How compatible is PureOS? I am new

I just found out about Purism and Librem today. And it’s perfect timing, because I am looking to buy a new laptop to replace my old dying laptops.
So, since I don’t have a clue about PureOS and Librem, I am asking:

How do I transfer and use my files from iOS and Windows. I have a Macbook and a Windows laptop to be retired.
Mostly I want to know how I can import dox textfiles from Windows and pages files from Apple.

What kind of software is available for PureOS for text processing?


PureOS is a type of Linux operating system. It can do pretty much everything Windows and macOS can do, but it might do those things in a different way.

Assuming you mean .doc(x) / Microsoft Word text files, then the LibreOffice suite can generally open and handle those files, though there are occasionally some compatibility issues - I think maybe formatting isn’t always maintained, but the content at least should be there.
I am not aware of a way to work with Apple Pages files, but I think perhaps you can export the pages on your Macbook to a format that is compatible? Like .doc, or .odt (or worst-case scenario: export as .pdf, then copy and paste the content).

There is a lot of text processing software available, depending on your needs. But if you are looking for something close to Microsoft Word, then LibreOffice Writer is probably your best bet.


PureOS - if one is familiar with Apple OS X, should be a relatively straight-forward transition in terms of the interface. You have the equivalent of a dock, finding apps is a similar exercise, as is getting them.

For word processing, spreadsheets, and so on, LibreOffice is a popular choice and one I use every day at work and at home. There’s a few differences in terms of where to find things within LO, but nothing the excellent forums can’t help one with transitioning. I had a number of seemingly hardwired pathways for how to do things in a Word processor that I easily found the answer to with a simple search, like how to change the color of a table in Write, for example.

Handy tip if one is looking for Microsoft fonts like Calibri, Arial, and such:

I’ve been using a Purism laptop for about over a year now. And I’ve used PureOS for a good chunk of that time. It’s a beautiful and easy to use operating system. And the support community and documentation out there, frankly, is superb. Between enthusiastic forums like this, and the number of well written guides at all levels of initiation, one is not hard pressed to find the answer to their question. Something I wish other OSes had in terms of signal to noise ratios.


short answer - from the most powerfull to the most basic:

you can install whatever desktop-environment you want and whatever package that’s available from the repositories (you can also add your own)

there are CLI-only versions and there are GUI versions. emacs comes with both. vim is for CLi and there is another for GUI.

gedit is GUI only (graphical-user-interface) or as a front-end so to speak …

there is a lot to say … make friends with the search tool . at the upper-right corner here on the Purism forums you will see the magnifying glass symbol. use it well and you shall find much …

Best thing about Mac OS X is it comes with emacs pre-installed. Only reason I can use one when circumstances require.

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@Ralf sorry if your question was maybe related to an wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) type text processor then the most common one that comes with basically every major distribution is LibreOffice (gives M$ office a run for it’s $)

Libreoffice can read PDFs. I don’t know if the version shipped with PureOS has that compiled in, but worst case you can compile it yourself with pdfimport enabled.

Basic sequence for a debian-based system is:
apt-get source libreoffice && cd libreoffice*,
edit setup files to add the wanted flags to the prebuild step, then
dpkg-buildpackage -b . ...
After a couple hours, run
sudo dpkg -i ../libreoffice-something.deb.

All of that should be done someplace you don’t mind littering with files, so /tmp or similar.

Reading PDFs would be awesome. Thanks.

Do install LibreOffice on your Windows laptop and try it out. It is basically the same experience on a Linux-based Laptop. This allows you to gradually switch over :-).

And it reads PDF.I just tested it.

One warning I would give is that when sharing files with someone that uses MS office and yourself using LibreOffice. Sometimes files will not display correctly for one or both of you. I’ve seen blame places at Microsoft’s feet for not following standards properly and at LibreOffice feet for not accounting for MS quirks. Ultimately, from a user perspective, fault isn’t as important as functionality.

With this said, in the majority of scenarios it works fine, but if the files you work with consistently cause problems it would be nice to know sooner than later.

Speaking to that, when I was in school the problem would arise when my document included pictures, but not if it was all text (i did install the Microsoft fonts though). Can’t speak on tables and charts.

I installed LibreOffice on my windows machine and opened the PDF that was created on the MAC. LibreOffice opened it alright, but not as a text document. It turned into an “OpenDocumentDrawing”. Libre treats each line of text like a piece of drawing.

I believe LO guesses with PDF’s which LO application to use to open it. You should be able to force it to open with writer/calc/etc with varying results.

I have not figured out how to open the PDF into a write document. If any knows how to do this, I would appreciate it.

But I was able to open the pages zip file from the MAC into a write document. It didn’t turn out to bad. Formatting is a little off and the table of contents is not there. It’s a good start so.

Didn’t seem to work for me. All my attempts at getting Writer to look at a PDF resulted in Draw being used instead. (LO I guess it is trying to tell me something. :slight_smile:

If the PDF is more of a graphical nature (e.g. scanned image) then GIMP will import a PDF.

If the PDF is nearly all actual text and you don’t mind losing formatting and then reapplying formatting then pdftotext will do the trick. (Not really going to fly if you have hundreds of documents, or a few documents with collectively hundreds of pages.)

I would guess that, for text documents, PDF is not the best format to attempt to migrate files to Linux.

PDF is a fairly flexible format. It lets you put text and pictures at fixed places easily, including input forms and the like. The equivalent Libre Office subprogram is Draw, not Write. Write is for structured text, which PDFs don’t really retain (they’re basically virtual paper). If the PDF exporting program flattened everything into images (which you can usually tell in okular or similar as the text is not selectable), then there’s not a whole lot you can do with it. If it’s embedded everything as text (common if the source material was text), then you can often either just edit it in Draw, or easily migrate it from Draw to Write.

As for creating documents, my go-to solution is LaTeX, which lets you create templates for commonly needed documents, and output them in any of a wide number of formats for presentation.

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in a Gnome DE the most simple way to READ a .pdf file is Evince or “Document viewer” as it’s called now. it is installed by default on most distros running Gnome but can be installed anywhere …

there is also Calibre, Okular etc for more formats like epub, cbz, etc.

if you want a PRO-like alternative for GNU/Linux to EDIT .pdf files or simply create new ones from scratch i would look at Scribus

if you also want color fidelity for printing in a color managed pipeline then also look at DisplayCAL .

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I used to use evince, the performance on large (100mb+) pdfs is so terrible I couldn’t keep using it, and it lacks many features compared even to the pdf.js reader embedded in firefox. Even if you don’t use kde/plasma, okular seems to be currently the best in terms of performance and features.

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The internet says that Apple Pages can export to Microsoft Word (.docx by default, and that would be preferred, but can do older .doc format). I think that would be a better approach to try for your migration.