Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

About Purism

Are you hiring?

Short answer: Yes. See

Longer answer: Purism is hiring for a great number of positions, even more than are listed in our jobs section. If you are interested in any of the listed positions, or have an idea of a position you’d like to create within our organization, please send an email to with the following:

  • What you’re good at, or what you would like to help us with.
  • How you got good at it, or how you’d like to help us.
  • Why would you like to be involved with Purism?

We offer various forms of compensation and roles, from volunteer, part-time, paid, or margin share. Please list what forms of compensation you require and are amenable to.

Can I buy my Librem with cash?

Unfortunately, no. If you are worried about privacy, you can pay with bitcoin.

Do you take Bitcoin?

Yes, we take bitcoin as a payment option.

How can I contribute?

You can help by purchasing a Librem device and benefit from a more secure computing experience. You could also help us out with projects that we are currently working on as we are sometimes stretched thin. Finally, the easiest way would be to help answer questions in our community forums, engage with others that are considering Purism products, spreading the word about Purism, be willing to write in with bug reports or user experiences or donating time and/or money for our project. Another item would be to write a blog post about your experiences in switching to a Librem or to GNU/Linux in general. Send an email to james.rufer(at) for questions, additional information or your willingness to be involved.

How Does an Emerging Company Manufacture a Motherboard?

Through business negotiations we license reference designs and prepay for all the tooling, so that we can do small quantity fabrication, albeit at a higher per-unit price.  It is not inexpensive, but it is possible! Purism’s founder, Todd Weaver, has built up these relationships for over a decade.

Is Purism a non-profit or corporation?
Where is Purism based?

Short answer: South San Francisco, CA USA

Longer answer: Worldwide. Purism sources component parts from China, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States. Purism builds, assembles, quality control tests, and delivers all our hardware from our South San Francisco facility, USA. Purism has employees, contractors, and volunteers from around the world.

For Beginners

Are there any tutorial videos or additional information on PureOS/Linux?

Often times when we think of an operating system we think of how it looks and feels. This is called the user interface or user experience. PureOS 3 uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI, also sometimes called “Desktop Environment”) called Gnome 3. Information on this user interface can be found here:

Can I browse the internet in the same way as on other computers and devices?

Sure! We pre-install two different Internet browsers, to allow you the freedom to surf the web and go to the sites you want.

  • Purism-designed “PureBrowser” is based upon best of breed “Mozilla technologies”* that millions know and love. All syncing features work out of the box and it is pre-installed with some of the best safety, privacy and security extensions that the community has to offer.
  • You can also install and use Tor. If you аre unfamiliar with Tor, Tor bounces your internet traffic around the world from server to server in an encrypted fashion so that you can truly remain anonymous while being online.

Other common browsers are available for you to install as well if you see fit but without the privacy, security and safety protections our browsers provide. We think that you will like these browsers and the comfort they provide over the other options.

We give you the tools and we make it easy for you to browse as you see fit.

*: Mozilla’s wording, not ours…

Can I still print pictures and documents with a Librem?

We include all available drivers in order for your printer to function. Please ensure capability by checking with your printer manufacturer.

Can I watch Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Prime?

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime distribute content with restrictive DRM technologies that Purism does not support natively through PureBrowser or Chromium. However, there are other browsers that you are free to install if you choose to.

Youtube supports HTML5 and will play without additional input.

Can you explain to me in plain English why I should be concerned about security and privacy issues on my computer?

The same reasons you are concerned over unwanted people entering your property, peeping through your windows, or installing cameras in your house. These same physical rights apply directly to digital rights. You should not want unwanted people having access to your digital files, your photos, emails, website history, or your camera or microphone.  Your home is your private life, your digital life should have the same rights and protections.

Do I need special proprietary hardware, software or cables to use a Librem?

No! We hate those proprietary things! Your Librem will work with industry standards such as HDMI, USB, hardware after market parts and all software is free and libre. RAM, hard drives or solid state drives, batteries and power supplies are all “off the shelf” and available for purchase from online and big box stores.

Do I still need antivirus software?

PureOS is based upon the most private and secure foundation in computing, the Linux kernel, that largely eliminates the need for antivirus and malware protection that plague Windows and OSX. In addition to regular security updates, applications are reviewed for security exploits and backdoors, then sandboxed to further protect your files from attack. These services require no user input and just work and work simply. Everything gets updated at once with one simple click. We are additionally evaluating GRsecurity as a proactive defense against some kernel level threats.

Do you have an app store?

