Group: Hardware/FSDG distributions/PureOS

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PureOS versions

Version Can be debootstrapped Based on[1] Kernel version Comments
Green Not anymore as October 2019:
E: Couldn't find these debs: ca-certificates pureos-minimal
? ?
  • Was on the live USB installer before but not anymore
Amber Yes Debian 10 (buster) 4.19
  • On the LiveUSB installer as October 2019
  • FSDG compliant
  • In upstream debootstrap
Byzantium Yes Debian 11 (bullseye) 5.2
  • FSDG compliant
  • In upstream debootstrap
Landing ? ?
  • Syncronized with Debian testing
  • Probably not fit for use but only as staging for development[2]


  • PureOS can be installed through the live USB installer
  • Parabola can debootstrap PureOS Amber for all the supported architectures

PureOS on ARM SBCs


U-boot has a standard for booting distributions. The easiest way to configure your distribution to boot with u-boot is to create an extlinux.conf configuration file as explaned below. U-boot will then look for it in /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf (and probably /extlinux/extlinux.conf too) on each partition that it can access.

How to install PureOS on an arm64 SBC

# qemu-img create -f raw storage.img 2G
# fdisk storage.img # create 1 partition
# udisksctl loop-setup -f storage.img
# mkdir rootfs
# mkfs.ext4 -O ^metadata_csum -O ^64bit /dev/loop0p1
# mount /dev/loop0p1 rootfs
# mkdir -p rootfs/usr/bin
# debootstrap --foreign --arch arm64 amber rootfs 
# cp /usr/bin/qemu-aarch64-static rootfs/usr/bin
# LANG=C.UTF-8 chroot rootfs qemu-aarch64-static /bin/bash
# export TERM=xterm-color
# /debootstrap/debootstrap --second-stage

You then need to create the extlinux.conf file in /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf with the following content:

menu title Welcome to U-Boot with Extlinux support!

timeout 10

label PureOS GNU/Linux-libre, linux-libre kernel
        kernel /vmlinuz
        append loglevel=8 root=/dev/mmcblk0p1 rw
        fdtdir /dtb/
        initrd /initrd.img

You then need to write a script in /etc/kernel/postinst.d/zz-generate-dtb-link to generate a symlink from /usr/lib/linux-image-<your-kernel-version> to /dtb, so for instance from /usr/lib/linux-image-5.2.0-3-arm64/ to /dtb. I've an incomplete script here:

set -e


ln -sf /usr/lib/linux-image-${version} /dtb

The caveat of this script is that it has not been tested with multiple kernel versions installed, so during apt upgrade, it may or may not make the /dtb link point to the wrong kernel. So that needs to be tested.

With only one kernel installed it should not be a problem.

In addition to that you will also need to make the symlink yourself the first time, before booting the image, like that:

ln -sf /usr/lib/linux-image-<your-kernel-version> /dtb

You will need to replace the <your-kenrel-version> with your kenrel version, for instance:

ln -sf /usr/lib/linux-image-5.2.0-3-arm64/ /dtb.


  • Add a symlink for /usr/lib/linux-image-5.2.0-3-arm64/ to /ftddir or something like that in Debian and backport it to FSDG distributions that support architecture with devicetree like PureOS


  1. Nowadays PureOS follows Debian closely. From #purism the 17 January 2022:
    20:23 < GNUtoo> Hi, is that documentation still up to date: ?
    20:26 < GNUtoo> Or is it more like amber is based on Debian 9 (stretch) and byzantium is based on Debian 10 (Buster) ?
    20:28 <@greenfly> byzantium is based off of Debian 11 (Bullseye)
    20:29 < GNUtoo> ok thanks. And amber is based on stretch?
    20:30 < GNUtoo> And if I stay on a given version (like "amber") then it will stays based on the same Debian version in the future?
    20:30 <@greenfly> I can't recall at the moment whether amber was based on stretch or buster
    20:31 <@greenfly> but yes, it will behave like Debian in that regard
    20:31 < GNUtoo> ok, thanks, I'll try to identify the base version of amber
    20:31 <@greenfly> ie, byzantium will always point to bullseye, when we put out a new PureOS release, it will have a new name and will target a new upstream Debian release
    20:34 < GNUtoo> Thanks, I'll update the info on the Libreplanet wiki on that. Though I can't fix (I've no access to it)
    20:35 < GNUtoo> amber seems to be based on buster as the systemd package version is the same than buster and the stretch one is older