Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha)

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Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Joanna Rutkowska 8/10/15 8:24 AM
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Hello,

We have built and uploaded the first ever working Qubes Live USB image! :)

It's based on the recently released 3.0-rc2 release. Now you should be able to
run and try Qubes OS of any laptop without needing to install it anywhere! And
perhaps run Qubes HCL reporting tool and send us some more data? [1]

We have faced several challenges when making this Live USB edition of Qubes OS,
which traditional Linux distro don't need to bother with:

1. We needed to ensure Xen is properly started when booting the stick. In fact
we still don't support UEFI boot for the sitck for this reason, even though the
Fedora liveusb creator we used does support it. Only legacy boot for this
version, sorry.

2. We discovered that the Fedora liveusb-create does _not_ verify signatures on
downloaded packages -- we have temporarily fixed that by creating a local repo,
verifying the signatures manually (ok, with a script ;) and then building from
there. Sigh.

3. We had to solve the problem of Qubes too easily triggering Out Of Memory
condition in Dom0 when running as Live OS.

This last problem has been a result of Qubes using the copy-on-write backing for
the VM's root filesystems, which is used to implement our cool Template-based
scheme [2]. Normally these are backed by regular files on disk -- even though
these files are discardable upon VM reboots, they must be preserved during the
VM's life span, and they can easily grow to a few tens of MBs per VM, sometimes
even more. Also, each of the VM's private image, which essentially holds just
the user home directory, typically starts with a few tens of MBs for an "empty
VM". Now, while these represent rather insignificant numbers on a disk-basked
system, in case of a LiveUSB scenarios all these files must be stored in RAM,
which is always a scare resource on any OS, and especially Qubes.

We have implemented some quick optimizations in order to minimize the above
problem, but this is still far from a proper solution. We're planning to work
more on this next.

Now, there are three directions in how we want to work further on this Qubes
Live USB variant:

1. Introduce easily clickable "install to disk" option, merging this with the
Qubes installation ISO. So, e.g. make it possible to first see if the given
hardware is compatible with Qubes (run the hcl reporting tool) and only then
install on the main disk. Also, ensure UEFI boot works well.

2. Introduce options for persistence while still running this out of a USB
stick. This would be achieved by allowing (select) VMs' private images to be
stored on the r/w partition (or on another stick).

2a. A nice variant of this persistence option, especially for frequent
travellers, I think, would be to augment our backup tools so that it was
possible to create a LiveUSB-hosted backups of select VMs. One could then pick a
few of their VMs, necessary for a specific travel, back them to a LiveUSB stick,
and take this stick when traveling to a hostile country (not risking taking
other, more sensitive ones for the travel). This should make life a bit simpler
for some ... [3]

3. Introduce more useful preconfigured VMs setup, especially including
Whonix/Tor VMs.

[1] https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/HCL/
[2] https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/SoftwareUpdateVM/
[3] https://twitter.com/rootkovska/status/541980196849872896


Current limitations
- --------------------

0. It's considered an alpha currently, so meter your expectations
accordingly...

1. Currently just the 3 exemplary VMs (untrusted, personal, work), plus the
default net and firewall VMs are created automatically,

2. The user has an option to manually (i.e. via command line) create an
additional partition, e.g. for storing GPG keyring, and then mounting it to a
select VMs. This is to add poor-man's persistence. We will be working on
improving/automating that, of course,

3. Currently there is no option of "install to disk". We will be adding this
in the future,

4. The amount of "disk" space is limited by the amount of RAM the laptop
has. This has a side effect of e.g. not being able to restore (even few) VMs
from a large Qubes backup blob,

5. It's ease to generate Out Of Memory (OOM) in Dom0 rather easily by creating
lots of VMs are writing a lot into the VMs filesystem... (Alpha, right?)

6. There is no DispVM savefile, so if one starts one the savefile must be
regenerated which takes about 1-2 mins.

7. UEFI boot doesn't work, and if you try booting it via UEFI Xen will not be
started, rendering the whole experiment unusable.

We're planning to release an updated version sometime in September.

