Waste of resources to ship your own OS?

I suppose that until you find an open source operating system that doesn’t work, this is a hypothetical and/or philosophical discussion.

Let us know how Guix goes.

Purism certainly doesn’t try to stop you installing whatever software you want e.g. no locked bootloaders etc. - and since Purism hardware is as open source-friendly as you can get, with enough effort, you should be able to make any open source operating system work.

However I don’t think that anyone can guarantee that just any open source operating system will work or provide support for just any open source operating system.

As PureOS is in the Debian family, something else in the Debian family is the least change and most likely to work.
Then you can step outside the Debian family to other non-Debian Linux distros.
Then you can step outside the Linux family to other Unix-related distros (e.g. BSD-related).
Then you can step outside the whole Unix universe - and, well, who knows. Your mileage may vary.

I don’t speak for Purism. These are just my opinions.

Please. Good luck. As far as I can remember, Purism does not prohibit the use of its products with other operating systems :slightly_smiling_face:

I wouldn’t call PureOS or PopOS “fringe”. I don’t have direct experience with either of them (yet), but I expect that they are likely to give a better experience on their targeted hardware than more “mainstream” distros.

I also don’t like these tendencies to make a lot of distribution derivatives and rebrands. And yes… Purism does unfortunately a lot of rebranding… that’s confusing.

Debian has this concept of Debian Pure Blend which allows for tweaking Debian in a particular way. I’m not too familiar with it, but I think this mechanism is enough for Purism needs. Probably that won’t get them the FRF endorsement because it’s pure Debian and because the non-free section is inside the package archives. But, I mean… nobody force you to activate it and use it. Perhaps in a Debian Purism Blend, Purism can do a silly game of making it very very hard to activate the non-free section :).

If Librem 5 related software is/will be in the Debian archive, I will for sure switch from PurismOS to pure Debian. It’s the same thing after all!

fixed that for you. There is evidence of Mac OS and Windows running on Purism hardware here and on the internet.

This is the whole point of free hardware. When you buy it, it becomes your hardware, to use as you see fit.

PopOS, for example, has thermal elements and drivers specific to their hardware included. PopOS was the first to add tiling to GNOME I believe as well. This shows that while PopOS might be small, it has done more than just be a repainted Linux distro. It has added to the collective and been useful.

The same can be said about PureOS, which has in many way been moving Linux desktop into the mobile arena single handedly forward.

This thread was started in 2017, when these things were not as evident because they hadn’t been accomplished yet.

I think now, given all of this, this thread doesn’t make any sense.


It’s may be hard to find the right words to tell System76 and Purism that they should not have their own operating systems. I don’t won’t to be rude or seem unknowable. Please ask yourself if we need more software distributions?

There is no need to invest so much resources into a specific software distribution as a hardware vendor. Many customers want to use the software distribution they love and are used to. Pop!_OS and PureOS depent on the good will and ability of their respective companies. Debian, Void and Guix on the other hand are independent of any company and System76 and Purism should install one or several existing distribution on their machines.

When they want a new feature like using a security key they may develop an app or work with existing projects and maybe even a chosen distribution to show how it’s done.

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Perhaps that’s how it started, and at some point they wanted to call all their own shots?

I don’t use PureOS but I disagree vehemently with the calls to drop the distro. Don’t like it, don’t use it. Just kick for the river and move on.

I have used PureOS and it’s a beautiful OS with a good set of default packages. If my wife wasn’t on a Dell, she’d be using it instead of Elementary. I understand that Debian downstream seems crowded but if we wanted an arid environment with choices one could count one hand, what does that achieve for us?



It also doesn’t make sense, when we consider the fact that DistroWatch’s Page Hit Rank places PureOS as the most popular 100% free software distro. PureOS is currently number 49, whereas Trisquel is number 93 in the list over the last 12 months.

For people who believe in the ideals of the FSF, PureOS has become the principal vehicle to spread those ideals in the real world.


As someone with a System76 laptop, I can say that Pop! is great. I am usually a Ubuntu/Debian user, and Pop! just feels like Ubuntu (because it basically is), but with all the annoying bits fixed. There are a bunch of minor issues that usually come up with Ubuntu on normal laptops, and Pop! just seems to fix them, and add in it’s own features (tiling, encryption by default, etc.). It isn’t designed to compete with Ubuntu, but rather add fixes and hardware-specific improvements. Having it available for anyone to use is just an added bonus, and I don’t mind paying more for my laptop knowing that I am paying for the development of a version of Linux that won’t bother me with loads of minor (and occasionally major) inconveniences.


