Is Pure OS worth it for a web developer? Using Google Chrome defeats the purpose?

I have to use google chrome sometimes to see how a website I’m coding looks in that browser. I’m using firefox most of the time for Web Dev. Is their anyway around using chrome as a web developer. I’m also wondering if their are enough open source software for web devs with this debian based distro? Does using Pure OS slow development down at all? I own a Librem mini but I’m using Ubuntu right now.

That’s a good question, no doubt with no simple answer.

It may depend on at least two things

  • how smart (evil) Google is
  • how much separation you can get between your use of Google Chrome and your normal use of the web

Examples for the second item: separate VM, separate computer, separate WAN IP address

If this is paid website development then some of the proceeds can be put towards, for example, a dedicated entry level x86 computer that you specifically and exclusively use for testing how the web site looks in Google Chrome.


Why not chromium? Or a qtwebengine browser (personally, I use falkon). As they share the core rendering code with chrome, unless you are using chrome-specific extensions, there’s really no reason to ever use Chrome itself.


Sure there is, when your employment mandates it.

“Muaaaah, ha, ha, ha, haaaaah.”

[Snidely Whiplash quote above.]

if it’s just SOMETIMES then ok … go for a VM
if you decide to go for a PureOS 9 (last-stable-codename-Amber) bare-metal-install you will find out

that the installation is just as great an experience as ubuntu (assuming you were referring to 20.04 LTS)
the difference between GNOME 3.30 and 3.36 is largely unnoticed unless you are after some very specific tasks …
on the other hand you CAN upgrade to PureOS 10 (testing-codename-Byzantium) if you want a 1-to-1 experience.
do that in a VM first to make sure there is nothing going on that will bog your workflow.

Librem-Mini here too …

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If you must use a Chrome/Chromium-based browser, I’d recommend one of these alternatives in descending order of my preference:

  1. ungoogled-chromium is Google Chromium, sans dependency on Google web services.
  2. ungoogled-chromium retains the default Chromium experience as closely as possible. Unlike other Chromium forks that have their own visions of a web browser, ungoogled-chromium is essentially a drop-in replacement for Chromium.
  3. ungoogled-chromium features tweaks to enhance privacy, control, and transparency. However, almost all of these features must be manually activated or enabled. For more details, see Feature Overview.
  • GNOME Web (Available through Flatpak)
    • Simple and quick for basic browsing. It lacks in customizability for me but I still have it handy.

Bonus alternative:
If you use VSCode, VSCodium is the same editor but with Microsoft functionality (such as telemetry) removed.


+1 for GNOME Web as that might be the default L5 mobile specific browser instead of FF-ESR for desktop mode … in the future

if you want your web-sites to look good on mobile and especially on the L5/PureOS then all the more reason to test that as well … it’s tightly integrated with the GNOME environment and except some speed issues and for minimal (non-java-script ridden web-sites) it’s MY preferred browser …

Before using Vivaldi, I suggest one read the terms of its privacy policy carefully.

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I was hesitant to suggest it but to be on the safe side, I’ve removed it from my post.

I would be happy if PureOS worked at all for web development.

After a few months so many tools stop working (if they ever worked in the first place) that I give up and move to another OS. See this thread for details: Long Term use of PureOS where I ask how many people are using PureOS long term?

My gut says the answer to the OP is “if you only want to use PureOS tools for developing only open source web applications that you will run on your own systems without any 3rd party platforms or tools then PureOS might work for you.”

I’ve been using PureOS on my librem 15 since I got it, almost two years ago now I think. I use it primarily for software development and most of that is web development (JS/React) with a fair amount of backend work. (go and clojure) I’ve found it to be an ideal platform for web development.

I primarily use firefox for day to day web development, but when I need to test something on Chrome I can run chromium. As I don’t use chromium for any personal web browsing, I’m not concerned about the degoogling, though maybe I should be. I’ve even had to debug an edge issue or two, and I’ve had no problems running edge in a windows VM on PureOS in those cases. It’s not something I like doing, but when you want to, there’s nothing stopping you.

The closest thing I had to an issue was when I switched to amber and found that the nodesource nodejs install script didn’t know about that version of PureOS. They quickly fixed that (a one line change) and I was easily able to workaround while waiting. I suppose that’s really the primary risk of PureOS - that the userbase isn’t as big as something like Ubuntu. A problem like that would have been noticed and fixed in seconds on Ubuntu whereas on PureOS I appear to have been the first person to report the issue. (or at least to open a github issue)

TL;DR - PureOS has been a great platform for web development for me


For web dev testing check out browserstack:

Web-based and supports local tunnel back to your dev instance. Proprietary and not free as in $ and has free limited-time trial.

I have no affiliation with browserstack other than satisfied user.

(note: emphasis is mine)

Technically, (depending on the age of your Android device) you will need a Google account to operate your Android device - short of any rooting or other hacks…

OP is testing the look, not the usability:

And, to be clear: the post from @privacy238437 presents the useful point that testing on real devices while also using the site interactively (say, driving the site through a user story) definitely providers additional useful information about the site performance. Browserstack’s hosted devices may not provide a direct experience regarding performance and or what it is like to experience the site at the actual speed when not using Browsertack as an intermediary.

From BrowserStack website (

Millions of QA testers & developers use Live to instantly access 2000+ real browsers & devices and deliver great user experiences.*

I am not claiming that BrowserStack is the best and only solution for @everett - they will have to take a look and decide for themselves.

I have no affiliation with BrowserStack, other than user.

Thank you for educating me, I was clearly wrong and I appreciate you taking the time to set the record straight so that others will not be mislead by my misinterpretation of your post.