Purism's kernel customisations and other OSs

I was just wondering if it’s possible to upgrade to the custom Purism kernel while not using PureOS. Does anyone know if this is likely to cause any major problems?

I ask because I’ve noticed that with Elementary OS installed (based on Ubuntu), if I upgrade my kernel to anything above 4.1, the touchpad is totally broken. It just hops around in the top right hand of the screen. But unlike being on 4.1 and below, the option for two finger scrolling is no longer greyed out on system settings (not that it actually makes any difference).

I have also found that Kyle Rankin’s DKMS package for the touchpad drivers aren’t installable on anything above 4.1. So I’ve had to roll back to 4.1.20 which seems to be the latest version of the kernel I can use with a working touchpad (but no two finger scrolling).

I’m very tempted to try installing Purism’s custom fork of the 4.2 kernel. But I’m worried this will be incompatible with Elementary OS or cause me major problems even using the laptop. Am I misguided on that? (Still very new to Linux!)

Do you have a 13 inch or a 15? I switched to arch on my 15 librem rev2 and the mouse works well with kernel 4.5.0 although it sometimes gets disconnected and starts going haywire. Hope it isn’t bad hardware.


Hi Nikals, I have a 13-inch. I think the touchpad hardware is different on the two models. I did try installing the Purism kernel but it became apparent to me that it wasn’t going to work (the installation process started removing Elementary OS stuff). I cancelled it and rolled back. So still no two finger scrolling for me yet.

I installed Archlinux on my Librem 13 now. Most things appear to work more or less fine. Just two things annoy me: the touchpad is not really optimal (scroll speed/multitouch) and the cooling fan is turning on too often.

Since Archlinux is rolling release, it is typically most up to date regarding kernel version and hardware support. Still the above mentioned things are not optimal. So I was wondering whether the Purism team is doing something very specific to the drivers – and whether or when this custom stuff is taking its way upstream into the kernel.