Download and burning
- ---------------------

Get the ISO (and its signature for verification):

http://ftp.qubes-os.org/iso/Qubes-R3.0-rc2-x86_64-LIVE.iso
http://ftp.qubes-os.org/iso/Qubes-R3.0-rc2-x86_64-LIVE.iso.asc

Then "burn" onto a USB stick (replace /dev/sdX with your USB stick device):

$ sudo dd if=Qubes-R3.0-rc2-x86_64-LIVE.iso of=/dev/sdX

Note that you should specify the whole device, (e.g. /dev/sdc, not a single
partition, e.g. /dev/sdc1).

And, please, please, make sure to use caution and not overwrite your HDD or
other important device. And in case you do, please, please, do not email
qubes-users complaining about ;P

Happy Live-Qubesing! ;)

joanna.
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Re: [qubes-devel] Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) nicolas wagrez 8/10/15 9:14 AM

That's very good news!  You and your team are doing an awesome job!

Is there a minimum recommended amount of ram for this alpha since you mention the out of memory concerns?

Nicolas

Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Vít Šesták 8/10/15 9:26 AM
Cool. Having both a live system and installer on one media will be great.

Regards,
Vít Šesták 'v6ak'
Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Francesco 8/10/15 11:35 AM

Thanks
Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Outback Dingo 8/11/15 2:58 AM


welp tried it on a laptop after burning the image to an 8Gb usb stick, 10 mins to boot and failed with 

Warning: /dev/disk/by-label/qubes-R3-rc2-x86_64-LIVE does not exist
Warning: /dev/mapper/live-rw does not exist


so i guess... FAIL! has anyone else attempted to boot this ?

 


Thanks

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Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) wish...@gmail.com 8/11/15 12:17 PM
Hey,

On Monday, 10 August 2015 15:24:23 UTC, Joanna Rutkowska  wrote:
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>
> Hello,
>
> We have built and uploaded the first ever working Qubes Live USB image! :)

thanks a lot. I tested it on a known compatible system and it booted fine and works like a charm. I think this can also help compatibility testing.

I tried to add bbswitch to deactivate the discrete gfx card, but the yum repository / cache seems to be broken (files missing).
I understand that without persistence that might not seem like an issue at all. However the system would overheat. I recommend adding bbswitch (only that https://github.com/Bumblebee-Project/bbswitch) to the Live image, because it appears to target travelers. Compiling a kernel extension for the dom0 is a little tricky I think, without GCC / dkms / build-essentials /yum.

Best,
Marius

Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) edwin...@gmail.com 8/12/15 8:59 AM
I've just tried the Live USB (see other email 'HCL - M5A99FX PRO R2.0') and it booted fine (in legacy BIOS mode, on an otherwise UEFI BIOS).

I had to update /etc/resolv.conf in the VMs, because I got this by default which didn't work:
[user@untrusted ~]$ cat /etc/resolv.conf
nameserver 10.137.2.1
nameserver 10.137.2.254

After I updated /etc/resolv.conf to this then Firefox and ping worked:
[user@untrusted ~]$ cat /etc/resolv.conf
nameserver 10.137.1.1
nameserver 10.137.1.254

Any idea why I got the wrong DNS server for the VMs?

Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Andre Soileau 9/3/15 9:24 AM
Where are you writing the temporary AppVM files to on the USB stick? I'd like to modify this so the USB stick (or sd card) is read only, with changes only in RAM. You had mentioned RAM being the limitation, and I'd like to try to make a version that only uses RAM.
Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Marek Marczykowski-Górecki 9/3/15 9:50 AM
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Actually this version uses only RAM for it.

- --
Best Regards,
Marek Marczykowski-Górecki
Invisible Things Lab
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
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Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Marek Marczykowski-Górecki 9/3/15 2:43 PM
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On Thu, Sep 03, 2015 at 06:50:50PM +0200, Marek Marczykowski-Górecki wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 03, 2015 at 09:24:59AM -0700, Andre Soileau wrote:
> > Where are you writing the temporary AppVM files to on the USB stick? I'd
> > like to modify this so the USB stick (or sd card) is read only, with
> > changes only in RAM. You had mentioned RAM being the limitation, and I'd
> > like to try to make a version that only uses RAM.
>
> Actually this version uses only RAM for it.

Take a look at the message "Live USB warning" on qubes-users ML[1]. It isn't exactly true
that "only" word in the above sentence.

