Qubes OS is a project which creates an operating system that isolates tasks and information using Xen lightweight virtual machines. The project is previewing features for the upcoming release of Qubes OS 4.0 in a series of blog posts. The latest post covers different classes of virtual machines. Qubes implements explicit partitioning security model, which means that users (and/or admins) can define multiple security domains and decide what these domains can and cannot do. This is a different model than the popular sandboxing model, as implemented by increasingly many applications and products today, where every application is automatically sandboxed and some more-or-less pre-defined set of rules is used to prevent behaviour considered 'unsafe' (whatever that might mean). I believe the explicit partitioning model provides many benefits over the sandboxing model, among the most important one being that it is information-oriented, rather than application-oriented. In other words it tries to limit damage to the (user’s) data, rather to the (vendor’s) code and infrastructure. There have always been a few different kinds of VMs in Qubes: AppVMs, Template VMs, Standalone VMs, NetVMs, ProxyVMs, DispVM, etc. In Qubes 4 we have slightly simplified and cleaned up these categories..."
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