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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.


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.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.