Okay if the System76 developers are so good that they should invest their time and effort into the betterment of an operating system I still question why do we need a new operating system for this purpose? They may have change Ubuntu or Debian. If both reject the proposals there are still plenty of existing GNU/Linux distributions and at least one will say yes to the System76 (and Purism) developers.

There are a few reasons

  1. control over timing - when they fix something with your laptop, you can get it on your computer within hours, not weeks

  2. they can make ease-of-use adjustments - they can put still like the pop! shop, auto tiling, encryption, etc.

there are more, but it boils down to control over the distribution, and not being reliant on the Debian or Ubuntu teams approving your patch in order to get updates to users who spent $1000+ on their fancy computer. If you don’t agree with their business model, buy a Windows laptop and put Linux on it, or a Ubuntu laptop. No one is forcing you to support these companies.

Edit: Also, they can add things or make changes that don’t align with Debian/Ubuntu’s principles. I would be comfortable giving Pop! to a non-technical relative and not be called for support incredibly frequently, because a lot of the changes they have made to usability. For Debian, this is not the case, and commits that try to make that the case will just be denied. Ubuntu is trying to also become mainstream-ready, but there are too many hardware-specific bugs (see network card deactivation on suspend that happens on a lot of laptops running ubuntu).

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Raptor CS and Purism are leading in providing computers which their users control. System76 and Pine64 and others are following. That’s why I buy their products and I’m still not convinced that they should develop their own operating systems.

That’s what I like about Raptor and Pine64. They also have very limited resources but they take small steps and don’t waste their energy. That’s why they surprise us with their progress.

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For the PureOS/Phosh, it is very obvious why Purism needs its own distro, since it is doing original development work and needs a distro to distribute that work.

For PureOS/GNOME on the Librem 13/14/15/Mini/Server, it has customized the web browser for privacy and added some of its own artwork, and probably made a bunch of other changes that I’m not aware of. However, the big thing is that it needs to be able to support PureBoot and that requires some code in the OS.

In addition, having a distro that is endorsed by the FSF is a big marketing point for the company. As I pointed out above, PureOS is now the leading 100% free software distro, so it has benefits for the wider community.

Purism has automated most of the grunt work of maintaining a Debian derivative with Laniakea. Yes, Purism has to pay Mattias Klumpp to maintain the Laniakea code and Jeremiah Foster to maintain PureOS. However, Purism has now automated most of the work, so I’m not sure that it would save Purism that much labor if we compare the labor to maintain its own distro to manually adding its own packages on top of Debian main or Trisquel.


besides some of the code and changes that Purism does trickles down to OTHER free-software projects … that’s the beauty of contributing GPL-ed code … everyone can partake

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Raptor CS only contributes to OpenBMC — they didn’t fork it. Yes it takes effort to deal with people but only this way we don’t have to do everything ourselves and the user doesn’t have hundreds of distributions to choose from.

When you are installing and using any operating system on your Talos II server/workstation you don’t feel like a second class user. Because there is no Raptor CS operating system.

Purism’s policy is to upstream their code changes whenever possible. They did have to fork Firefox, and that was one of the reasons why they decided to switch to Epiphany, because the Epiphany devs are more open to receiving their code changes.

PureOS/GNOME is basically Debian main with a few minor changes and some packages added on top. Any instructions that you find online for Debian are almost guaranteed to work in PureOS. Most of the difference is where you are downloading the packages from.

I don’t know why it bothers you to call it “PureOS”. Effectively, it is Debian main with minor changes and a few extra packages. I run PureOS amber on my machine with Debian backports and I have never had a compatibility problem between the two distros.

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Well recognized, it doesn’t prohibit! Purism provides (official article below), as usually expected from end-user (and probably regulated by law when getting new, as sometimes needs to be imported, end-user product):

Besides, PureOS is not mentioned within particular Operating System Compatibility List, so I’m not getting the point (a bit lost) of talking about Raptor Computing Systems approach here. And, as I’m not sure, did you get (imported directly by yourself) any of Pine64 products (Pinebook Pro, PinePhone, PineTab) without any OS installed on it?

Just to be clear, there is an interview explaining this (nothing said against usage of PureOS on /amd64 or /arm64): “All you need to do is patch, recompile, and deploy your update. Reaction time to firmware-based security threats is minimized as a result of this open model, and multiple organizations can even work together to develop patches for their machines—without sharing protected data.

Thanks for sharing with us your approach! Here is related and well thought of link explaining that: “Installed packages will receive a priority of 100 irrelative to the distribution that they came from.

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