Proposal for re-organizing the HCL

After you spend 45 minutes installing Qubes OS. A live image with that HCL dump functionality in it would be a good incentive for more people, including hardware vendors, to provide report and, potentially, to get broader hardware support in Qubes OS.


Mine too. And that is exactly why I don’t publish HCL report. Why would I force someone to put it on any list helplessly, while compromising my privacy/anonymity.

I can’t not to have an impression that only certain models are favored.

At the end of the day: I choose each of my laptops carefully studying Qubes specs and requirements, eventually and actually never needed HCL list.


That means, that the approach should change drastically.

True, but some things are hard to check reliably this way without an actual test, e.g. behavior of wifi or bluetooth modules.

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Are you more interested in resurrecting Qubes OS LiveCD support or just report tool that is possible to run without installation from any other LiveCD (e.g. from any GNU/Linux distro)?

Good question! I didn’t think of that live CD until I realized it would make for an easier entry point to coĺlecting broader hardware information for the HCL and, possibly, allow to identify alternative workig hardware for Qubes OS. However, a live CD could also ease newcomers into Qubes OS in general, so it is not a bad idea from that standpoint either. And the immutable medium would also provide useful properties too (similar to Tails).

But this discussion would need a different thread to avoid derailing the HCL one.

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I made a draft of the list of steps that user should check for entering the future RECOMMENDED list (HCL is also required).
Not all steps can be applicable, for the skipped steps the reason they were why skipped should be provided.


  • Any problems with installation
  • Was latest kernel required?
  • Were some additional kernel options required?

Basic Input

  • Keyboard
  • External USB mouse [if possible to check]
  • Touch-pad
  • Touch-pad supports “tap as click” and scrolling with 2 fingers works,
  • Display brightness change shortcuts,
  • Sound volume shortcuts,
  • Keyboard led and keyboard brightness change shortcuts,
  • Output of xinput --list from terminal of dom0
  • Check if keyboard and/or touchpad is PS/2 connected (how to check)

Internet and bluetooth

  • Ethernet cable connection - works out of the box or actions were required?
  • Ethernet cable connection - speed
  • Wifi connection - works out of the box or actions were required?
  • Wifi connection - speed, is reliable over the time?
  • Bluetooth - works out of the box or actions were required?
  • Bluetooth - shows devices, connection process works, sound output or copying works.


  • Suspend/Resume works - works out of the box or actions were required?
  • Does resume breaks WiFi, if it does, how to recover it?
  • Does resume breaks Bluetooth, if it does, how to recover it?

Video [increase VCPU to the qube before test]

  • Fullscreen and windowed video playback of youtube - 720p/1080p/2K/4K in Firefox. Does it drop frames?
  • Video file playback of file using mpv/mplayer/smplayer - 1080p? Higher resolutions and bitrates?
  • Multiple displays configuration works (using available DP/Thunderbolt, HDMI or other video ports,


  • Speakers (sound playback) (was sys-audio used?),
  • Head-phones via 3.5" jack (works, automatically turns off speakers?)
  • Sound output via HDMI
  • Audio-optical (S/PDIF) output


  • Are fans silent on idle?
  • Are fans noisier than on Windows/Linux?. If they are, was thankfan or similar software tried?


  • Have you tried running Windows 10 HVM qubes?
  • Does CPU boost seem to be working properly?


  • Link to the laptop page on the brand website,
  • Display native resolution,
  • Maximum possible RAM memory,
  • CPU score (from PassMark - CPU Comparison),
  • Number of USB Controllers and if more than one: information what internal USB devices and USB ports are connected to which controller.
  • Internal TPM

While this is great and extremely detailed draft (thanks for it!), I’d ask myself would it motivate user to do such exhaustive test?

The more sensitive question: I can imagine new user thinking to switch to Qubes and, naturally checking such a list, only to find out there is practically no computer without issues with Qubes on it, or not affordable or available. How many of those issue stated in HCL would come from users not experienced enough to check properly all the entries (those not automated)?

Even if it could be confirmed it’s human error prone free, how would new users know what is essential enough to use Qubes? For example, would not-working touchpad frighten new user?

For me, for example, it was always most (if not only) important to choose the strongest affordable compatible CPU, as many as possible USB controllers (and recently TB, of course), and to be able to upgrade over max RAM and storage (being aware that max declared isn’t usually max possible, because of the non-existent bigger single bank storage at the moment of releasing MB/CPU on the market).

Everything else, I’m more than ready to compensate one way or another or to accept as complete trade-off. Even BIOS that you didn’t mention, isn’t an issue for me - my choice analog to, for example, devs’ choice to use untrusted distro (whichever) for dom0.

Please consider this post as brain storming.


I didn’t mean they should be deleted.

The HCL entry could link to a forum wiki post for that model, which contains links to all the HCL reports for that model. When someone submits a new HCL report for an already existing model, after their report is accepted the wiki post get updated with a link to their report, and their thread with the report gets locked.

