Qubes

I’m fortunate to be spending this week at Recurse Center, a fantastic “coder retreat” in Manhattan. Highly recommended! My goals for this short stay are: (a) dust off some coding skills that started to grow rusty, and (b) become more fluent in my favorite software language. To those ends, I’ve put together a set of tools that construct, sign and submit Ripple Consensus Ledger (RCL) transactions. There’s a reason I explicitly list construct, sign, and submit.

Qubes has recently published a release canditate for version 4.0. I’m upgrading my system, and taking some notes as I go… Users of Qubes know that template VMs tend to lag behind the latest release of an OS. As I write, for example, a Qubes template is based on Fedora 26, while Fedora 27 was released almost 3 months ago. I mention this not to fault the Qubes team, who do great work.

NOTE: The setting described below have security implications. See https://groups.google.com/d/msg/qubes-users/3amtMOIBTgI/rXLXmbM5AAAJ for discussion. At the moment, I am not recommending this approach. I’ll update here if I am able to improve on it. Caveat emptor! The Qubes operating system aims to be reasonably secure through isolation. One example of isolation: one Qubes virtual machine runs the windowing environment, while other VMs run applications displayed in that environment. This separation from the X11 environment means that an application, like skype or bluejeans, cannot share this screen.