How to remove PureOS and replace with other Linux OS

Is there a recommended/ safe way to clear my L14 and install another Linux OS? I am not experienced in this sort of thing and am unsure how the disk current disk encryption might affect things.

Currently, my Software section is blank and I just get the feeling that PureOS is just not working correctly.

Any help would be appreciated.

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what will it be? :thinking:

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You would backup your data first (any files you want to keep - I recommend an external drive which you can use for general backups later on as well).

Then you write an image of the Linux distribution of your choice on an USB stick, put it into your L14, reboot and select it either via BIOS or GRUB as device to boot.

The existing full disk encryption is not a huge deal. Just format your drive completely with the new OS and copy your saved data over afterwards. You can also setup a full disk encryption again with many other Linux distributions easily (might be an option to enable in the graphical installer).

The whole process should also work to switch from any Linux distribution back to PureOS again. I’d also recommend using Live-ISO images to checkout how the new OS would behave or look before installing it.

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That depends on your threat model, but for most users, you can overwrite your NVMe drive(s) during installation.


In turn that depends on what was meant by “safe”. Safe in terms of “likely to work without glitches or other difficulties”? Safe because you are worried that the disk contents will fall into the hands of someone else?

Addressing only the former … In my experience, assuming that you have reached the point that there is no useful content on the disk, I would do a Live Boot and use gparted to remove (erase) the partition table. So the installer, for whatever operating system you intend to install, sees a fully unallocated disk - and doesn’t do something silly like trying to fit around the existing partitions - and so that you are unlikely to get questions from the installer that you don’t understand or could answer incorrectly.


Thank you very much for that. I’ll give it a go.

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Thanks for that. By ‘safe’ I only meant that I wouldn’t ‘brick’ the laptop due to the existing encryption setup. I’ve nothing sensitive to worry about in terms of content on my drive.

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Thank you for that. I’ll backup my data and have a go at installing another version of Linux.

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I was thinking ‘Mint’ but happy to be advised.


What’s your goal? People will give you advice that is wrong for you unless you know what you want and tell them specifically.

For example, some will say you should only run the Linux distributions that eliminate non-free software and only run software that you are free to read and change.

However, if you haven’t the skill nor the time to read nor to change the free software, its benefit would be nearly moot. To use it in such case would be like freeloading off of the hope that someone else set up the device how you would want it to be and I think if society were in the habit of designing and selling systems and devices how we wanted them to be then none of us would be here, because there would be less incentive to go the forum page for an enthusiast hardware company.

It turns out, what I want my computers to be is different than what other people set as the default. This is true even on “ethical” distributions of Linux that are entirely “free as in freedom” software with their source code available. Unlike my Windows and Android devices, my Librem 5 and my Librem 14 allowed me to ask the question, “Is this device spying on me?” By default, the answer was yes – by my definition. But the culprit wasn’t Purism themselves; it was the endless sea of contributors that constructed modern desktop Linux and a few either bad or egregiously negligent actors among them. (I personally haven’t bothered to try to research the names of contributors to determine one way or the other, and even if I found them and pointed it out they would simply tell me that I was misinformed to care.)

So, I enjoy the Purism devices more than others because I enjoy the illusion of freedom that it provides. I can look and I can see the portions of the software in the default Linux ecosystem that my limited intelligence can identify as essentially malicious, and I neutralize those in the default PureOS install, and then I carry on. But almost inevitably, someone else somewhere else who had more time and more money than I ever did (and than I ever will) buried their claws into the “free as in freedom” software movement to hide spyware-type things in these software stacks that take us years to find, if we ever will. Ultimately, even if we defeat that, the collective conscious of humanity is pushed towards believing that the definition of what a computer is should be a machine that spies on them. This will deliver humanity into a future where truly conscious machines – if we ever find a means to create them [and some say we already have] – will be able to dominate us unopposed. And, if you disagree with that kind of system design which inevitably delivers our species into servitude, you’re putting yourself at odds with the wealthiest human beings on Earth because in their short term it is to their extreme benefit to collect everyone’s personal information so that they remain in control. If it were not so, the evolution of ideas and of wealth would reconfigure it so that it eventually became so.

So when you come here and ask which Linux distribution to install on your Librem 14, in my opinion you’re probably asking the wrong question if you think Linux Mint is the answer. The Librem 14 was made with a bunch of targeted hardware decisions in mind to be able to run only using drivers that have their source code fully available, minus the firmware jail (and to me the firmware jail seems maybe a little silly, but you can read about that in other threads and read from Purism employees defending the rationale why firmware jail is still a win for the user compared to the available alternatives).

All of that time spent picking hardware in that category when they designed the Purism stuff is likely kind of going to waste if you decide that what you really want to do is run non-free software from anybody and just do what is easy and fast. This does not make you incorrect in your decision; what you define as easy and fast may, indeed, turn out to be easy and fast.

