QA/UX Concerns with Heads and PureOS installer

I appreciate your work, but I have some frustrations to vent.

I own a Librem Purism 13 V4 and a Librem Key

Is any QA or UX testing done on this project? I have the impression that not much is. In my experience a lot of this stuff is not production ready. I could write up some detailed bug reports and may, but I get the impression that the state of Purism is that they have bit off more than they can chew and it’s going to be a long time before things are improved.

I’ll start with some basic examples:
I often run into issues here when not using the “Happy Path”. Very typical use cases, such as navigating to a menu item then back, can lead to a red screen reporting hotp and totp errors. These are resolved by a simple reboot.

PureOS Installer:
My major frustration point here has been the manual partitioning. This seems to be another issue related to straying from the happy path. If you install using the full disk the process is a breeze and a pleasure, but once you start using the manual partitioning installation tool all bets are off. I would argue this tool is not production ready. I have so many examples of frustration here, but I’ll list a few.

  1. Select a partition, set the mount point to /. Set to format the partition as ext4. There is no option to encrypt. Click Ok. The partition is now shown as marked for formatting. Edit the partition again. You now have an encrypt checkbox and there are more flags available to set. You must dance this way through every partition you wish to modify in a specific way.
  2. You can spend your time dancing around the partition issues, finally to get everything set up, only to (often) be met with an error while formatting. You click “OK” and youre back to square one, all of your settings and password encryption entries are gone. You’ve got to go through the entire process again and hope you don’t encounter an issue.

These types of problems makes the user experience abysmal. You have serious lapses in your documentation, with very important instructional pages that have a sentence on them that says something similar to “we need to write this page”. You’ve been charging a premium for laptops for years yet there are these major gaps in your user experience and tons of easily discoverable issues. I would say slow the hell down and fill in these gaps, but you’ve just launched a phone which will open a whole new rabbit hole of issues.

Again, I appreciate this company, but can you get back to polishing off the basics?


Yes, there is considerable QA and UX done on the project. In fact very recently I’ve seen extensive UX being done and even seen a release held up to work on UX. QA is done in many places and by many companies, including very large multinationals, who also use Coreboot in production.

Heads on the other hand is a bit newer, but there is extensive QA, QC, and UX as well as UI work done on it.

Regarding the PureOS installer, there are some issues particularly with LUKS and LVM, and yes, there is a bit of a dance to go through to ensure your partitions and such are properly setup.

It’s worth mentioning that all this work; Coreboot, Heads, TPM fixes, ME neutering, PureOS, hardware design, etc. is often novel. That is to say, the industry has been working for decades in creating an insecure environment for computing that needs to be undone. And the hardware, silicon, and software manufacturers have economic incentives not to do this work. With that said, I think that it is remarkable the progress Purism has made. Yes, I may be biased because I bought a Librem 13 years ago and now work for them, but the things I write here are objective facts that I’ve observed in my work.

All of this is not to say that your frustration is not justified, rather the point is that we work really, really hard on all these issues and will continue to do so. We’re also very grateful when people point out short-comings and issues with the hardware and software, that gives us impetus to improve.

Thank you!


damn straight ! :hugs::star_struck::heart_eyes:

Although I’m pretty sure you’d prefer those issues to be flagged on gitlab with underlying information and debug logs :wink:

Yes there is a reason we are still labeling PureBoot as “beta” for now (and don’t default to it when ordering a laptop) as it’s a cutting-edge product under active development. It’s actually undergoing a design review internally right now to try to smooth out some of these rough edges. It’s a lot better than it was when we first started contributing to the upstream Heads project (back then it had a text-only UI!) but there is still a long way to go.

We do have a reasonable “Getting Started” Guide for PureBoot at that helps people who just got a laptop with PureBoot.