Long Term use of PureOS

I am genuinely curious how many people use PureOS long term?

Let’s not make this a pissing match of ‘my distro can beat up your distro’ but please post your experience. What is the longest amount of time you have used PureOS and what version?

I have really tried to make PureOS 9 work multiple times over the last few years and end up replacing it with a distro that lets me use the tools I want.

  1. It came pre-installed on my Librem 15. Lasted 2 months until I was sick of not being able to install 32bit apps.
  2. At another point I gave up on 32bit legacy apps and used PureOS for few months but couldn’t get KDE or Powershell Core to run. I wasn’t using the extra security features so I moved back to another distro.
  3. 8 months ago I re-installed PureOS with pureboot and setup the Librem Key. I spent a while getting AWS, powershell, and vscode to work but now they won’t update and slowly stopped working. vscode plugins stopped first, now the whole thing wont run. Powershell wont update. Chrome stopped working last month (I know. Chrome = Bad to some people but I’m testing web sites in various browsers. It’s a real world use case.)

I’m giving up again which is unfortunate because I paid a premium for the additional security features. At least the hardware is still good. I can use the librem key with other distros and get most of the same security features. It never worked well on PureOS anyway. There are plenty of usability issues with the librem key that haven’t been addressed since the phone came along. In fact, it feels like the whole laptop platform has take a back seat. Forum posts and articles about the laptops, librem key, and pureboot are showing age while all new posts are about the phone.

I agree that the phone is the future of personal computing but wonder if Purism is a big enough company to handle both platforms effectively.

Until the O/S. gives out?

Like my HP3000, it dies when the clock strikes 1/1/2027.

(The cure? You have to set the clock back to a false date.)

To be fair, the phone initially took a back seat to the laptop (in that the laptops had to come first). It makes sense yo me they’d focus their efforts (both marketing and production) on the new hotness. It’ll even before too long.

I am using PureOS, since receiving the Librem Mini a few months back. I haven’t had any problems with it. Admittedly I’m not trying to use AWS, vscode on it.

I also have used Debian a lot, and have a couple servers that run that OS.

I tested pureOS, on non-purism hardware, and was able to do most things without issue. Because I was testing this on my work laptop I had to use software that is not included in the pureOS repository and in turn I added several repositories as well as configured preferences for them to limit the software gathered from those repositories.

This was only a day or two into using PureOS and if you consider this no longer PureOS and rather a frankenlinux I respect that.

After I got the minimum software required working I was able to remotely connect to other computers to use software that just would not run on PureOS because dependencies were either 32bit or the included versions in the PureOS repo were too old. After about 3 months I replaced the PureOS repository with Debian and accepted that PureOS on my hardware with my work requirements is not currently feasible.

As an aside, replacing the repository with the Debian repository technically worked but the system never behaved quite right and a clean install resolved this, I have seen this suggested as a way to not have to reinstall on these forums and do not recommend this path.

So, for me it was either, didn’t make it through the install (I had to add firmware blobs for some of my hardware), 2 days, or about 3 months. Ultimately I believe the limiting factor for me is the non-free software required for my job.

I think the biggest challenge for long term use of PureOS is not the OS itself but rather the desire to do things that are potentially unsafe with the OS that iwas designed to protect the user from those exact potentially unsafe behaviors by not including or supporting them.

PureOS/Debian if you have open-hw certified RYF devices (or close to that) and you’d like easy access to support.

if you’re skilled/experienced under GNU/Linux then you can pretty much use whatever you want since you’re less dependent on specific hw-sw combinations so you can use time more effectively that way …

PureOS/Debian are great free-sw but they aren’t the only choices out there … Purism is about making it easier for people to transition into freedom-respecting territory. what people do after that is their business …

With the Librem 14 looming on the horizon and all the work being done on the software front for the Librem 5, I don’t think you have anything to fear.

For one thing I don’t see how you would reach the conclusion you have given the two above things.

