If you face extreme threats, or even if you are just looking for a high-security operating system for peace of mind, it’s hard to beat QubesOS. While it’s not as easy to use as our default PureOS, it offers a lot of advanced security features that, when combined with the advanced hardware and firmware security features of the Librem 14, makes for one of most secure computers out there.
I have been using QubesOS as my primary OS for many years now, starting with the 3.x release on both my work (Thinkpad X230) and personal (Librem 13v1) computers. Over the last couple years my primary work machine has been a Librem 13v4 running Qubes with 16Gb RAM and solid-state storage. Starting this summer I moved to a Librem 14 for my work computer, our dream laptop that we designed (at least in part) to run Qubes well by adding a fast, 6-core/12-thread CPU and expansion up to 64GB RAM. I’ve been using this laptop constantly over the past few months and I’m convinced that the Librem 14 is the best laptop for Qubes. In this post I wanted to offer a brief retrospective on my experience running Qubes as my primary OS on my Librem 14 compared to past computers.
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Good article Kyle. I must say, I am so happy with my new Librem/Qubes setup that I have to restrain myself from using profanity to express my enthusiasm.
So I’ll just leave it at, “This thing ROCKS.”
Librem 14 is really powerful machine, with actually usable touchpad, stronger WiFi and stronger GPU compared to Librem 13. However, the Qubes OS does not allow to really use that GPU power without GPU passthrough which could compromise security. One workaround solution would be to install two systems in dualboot (QubesOS + PureOS) and use PureOS for GPU-intense tasks. But then, both systems must be isolated so one potentially compromised system would not affect the other. I created a thread about this topic: Dualboot (multiboot) with isolated partitions by encryption
@Kyle_Rankin what microphone (built-in/external/model) do use for conference calls so that the other party hears you best?
Video conferences in Qubes on a Librem 14 is a totally different experience. I was bracing for the fan to spin up to 100% and the video to stutter but instead the video conference acted like you’d expect outside of virtualization. Video conferencing is a much more pleasurable, quieter, and full-featured experience on the Librem 14 and it’s nice to no longer have to worry about my audio stuttering.
I’m no audiophile, I just use a relatively cheap, generic USB-C headset. It shows up as a USB audio device in sys-usb and I can attach it to the appropriate Qube when I need it. I don’t think model matters much, but if you are concerned about Linux compatibility I’ve found filtering by “Raspberry Pi” sometimes helps. I did try to pick one that offered USB-A, USB-C and even standard headphone jacks (via a nested series of adapters), so I could re-use this headset across multiple computers.