of freedom available are manifold. And that, for me, was worth the pain of figuring the layout of Libre Office, for example.


@Bass20 hello and thank you for asking ! it’s better to look stupid than die ignorant … always !

the GNU+Linux ecosystem is vast. as such we are here to curb your enthusiasm if you were in any way hopping that it would be easy (as in mac or winblows ‘easy’).

nowadays, the major desktop-environments in GNU/Linux distributions save you a lot of the headaches of the past, they aren’t exposing as much of the lower-level program-functions as the proprietary-DEs do over on the Apple, M$, etc. side.

many GUI-front-ends make use of some often obscured but old and battle-tested CLI-programs that come from the GNU project. if you study the GNU project, it’s mission and results you will have a better understanding of where Linux came from and you will perhaps form an opinion about where it should go from here …

i suggest you become comfortable with, at least ,the following CLI (terminal) commands :

  1. apropos ‘insert-here-without-quotes-the-command-you-did-not-know-about-but-were-hoping-to-find-information-on’
  2. man ‘insert-here-without-quotes-the-command-that-you-found-in-step1-above’
  3. info ‘insert-here-without-quotes-the-command-that-you-found-in-step2-above-if-your-text-editor-is-emacs’

the above 3 commands will help you create new neural-connections between the various Linux-topics you will, hopefully, be interested in … provided that you don’t mind a little TL;DR in your brain :wink:

in case you heard about youtube, you are also - probably - aware that it isn’t what it used to be, anymore. some would say that about google as well …

my suggestion would be to use alternatives to snooptube, such as lbry dot tv to find AV-learning material. some keywords to use in your searches could be :

  • Linux * GNU * priva * libre * sec * vpn * tor * distr * 2020(or whatever the current year is) * optimi * emacs * lisp * vim * lang * tex * txt * dev * ethic * moral * etc < or any combination of base search words that you might come up with in order to exploit the search algorithm to the max.

last but not least. experiment. live. enjoy. do-onto-others-what-you-would-want-others-to-do-onto-you !


I know a bit off topic, but since Firefox was brought up and recommended, is it also recommended as a good alternative to Safari on an iphone? I use the DuckDuckGo browser app now.