Apologies for this rather long-winded first post!
I heartily support Purism’s mission, and was excited to read reports that their laptops were novice-user-friendly straight out of the box. So, I purchased a Librem 15v3 in late December 2018. It was shipped in mid-January, but got stuck in customs for over a month, and then got stuck in transport for another month and a half. I finally received it mid-April.
It is a beautiful machine. My first exposure to Linux was in the late ‘90s on my roommate’s bulky desktop system. I only used it for email. Since then, I’ve worked extensively on Mac (audio/video production and graphics), and Windows (writing and internet related). So, I’m very well versed with GUI, but much less so with command line operations. I’ve learned a bunch in the past month already though, getting familiarized with the basics so that I could confidently move on to software acquisition.
I live in a remote rural area and therefore do not have access to wifi at home. I must go into town for internet access, and the connections can be excruciatingly slow and spotty (think: late ’90s dial-up modem). So, imagine my dismay when I got my Librem online for the first time on Saturday night and attempted to download GIMP from the software store only to receive a message (after a portion had downloaded and over half an hour had elapsed) that a url was “not ‘yet’ available”. I tried VLC, Inkscape, and a few other smaller packages too to no avail. Uh oh.
A quick check in the Purism forum told me this wasn’t an isolated incident, and a post by @tez gave me hope. I found instructions to run sudo apt update or sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade or sudo apt-get full-upgrade or sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.
I was able to complete sudo apt update in about 15-20 minutes, but only got 35% of 900+mb downloaded of sudo apt-get upgrade in 2+ hours. At that point, it was the wifi cafe’s closing time. So, I hit CTRL-C as was also advised on the forum. Hopefully I will be able to restart where I left off (I haven’t used the laptop since then) the next time I am in town, and it won’t take 4+ hours to complete!
I’ve come to understand that PureOS is an ever-evolving ‘rolling release’ operating system, and I realize that this initial 900+mb download is a one-time upgrade unique to my circumstances and that subsequent updates will likely be much smaller. However, I now have to figure out a regular schedule to come into town to get updates in order to prevent this glut from accumulating again.
To be honest, I was surprised to discover that the general assumption these days is that all computers are online pretty much 24/7, so much so that it is unnecessary to specify in product descriptions that internet access is required to get several functions accomplished. Now that I am aware of this, I can see that the frequent updates are no big deal to most folks. However, due to my geographic location and personal preferences, I do much of my work offline. For instance, to get new software, I usually must download it on a separate online computer (running Windows, internet access via usb dongle) and transfer it over to my offline one for installation.
So… Any advice on how to facilitate the offline software installation process with PureOS would be much appreciated.
I would also like to make the suggestion to Purism that they inform buyers (especially Linux newbies) that when they first receive their laptops they must run those update and upgrade commands while online. That way, they can start their Librem journey well-prepared without any rude awakenings.