I’ve been lurking for a while around PureOS and finally got a Librem 15 to try it out with.
Being a happy Debian user, I’ve been skeptical of yet another fork, but given that Purism does so much right, I decided to give it a shot.
Here’s what happened.
gnome-initial-setup crashed the first time I clicked on the wifi i wanted to setup… but “logging out” brought the setup back up again.
The second time it finished as it should have, however it seems to have forgotten about encrypting the disk with my passphrase?
After rebooting, the laptop booted without asking for the encryption key, ugh…
Onwards to installing software I guessed… Gnome’s Software failed to install anything (with a 404).
When hitting update it said the package lists were up to date… which apparently they were not.
Knowing this is a Debian-based system, I opened a terminal and ran the venerable apt-get update && apt-get upgrade (the former giving some error which disappeared after the latter).
It said something about linux-kernel and grub… Not a good sign I thought but didn’t really bother with it.
I’m was on the happy path, right? Well, wrong.
But first I could install software and the system kept running as expected and i was quite happily playing with Gnome Boxes until I shut it down and started it up again.
It refused to boot with a cryptic cryptsetup error, saying it didn´t have a passphrase to unlock the volume. Great?
Finding no way to supply it with a passphrase and not knowing what to do in the emergency shell, I ducked the internet and found not a lot… maybe it was the new kernel which broke luks, but alas there was no old kernel to select in grub.
So all in all I was left with an encrypted volume which may or may not have been encrypted with the passphrase I chose and no way really to do anything about it.
Before and after all that I tried to install qubes from the usb stick I ordered along with the laptop.
SeaBIOS sometimes doesnt find the usb stick at all and most of the time tries booting from it but then the bootloader gets stuck somewhere. I guess the usb stick is just broken, since booting from a USB SD card reader works fine.
Well, those have been my first impressions of the Librem 15, PureOS and Qubes.
Now I am running vanilla Debian with KDE (which I’ve never really used before), lvm but no disk encryption and nothing has crashed so far.
I thought PureOS was supposed to give me kind of an opinionated Debian without non-free stuff and a well-supported happy path with full disk encryption.
Now after 2 days of lost work I wonder… why should I bother with PureOS?
Isn’t it just an opinionated Debian fork?
When there is no way to not encrypt the disk in the initial setup, shouldn’t it bloody work without breaking in such a trivial way?
I can understand that stuff breaks and sometimes you have to get into a terminal and fix it, but I tried to stay on the supported happy path as much as possible but apparently it went up in flames before i could setup the wifi. My point is, probably that shouldn’t happen.