Would you use a PureOS "rolling release" or do you want a "stable" PureOS?

Currently PureOS ‘green’ is designed as a “rolling release”. We feel that many PureOS users might prefer a “stable” release. A stable release would still be updated, it would function more as a point release distribution but it would have fewer unstable software packages.

While we continue with internal deliberations, we’d like a little feedback from our forum users, hence this post. I don’t know how representative our forum users are, I think they tend to be power users or advanced Linux users and a stable distro is more for folks who don’t want to have to reconfigure their /etc/apt/sources.list or necessarily touch the command line at all. So it’s my assumption that a rolling release is preferred here; let me know! :slight_smile:


i vote for both - it’s hard to keep everyone happy

Debian stable can keep the server since it’s “too” stable for graphics/creative work


Personally I am happy with the rolling release because I use Debian testing on most machines but unstable on one or two and stable on my wife’s machine. There are pros and cons for both approaches. I think the people of this forum is more of the advanced kind but for not-so-Linux-interested people who think security and privacy are important the stable release could be better. It would, however, be nice to have both worlds …

My wife is most interested in having no changes in the user interface.


I’d vote rolling. [But I can roll with stable as well ;)]


+1 for rolling release.

But… Ugh, let me be honest: I will try to replace it with Arch anyway :slight_smile:

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as noted in another thread, stable most emphatically. i want a machine i can use without being an unpaid debugger/tester.


I see what you did there.

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Heh. +1 for honesty.

I vote stable. Stability maketh a trustworthy gadget. It’s a big part of the impression it gives.

"Wife of @nhu " makes a good point about UI being stable as well (which I see as separate issue) - it will affect how people learn the phone, which in turn affects everyones impression of it. Also: muscle memory.

That being said, both worlds would cover all, if possible. [edit: of course I’d hope and expect new features and fixes as soon as possible too - it’s a balancing act]

Important aspect of either update method would also be how changes are A) advertised / educated / warned about in advance, B) explained and reasoned when they must occur, and C) shown what changes have happened after update (not: “read FAQ or readme.txt”). This way users should feel they are on top of what’s happening to their phone and why.


I love the bleeding edge. But I understand it.

I think for your base customer, or your projected base customer, a stable release is better. As mentioned stability is translated as quality by most. It just works. That’s what people want, as Apple’s popularity clearly displays.

If there are the resources (If not I’ll be available in about 3 more years :smile: ) to do both a stable and a rolling that would be ideal. You ship products with the stable, and have a path to switch to rolling if desired.


For me (on Librem 5) it’s important that I have no problem with the very most basic functions like calls, sms and all what’s needed for (Contacts etc). So I don’t want to reimport my contact list or looking for a hotfix to fix “call accept” or something like that. This should be stable. On the other hand I like to see new things (rolling release) even if it’s bugged as far as points like I told befor are stable.

I would prefer a mix of both. It’s hard to decide for one of both options.

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In short: semi-stable

First, let’s be honest: PureOS / Debian testing are both, rolling and pretty stable. I mean, just look at the mess that MS has with all their Windows updates.

OTOH, apart from how well MS does it, I like their (Win10) frequency.
What I don’t like on PureOS is the constant inflow of updates where I don’t even know what they do. I often suspect it’s just minor upstream changes like typos, or build script fixes that would never affect me, but waste my bandwidth and attention.
(It’s also mildly annoying if the 300MB data package of a game is updated way more often than I play it :wink: )

The ideal repo for me would look like this:

  • has green as upstream
  • daily / as needed:
    security fixes
    bug fixes from the PureOS tracker (may bump a package to the same version as in green, avoiding backporting)
    PureOS Store app updates
  • monthly:
    update of important / core packages (kernel, libs, browser…)
    update of usually ONE focus area (admin tools, gnome, kde, python, games) according to the existing package categories

The monthly update goes along with a blog post, highlighting the most interesting changes of that update (“We bumped Gnome from 3.x to 3.y, as it has proven stable in green, and has the following goodies for you:”) plus a short summary of the daily security / big fix updates that happened since the last blog post.


I would prefer rolling… I’ve never had issues with rolling release distros so stable has just meant older software to me :stuck_out_tongue: Plus, It’s nice never worrying about doing a giant point release upgrade and to not have old versions of stuff like Gnome for years.


In general, I prefer a stable release of a distro if I am going to rely on it every day. I don’t mind using older versions of software if it means I don’t have to worry too much about surprises after running an update. Most of the software I use day to day is perfectly good enough and I don’t want or need new features or functionality as soon as it is developed, so I see little benefit in a rolling release.

However, rolling releases are good when there is new hardware to support, or when the state of the art across the board is really not quite good enough and things are advancing week by week. I imagine we might end up in that sort of situation with the Librem 5; the software is bound to be imperfect at the beginning, and I may well think it worth trading stability for faster improvements in the beginning, before switching to a stable release later on.


Thank you for asking the community. I prefer a more stable environment.

I disagree with the assertion that we users are not testers.

For example, late last year, Python was updated. I considered that to be a major component that needed to be kept current. Unfortunately, that broke other packages, including hplip and apparmor-utils. (I could no longer run aa-complain.) apparmor-utils itself was a Purism-modified package and, to me, there was no excuse for it continuing to require the old dependency when Python had been updated in the rolling release. It should have been caught in dependency checking/testing.

Perhaps it is confirmation bias, but I think I have spent more time debugging my PureOS environment than I did when I was an application developer. Unfortunately, that means I am reluctant to recommend PureOS to former colleagues and friends who had not been developers and are unwilling to sign up for that.


Why not both? Why not have an configurable option (and prompt during install/first interaction) that asks the user which they would prefer?

If there’s an excluded middle, stable would be preferred here.


I’d like to see an “LTS” version, that being the default. I’ve said in the past, I see Purism being a legit competitor to Apple if they do things right… part of that will be providing a reliable and predictable out of the box experience.

And for the more advances users, there can be a rolling release to migrate to, or another distro entirely.


I couldn’t tell whether the question is about laptops or the phone. I will speak only to the latter.

Having spent many years in the Ubuntu world, that is the approach I would prefer (stable not rolling). A phone is too important to be offline because of a bad update - so stability and a well-tested, well-integrated point release is essential. It’s a 24x7 proposition. Of course some security updates have to be sent out ASAP but otherwise I don’t need or want to run the absolute latest software.

Even though I may be a bit of an advanced user, tools are for using, not ends in their own right.

One other comment: While the question only asked about PureOS, on a phone, the set of apps may well be at least as important to the overall functionality, and apps in my experience are a more chaotic update situation.


Ideally Purism would support both stable and testing. I generally use Debian stable with the backports repo on my laptops and am perfectly happy with it, but I wouldn’t want to use stable without backports, since I often find that web sites often need recent versions of web browsers, and many bugs can only be resolved by updating the kernel.


There has been too many bugs and system crashes in the last year due to broken updates. I personally had to re-install the OS three times in a year because of issues with the encrypted swap partition. After the third time I gave up and installed Arch instead. I probably lost entire days of work trying to debug PureOS. There has been other issues as well, with apparmor, libreoffice, python and so on. So yeah, I would recommend a stable release for these reasons, unless you want to keep using your customers as beta testers, which I guess is your choice.

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