PureOs on other Linux Phones?


It seems that at the moment, a lot of different Mobile Phones that are able to run Debian or another Linux Os are being released (e.g. Librem5, Pine Phone, Cosmo Communicator and Others). Also, in principle Android Mobiles that can use another Os like LineageOs might also be able to run a more pure Linux like Debian or PureOs…

So, my question is, in the spirit of Open Source, is PureOs for mobile developed in a way so that it can also run on other phones than Librem5? The PureOs Webpage has (at least at this stage, is this intended to change?) no mention of how to Install PureOs on a mobile, which could give the (false?) impress that it is not intended to be installed by users on their free Linux Mobile but that that is only comes preinstalled by the user.

In a more general perspective, given that according to the librem5 update news, a lot (most?) of the effort in Librem 5 has been put into the software. So would it be in the interest of Purism to also let other phone Hardware use their Purism mobile (or st Leser making it easy for them? I do not see any documentation on how to port PureOs to other Phones, may be I am missing something?).

In the spirit of Open Source i would hope that PureOs is indeed available for all Phones, actively making it the Android of the future, at least for Secure conscious users, thereby giving it huge visibility/awareness and then build upon it with the purism communication services and then, on top, the optional possibility to use their librem5 hardware when you are willing to go that extra mileage.

However, I do not see any such communication, all communication looks like if librem5 and PureOs Mobile are only available (at least st the moment, may be there are future plans) as a bundle (ok, i See the faq that Librem5 can use other os, but how about other mobile phones using PureOs?).

An official answer from Purism would be highly appreciated.

All the best

1 Like

PureOS aims to be 100% FOSS and to receive the Respects Your Freedom certification from the Free Software Foundation. There is very little hardware, particularly in the mobile market, that works with free drivers. Purism has gone through excruciating effort to find hardware that they can make work with free software. So it’s not so much that PureOS is not developed in a way that is portable to other phones, but rather that most phones are developed in such a way that they are restricted in their OS and require non-free drivers. Now, a lot of the work Purism has done in making PureOS mobile-ready has also been pushed upstream to the Linux kernel and to GNOME (and KDE, though that is I think mostly on the shoulders of the KDE community and not Purism directly), meaning that Linux distros that don’t care so strongly about being 100% FOSS can benefit from their work and potentially be used on additional hardware.

You’re welcome to try PureOS on other phones, but they probably won’t work, because PureOS is 100% free software, and most hardware requires non-free drivers.


Or even worse, it contains a proprietary chip for some function or other with a proprietary driver that is not available at all for Linux, never mind about open source (free). I think there is close to 0% chance that PureOs would run on an iPhone.

A different question though is

Made to run on another phone by whom? By the owner of the phone? Little to no chance. By the manufacturer of the phone? Pretty good chance, if they wanted to.

1 Like

Well, when a phone works with other linux derivates like Debian, as some of the mentioned do (many people even classify Android as a Linux Derivate), obviously the drivers as such exist for Linux, only that they are not free, correct?

Still, wouldn’t a pure Os version on such devices not still be much better than the device with the same non open drivers running Android, google apps etc? (I see the point that it would be even better to use librem5, but in the adapting process it would probably be much easier to convert the users of other phones to pureOs first before they might in a second thought consider to switch to librem 5+ later as their next phone).

But I understand that that would need a fork of pureOs (the pure is there for a reason in the name?), just like the forks to Debian?

Still my question remains in how much is pureOs mobile being developed tailor made for the librem 5 Hardware and how much is it developed for being (at least potentially) by lot of different mobile devices. This is a question probably only the PureOs people can answer?

Also, is there a place one could start to experiment with PureOs on other mobiles, eg an installation instruction on open/non locked mobile devices? And/or notes on what to do In order to port it (may be for hardware vendors?) to other phones?

1 Like

A phone’s operating system is generally broken down into to constituent parts; a kernel and userland. The kernel connects the hardware to software. It loads and runs the various hardware drivers so that the specific devices that make up the phone can be accessed from software. The userland is usually a Graphical User Interface to libraries and software subsystems that, in turn connect to the interface the kernel exposes.

PureOS is a Free Software variant of GNU/Linux with GNU being subsystems and userland and Linux being the kernel. You likely won’t be able to run the PureOS kernel on other phones because they are different devices with different CPUs, radios, etc. But you ought to be able to run the useland portion of PureOS on other devices since we’re aiming for convergence (one codebase on many devices.)

There is a lot of work to do to make PureOS run everywhere and for now we’re very much focusing on running on Librem devices.


I kind of would expect to have an installation or at least some debootstrap mechanism able to incorporate a given kernel into a newly created image. however, will try to create an image by hand. Are there any pitfalls to avoid? Anything else necessary than the kernel? Or can I just take an existing image and push the own kernel into it. Is there kind of an “unbranded” image somewhere around? What configurations are to mind and where are they? Are there some docs around?
Basically as far as I saw it is a one partition. At first I will try to modify that existing image replacing debian with pure os.

1 Like

You can take a look at this page (and linked from it) where I described the kernel side-loading to run PureOS on PinePhone. Which I’m still running:

purism@pureos:~$ uname -a
Linux pureos 5.10.10-00004-g5a93114de564 #68 SMP Mon Jan 25 01:28:03 CET 2021 aarch64 GNU/Linux

but it’s not debootstrapping, just sideloading/injection into original L5 image.

debootstrap should ‘just work’. There are images you can flash as well though not sure that is a good route because you may have different hardware from the Librem 5.