Project: Computer for my Mom

  • Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5600G, 3.9 GHz, 16 MB, BOX (100-100000252BOX)
  • Silicon Power DDR4, 32 GB, 3200MHz, CL22 (SP032GBLFU320X22)
  • SSD Gigabyte 256GB M.2 2280 PCI-E x4 Gen3 NVMe (GP-GSM2NE3256GNTD)
  • ASRock B450M-HDV R4.0
  • Chieftec UNI UE-02B with power supply.

I this age, Malware and some other crap you find on Internet is easy to distribute and very problematic as you cannot tell how much damage makes.
After using QubesOS for almost a Year I felt like this is The Ultimate Browsing System.
I feel save, and also It’s a more private, but I do realize that is not design for privacy.
Yet, I don`t think I could use anything else, and so easy to just spin up a Temporary qube and be done with it after.
Of course there is some drawbacks and being well skilled windows XP operator :wink:
I’m getting familiar with this issues, and there’s a loot of them. But this don’t scare me and I see a powerful secure system in few years to come.

Start looking at my mom security stand point, and found that her current situation is not good in this matter.
So I decided that my mom need compartmentalization too, and she agreed on that too, surprisingly…
She already have laptop, HP somethin…8Gram and 1700pts in Passmark with KDE Plasma, equipped with every possible(secure-private) browser on the planet to separate her activities on web.
Laptop is sweating to generate several programs at ones, huge impact on system resources.
And the screen… afoul… terrible viewing angles and overall picture quality.

So I got her a new machine!
But first was looking for Dell Optiplex family.
As this PC-s are usually small and there is a loot of them on market, but found performance/price was bad, I even made calculation sheet for quick cpu, ram, disk space, look up.

After two month of searching I couldn’t get near to specs that I have now.
Even if I would bought the best of the best in this market, I still need to upgrade Ram and sometimes storage.
After that upgrade I would pay same or higher price as Brand new PC part, I’m talking about Dell machines that have more then 4 years old… crazy !!
For money I bought, its cheapest brand NEW long term PC for qubesOS as far I can tell.

So. My mom NEW computer…
Now we are in the middle of settings thing up, a lot of new qubes(like a lot) she is finding some things are practical and some not.
Like this irritating sound issue on 4.2 but of course there is a Fix for that.
QOS Setup was similar to my other Computers, and went smooth.
Except turning on Virtualization, was so deep in the BIOS settings I couldn’t find it.

But so far so good and of course a loot of learning, since my mom is more as a Click-User she is discovering new thing how they work.
It’s a working progress matter, needs time but I have feeling that all go well.


Uh, a bit off from Qubes.
Easy OS from Puppy Linux founder Barry Kauler.
Or, One of the other Puppy distros. Put Puppy, or Easy on SD card with switch. First option, put on SD card all the things you want to keep, Passwords, websites. (uses containers as well, although, I, personally am not sure of how well containers is secure.) shut down. Flip switch on SD card to do not allow SD card to be written to. Browsing; bat out of hell fast. Usually good sound. Easy to back up, and create a new, fresh SD card if something seems off. Easy to install Applications software. Pretty direct for a point and click User.

Requires blocking of being identified by other means, than Qubes.

Have to make some effort to block Google spying and such. It is not immediately anonymous.

Well, took a look at Puppy and I say…Pass, It’s easy on resources, and lack modern look.
My Mom use KDE on her laptop and KDE in Qubes, also is much easier to manage qubes at least for me :stuck_out_tongue: and explan how to do things on telephone it’s easier as well.

Also it’s about being Versatile, Yesterday I copy my Backup qube with some logins information already inside, I don`t need to worry that is missing something.
And also I can use it. :slight_smile:

Thank you for your Input.
Purpose in this case is to help my Mom change demand for Simplicity to learning Opportunity,
as Older folks don`t like changes.
Trying to show that you need to adopt or you gonna be left behind.

You could give a try with Endless OS. It’s an immutable debian (or ubuntu?) based system that features a gnome 3 desktop that looks like a smartphone, so it’s easy to use when you are used to smartphones (like most old people, I mean, they often know smartphones more than computers). It also auto updates so you don’t have to worry.

Yes, immutable OS was my option as well.
Gnome Environment is more Click-Point like but, mention earlier that older folks should learn more and don`t stagnate, this makes perfect opportunity to give my mother chance to learn that she gonna use on her self.
There is also Privacy, that seems to be Harder for Her to understand then QubesOS itself :crazy_face:

Just in mind: My Mom use Qubes already.
Trying to make a point that QOS is easy, even for older Generation.
Good Job Qubes Dev. and Whole Designers TEAM

1 Like

A bit unrelated, but I wrote about Immutable OS, they are not really providing anything exciting. My take is it’s almost only useful for servers because they have transactional upgrades so you don’t break running programs while updating your packages.


I have been arguing this for years - often against the tenor of Forum,
and mailing list, contributors.

One thing I do for naive users is rewrite the Menu - I use KDE and a
custom nested menu.
I try to remove the emphasis on templates and qubes - who cares about
that? Produce a menu that focusses on what the user wants to do.
“disposables” are often confusing - replace with “throw-away” or “single
If you have time add some scripts to help with creating and
editing documents in disposables.
Create some named disposables for (e.g) multimedia, office, etc. Access
them from minimal offline storage qubes, using appropriate mime entries
Focus on the user and their needs, not on the implementation.

If you do this at the beginning, with minimal training, you can cut
support calls to what I would see as “normal” levels. That is, no greater
than support for Mac or Windows users.
Of course, it may be that “support” calls are a good way of keeping in
touch with Mom, family, or friends.


In the spirit of what unman just said, another thing to consider, especially if they know smartphones but not “real” computers, is setting up shortcuts on the desktop to do things they want to do, that resembles their phone interface at least somewhat, and keeps them away from what might be an unfamiliar menu.

KDE lets you do both, and it lets you do keyboard shortcuts which I could care less about, but by all indications, unman really likes. KDE is probably the most configurable desktop out there; I’ve been using it for over a year and I still have no clue about the full extent of its capabilities. I both rearrange the menu (a LOT) and use lots of desktop shortcuts. My menu is still VM-centric but since each VM serves one purpose it’s not that far away from “what I want to do”.

(KDE also lets you create icons on the desktop, single-click even more like a phone.)

Thank you All here for your time to write this letter.
I see this Community Site very helpful, and makes my heart cherish when I talk to such intelligent people.
Everybody have wonderful ideas, willingness to help and endure.

Me, come here to ye with little education as you are. Trying to change something that may overcome myself and fail.
Yet I know when that dreadful day come, I shall not be alone.

Unman said: “Focus on the user and their needs”
And that I gonna do, but with less finesse and technological knowledge as you may assume of me.
Gonna do my best.

Wish you most good things happen, even today.