I’ve been an advanced Qubes OS user for about 10 years since R1 days and have followed Joanna’s & Marek’s posts regularly and community discussions semi-regularly.
I absolutely hate The Cloud. I’m the type of user who customizes my Qubes for greater security and privacy, writing my own utilities and scripts to go well beyond what the already great Qubes OS provides by default. If the Qubes OS project ever made third-party cloud hosting of my Qubes mandatory, then I would barf inside of a cube and mail it to the devs, anonymously of course. Seriously, Fsk The Cloud (other people’s computers).
That said, I was pleasantly thrilled to read Joanna’s vision/plans for Qubes Air, and can’t wait for Qubes Air to come to fruition.
While these hybrid computing concepts can be confusing to the average-skilled user, it was quite clear by the original postings that there was no vision/plan for any mandatory third-party cloud requirements or limitations. It was also clear that locally-running Qubes OS (as it is today) shall always be possible.
However, even though I hate The Cloud with a passion, I am very eager to consistently use the cloud features of Qubes Air.
While I truly hate The Public Cloud, I do very much love My Private Cloud (secure local network of devices).
With Qubes Air, I can’t wait to have my local desktop machine act as a Qube Server, and my other mobile devices act as Qube Clients, such as my laptops, tablets, maybe phones one day, etc, running/integrating Qubes all within my own tightly controlled private cloud (local network of computing devices exclusively within my home).
This Qubes Air implementation would securely and privately alleviate numerous pain points with running several local Qubes OS devices together. By reading the original posts, this clearly was part of the original envisioned plans for Qubes Air, and as a hater of The Public Cloud, I can’t wait to run Qubes Air on My Private Cloud of local, networked, trustworthy devices.
From consistent behavior over 10+ years, it is clear that the Qubes OS devs and team also have a healthy respect, culture, and userbase that supports owner controlled computing principles. While it is totally fine that Qubes can be seamlessly networked together, whether across a LAN, WAN, or the internet, and whether across first-party or third-party infrastructure/computers, it is vital that no third-party internet requirements be mandatory. And it was very clear to me, from the original postings, that no such bad requirements would be mandatory, and that local Qubes OS computing would always be available as it is today.
Could there be some conspiracy to make Qubes OS into a third-party internet-cloud ONLY hosted system over time? That’s just an farfetched possibility that has no basis in the demonstrated reality of what the Qubes OS project and people are about. And the Qubes project is easily forked and re-released by us cloud-contageous local-loving community developers if the Qubes team were to ever sell out and stop supporting local-running Qubes. Build and sell Qubes as a Service all you want, but always allow Qubes OS to run offline, locally on one PC or optionally locally on multiple PCs/devices. After being with Qubes OS from since the early days, and reading the Qubes Air postings multiple times, I see no reasonable indication that the Qubes team is planning anything bad here, which I and others like me would dislike on our machines. Easy to fork and re-release, if some great conspiracy makes me wrong though.
Fear not, fellow community members, Qubes Air should be a great enhancement (and entirely optional), which can actually help us users who love our locally-running security and privacy systems, and who hate The Cloud with a passion.
Think of the very neat possibilities of running a Qubes Desktop Server and then branching (locally networking) off of that server with your mobile devices, such your laptops, tablets, and maybe phones one day, in order to have an integrated cross-device Qubes environment working seamlessly together, which is all locally networked and kept far away from The Public Cloud if you choose (or even totally air-gaped offline).
If you hate The Cloud like me, then you should still want Qubes Air, as it is optional and also very useful within Your Own Cloud (your own private/secure local network of devices).