[1]
https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/qubes-users/20150903213020.GC1040%40mail-itl
- --
Best Regards,
Marek Marczykowski-Górecki
Invisible Things Lab
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
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Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) 1empt...@gmail.com 10/7/15 10:30 AM

Thank You

Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) talex5...@gmail.com 10/11/15 8:56 AM
On Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at 10:58:35 AM UTC+1, Outback Dingo wrote:
[...]
> Happy Live-Qubesing! ;)
>
>
> welp tried it on a laptop after burning the image to an 8Gb usb stick, 10 mins to boot and failed with 
>
>
> Warning: /dev/disk/by-label/qubes-R3-rc2-x86_64-LIVE does not exist
>
> Warning: /dev/mapper/live-rw does not exist
>
>
> so i guess... FAIL! has anyone else attempted to boot this ?

Same here. Long wait, then a Dracut prompt. The USB stick doesn't seem to be recognised at all (it would be really nice if Qubes could disable Plymouth, so we didn't have to wait so long to see why the boot failed).

Is it worth trying again with the 3.1-alpha, or will the same thing happen? (I am trying to investigate my problem with slow window rendering by trying other versions of Qubes).
Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) andrea...@snikt.net 10/11/15 1:01 PM
Same here on a Dell Latitude E7440. The USB drive is not detected (haven't found it within dmesg when grepping for the vendor or usb-id). Maybe it's related to the internal USB-connected devices (modem, etc.)?

Stored log files (rdsosreport.txt, dmesg and lspci output) if this helps you.

cheers, Andreas
Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Marek Marczykowski-Górecki 10/11/15 2:53 PM
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lspci, lsmod and dmesg would be useful. I guess initramfs doesn't
contain a driver for your USB controller. The question is - which one
should it be?

- --
Best Regards,
Marek Marczykowski-Górecki
Invisible Things Lab
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
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Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Andreas Happe 10/11/15 3:02 PM
Hi,

On Sun, Oct 11, 2015 at 11:53 PM, Marek Marczykowski-Górecki <marm...@invisiblethingslab.com> wrote:
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lspci, lsmod and dmesg would be useful. I guess initramfs doesn't
contain a driver for your USB controller. The question is - which one
should it be?

Attached.

Within my main Linux distribution the output would be:

[ andy ] [~] > lspci                                                                                          []
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Haswell-ULT DRAM Controller (rev 0b)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Haswell-ULT Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0b)
00:03.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Haswell-ULT HD Audio Controller (rev 0b)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series USB xHCI HC (rev 04)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series HECI #0 (rev 04)
00:16.3 Serial controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series HECI KT (rev 04)
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection I218-LM (rev 04)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 8 Series HD Audio Controller (rev 04)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series PCI Express Root Port 1 (rev e4)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series PCI Express Root Port 4 (rev e4)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series PCI Express Root Port 5 (rev e4)
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series USB EHCI #1 (rev 04)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series LPC Controller (rev 04)
00:1f.2 RAID bus controller: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile SATA Controller [RAID mode] (rev 04)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 8 Series SMBus Controller (rev 04)
02:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Wireless 7260 (rev 73)
03:00.0 SD Host controller: O2 Micro, Inc. SD/MMC Card Reader Controller (rev 01)
[ andy ] [~] > lsusb                                                                                          []
Bus 003 Device 004: ID 0a5c:5801 Broadcom Corp. BCM5880 Secure Applications Processor with fingerprint swipe sensor
Bus 003 Device 003: ID 8087:07dc Intel Corp.
Bus 003 Device 002: ID 8087:8000 Intel Corp.
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 413c:81a3 Dell Computer Corp.
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0c45:64d2 Microdia
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

The loaded usb drivers (within ubuntu) would be: xhci_hcd, ehci_hcd, ohci_hcd (all compiled in).

A similar error happens on my desktop (same hardware ids for usb).

cheers,
Andreas Happe
--
GPG-Key-Id: DD436203
Github:     https://github.com/andreashappe
Linked-In:  http://at.linkedin.com/in/andreashappe

Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Marek Marczykowski-Górecki 10/11/15 4:50 PM
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I can't see output of lsmod (or cat /proc/modules) in that data. But
anyway it looks like USB3.0 driver is missing. xhci_hcd and/or xhci_pci.

Next images will contain those. But for now you can try using USB 2.0
stick...

- --
Best Regards,
Marek Marczykowski-Górecki
Invisible Things Lab
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
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Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Andreas Happe 10/12/15 12:27 AM

Sorry, I've just sent you the data that I had available.

