The Star Labs StarBook is Qubes-certified!

It is our pleasure to announce that the Star Labs StarBook is officially certified for Qubes OS Release 4!

The Star Labs StarBook

The Star Labs StarBook is a 14-inch laptop featuring open-source coreboot and EDK II firmware. In addition, the StarBook is currently the only Qubes-certified computer with out-of-the-box support for qubes-fwupdmgr, a new feature in Qubes OS 4.2 that allows Qubes OS to securely update the computer’s firmware.

Photo of Star Labs StarBook

The Qubes developers have tested and certified the following StarBook configuration options for Qubes OS 4.X:

Component Qubes-certified options
Processor 13th Generation Intel Core i3-1315U or i7-1360P
Memory 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB RAM
Storage 512 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB SSD
Graphics Intel (integrated graphics)
Networking Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX210 (no built-in wired Ethernet)
Firmware coreboot 8.97 (2023-10-03)
Operating system Qubes OS (pre-installation optional)

Photo of Star Labs StarBook

The StarBook features a true matte 14-inch IPS display at 1920x1080 full HD resolution with 400cd/m² of brightness, 178° viewing angles, and a 180° hinge. The backlit keyboard is available in US English, UK English, French, German, Nordic, and Spanish layouts.

Photo of Star Labs StarBook

The StarBook includes four USB ports (1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB 3.0, and 1x USB 2.0), one HDMI port, a microSD slot, an audio input/output combo jack, and a DC jack for charging. For more information, see the official Star Labs StarBook page.

Photo of Star Labs StarBook

Special note regarding the need for kernel-latest on Qubes OS 4.1

Beginning with Qubes OS 4.1.2, the Qubes installer includes the kernel-latest package and allows users to select this kernel option from the GRUB menu when booting the installer. If you purchase a StarBook with Qubes OS 4.2 preinstalled, you don’t have to worry about this, as Qubes OS 4.2 is confirmed to work with the default kernel option and does not require kernel-latest. However, if you plan to install Qubes OS 4.1 on the StarBook, please be aware that you will have to select this non-default option.

About Star Labs

In short, we’re just a bunch of geeks. Back in 2016, Star Labs was formed in a pub. We all depended on using Linux, all with different laptops and all with different complaints about them. It always perplexed us that a laptop had never been made specifically for Linux. Whilst many had been “converted” to run Linux - they seldom offered the experience that macOS and Windows users had. So, after a few pints, we decided to make one. Read the full story on the Star Labs website.

What is Qubes-certified hardware?

Qubes-certified hardware is hardware that has been certified by the Qubes developers as compatible with a specific major release of Qubes OS. All Qubes-certified devices are available for purchase with Qubes OS preinstalled. Beginning with Qubes 4.0, in order to achieve certification, the hardware must satisfy a rigorous set of [requirements], and the vendor must commit to offering customers the very same configuration (same motherboard, same screen, same BIOS version, same Wi-Fi module, etc.) for at least one year.

Qubes-certified computers are specific models that are regularly tested by the Qubes developers to ensure compatibility with all of Qubes’ features. The developers test all new major versions and updates to ensure that no regressions are introduced.

It is important to note, however, that Qubes hardware certification certifies only that a particular hardware configuration is supported by Qubes. The Qubes OS Project takes no responsibility for any vendor’s manufacturing, shipping, payment, or other practices, nor can we control whether physical hardware is modified (whether maliciously or otherwise) en route to the user.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.qubes-os.org/news/2024/01/10/starlabs-starbook-qubes-certified/
12 Likes

Great news to see Qubes os certified on my laptop :slight_smile:

The choice of coreboot on a freedom-focused hardware and a performant CPU (not bad graphics for integrated but no GPU) made me chose it. The esthetics is polished and feels strong and elegant. It’s light weight and high-capacity battery make it also a good choice to roam around !

I had several issues before 4.2, specifically the lack of support for the GPU, which was solved first for window manager - or renderer - with kernel-latest. And issues with graphics in VMs were solved by 4.2 upgrade here, a 720p video would cap at 10-15 fps and I had no chance of opening a 3d game (5 spf instead of fps). I didn’t have this type of issues again since upgrade and daily usage feels much more convenient (4.2 brought it’s own set of improvement - UX and parallel and automated upgrades :sunglasses:).