Yes! We have an app store called “Software” where many different applications are available giving you many additional gaming, productivity, video, graphics, and office choices.

Does a Librem have Flash, Silverlight, Java and other plug-ins preinstalled?

No, it does not, as these are major security issues. Most websites are switching to HTML5 due to these security issues. However, you can install an OS which supports this proprietary software, but have in mind that this is a bad security practice.

How do I listen to music, watch videos or view my pictures?

PureOS comes pre-installed with applications that allow you to view and edit pictures & video and play your music.

How do I talk to a real person if I have a problem?

You can write us an email at support(at) or post in our forums.

We are known to hang around the #purism IRC channel on Freenode.

I still have favorite programs from my Windows/Mac computer. Can I still use them?

Yes and no. No Windows applications will run natively on PureOS. However, some Windows applications can be run with an application called Wine. Please go to to check on the availability of your program. Applications designed for Apple products can not run on a GNU/Linux based machine such as a Librem.

Additionally, you can also run Windows or Apple operating systems within our virtual box application, Boxes, which would allow you to run the applications that you need.

Please also note that Windows based programs run as non-free source/proprietary code and Purism can not offer a guarantee that your Librem will continue to be secure if you choose to install. We do not recommend doing this for your own privacy and security but you are welcome to as the Librem is your machine.

I’m used to using an Android phone and a Windows desktop. Will this computer work the same as what I’m used to?

All operating systems have their differences when comparing, for instance, a mobile operating system like Android to a computer focused one like Windows. Apple has differences from Windows as well. However, each operating system allows you to do the same or similar things – it may just be a different button to push or icon to click.

Web browsers, applications and file managers will all work in PureOS/Librem in ways that you are used to on other devices. They may look a little different than what you’re used to, but they will get you to the same place.

I’ve heard that I have to type in complicated commands to use Linux in something called a terminal.

You don’t have to. There is also a “terminal” in Windows, Apple and Google machines as well but like those operating systems, complicated command lines are going away in favor of graphic user interface (GUI) focus. PureOS does have a terminal just like all Linux distributions but it is not needed in many situations for newer users.

Isn’t GNU/Linux just for hackers, programmers and developers? Do I have to be a computer expert to use PureOS or a Librem?

No, not at all. There are many people that do in fact use GNU/Linux to program and develop applications for various operating systems (not just for Linux) but GNU/Linux is easily used by many people of all levels of computing skill.

PureOS is designed to be user friendly by utilizing one of the most popular desktop environments available called Gnome 3. Gnome 3 works well with both touch and traditional mouse and keyboard user inputs to allow for easy use. The Librem has well known traditional ports and utilizes off the shelf parts for easy replacement if something needs replaced.

What is FLOSS?

FLOSS stands for Free/Libre Open Source Software and is software with its source code available to the public and allowed to be modified, improved or whatever else users feel like doing do it. It grants you freedom.

What is GNU/Linux?

A “Linux” operating system, properly described as GNU/Linux, is an operating system based upon the Linux kernel. The Linux kernel was created by Linus Torvalds initially for his own use during his years in college. It was used with the GNU operating system. GNU, created by Richard Stallman, is the entire operating system, minus the kernel. So, when people say “Linux operating system” they should be saying “GNU/Linux operating system”, or even a “GNU operating system”.

Both Torvalds and Stallman released their software to the world for free.

What is the difference between free and libre?

English language more often uses word “free” to describe something that is gratis – while it is true that all the software in FLOSS is gratis, it is not mandatory to be like that. The important part of FLOSS is that is has the liberty to be examined, learn about it, modify it to your needs without any restriction of copyright license which forbids you to use it as you want.

Often said it is “free as in freedom”.

Will the Librem and PureOS keep me and my family safe online?

Yes. Combined with utilizing the Linux kernel as the base of the operating system along with various enhancements such as GR Security, privacy focused add-ons within PureBrowser and the hardware kill switches give you as the user a lot of safety and security while online.

Librem Devices

Are they available in stores or online?

Librems are available on our online store. Getting the product into big box stores is something that is on the Purism road map.

Can I install a different OS on my Librem laptop?

While we are preloading PureOS which, alongside Parabola, Trisquel and few others, is the strictest of GNU/Linux distributions—we strip all binary blobs from the Linux kernel—you can easily install any less strict up-to-date GNU/Linux distribution, such as Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu. You can even install them alongside PureOS, and simply choose what OS to run from the boot screen.

