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Thank you, John, for sharing your thoughts with us, and thank you,
Chris, for taking the time for a detailed reply. I'll offer what I can
on just a few points.

On 16/03/2019 6.31 AM, Chris Laprise wrote:
> Hi John,
> 
> That's an interesting background and list of wants. I've been using
> Qubes for some time and can try to address a few of your issues.
> 
> [...]
> 
>> 
>> The kicker came when Firefox stopped playing Flash content in my
>>  untrusted appVM, complaining that I needed an up to date
>> version of Flash. I installed the most recent version, but that
>> did not solve the problem. The problem is/ was something to do
>> with Fedora (or the version of Firefox for Fedora or ??).
> 
> I haven't used Flash in a long time so I can't help there. In 
> general its best to find an alternative that doesn't rely on
> Flash, which is becoming a dead format. Typically Flash is replaced
> by HTML5 web apps (and most websites have made this switch 
> automatic).
> 

You might want to try the Google Chrome browser for this. (You may
need to enable its built-in flash functionality if it's disabled by
default.)

> [...]
> 
>> My Bottom Line:
>> 
>> I can live with most of the issues described above. What I
>> cannot live with (and worry about) are stability and reliability 
>> issues.
>> 

I, too, am primarily concerned about stability and reliability (after
security, of course).

> [...]
> 
>> 
>> I need some reasonable assurance that data corruption on disk
>> has a very low probability. I need some reasonable assurance
>> that the operating system (the combination of Xen and dom0) is 
>> stable.
> 

In my experience, the probability of data corruption on disk is no
higher (and perhaps even lower) on Qubes than on other more
conventional operating systems. The only kind of instability I've
experienced infrequently in the past on Qubes were crashes (e.g.,
spontaneous reboots), but I've never had any lost or corrupted data on
disk from such events. I've also experienced plenty of BSODs on
Windows, so I think Qubes is batting pretty well on stability.

> The best assurance is regular backups. I don't know what caused 
> your glitch but I've had vanishingly few on Qubes myself since 
> 2013.
> 

I agree that backups are the best assurance, but this is in no way
Qubes-specific. I'd say the same thing about any operating system.

> However, Qubes does require the use of snapshot-capable storage for
> reasonable efficiency and this is not yet Linux' strength.
> 

Here's where Chris and I disagree. I've been using Qubes' built-in
backup functionality for many years to great effect. Granted, I
usually run it overnight, so time and system load aren't concerns for
me. It just depends on your needs.

> [...]
> 
> I hope this response helps you out some. Right now Qubes appears
> to be in a state that's mostly suitable for "security techies";
> There is certainly room for improvement and your critique has made
> me think that some new issues need to be opened to help address
> the usability issues.
> 

Agreed. I think that many of us have been motivated to become
"security techies" by our desire to use Qubes. This isn't a bad thing
in itself (it's good to learn new skills), but we don't want it to be
a requirement either.

- -- 
Andrew David Wong (Axon)
Community Manager, Qubes OS
https://www.qubes-os.org

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