An internet connection is central to how we go about our lives. In the event of an internet outage that could last days or weeks, a bit of preparation, a bunch of disk space, and time to download a few resources are all you’ll need to prepare. Here is how you can host your own local services in the case of an internet outage.

The USB

Our installer USB provides a fully working PureOS live environment running from the USB drive it’s on. This feature means you can try out PureOS on a computer, and if you choose, you can reinstall with PureOSThe live environment can also troubleshoot or access data from a computer that can’t fully boot, so it’s an excellent platform for disaster recovery.This is also the perfect tool to convert a computer into a PureOS computer. But how can you make that base install truly useful offline? Let’s dig in.

Repo Mirroring

Our software repositories contain only freedom-respecting software where the source is entirely available. To install software while offline, you’ll need to set up a local mirror. You’ll need at least 150GB of free disk space in /var/spool/apt-mirror/.

We provide standard tools like apt-mirror, debmirror and ftpsync to create the local repository. For this example, we’ll focus on apt-mirror. First, install apt-mirror and apache with the following command:

sudo apt install apt-mirror apache2

You can host this on any Librem device including the Librem 5 by linking a large sdcard to this folder:

mv /var/spool/apt-mirror /media/purism/<sdcard>

ln -s /media/purism/<sdcard>/apt-mirror /var/spool/apt-mirror

Next edit /etc/apt/mirror.list with the following:

#PureOS

deb https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium main

deb https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium-updates main

deb https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium-security main

deb-arm64 https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium main

deb-arm64 https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium-updates main

deb-arm64 https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium-security main

You can now start the first mirroring with:

su - apt-mirror -c apt-mirror

This will take a while to complete.

This script will update the mirror and download changes to the translation files. Copy it to /sbin/ and add the execute bit.To update automatically every day, edit /etc/cron.d/apt-mirror with the following.

0 9 * root /sbin/PureOSrepomirror > /var/spool/apt-mirror/var/cron.log

This will update the mirror at 9 am daily.

Setup Apache2

Apache is web server software we will use to host this mirror over HTTP. You’ll need to link a few directories to your web folder to expose the mirror.

ln -s /var/spool/apt-mirror/mirror/repo.pureos.net/pureos /var/www/html/pureos

You should now be able to browse the mirror by going to your mirror server’s IP. To find the IP run this command

hostname -I

From a browser, it should look like this:Setup PureOS mirror

To use the mirror on any PureOS computer on your network, edit /etc/apt/sources.list with the following. Add a # to “comment out” or disable the other lines. and add in your repository, substitute my 10.250.10.42 address with your mirror server’s IP.

#deb https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium main

deb http://10.250.10.42/pureos byzantium main

#deb https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium-updates main

deb http://10.250.10.42/pureos byzantium-updates main

#deb https://repo.pureos.net/pureos byzantium-security main

deb http://10.250.10.42/pureos byzantium-security main

With that done, you can run apt update and install packages like normal. This works for any PureOS computer, including the Librem 5 phone.Using your repo mirror and an installer ISO, new computers can be imaged with PureOS and software installed entirely offline. You can install documentation, games, or anything you would have been able to install from the repo before.

Kiwix

If you’ve ever looked up a random question on the internet, you are probably familiar with Stack Exchange. This is an online community dedicated to solving and answering common issues. If you run into a coding question or need to know when not to use WD-40, looking at what others have done is a quick way to get going. Using Kiwix from our software repo, you can offline or download a good chunk of the threads you may ever want to visit. This app has a massive catalog of indexed information. Kiwix makes it simple to download all of Wikipedia and download many knowledge base resources. This covers everything from home repair to 3d animation to geography.The ZIM files themselves are offline databases and take up a lot of disk space.To search in one, select it to start browsing. You can choose an article or search using a keyword or phrase.

Media Server

Controlling your own media server is beneficial with an internet connection but becomes invaluable without one. Even when the wider internet is down, your server can become a local oasis ready to stream to anything on your home network.Using a software respecting tool like Jellyfin, getting going is simple. While it’s not in our PureOS repos, this is well packaged and only takes a few commands to get running. If you’d like to make sure you have this app installable in an emergency, you can easily download the .deb for offline installation. Jellyfin provides plugins for many popular “smart TV” platforms as well as a web interface much like other streaming services; the difference is you are entirely in control of the content.

Wrap up

Don’t be stuck wanting an app, information or entertainment; prepare now, and you’ll have your own software oasis no matter what happens to the broader internet. Offline? Have an install party on your local network and reimage your friend’s computer with something that still works.

Purism Products and Availability Chart

 ModelStatusLead Time 
Most Secure PC Purism Librem Mini
Librem MiniIn Stock10 days
Most Secure Server Purism Librem ServersLibrem ServersOut of Stock--
USB Security Token Purism Librem KeyLibrem KeyIn Stock10 days
Most Secure Laptop Purism Librem 14Librem 14In Stock10 days
Made in USA Phone Purism Librem 5 USALibrem 5 USAIn Stock10 days
Librem 5Currently shipping backlogs52 weeks
The current product and shipping chart of Purism Librem products, updated on September 2, 2022

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