We have not tried installing a non-GNU/Linux-based operating system, but the Librem is your computer, so you can do with it whatever you wish, even if that includes installing non-free Windows or other operating systems. We obviously don’t recommend this, but it is your computer to do what you wish with it.

Can you add upgrades?

Yes, we will customize your Librem to order. You can also unscrew the back and add your own upgrades.

Do Librem devices use non-ECC RAM or ECC RAM?

Non-ECC. Because ECC RAM takes modifying the motherboard in addition to selecting a CPU that supports ECC.

Do you make the case yourself, or are they from a third party?

They were custom fabricated for us.

Do you ship worldwide?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: We can ship pretty much anywhere, and offer free international shipping, but the customer is responsible for customs clearing/duties, and local taxation. International shipments may be subject to customs processing and additional charges, customs policies vary from country to country, therefore you should contact your local customs office for more information. When customs clearance procedures are required, it can cause delays in arrival. If you can normally order product from the U.S. and have it shipped to you, then you can order from Purism in the same manner.

Do your computers come with disk encrypting software? If not, what are the best options for disk encryption?

We ship with the option, during setup, to encrypt your home directory. Full disk encryption (as with any GNU/Linux based system) requires you to do it during installation. If you want home directory encryption, we got you covered. If you want full disk encryption, you can install the OS from a USB stick to get that.

How are the devices shipped?

By FedEx in USA, and USPS for International shipments.

How do the Hardware Kill Switches (HKS) work? Why do they matter?

The HKS physically cut the power going to the microphone/webcam and the wifi/bluetooth radios in the device. There have been several cases where either big government agencies or nearby hackers have remotely accessed these devices to turn on computers or otherwise view or listen in through the microphone or web camera. Software solutions of turning the camera on and off can be easily bypassed. The HKS physically cut the electronic circuit to the accessory. No power, no work. When the switches are thrown the accessory is, quite simply, off, and can not be remotely turned back on.

This matters as a security feature and for your own piece of mind. No longer do you have to worry about private communications being recorded or someone looking back at you through the webcam. Parents can especially enjoy this feature to help protect their children.

The switch for the WiFi can be thrown and along with pulling out the ethernet cord will ensure you the convenience of true off line computing. Then when you want to use either the microphone/web camera or the WiFi/Bluetooth, simply return power to the accessory by turning the switch.

What are the benefits of using a Librem?

The Librem runs PureOS as it’s operating system. This operating system is based upon the Linux kernel and is viewed by privacy and security experts as being incredibly secure. This is due to it being free software where the source code is available, meaning that people with proper technical skill can easily read, view and understand the language of the operating system. Operating systems that you are used to such as Windows and OS X are non-free and the source code is held by Microsoft and Apple. This non-free software, where the source code is not available in proprietary OSes makes it impossible to fully read and understand the computer language thereby making it impossible to fully know what your Microsoft or Apple based computer is doing or if it is secure.

What do I get in the box?

Your Librem and power cord.

What is a Librem?

The Librem name originated with the desire to make a truly freedom respecting laptop. Libre is an adjective meaning “free, at liberty” and is used to distinguish it from gratis which means “free of charge”. Libre is used extensively in the GNU/Linux community to show that software is free in the sense that its source code is available as opposed to non-free software where the source code can not be viewed. Libre also translates easily to a variety of languages. The “m” was added to help it roll of the tongue.

What the Librem’s cases (bodies) made of?

The outer shell is solid aluminum with a black anodized finish.

Where can I read about your warranty/return policy?

See the policies page for our warranty, returns & refunds policy.

Why does it cost so much? What’s the benefits of paying more?

We are working hard to bring down the price of the Librems. In fact, we were able to reduce the price of the Librem 13 in April 2016 by over $200! In the simplest terms, it is the sheer economics of supply and demand. As there is more demand for privacy respecting and secure computing, the price will come down because as we will be able to order more parts for our wonderful computers.

The truth is that we need capital in order to grow as a business. We are already working with thin margins. The benefits to supporting a privacy and security focused computer manufacturer are vast but the decision to help us is yours.

Why is it so expensive?

Some users think the Librem is a very good value. Others think it is too expensive. This all depends on where you live, and what you are comparing the Librem to. If you compare the Librem, feature by feature, to other high end PCs, such as a high end Lenovo or a MacBook Pro it is priced comparably, or even lower priced. If you compare the Librem to installing GNU/Linux on a used 2008 Thinkpad, it’s expensive. As sales volume increases we will be able to obtain and source components at a lower price. Economies of scale will bring prices down in the future. The Librem is a solid, hand-built, very high quality, boutique “microbrewed” computer, assembled with care to your specifications in our facility in the USA.

