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Purism Librem 13 Notebook Combines 'Free' Hardware With Highly Secure Qubes OS

Purism, a crowdfunded startup that aims to sell notebooks with “free” (as in freedom) software and firmware for its hardware, announced that its Librem 13 laptop will come integrated with Qubes OS.

Qubes OS is a highly secure operating system that tries to compartmentalize most of the important components of the system with “light” virtual machines (VM), from storage and networking drivers to OS “templates” that people can use to separate the different types of activities that they do on their computers.

For instance, users can have multiple VMs for personal browsing, banking and work. They can even utilize “disposable VMs” whenever they need to open a single risky application, file, or website, and then completely dispose of that whole virtual machine and everything in it.

Qubes OS also comes integrated with Whonix, a previously standalone operating system that’s now a template VM for Qubes OS. Whonix, much like TAILS, puts all the network traffic through the Tor network for increased privacy and anonymity.

Both teams believe the two projects are a natural fit for each other. Purism wants to ensure that there is no backdoor at the hardware or firmware level in its notebooks, while the Qubes OS team focuses on providing an open source operating system that’s as secure as possible without compromising too much on convenience and usability compared to mainstream operating systems.

“We are pleased to partner with the Purism team both in offering a certified Qubes OS laptop today, and in the future improving the functionality and security of Purism laptops to ensure that users can have the best of freedom, security and privacy in one convenient package,” said Joanna Rutkowska, the founder of the Qubes OS project.“We are ecstatic about the partnership between Purism and Qubes so we can bring together our goals of privacy, security and freedom in hardware with the best approach in software security. This union represents the ideal approach to protecting users by default, without sacrificing convenience or usability,” said Todd Weaver, CEO of Purism. “Qubes OS is a natural fit with the Purism Librem laptops in both functionality and ideology,” he added.

The Librem 13 notebook with Qubes OS can be found at the Purism crowdfunding page and starts at $1,649, with an additional $80 for shipping outside of the U.S.

Although the Librem 13 is the first certified notebook to support Qubes OS, those who think the pricing of the Librem 13 is a little high will be glad to learn that the Qubes OS team is also trying to partner with other PC makers to increase the availability of Qubes OS machines in more parts of the world and for a wider range of prices.

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Lucian Armasu joined Tom’s Hardware in early 2014. He writes news stories on mobile, chipsets, security, privacy, and anything else that might be of interest to him from the technology world. Outside of Tom’s Hardware, he dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

  • Marius Cirsta
    I bought hardware like this for $700 ( Lenovo Yoga Pro 3). I do value privacy and stuff but honestly not that much, it's not like I really have something to hide ... if I would than yes this would be worth it I suppose. Then again your privacy is only as good as you make it ... if you go to a website and provide information or your web browser tracks you or ....
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu
    17091651 said:
    I bought hardware like this for $700 ( Lenovo Yoga Pro 3). I do value privacy and stuff but honestly not that much, it's not like I really have something to hide ... if I would than yes this would be worth it I suppose. Then again your privacy is only as good as you make it ... if you go to a website and provide information or your web browser tracks you or ....

    You can try installing Qubes OS on your laptop, too.
    Reply
  • Marius Cirsta
    It's already running Linux .... well my desktop is, I don't really use laptops even though I have one. I find Linux enough of a not mainstream solution.
    As I've said I don't really feel like taking open source and privacy to that level ... If I would I'd just leave all my devices and build a cabin in the woods somewhere ... now that's 100% privacy guaranteed :)
    Reply
  • Urzu1000
    Wasn't there a virus a while back that checked to see if it was being run in a VM, and if it was, it proceeded to nuke the MBR? Sometimes being too secure makes you a target.

    This makes a pretty good case of it. https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/unpickable.png
    Reply
  • dE_logics
    It appears these guys don't know the concept of unix users and permissions.
    Reply