These days most of the Linux distributions are fairly similar but the Qubes operating system is different among them. The operating system is based on Linux but it actually runs on the lightweight virtual machines. The applications is isolated from each other that limits damage security and can also cause and aid in privacy. It is no surprise that Edward Snowden was excited by Qubes operating system.
Purism seems to be excited by the Qubes operating system too. The Purism’s Librem currently ship laptops with the Trisquel GNU/Linux. But Librem 13 will be soon shipped with the Qubes operating system pre-installed as per Ars Technica. The Qubes OS would not run on anything, it requires all virtualization regarding heavy hardware.
This could interestingly rescue Purism from controversy that it is in with free software community. According to Purism it was promised that the laptop hardware would not be free from any of the closed source code. But Intel Management Engine and the other firmware which was running on the modern Intel CPU will be remaining the closed source for a foreseeable future.
The Purism Founder, Todd Weaver sounds very hopeful that at least in the public statements. According to him: “Some people state that it is impossible to free BIOS. We have proposed that the business case to Intel and they are evaluating the results. In this best scenario, Purisms Librem laptops have that closed source firmware. You can rescue here with the help of Qubes operating system.
In a blog post which is titled with “Intel x86 considered harmful,” the Qubes operating systems lead developer Joanna Rutkowska said that she “believed we could use the VT-d in order to protect host OS from potentially malicious ME-based rootkits.” She further written that: “I spoke only to few clever people, and also concluded it is possible to come up with the reasonable solution that we would require only the minor modification in hardware.
For Purism, it is potentially big news. While the Purism has no other hope t get rid of this closed source code in nearer future. According to the sources Qubes OS could provides system which can isolate and also protect itself from the attacks, backdoors, bugs and whatever other nasty stuff that could come from firmware. It requires minor modification which the Purism could perform on the laptops for making the Purism’s laptops more compelling.
In the combination of both Qubes OS and Purism will be interesting to watch. It will beneficial for both the sides. Qubes OS can get a certified hardware platform for shipping the operating system. It can perform wherever the minor hardware changes are necessary. On the other hand Purism will be much more unique operating system.