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The new Librem laptops available for purchase with Monero offer an option to add a QubesOS operating system to any order. For Monero use exclusively, what are the security differences between PureOS and QubesOS?

  • Kinda related, since you mention it's an option, but I'd install whatever OS I chose myself, after cleaning any drive. – user36303 Oct 4 '17 at 21:12
  • @user36303 I simply don't know enough about PureOS yet. The answer to this question may also influence my decision to spend Monero to help crowdfund the new PureOS Librem smartphone puri.sm/shop/librem-5 – Seth Abrams Oct 4 '17 at 21:17
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    I don't either, it's kind of a drive by comment really :) Looking forward to see an answer from someone who knows both. Though IIRC PureOS is Ubuntu based, which kinda implies the host will run plenty of stuff, whereas pretty much everything in Qubes runs in app VMs, so that's one major difference. I suspect the main reason for PureOS is that it'll also run on their phones, but that is speculation. – user36303 Oct 4 '17 at 21:43
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In general, QubesOS offers greater security than PureOS. With QubesOS, programs are run in their own virtualized environment. This could offer greater protection if the computer was infected by a malicious program. Here's a good summary comment.

Note that you can install QubesOS on a Librem device with any USB. You do not necessarily need to buy the USB stick from Librem directly.

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PureOS is based on Debian, Qubes is mostly based on Xen (a hypervisor). So when you install Qubes you are essentially installing a custom Xen version with added goodies. PureOS on the other hand is just a plain operating system like what you are used to. Xen is what provides the isolation between the different Qubes. I haven't tried it, but most likely you can even run PureOS inside Qubes if that is something you are willing to do.

Also note that you can use PureOS and couple it with a PureBoot bundle as an added security feature. PureBoot provides you a separate usb key so that you can easily verify if your device software has been tampered with while you were not attending it, or during transit from Purism to you.

You can also use that as a second form of authentication to decrypt your disk, so even if your laptop is stolen no one will be able to get access to the files.

More info here: https://docs.puri.sm/PureBoot.html

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  • For the record, Qubes has AEM which does the same. – user36303 Jul 29 at 15:28

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