You might not think that PureOS development for the Librem 5 is not development for Pure OS, but it absolutely is. If anything, this development, cements Purism’s commitment to supporting Pure OS down the line. It is the core OS for all of their products. Pure OS will run on the Librem 5, 13, 14, 15, etc.

However, that said, like you, I dropped Pure OS almost immediately and switched to Ubuntu. It has been bliss ever since.

This is a future answer to your question, not a past answer, but I plan to use PureOS on the Librem 5 as long as the phone lasts.

As far as the laptop goes, I think that Linux spoils you with choice and therefore encourages distro-hopping.

I take your point about 32b apps but PureOS isn’t the only distro that has dropped or will drop or never had 32b.

This is not exclusively a Linux issue. MacOS has also dropped 32b; and Microsoft has announced the first steps towards dropping 32b.

(Because Raspberry Pi devices include the Pi 0 models and the Pi 0 has a 32b CPU and is slated to remain in production for a further 6 years, it may be in the near future that Raspbian is the only major operating system interested in supporting 32b.)

When even my phone will have a 64b-capable CPU, I start to realize that 32b is going the way of the dodo.

If you are dependent on 32b apps then you should probably look to replace those apps.

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i suppose that there are some high-value programs that do benefit quite nicely from being 64-bit but as it turns out most 32bit programs are just ‘wrapped’ in a 64bit ‘layer’ so not all of them are native 64-bit software. while 64bit is faster it’s also larger and with software packaging schemes like ‘snap’, ‘flatpack’ and ‘appimage’ those ‘bundles’ could end up taking a LOT of storage-space.

For sure, but no major operating system wants to support 32b any more (except as noted above). There is effort involved in supporting both. Very little new hardware is being sold that is 32b (except as noted above).

Most new hardware is 64b-capable even if it only has 4GB of RAM or less, and even if all the applications don’t really benefit from 64bitness.

Steam relies on 32 bit still, and pretty much anyone who plays videogames on PC uses Steam. I think it’ll be a while yet before 32 bit goes away.

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Getting rid of 32bit support is like closing the door on the MASSIVE amount of software written for it. I don’t even know if there will ever be a time to just close the door on that software.

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It is only a problem for closed source software, generally speaking. Open source that is built for 32b can be rebuilt for 64b. (OK, occasionally someone writes some code so obscene that it is impractical even to get it working in a 64b environment but hopefully that is very much the exception, exception being the operative word.)

Fair enough.

You are assuming the software is still maintained. For the amount of software available it would take a army of millions to be able to do what you claim is routine to do. It just isn’t feasible, even if possible.

Open sourcing it doesn’t fix it either, as you still need an army. For every active project in the open source community, I can find 50 dead ones.

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For sure but if one legacy 32b application is the difference between success and failure and said application is open source, it can be worth pursuing and it is possible to pursue that. If the application is closed source then you are dead in the water.

I am sure you are right that if and when the last Linux distro drops 32b support, some number of abandoned open source projects will cease to be usable - unless someone else wants to pick the project up - and those projects will go the way of the dodo, along with 32b.

The only constant is change.

I still have fun with 16 bit apps and reading files in Octal, not hex.

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From what I’ve read, people are still playing games on the mid 70’s 6502 processor on s/w based emulators.

Using QEMU to emulate an ia32 processor on an amd64 processor should be a piece of cake.

Also, it should be possible to run whatever is the last OS with 32bit libraries in a VM for quite some time. It might be a good idea to get a complete set of installation ISO images before they disappear.

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Update: As kieran points out below, the following long held, deeply etched memory of mine is false:

Long ago, when I sometimes looked at instruction sets, I remember being amused that the PDP-11 (I think) had 4 bit register addresses, but its assembler used octal notation for instructions and Intel 80XX (I think) had 3 bit register addresses, but it’s assembler used hex notation.

Wikipedia says “no”.