Is my data safe with PureOS on Librem 15?


#1

I am a new user on Linux, just received my Librem 15 laptop and it looks great. I had to upgrade PureOS, because I could not install software. After the upgrade, the start up proces didn’t work anymore. I ended up in (initramfs). It could not be fixed and I had to reinstall PureOS. There was no date on the laptop, so it did not matter. And a good experience to get to know more about Linux, with help from the service desk.

But, I use this laptop for businnes and all my projects, invoices, contacts, etc are on it. Because of my first experience, where I had to re-install PureOS, I hesitate whether PurOS works for me? I have read a lot on this forum and noticed that there are some software issues every now and then. If a crash occurs and I loose all data with it, it is unacceptable for me. I do not mind if it hangs, let’s say once every half year, but losing data wil cost a lot of money.

Now my questions:

  1. Is my data save with PureOS? What are the chances that data gets lost, because I have to re-install?
  2. If the system crashes, will I be able to get it working again and get acces to my data quick? I can not afford to spend a day on fixing it.
  3. Is it advised to use another, more stable distro, like Ubuntu (studio)? I am into music, designing and marketing & communication

#2

This is hard to answer generally. A bad update / broken installation can happen with any distribution. A crash or broken install will not discard any data. You rather endanger it with the actions you take to rescue the system.

So, before reinstalling the OS, it is a good idea to update your monthly backup, that you do of course anyway, as you can’t risk losing it due to whatever failure. :wink:


#3

I use PureOs for 3 years now on a Librem 15 and I haven’t had to reinstall PureOS since.
If you handle business data (even if not), independent of your OS, you should definitely do regular backups. Either onto another hard drive that you own or to the “cloud”, e.g. Nextcloud. You can either host it yourself or choose one of many server parks that offer Nextcloud hosting.

Apart from that if PureOS just doesn’t feel “right” for you try any other GNU/Linux distribution that appeals to you. That is the beauty of GNU/Linux that there is almost for any taste a fitting GNU/Linux distribution which all are more or less built upon FOSS/ open source principles.


#4

Thanks @Caliga and @Honeybadger, for your quick answer. The thing is that my ‘first’ exeperience with Linux is PureOS and next to it, not able to acces my workspace anymore and had to re-install. That is where my questions come from. Unfortunatly I can not judge whether other distros would work for me?

@Caliga As I understand, the serious problems occur when upgrading PureOS, perhaps any other distro. I will make sure I back-up, before I upgrade.


#5

It is a rare situation. Of course it should not happen, and you should not (have to) fear to install updates. I assume your install was very outdated and the update was very big. That’s not an excuse, but probably contributed to the problems.

I assume you’ll not have a similar experience anytime soon, but backups are always essential. You can also lose data due to a hardware failure at any time, so backups are important either way.
And as I pointed out, your data was not gone. As inexperienced user it would rather be the problem to re-gain access to your data quickly in such situations.

For example, you could insert a Live-Linux boot stick (to be prepared ahead of disaster :wink: ) and then copy your data off. If your disk is encrypted, you should also learn how to mount it in the Live system. This will teach you quite a lot about Linux and you’d feel pretty empowered and prepared for such situations. And next time a friend has a problem, you go “Ah, wait, I’ll bring my Linux rescue stick and we copy the data off of your broken Windows installation…” :wink:


#6

@Caliga Thanks for the update! Gives some more confidence regarding PureOS. And I will dive into the disaster scenario vs rescue. :slight_smile:


#7

hi ! i don’t understand. have you LOST data or is this just a worst case scenario test ?


#8

Do NOT use Ubuntu in any case! Its a piece of trash distro that many call Windows in the Linux world for a reason. I dont know what people using Ubuntu is doing in this community, for obvious reasons. Its the worst distro and has been for many years. Now Manjaro is falling aswell.


#9

Generally, yes your data is safe (from system failures), so long as you take measures to protect it and have some basic knowledge of the filesystem in a worst-case non-hardware related failure.

PureOS comes with “Backups”, aka “DejaDup”, which you can use to back up your data. Very helpful. There are other applications you can use, such as Timeshift, that provide similar functionality. In the event of a non-bootable system (not due to a drive failure), you can usually boot using a thumb drive, or pull the drive and attach it to a working machine to retrieve data.

As for safety from the outside, from others, I’m not an expert on PureOS, but I imagine it is similar to most other OS’: it is as secure or insecure as you make it.


#10

Is my data save with PureOS?

No, you should do regular backups on an external hard drive, Network Attached Storage (NAS) or cloud service (e. g. Borg backup, Déja Vu, Nextcloud).

If the system crashes, will I be able to get it working again and get access to my data quick?

No, you will not have a quick access to your data unless you make regular backups, especially of your home folder.

In addition, you can synchronize your data to a cloud service (e. g. Nextcloud). However, keep in mind that data synchronization is not the same as a backup. If you mess-up your data in a folder you synchronize with a remote cloud infrastructure you will mess-up the data in the remote cloud infrastructure as well.

With other words doing a regular backup is important for the safety of your data. How regular depends on your risk appetite.

Is it advised to use another, more stable distro, like Ubuntu (studio)?

No, PureOS is more stable than Ubuntu Studio. You can simply install the software included in Ubuntu Studio. Ubuntu Studio is more like Ubuntu + collection of music etc. software. You can simply do PureOS + collection of music etc. software.

In addition, you can get support from Purism much easier if you use PureOS.

In general, the first two questions regarding data safety have not much to do with PureOS or Linux. Those question apply to any operating system. My answers are based on basic security principles. I would tell you the same for Windows, macOS or Unix.


#11

Regular backups are always necessary because sooner or later all hardware fails.


#12

Thanks for your answers. I will use PureOS and back up regularly. I have more faith in the system now. :slight_smile:


#13

depends what kind of value your data has. might be worth making a backup of the backup if it’s THAT important. and PureOS is just debian testing sprinkled with some magic fairy Purism dust and endorsed by FSF RYF.