But I think in some ways, this is a similar mentality to going to a vegan banquet that costs a lot of money, and then while you sit and eat your dinner made from explicitly vegetables chosen in such a manner that you might still obtain the necessary proteins to survive from these specific vegetables, right then and there at the dinner you turn to the guy next to you and say, “Hey man, to go along with this dinner I’m going to order some Uber Eats from McDonald’s so that I get some nice meat with this dinner. What’s something good to order? I was thinking maybe the chicken?”

Maybe it turns out the best advice for you would be to order the hamburger (instead of the chicken that first came to your mind) because you like that hamburger flavor. But it turns out, at the vegan banquet, nobody was going to say that to you. They were all trying not to eat hamburger for some reason.

I think that your quandary about which Linux distribution to use on your Librem 14 might be more similar to this than you realize. You know, when my friend wanted to play a multiplayer game with me that uses Easy AntiCheat Service [doesn’t work on WINE] to join him in the game I plugged a hard drive into my Librem 14 that already had Windows installed and I fired up the game on my Librem 14. It worked great! This was definitely the quickest and easiest way for me to join into the game that day, and so I accomplished my goal.

But what is your goal? Does the thought of running Windows on your Librem 14 sound similar to you to how it might sound if I showed up at a high-end vegan banquet and ate a hamburger and a chicken sandwich with my dinner? Surely you realize that running Linux Mint on a Librem 14 is in some ways a similar kind of disregard for the system’s design, but at a slightly different level. Surely if you run Linux Mint it would run quite well on your Librem 14, just like Windows was for me, I would imagine. Is that what you want? What do you want?

I haven’t personally used Linux Mint but I have used Ubuntu, Ubuntu with xfce installed, Gentoo installed beautifully by someone else, CentOS 7 (and CentOS 8 before it died), I’ve tinkered with a Fedora install for someone else, I downloaded Ubuntu MATE from whoever maintains that rather than simply installing MATE from within Ubuntu using apt, on a different machine I installed MATE inside of Ubuntu using apt, I ran some servers using Debian when I figured maybe Ubuntu was of the devil, I installed Gentoo on my own hardware for a while but a friend convinced me to use sway WM back then which was fun but I never managed to get OpenGL drivers going and so for my purposes it always felt like a gutted unfinished machine, I tried AlmaLinux, and I’ve used PureOS a bunch now for the last year or so.

These distributions… they are just different people compiling and offering downloads for the same software. If something is missing, you can compile and install it yourself. I had this problem with MATE on CentOS 8. I decided that I wanted MATE, but it was not in the package managers. So, I followed an online guide to compile MATE myself. Worked nicely for a while but CentOS 8 was discontinued and died.

So, if you have never done it before, you should probably install Gentoo on the Librem 14 for fun and learn about the process of compiling each part of the system instead of simply installing a compiled version someone else lined up for you. It’s informative. It also might take you a month to set the machine up before you have feature parity with whatever you had on PureOS. Also, apparently Gentoo is compromised with non-free software, so maybe something like Gnu GUIX is ideologically better and similar, but I never personally tried it.

But do you want to be informed? Do you want to know what’s on your system? It turns out, there is a lot of stuff on there. If you don’t want to know, then what makes Linux Mint any worse than anything else? I can’t think of anything off of the top of my head. My guess is that it would function when you run it. What makes it better than Windows? Probably nothing if your goal is to play a game that uses Easy AntiCheat Service. What would make it better might be whether you choose to feel it is better. Perhaps the default background is green, and you find the color green relaxing. You tell me.


Had to laugh at that.

The OP has already said what s/he is eating. Mint is eminently suitable for a vegan banquet.

While only the OP can definitively answer as to the goal, I would say … given the uncertainty, getting any other Linux distro installed will be a win … and will make the OP more confident about distro hopping in the future in order to find the perfect distro for the OP.

In the meantime, given the limited available information, I would say that Mint is a suitable choice.


Thank you for taking the time to get back to me with such a considered reply. I think that you are miles ahead of me in terms of technical ability and understanding but I will have a look at compiling/building (if those are the right terms) Gentoo and see if I think it is something a could learn and do.
It is good to know however, that my L14 should work OK should I install something like Mint. (You have managed to put be off Ubuntu)

I was originally drawn to Purism when I became aware of their plans to produce the L5, as I felt there was need for a privacy respecting phone and I wanted to support them as they developed one.

I bought the L14 later, more as a way of supporting Purism although with the benefit of some built-in privacy.

I also signed up for the paid version of their social media suite.

However, I have now totally gone off this company.

The social media suite was just too unreliable and even though I paid for a family account, my contacts just stopped using it as it proved to be hugely inferior to the usual platforms.

On my L14, the software app section is now empty so I can’t install any apps from their store.

And worst of all, after just over a year of very limited use, my L5 is now obsolete as a phone as will not make 4g calls and my 3g network has neen switched off. After a couple of emails to support, which failed to fix the issue, they now simply refuse to reply to my emails. Not good.

I have now purchased a de-googled phone in the hope that that will be better in privacy terms than a standard mobile.

I use Session for social media in the hope that that is also better than other platforms.

As to the laptop, well I just don’t know. I will look at Gentoo to learn a bit about it, before deciding on how to replace PureOS.

Thank you again for your helpful thoughts and advice.