CrashCourse in how computers work for people coming to Qubes OS from non-Linux/BSD backgrounds

I have noticed, based on some of the questions posted here, that some members of the community simply don’t understand well enough how computers actually work to be able to use Qubes OS safely.

I have also notice that a lot are often unnecessarily worried about parts of their computer, purely because they do not properly understand how those parts work, what they do, how to fix them if they break, etc.

I’m not judging, because we all were like that once. You never really stop learning, if you think about it…. :grinning:

I’m not just talking about parts of Qubes OS, but things like BIOS/UEFI, TPM, networking, DNS, boot loaders, types of computer attacks, what information servers get about your computer when you interact with them….

You know, the usual stuff you’ve never had to know about if you have lived in Windows-land.

I also know that it is not their fault. Many of them have only really ever used computers that have kept these things hidden from them, patted them on the head, or even chastised them for being curious.

I have no doubt that they are more than capable of understand these thing if they were explained to them. Most of them are actually very enthusiastic and keen to learn. What lets them down is the fact that they try and associate these things with what they are familiar with (which, unfortunately, is often completely useless…).

My question is, does anyone know of any online resources that would give someone a crash course in these things?

  • They can’t be too technical (you know the attention span of people these days….)

  • They should ideally be able to get them to associate computer concepts with concepts that they are already familiar with (eg. the postal service with computer networking packets, phonebooks with DNS, etc.)

  • Ideally they should be short and sharp, but not ambiguous enough so that they get the wrong idea (like talking about “VPN tunnels”, when all they really need to know is that you’re getting another computer to do things online on your behalf, so nobody knows it’s actually you doing it…).

  • They shouldn’t use too many “buzzwords” to sound fancy and “high-tech”, at the expense of people actually understanding the concepts. (such as calling “a USB stick with a file containing your private key to amend the ledger” a “cold wallet where you can store your bitcoins safely”. That just leads people to erroneously think that they are keeping money on the USB stick, which could potentially leave them vulnerable to attacks because of their misunderstanding…)

  • They should ideally not have any tutorials containing non-free software (I die a little inside every time a Windows user asks how to download PuTTY for Linux :expressionless:)

  • They should not be something like a 5-hour YouTube video called “Cybersecurity - FULL COURSE” :joy:

These quick explainer resources would be amazing to refer people to in addition to Qubes OS resources when they are having difficulty with a Qubes OS concept that unfortunately also requires a decent background knowledge of computers/Linux :slightly_smiling_face:


that is nearly impossible