Will the Librem have replacement and upgrade parts?

Yes, it is possible to order replacements for the wireless card, RAM, 2.5″ SATA drive and M.2 SSD, power adapter. Batteries are available within the USA, international shipment for batteries is on a case-by-case basis (due to carrier restrictions such as these).

PureOS & Software

Can I browse anonymously?

Yes, you can install and setup The Onion Router (Tor).

Tor provides anonymity online, designed to protect your privacy, defending against network surveillance and traffic analysis. Tor prevents people from learning your location or browsing habits.

Can I install Debian, Redhat, Ubuntu on a Librem?

Yes, you have the freedom to remove the default Purism OS (which is Debian Testing based) for another OS, but it important to note installing a non-free distribution will contain mystery software, which you cannot know with certainty what it actually does. So it is our recommendation to use any free GNU/Linux distributions. Debian (main) is also a completely free distribution, but it offers installation from non-free sources as an option.

Can I run Windows applications?

Yes and no. You can use three available applications, Wine, Play on Linux and Crossover, to run Windows applications on a GNU/Linux based machine. Please check the listings on their websites for compatibility with the particular application that you are interested in running. For the more technically inclined, you can use our included virtual machine application, Boxes, to run a full Windows operating system inside PureOS and run any and all Windows application that you like. As with all virtual machines, there will be a performance decline of your Librem.

Please note that Purism cannot recommend doing any of these methods for privacy or security purposes. Running a .exe or.msi installer can open one’s computer to security holes, malware and other privacy concerns. However, this can be done if you are interested or need to run a certain Windows application.

Can PureOS protect me from viruses, malware and cryptolocker?

By its nature, PureOS is immune from most forms of virus and malware because it is based upon the Linux kernel. In simplest terms, the kernel is the foundation of any operating system. From there, we pre-install further protections in order to help keep you safe, private and secure.

GrSecurity provides added security by hardening the Linux kernel, sealing potential leaks and security holes. It is an approach to secure the kernel by reducing the threats the kernel could see.

ClamAV is an anti-virus and malware protection tool.

Uncomplicated Fire Wall helps to keep you secure by not allowing connections to your computer.

These services are provided free of cost and with little necessary input from the user.

Further, our Hardware Kill Switches allow for you to physically cut the connection to Bluetooth and WiFi allowing you true offline computing.

Do you put up ads or steal and sell my data?

No. Quite simply, we will not show you advertisements nor do we care about mining your data. Your data, your pictures, your browsing history – that’s for you and you alone. We exist as a company because we personally wanted to have better control of our own data. And we think you do to.

How do I use PureOS?

Have a question? Ask us and the community in our forums, on Twitter or send us an email at support(at)

How is PureOS different from other GNU/Linux distributions?

PureOS is based on another GNU/Linux OS called Debian. Debian believes, as we do, that software should be free/libre and open source. We include our own “spin”, include security features and bundle some of the best applications to provide tremendous productivity and enjoyment. We also include PureBrowser, a privacy and security focused web browser based upon well-known Mozilla technologies. PureBrowser takes all of the guesswork out of having secure and private browsing while maintaining the experience that you are used to.

How often do other installed applications receive updates?

There are frequent updates, new features and bug fixes (when needed) by the writers and maintainers of the application. A set time frame can not be provided as this is largely based upon their own plans.

How often will PureOS receive updates?

PureOS is updated daily with security updates and bug fixes.

How to find alternative programs to common Windows or Mac software?

A lot of users are unaware of what alternative programs are available for certain proprietary Windows or Mac software they would like to use. The easiest way to determine what alternative programs there are is to open up ‘Add/Remove Applications’, where you can type the software you are familiar with by name to see a list of alternatives. You can easily install these, try them out, and remove them right from ‘Add/Remove Applications’. If there is no match for the exact name you’re looking for, you can browse by category, or generalize your search. If you prefer a web search, you can use

Here is an example for ‘Excel’:

Here is an example for ‘Photoshop’:

Here is an example for ‘Skype’ that is generalized to ‘Video Call’:

How to play YouTube videos?

YouTube uses HTML5 by default as flash is nonfree software. If you happen to be using flash you should change youtube to use html5 by default.

Head on over to YouTube HTML5 Video Player, and click the “Request the HTML5 player”.

