QubesOS Review

After using QubesOS for about a week now, I think it’s time for me to upload a review of it.
My Setup contains of the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i3-4030U
  • 4GB DDR3 memory
  • External USB3.0 case with ADATA SP900 128GB

The USB SSD can be the bottleneck, but I think that if you use QubesOS you use it from a USB drive anyways, but this might be different for you.

First what I did was install it, this took about an hour as QubesOS encrypts your drive which can be very slow, especially over a USB3.0 connection.
After I rebooted, QubesOS asked me for my drive password while in the Plymouth screen, unfortunately the capslock LED was not working for somekind of reason, this is very annoying since I tend to hit the capslock alot when I want to press the ‘A’ button.
After the system was booted and I logged in, I was brought to the KDE interface.
I really think they should make a distro for KDE and GNOME as I preffer GNOME alot over KDE, but none the less, it did the job. The first screen that popped open wat the “Qubes VM Manager” window.
In this window you can basically see all the VMs that are running on your system.
QubesOS runs every “Domain” in a seperate VM, seperating your work items from your personal items.
This can be annoying sometimes, but offers some great management.
This Schematic shows you how QubesOS works without going into too much detail

QubesOS by default has these VMs: Personal, Work, Sys-Firewall, Sys-Net, Untrusted and “Disposable VM”.
Tho I think Sys-Net and Sys-Firewall should be hidden, it doesn’t bother me that much.
I deleted the Work VM because I don’t use that anyway.
All VMs are shown into the “start menu” as well as seperate categories.
The names of the categories are depending on the name of the VM, for example: “Work” is called “Domain: Work”.
All the categories by default contain these shortcuts: Files, Firefox, Terminal and “Add More Shortscuts”.
Tho I think that it is kinda annoying that everything in my Personal VM is called: something like “Personal: Firefox (Personal: Webbrowser)”, I wish there was an option to disable that and just have it named: Firefox.
The “Disposable VM” is basically what the name suggests, It’s an Disposable VM.
The main thing I use it for is when someone sends me a link I don’t trust, I open it in the Disposable VM. history, cookies and whatever are isolated, so the URL won’t be able to steal your Facebook cookie! unless you logged in into facebook with the disposable VM, in which case you probably are screwed and should reset your password.

The VMs tend to loadup slowly, but I don’t know if thats because of QubesOS or because of the USB SSD.
Also, sometimes VMs randomly shutdown/crash, don’t startup, or don’t start applications.

Next, I ran some BashMark in my “BashMark” VM. this is to give you a small indication of how fast a VM is, but please take it with a grain of salt as this notebook is pretty slow already.
Here are the results:
This shit took way too long
I started BashMark at 10:00 in the morning, and after 13:20 in the afternoon I decided to stop BashMark. it just took way too long.

Conclusion:
My first impressions where kinda negative, no option to use Gnome, slow VM bootup, a bit to chaotic. After using it a week, I still think the same about it.
The concept is nice, and it works for what it should do, but for your daily driver, it’s simply not fast enough, especially if you run it on lower-end hardware.

If you are concerned that your privacy will be at stake, use Tails instead. or you don’t want your sister to look at the secret krabby patty recipe? then use regular Fedora with per-user encryption.
There is no real use I see for QubesOS right now except sandboxing, for eg. when programming and keeping your social media seperate from it.

This was my Review of QubesOS!
Don’t forget to visit their site if you want to try it out yourself

What do you think of QubesOS? or do you want to see another Linux Distro Review? leave a comment below!

G33k Out

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