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Simple installer for Debian
PureOS is basically an installation disk for Debian. The CD starts by setting the locale and then loads the live session: Gnome or Gnome classic. You log in as ‘guest’ or ‘root’. The installer is in the menu, but only if you log in as guest. Before using it, you need to create and format any partitions you need using Gparted. The installer works by copying a disk image, so the root partition must be ext4. There is no provision for encryption of /home, which is bad. No time zone is set, so that has to be done after installation. Rather strangely, two users are created, the second being ‘guest’.
The main programs are Icedove (aka Firefox), Iceweasel (aka Thunderbird), LibreOffice, Gimp, Banshee, and VLC. All ran from the CLI without any warnings, except for Banshee. Codecs and Gnash are provided and worked well. It’s nice to see Duckduckgo as the default search engine. For installing extra software there are both Synaptic and the Software centre. I tried the former, and all went well. All the Debian repositories are used, but there doesn’t seem to be anything extra from PureOS. There’s a sound configuration tool which enabled me to use my USB speakers (try doing that in Ubuntu).
The only problem was that there was no provision for using multiple keyboard drivers. This may not be a problem for most users, but a European distro should cope with those who need Cyrillic or Greek alongside Latin. There were a number of other configuration problems, but these were all well known features (i.e. design faults) of Gnome 3.
There’s no documentation and the forum has little activity, mostly in French, but it’s just Debian: there’s no shortage of help available for that.
My original intention had been to try PureOSlight, the Xfce version, but that seems to be extinct. However, I installed Xfce using Synaptic and all went perfectly to give me a more flexible system, if a little cluttered with Gnome leftovers.
The value of PureOS is as a quick, simple installer for Debian. To me, the result’s comparable with Pinguy or Solus, but not as nice as Mint. If you have a laptop, you’d be better off with Mint, which offers encryption.