There are many operating systems available today such as Windows, macOS or Linux distro with Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, but after the attacks from WannaCry, SambaCry users believe that there is no longer safe operating system. However, there is one operating system that users should trust is Qubes OS 3.2. Read the article below for more information about Qubes OS 3.2 and see how it differs from the rest of the Linux operating systems.
There are many Linux operating systems available today, however, many Linux distributions (commonly referred to as distros) are niche operating systems. For example, Kali Linux is a highly secure experimental Linux distro based on the Linux kernel. There are also many Linux server operating systems, media centers using Linux distros and more.
However, Qubes focuses on security. The slogan of this operating system is: "Safe and reasonable operating system". On the Qubes homepage, it boasts testimonials from people like Edward Snowden - a former official employee of the CIA. With built-in security features, Qubes is a functional and intuitive Linux-oriented security system.
- Running Linux on Windows 10 without a virtual machine, here are 18 things you should know
- 5 best remote desktop applications for Linux to access a computer remotely
What is Qubes OS?
Although Qubes is said to be a highly secure Linux operating system, let's clarify to see the difference with other operating systems. While firewalls and anti-virus software are essential, yes, even Linux needs anti-virus software, Qubes takes a different approach. Instead of relying on traditional protections, Qubes uses virtualization. Therefore, it promotes security through feature independent operation.
This method of independent operation focuses on limiting software and hardware interactions. It is noteworthy that the Linux laptop company - Purism offers an option to launch their computers with the Qubes operating system. Purism computers are considered to be the best products you should buy.
Install and get started
Like most Debian-based Linux operating systems, Qubes's initial installation is pretty straightforward. I tried to install Qubes on an HP AMD A-10 computer. While lightweight Linux operating systems generally perform better, I found almost no performance issues on this HP when I installed Qubes. The installation process is quite simple. Download the ISO file, mount it to the boot disk and install on a hard drive.
Installing virtual machine software (like VirtualBox) usually doesn't work properly considering the applications in Qubes running on virtual machines. So you will have to start the VM (virtual machine). It is worth noting that the direct USB option is not supported, although it is always available as a download.
Unlike traditional desktop Linux operating systems, Qubes uses virtualization. The virtual machines divide into separate zones. A few virtual machines are available by default, but you can also create your own. Virtualization comes in two forms: hardware and software. Hence the hardware controller is split into domains such as the USB controller domain. However, the software is divided into domains with different levels of trust.
For example, you could use a work domain for the most trusted applications and a random domain for the less trusted applications. Each of these domains operates on a separate virtual machine.
However, unlike running an operating system in a virtual machine, Qubes uses virtualization to isolate applications. Thus, when a part of data or an application is infected with malware, it will not affect other parts of the system.
Qubes uses virtualization technology - Xen Hypervisor to isolate different virtual machines. However, there is an administrative domain named - D0m0. This domain has the ability to access every corner of the hardware. Furthermore, Dm0 mastered aspects such as graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and peripheral devices such as keyboards and mice. However, since the GUI, applications appeared as if they were running on individual desktops. Furthermore, these applications are segregated within the virtual machines. Qubes uses Application Viewer to allow apps to be displayed on a native computer.
Using Qubes is probably more complicated than other operating systems. However, running the application in a virtual machine is not as difficult as you might think. Noteworthy is the simplicity of Qubes as I mentioned above. At first glance, Qubes appears as a standard desktop environment. In terms of interface, it is also not more complicated than other Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu for example.
For example, you can see two different instances of the same parallel web browser that can run on different secure domains. One can be the trusted browser while the other can be the untrusted browser. When accessing the same website in both parallel browsers, if you log in to a trusted browser, you will not be able to log into the other browser. That's because they reside in separate domains, on separate virtual machines.
Even the file browsers are completely separate. However, using Qubes is not the same as using a virtual machine, because Qubes integrates all the virtual machines into one computer, so everything appears seamless. However, there are facilities for sharing between domains. For example, if you have a file saved in your personal domain, you can copy it to your work domain.
Even if the clipboard is a separate domain, if you copy the text in a document on the work domain and click on a document on your personal domain, that text will be converted to the original domain. However, with files you can use Ctrl + Shift + V to copy clipboard data between domains. Different colored borders distinguish individual domains, making it easy to identify applications.
In addition to dedicated domain names, you can create disposable domains (roughly translated as a disposable domain name). They are different from dedicated domains. These disposable domains are created for the individual tasks and are completely lost when completed. If you open a web browser in a disposable VM, you can do whatever you want, add them to favorites and save cookies. However, when you close that browser, everything in that session is gone. Open another browser in the disposable virtual machine, no data is left from the previous session.
Any domain name also has a right-click option to open the disposable VM data. Therefore, if you downloaded a file in your work or personal domain, you can right-click and open the file in the disposabe domain. If you downloaded the PDF from an untrusted source (not recommended), you can save the source to the work domain and do it in the disposable domain.
Installations and application updates.
Open a terminal in the application domain, such as a work domain, and download and install the software as you normally would. However, using a particular terminal restricts that application to the domain. Furthermore, the installation of an application in a specific domain will not be saved. When you restart the domain, the program will not show up. To install and save an application, you need to install it in a template. For example, if you want to try out an application, you can use it in a specific domain. Restarting the virtual machine then deletes the application.
Interface and performance
Interface and performance are what makes Qubes really shine. I really appreciate Qubes' simplicity. It might be tricky to customize, but Qubes is an intuitive operating system.
While both Qubes and CoreOS's Linux Container are focused on virtualization, Qubes is still more user-friendly. Since the Linux Container uses mainly commands, it is not very suitable for beginners. Meanwhile, Qubes has a simple user interface to navigate. Qubes is, in fact, a standard computer operating system.
Why should I use Qubes operating system?
The question you are probably asking now is: Why should you use Qubes? Can't you achieve such virtualization using programs like VirtualBox, VMware, and Parallels?
Unfortunately, this approach is quite cumbersome. Application upgrading in separate domains is quite an intensive task. For example, you would have to update the web browsers in every single virtual machine.
Qubes integrates everything in one desktop environment. Within domains, you can choose the applications that appear in that domain, choose different templates, and operate in a completely separate environment on a single computer.
Because Qubes is a virtual machine, you should have a powerful computer and should not run the Qubes operating system on machines with low configuration, little storage capacity ..
Have you tried Qubes operating system yet. Let us know your thoughts on the operating system in the comments section below