I have not tried to use PureOS. As soon as I received it, I tried to install Qubes OS, but I was not successful. I ended up installing Debian stable, which has been my OS of choice for many years. I have not had any hardware support issues so far on Debian.
I used it for some time on my librem and it worked well, but I generally needed better Windows in a VM support for work.
I find the touch pad to be accurate and usable on Manjaro, but I only use it to move around the terminal, IDE, and VMs.
And the | key isn’t functional without a systemd patch.
I installed it. Apart from the fact that windows bars and menu are still too big for low resolution, debian is so good, light and fast.
- First, I don’t mean any slight on Purism. At all. This is meant as an honest review.
Physically the Librem 13v3 is a bit bigger than a 13 inch MacBook Air. A little thicker but nothing significant. It does need two hands to open it though.
The trackpad, while good is unreliable. I found myself frequently trying to select text in a terminal and the cursor would not move with the trackpad held down by my thumb.
The keyboard. Firstly the key that does both | and \ is mapped incorrectly in hardware. This requires a systemd patch in PureOS. Also I frequently found keys didn’t register when I was typing.
The operating system. PureOS is basically Debian GNU/Linux. It seems mostly decent and obviously helps Purism ship patches for things like the keyboard. But it’s also buggy. I would frequently boot into a GNOME session with no UI elements. A lot of things like the functionality to suggest programs that aren’t installed never worked, there’s no working Bluetooth on the machine, as far as I can tell the headphone jack doesn’t accept a 3.5mm headset.
The load on the machine at basically idle was high. If I had more than a browser with a couple tabs open it was over 2.00 constantly. The WiFi and camera switches are neat but the indicator lights didn’t match the switch status. The whole experience generally felt worse than the experience I had with my previous ThinkPad (T400s) and that had the worst trackpad I’ve ever dealt with.
I’m going to try another Dell XPS.
Overall I'm not a fan of these additional spins of linux. System76 does this too with PopOS.
Our experiences are nearly polar opposite and the only difference I can detect is the OS.
I can say that the bluetooth works as expected (currently using a mouse). There is a bit of configuration that had to be done to get a Plantronics headset to work with LinPhone for my VoIP line, but that really isn't something I'd expect to work seamlessly in my environment.
For the headphone jack mine clearly works as expected. Though I haven't tried Apple's earbuds which may be a more common test item. I'm using Shure earbuds and the connections are flipped.
That load is high. I'm averaging 0.71. Maybe you're doing something more intense than I am, but generally I have a Windows VM (MS Office open) and Firefox/Slack/WebStorm running.
What model do you have?
I bought the base model then bought upgrades separate - 16GB of RAM, 1TB NVMe, and 2TB SSD.
I suppose it's possible you got a lemon, but unfortunate as these things should be tested intently.
Mostly it's been a great experience. Like the author I also miss the trackpoint.
Between the author and I, I think we cover most of the mainline OSes you'd see on these machines (debian and arch). I'm running Manjaro (xfce) with no issues.
In total though the Librem 13 was about $300 more expensive then other similar laptops.
I believe there's a lot value in that extra cost. The privacy and open source efforts mainly. We have to support these efforts more and more if we want to protect ourselves from the larger companies that continue to mine our data.
I'm probably not ready to replace it yet; it ends up being a terminal more than anything else and the performance is fine for where it's at. But... every now and then when I'm browsing, it'll slow to a crawl, and I pine for the fjords/something newer.
I've been holding back partly because it's still difficult to get more than 16GiB of RAM easily, but: is the Skylake-based Purism 13 a large or incremental step up in performance?
With the Librem 13 I do get 6-10 hours depending on work load.
(yes, I do electronics for a living)
I work remotely, and we do regular scheduled video meetings. I don't want to carry around a dongle, but I also want to know that it's fully off when I'm not in a chat.
This way I don't need to trust it's off - I know hackers, malware, etc can't turn it on.
I have tape over my Macbook camera now, and I use Micro Snitch for the Audio, but I'd love a hardware solution.
Both disabled in the BIOS and I taped over the camera though.
Do you trust a Lenovo BIOS to truly disable the microphone?
At a certain point you just have to trade one thing for another, frankly my phone worries me more.
Like, I could get a C922 and be lightyears ahead of any of the garbage that comes built into any given laptop or iMac-esque desktop. Thats a $80 gizmo that has working 1080p60 camera, HW zoom, and a little desktop tripod for those that don't have desktop monitors.
I’ve never had any trouble with webcams working on Windows. Linux is another story...
Although.. Can't we all agree putting fn right to space would be right?
My preference is control next to space, like command is for Macs. Luckily this remapping is easy with XKB settings.
Pretty much the only option today with open source firmware is Marvell's ARM. And they recently bought Cavium with their ThunderX2 server grade CPU. Hope soon we'll have it.
While I like it from an idealistic point of view - in terms of hardware build quality the current generation does just not get anywhere near a macbook pro. Maybe the next generation can close this gap further. As long as it is that big it cannot become my main device.
Help my third-world a$s that can't afford anything more than my current 2009 Dell with broken hinges.