But after less than a year of usage, I would still probably not chose it again (I’m choosy and would have a hard time to find an alternative for a modern freedom-focused laptop - I am coming from Lenovo x200) :

  • The keyboard looked “used” after only a few months of usage,
  • The first power cable died in 6 months and the second is dying slowly (the plug feels weak), I hope it’s about the cables and not the MB plug, usb-c reassures me a little. (I still have the original 10-years old Lenovo charger and cable, for reference),
  • Fan feels like a jet taking-off when using compute power (Qubes is inherently heavy). xenpm was very useful too change governor and fan speed as a consequence. But fan speed management improved with firmware upgrade lately and only more intensive usages are leading to a huge noise. Should not be a deserving criteria anymore especially you can easily tweak fan behaviour from coreboot.

Thank you both to Qubes os developers and contributors and to Starlabs team to contribute this much to the too-small freedom-focused eco-system.

2 Likes

I’m actually considering getting one of these…but not immediately. I have a Librem13 now which works (running 4.1) but it’s very slow. (Not a ding on the Librem13, it’s being asked to do a lot.) The L13 is a 6th generation i7, which makes me wonder how a 13th generation i3 will compare with it. But going to the current i7 with the StarBook is a huge jump in price.

We can call it a day and night difference if you need compute power. Even comparing 6th i7 with the cheaper 13th i3. From 2 to 6 or 12 cores ! 6th generation feels closer to a boosted core 2 duo (and with an integrated graphics) than to any 13th gen.

The i7 is quite expensive yes and I would have gone for the Ryzen if I didn’t have to fit a gen4 nvme (supported by the i3 and i7). I thought more cores would do great on a VM-based environment but I never capped on parallel processing power for the last year, with sometimes 20 AppVMs running etc. I also didn’t want to be capped on graphics and the iris Xe is well-marketed (only i7 not on i3).

Ryzen 7 and i3 are also a good choice for energy efficiency (almost twice the energy) if it is a matter. With the Ryzen 7 being more performant than i3 and cost-effective compared to i7.

My system idles at around 8W with the i7. Just wondering if Ryzen 7 and i3 would do better.

Supporting more memory if you have the need, max. is 32Gb on 6th. Upto 64Gb on the Starbook.

Based on my experience, parse information and datasheets from manufacturers ; I didn’t benchmark or have trusted benchmarks results.

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/compare.html?productIds=232155,232136,88194,36734

1 Like

I tend to run a lot of VMs simultaneously so as much memory as possible is the operative for me!

Glad to know that even a new i3 is faster than that old i7. That could save me 400+ dollars.

Thank you for your feedback. Can you please also fill a detailed report based on this template:

Example of user providing the answers is here. The more information the better, it may be helpful to other users, thank you.

1 Like

Are there plans to get the StarFighter or the StarLite Qubes-certified? Seems odd that just the mid-range laptop is certified when the StarFighter would perform far better at virtualisation tasks. I imagine the non-standard webcam is an issue?

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Is there some logical reason why non english keyboard layouts (german/spanish/french/norwigan) are a €400+ upgrade :frowning:

For some reasons these layouts switch the cpu to an i7

3 Likes

It’s a lot of extra work to render umlauts, carets, haceks, graves and accent marks, apparently.

1 Like

The convenience of transferring the burden to pay shipping and taxes on the seller shouldn’t come in higher paying price of taxes and shipping.
But at least it’s visible to the customer, at NovaCustom this is hidden.

Perhaps it’s just an error in calculations.

Looks like an interesting alternative. How good is the keyboard? That and the 16:9 screen are the biggest downside I have with the NovaCustom NV41. It sounds like NovaCustom is going to 16:10 for their next laptop and hopefully it’ll have a better keyboard.

The amd Ryzen 7 version of the StarFighter looks to be very interesting. Great display (also 16" version), coreboot and it’s supposed to have a great battery life. I’d like to read more about first hand user experiences (the StarBook VI has pretty good reviews).

Correct! Can’t wait to introduce our new laptop series in Q2-2024 :innocent:

2 Likes

Just to clarify, we sell our laptops with all shipping and import costs as well as any related VAT and other duties included in the sales price.

Yes and that’s a good thing.

What I meant earlier is that these costs are hidden/not listed on the checkout, at Star Labs they’re visible.