This shows the “Request the HTML5 player”:

This shows after clicked “The HTML5 player is currently used when possible.”

What are the benefits of using PureOS?

PureOS allows for a more safe and secure use and web browsing experience than non-free operating systems like those found on Apple, Google or Microsoft devices. The Linux Kernel and Linux based operating systems are immune from most viruses and malware.

What kind of cyberthreats can be prevented with a Librem?

All threats are bonded a lot to user interaction with their device. Librem by default doesn’t track or log your keypresses, location, software usage. It has app isolation (with Wayland) and SELinux enabled.

What makes PureBrowser so special? How will it protect me?

PureBrowser is “based on Mozilla technology”*. We install several of the best available add-ons to offer protections not found in a standard web browser default installation. We take the worries and concerns away from you and install only the best.

*: Mozilla’s wording, not ours…

Will I be able to install CAD and design software?

Yes, there are plenty of CAD applications, some are listed as ‘professional’ and are quite popular on GNU/Linux systems such as LibreCAD:

LibreCAD is an application for computer aided design (CAD) in two dimensions (2D). With LibreCAD you can create technical drawings such as plans for buildings, interiors, mechanical parts or schematics and diagrams.


Will the Librem help me avoid data breaches?

Properly used, Librem will make it by magnitudes harder to have data breaches compared to Windows and Mac OS X. It has integrated full disk encryption, all of the best GNU/Linux security practices, sand boxed applications, and hardened security features.

Technical & Advanced

Can I buy a Librem with a proprietary BIOS/UEFI?

No. We ship with the free software firmware coreboot. We don’t ship Librem 13 or Librem 15 with any proprietary BIOS/UEFI.

Do Librem CPUs support feature X or Y?

There are links to detailed CPU specs in our store, but here’s the list also for older revisions (current hardware revision is emphasized):

Do Librem devices support coreboot?

Yes, Librem 13v2 and Librem 15v3 come with coreboot pre-installed.

For previous versions of Librem hardware follow the page to learn about coreboot supported hardware.

Do you support Qubes OS?

While there is no official certification, our laptops are generally found to work fine with Qubes OS.

We may offer the Qubes OS installer on a USB key as an option, but we no longer offer it as a pre-loaded SSD option.

For technical support when running Qubes OS, please refer to the Qubes community.

Does every software application designed for GNU/Linux run on PureOS?

Every software packaged in Debian should run on PureOS.

Does the Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 wireless adapter use a free driver?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer, Purism is using Debian main as our base distribution, which by definition strips any non-free software as well as any binary blobs from all software. Debian’s Linux kernel is strips of all non-free components from mainline Linux kernel and puts them into separate package. The driver that the Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter uses is the ath9k.

Does the Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 ethernet adapter use a free driver?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer, Purism is using Debian main as our base distribution, which by definition strips any non-free software as well as any binary blobs from all software. Debian’s Linux kernel is strips of all non-free components from mainline Linux kernel and puts them into separate package. The driver that the Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 Ethernet Adapter uses is the deblobbed r8169.

What component options you are offering for the primary storage?

SATA III SSD, and the M.2 is PCIe SSD.

What mystery code, or binary blobs remain with Purism laptops? Is there any concern with them?

Security is a game of depth, and Purism goes deeper than any manufacturer by avoiding blobs or mystery code in the top 4 layers of a computer: applications, operating system, kernel, and bootloader.

At the firmware level, we utilize Coreboot instead of a proprietary BIOS/UEFI, a huge advancement for current high-end laptops. Within Coreboot there is still some binaries, primarily the Intel Management Engine. We have the end-goal of freeing the entire firmware, and we are inching our way toward solving that, as you can follow along here:

We are “as close to free software foundations respects your freedom as possible with current Intel CPUs.” but are spending real money to advance that toward Coreboot binary freedom.

When a website states that a software (like a hardware driver) is designed to run on GNU/Linux will that software (driver) also run on an operating system like PureOS?

PureOS is GNU/Linux, all websites work with PureBrowser, which is based on Mozilla technologies.

There are some (increasingly rare*) websites that use Flash, and we do not recommend Flash, due to its binary, proprietary, non-free status. But of course you are free to do with the computer what you will.

*: usage of Flash on websites has been in slow decline since 2012, falling below 10% in 2015.

Would I be able to install (myself) my own choice of second HDD/SSD and M.2 SSD?

Yes. But bear in mind you might need additional stuff like screws and aluminium frames for mounting the disk, which don’t come by default with our laptops.