To upgrade or not to upgrade PureOS Amber to Byzantium

I am currently running Amber on my Librem15v3.

A quick read through the lengthy thread on the PureOS rolling release makes me cautious to switch to the new Byzantium release. Overall I didn’t have any major issues when using/maintaining my Librem with Amber when it was a rolling release and appreciated the regular updates to various applications I use.

I would like to switch to the new rolling release, but I have 2 doubts,

  1. how does one actually make the switch? I found these steps in an article on nix.craft,

    • Backup your system.
    • Update existing packages and reboot the Debian 9.x system.
    • Edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list using a text editor and replace each instance of stretch with buster (I assume here one should replace amber with byzantium).
    • Update the packages index on Debian Linux, run: sudo apt update
    • Prepare for the operating system upgrade, run: sudo apt upgrade
    • Finally, update Debian 9 to Debian 10 buster by running: sudo apt full-upgrade
    • Reboot the Linux system so that you can boot into Debian 10 Buster
    • Verify that everything is working correctly.

are these valid?

  1. What is the current state of PureOS Byzantium on a Librem, usable? Should I wait a couple more months before switching?

If you read the PureOS rolling release thread, you know that less than a month ago there was a problem with Byzantium that stopped some systems from getting a login. IMO, this sort of error is not worth the benefit of a rolling release. Therefore, I would recommend waiting. I am going to wait until Purism does the switch for me.

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must have skipped that part, there was so many replies and I didn’t get to read it all.

how will that work? Will it happen automatically through sudo apt udpate?

I think it has been hinted that it would just be a normal (routine) upgrade, other than that the download and time to complete will be substantial. You won’t know for sure until it happens.

A decision between A and B depends on your level of expertise to resolve problems when they arise and whether your use of the computer will tolerate the disruption of putting your time towards doing so. If it were me, I would go Amber - and that’s not just because of the recent specific problem with gnome shell.

You can never have too many computers though. :slight_smile: So if you really want to play with the latest version of package X then have the best of both worlds - one stable and one rolling. When rolling is broken you can at least fall back on stable. Maybe you can do this via VMs.


good advise indeed, thanks. I will sit tight with amber for now, and keep an eye out on the byzantium thread

Those are the correct steps. I used the same to go from amber to byzantium.

But there are frequent problems and I would certainly not recommend upgrading to byzantium right now. Personally I paid too little heed to the warnings and expected a more-or-less working rolling release, but it’s more like early alpha testing.


thanks for sharing your experience! I hope Purism put some energy into this and iron out the issues so we can run Byzantium on our laptops. I am starting fall behind on some upgrades.

Agreed 100%. I switched to Byzantinum for about 6 month and finally decided to toss it and go back to Amber (by freshly installing everything from scratch). Truth be told, it was not only a Byzantinum issue but also that I tested many many thing out on my system. However, it is becoming a much more integral part of my daily work now and thus I do need the stability.


Greetings @vmedea, looking at the Byzantium thread that you were the last to comment in June last year with a positive message.

Are you using Byzantium now ? Is it stable enough?

Yes, it is working great. I’ve been using Byzantium with GNOME Wayland. There were some initial issues with conflicting packages, and I was getting quite frustrated with that, but haven’t had any of those for months!

I’m still careful around running apt-get upgrade though, to not uninstall half my system :smile:

The only issue I currently have is that there is no popup when battery almost runs out (see PureOS Byzantium no longer warns when battery low). That’s survivable, imo.


hi ! from what i understand Purism ships the new Librem-Mini-v2 (LMv2) out-of-the-box with PureOS-10-Byzantium. judging by this, it seems to me, that Purism believes that it is up to the task.

if you get it and you don’t like it you can do-it-yourself and grab the Amber bootable .iso image from the Purism mirror > < then re-flash.

for me Byzantium works and is ‘stable’ for MY needs … i don’t use it in a production environment though …