I think it was an usb 2.0 stick on a usb 3.0 port (but am not 100% sure), I will retry on my desktop -- there should be some USB 2.0 Ports on it (easier to identify).

cheers, Andreas
Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Ethratian 10/12/15 8:37 AM
Thanks for the good work.

I tried to use the Live-Version on my Win10 Laptop but wasn't able to.

I burnt the two files (iso + signature) to my USB-Stick but nothing happens when the stick is plugged in.

Any suggestions?

Regards
Ethratian


On Monday, August 10, 2015 at 5:24:23 PM UTC+2, Joanna Rutkowska wrote:
Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) obert...@gmail.com 11/8/15 8:12 AM
Bios -  
I have two laptops , they both ahd UEFI  ..  
  the lenovo, has a secure boot button, when I power that up, i don't see the USB drive to boot from,  on the ASUS laptop,  also do not see this,  
did you manually add this in the bios ?  can you say how, or
you used an old PC without UEFI bios

Thanks

Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) blzal...@gmail.com 11/8/15 12:40 PM
Can we edit the Qubes ISO somehow? I'm interested in burning this onto a Blu-ray along with all my development tools.
Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Marek Marczykowski-Górecki 11/8/15 3:24 PM
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On Sun, Nov 08, 2015 at 12:40:28PM -0800, blzal...@gmail.com wrote:
> Can we edit the Qubes ISO somehow? I'm interested in burning this onto a Blu-ray along with all my development tools.

You can build it yourself with your additions using qubes-buider[1].
Enable Live image build with ISO_LIVEUSB=1 option in builder.conf.

You can add additional packages in appropriate builder plugin:
 - for Fedora template:
   qubes-src/builder-fedora/template_scripts/packages_fc21.list
 - for Debian template:
   qubes-src/builder-debian/template_debian/packages_jessie.list

You need to make the changes after 'make get-sources', but before 'make
qubes'.

[1] https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/qubes-builder/

- --
Best Regards,
Marek Marczykowski-Górecki
Invisible Things Lab
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
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Re: [qubes-devel] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Outback Dingo 11/20/15 2:37 AM


also i noticed that it claims UEFI boot wount work, however Im curious if you configured grub properly to boot XEN / Fedora uunder UEFI.. i have Fedora23 loaded with XEN on another laptop boots from UEFI fine... my config is

 cat /boot/efi/EFI/XEN/xen.cfg                                                                                        
[global]
default=xen    
[xen]  
options=console=vga,com1 com1=57600 loglvl=all noreboot placeholder root=/dev/mapper/fedora-root ro rd.lvm.lv=fedora/root rd.luks.uuid=luks-
a0621303-807a-448b-bbdc-d9da4edd5af6 rd.lvm.lv=fedora/swap rhgb quiet    
kernel=vmlinuz-4.2.6-300.fc23.x86_64 placeholder root=/dev/mapper/fedora-root ro rd.lvm.lv=fedora/root rd.luks.uuid=luks-a0621303-807a-448b-
bbdc-d9da4edd5af6 rd.lvm.lv=fedora/swap rhgb quiet ramdisk=initramfs-4.2.6-300.fc23.x86_64.img    

mind you Im using the recommended grub.cfg for XEN UEFI boot.
is Qubes setup the same way ?



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Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Stefano M. 12/28/15 2:44 AM

Same here with Dell Latitude E5440...
Then changed USB port and worked! :)
(worked on the one on the back of the portable pc, while not worked on the right side)
I think ok was usb2 key on usb2 port.

@Joanna&QubeOS team: thank you for your efforts, great job!!!

Happy hacking!
_Stefano
Re: [qubes-devel] Re: [qubes-users] Re: Introducing Qubes 3.0 LiveUSB (alpha) Stefano M. 12/28/15 2:45 AM

Same here with Dell Latitude E5440...
Then changed USB port and worked! :)
(worked on the one on the back of the portable pc, while not worked on the right side)
I think ok was usb2 key on usb2 port.

@Joanna&QubesOS team: thank you for your efforts, great job!!!


Happy hacking!
_Stefano


Il giorno domenica 11 ottobre 2015 22:01:00 UTC+2, andrea...@snikt.net ha scritto:
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