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02 June 2010, 14:14

Qubes to implement "Disposable VMs"

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The developers at Invisible Things have announced that the beta version of the Qubes operating system will incorporate "Disposable VMs". Qubes, designed for application security, already implements virtual machines to allow the user to compartmentalise their work into different virtual machines, but Disposable VMs will take that a step further.

The idea is that virtual machines will be created on demand, for each application and discarded after use. For example, to view a PDF file, rather than running a PDF viewer in a "work" or "home" virtual machine, Qubes will create a VM specifically to run the PDF viewer. Qubes will take care of creating the VM, copying the file to the VM and starting the appropriate application. The aim is that this process will take less than one second. Joanna Rutowska, founder and CEO of Invisible Things Labs, credits Matt Piotrowski's thesis on Virtics, a proof-of-concept implementation of "one-time" VMs, for convincing her that the idea needed to be implemented in Qubes.

The Disposable VM technology is due to be available in Beta 1, due at the end of the summer, but before then, Invisible Things will be releasing an updated Alpha 2 of the security-through-virtualisation operating system.


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