I’m not a beginner, and the instability of PureOS is maddening at times. I bought my Librem 15v3 in March 2018 and quickly experienced many system freezes. Those have become less frequent, but on 20 October I got a total GUI freeze when simply trying to start the Kate editor. As soon as I clicked on the icon, Wayland froze. I was logged in under GNOME on Wayland and had quite a few applications running with open files. I tried several keyboard shortcuts, but “Alt+fn+Sys Rq” is the one that dropped me to a text login. So all my applications were killed. Fortunately, decades ago I learned to “save early and often”, which I am sad to say is vital with PureOS because it’s so unstable.
From what I’ve read, Wayland - and making everything else work with Wayland - is one of the main problems, which is why Ubuntu dropped Wayland and switched back to Xorg for Ubuntu 18.04. So when an application gets updated and then crashes under Wayland, I can just re-log in under GNOME on Xorg. But that’s not always enough. Nautilus is again buggy (crashes when entering search terms), so I installed Thunar, but it crashes in a certain instance. When I logged in under GNOME on Xorg to get a stable file manager, I discovered that gedit used 200% CPU, turned on my fan, and became so sluggish I could barely type. I thought, man, this is the file manager and the default text editor. If those don’t work, you don’t have a usable OS. And then I started thinking, man, give me Ubuntu. It doesn’t hang. It doesn’t crash. It’s rock solid. I can recommend it to someone and know that it will work. I can’t say that for PureOS at the moment, and that’s a disappointment because I believe in the Purism mission. And now we’re going to have an unstable phone, where you might not have another computer handy if your phone crashes?
If all you’re doing is using the command line, you’re not going to run into as many bugs as a user who uses a lot of different applications, so a variety of users are needed for more thorough testing. Possibly because of a low number of users, the testing period is obviously not long enough for these bugs to be discovered before they arrive in PureOS (or Debian testing/buster). So we the users run into these bugs, which is fine if you’re running a beta OS, but is an issue if that’s not what you really want to do all the time. Maybe the thing to do is double or triple the testing time before packages appear in PureOS (or Debian testing/buster).
When I see package numbers like +b1 or +b2, I understand that I’m running a beta OS. It’s fine to have another machine or virtual machine for testing, but I don’t think it’s wise to be using a beta OS for a production machine.
With appimage, flatpak, and snap, the latest versions of applications can be installed even if they’re not available in a less current, but more stable, repository. I’ve had to do that myself for PureOS with several, like GnuCash, GIMP, Krita, and Firefox. I have to admit now that I need stability far more than the latest whiz-bang OS features - at least on my trusted main machine.
All this brings me to two questions?
- What are our OS options with a Purism computer?
- What will not work if I decide to remove PureOS and install something more stable, such as stock Debian Stable (Stretch)?