DisposableVM - Static vs. Custom

https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/disposablevm-customization/ makes a (by the volume of text, large) distinction between Static and Custom DisposableVMs, but I can’t see it.

From the qvm-create of the DispVM on, it seems to me the two are identical. Am I missing something?

The only custom[ization] I see is in the DisposableVMTemplate AppVM, where in the Custom case changes are made. However, this step is listed as (optional) - if not done, hasn’t a Static been created?

To phrase the issue a different way, aren’t there really only 2 types of DisposableVM:

  • “dispNNNN” DisposableVM:
    – NOT pre-created
    – template has appmenus-dispvm set to 1
    – dispNNNNs are created on the fly
  • “Named” DisposableVM:
    – IS pre-created
    – uses the same name every time

And at the DisposableVMTemplate level, a given DisposableVMTemplate AppVM can be:

  • Customized (changed from its underlying TemplateVM) or not as needed
  • At the same time the template for any number of “dispNNNN” as well as “Named” DisposableVMs

If the above is accurate, it seems to be a simpler (3 vs. 2 types), more concise view of both levels.

So, the question is: What am I missing or mis-understanding?


I’m not sure you are missing anything.
Why not try rewriting that page and submit a PR?

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Perhaps… But somebody(s) sometime conceived of and spent time documenting “Static” and “Custom” - should first have an understanding of what they were thinking…

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There my be quite a few people contributing to the post. so there may be no input coming for you before you submit PR.

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On a quick view I think those sections were in the first draft of this
It does need a rewrite to avoid this duplication. Why not have a go?


Thanks @panati, @unman.

Never done a PR, and won’t have time for at least 2-3 weeks… Might need to update a thing or two on the DispVM page as well - seems there’s some 3.2 stuff left over…

We’ll see how life goes & if anyone else chimes in with thoughts.

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DispVM vs disposable AppVM? I wonder about this myself.

I have a combination of both. The disposable AppVM seems leaner because it doesn’t require a template, but is it more secure (AppVM > TemplateVM)? If the DispVM is compromised, does it mean it has an extra template layer of protection before the TemplateVM can be compromised (DispVM > AppVM-dvm > TemplateVM)?