You would still have all the HCL reports, with links from the main thread. The HCL would only have a single entry for each model, and there would be a single thread for discussing each model.

It would make the HCL easier to read, it would be easier to find existing information on the model, and there would be an obvious place to ask questions about the model.

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Ah, I see. Yes, that makes sense.

I think there will be no issue with that, the community is great, people are ready to spend time and provide information valuable for others:

  • I myself filled the HCL with similar level of details, including instructions for other users: HCL - Apple MacBook Pro (11,1)
  • Other users also provided a lot of details in their HCLs and forum posts in the recommended list topic (but still failed to get to the list for too strict criteria that should be lifted).
  • I tried this list on the most recent HCL report: HCL - Dell Precision 5510 i7-6820HQ and the user @Qubesthrowaway managed to fill most of the gaps. The HCL became more detailed, didn’t it?

And users that are new to Qubes OS and not advanced enough to check the list, or ones who are not willing to proceed, can send HCL reports in usual way without additional info. These HCL reports are almost useless to my opinion for the community.

The result should be present as a big table that shows that almost everything works for recommended models. It is not a problem that something is not working or requires script/workaround if user knows it in advanced. Not all laptops work perfectly well even with GNU/Linux.

Models, that are not meet basic criteria of having something essential (like having VT-d, or sufficient memory) will not present int he recommended list at all.

About touchpad: user can decide themselves. You maybe do not value it that much but maybe some users choose the device based on how good touchpad is. So, it simply should be in the table to choose.

This list should be improved with collapsible or links to instructions how to check each (or many) step.

I think we should consider to direct users first to confirm if their computer works with Linux at all, for example here:

If they can’t find their specific model there, they should search for each specific part of it on the same site:

And then, and only then to come to our Qubes OS HCL, because previous lists are basically Linux HCLs. Experienced user here can confirm that not that rarely some devices weren’t working with Qubes because they actually never worked with Linux at all in the first place (no driver, or whatever). Sometime later, we should consider to encourage whoever to post their HCL reports to the site above, or maintainers to export whole QUbes OS HCL there. That could be a way to further promote Qubes.

At least that’s how I researched for my eventual choices.

I don’t really understand the core criticism of the Community Recommended Computers. Are you saying that there are many laptops working well with Qubes that are not on the list? Do you have data to confirm that? If yes, those computers will be included. Asking too much (like flawless support of multiple displays) may result in almost zero candidates AFAIK.

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Not many, but some. And none of them are on the recommended list.
In fact, there are ZERO laptops on this list that can be bought in the usual (offline) shop or even online shop without cross-country or cross-continent delivery. No mass market means the list is almost empty from this perspective.

Yes, at least several Lenovo models work quite well, including S3 sleep. New user will never know about such cases with the current recommended list, which is almost a copy of certified list with online-delivery-available laptops only.

Nobody is asking that. It is just something that user should know in advance. About asking much: the demands of the current list are so strict that the list is almost empty (no mass market).

Did you see the criteria of laptop inclusion in the list? Show me two independent, appropriate HCL reports and I will add the laptops.

Yes. I think at least these 2 are bad:

  • Qubes OS installs without any workarounds
  • Graphics, networking, audio & suspend work without troubleshooting

Workarounds and troubleshooting are fine for users if there is information how to solve the problem. I believe there are/were some issues with the certified laptops (like NV41 required installation with kernel-latest only), intel graphics workarounds also apply and etc. It is all solvable, it is all almost the same as some of modern Thinkpads.

First of all, I do not think it is a good idea, to add something without proper details and listing all available and working/not working features. Even certified laptops lacks such information, so I do not consider it to be a great list.

Secondly, what do you think about this laptop (proposal by @moonlitOrca:

How can laptop like that not be on the recommended list? It looks to me million times better than any other option from the “recommended” list, because people can (could) actually go to the shop and buy it.

Add some kernel options, change some config and have great Qubes OS laptop. Users do this for GNU/Linux all the time, why it should not be the case for Qubes OS.

Well, I think we all are basically “now thinking with Qubes”, when outcome is. The way I see current situation is - today’s computers are immensely more compatible with Qubes than before. So I imagine we should encourage users towards that direction.

I bought my last laptop with multiple minor issues regarding either by design (no external display via iGPU, or is it Linux actually? This info you can get only by try-n-tell, no company will get you this info), or regarding Qubes, but I adjusted it (and myself in terms of habits) so I could virtually flawlessly using it with Qubes, never thinking some other OS could be on it.

As @renehoj mentioned above, the T480 is presumably such a laptop?

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If nothing has been done at this point for this issue, you may as well create your own database, table and HCL report script, then share it with the Qubes community to prove your implementation works.

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@balko I believe that the difference between USB controllers and ports is (still) a difficulty. (I’ve no doubt you’ve noticed.)

As my two cents: I find the “how to check” that you did for checking if the touchpad/keyboad are connected over PS/2 very straightforward, if you know how to do a similar one for USB controllers, I believe that would help getting more data on this section.

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