Tails OS, Whonix, or Qubes, all these three Linux distributions are built for different use cases.
What you might find in one OS might not be available in another. However, I’d help you pick what’s best for you as a darknet user.
Tails OS vs Whonix vs Qubes: An Introduction
Tails OS was released on June 23rd 2009, which is almost 14 years ago. It’s a Debian-based distribution which belongs to the Unix-like Linux OS family.
Its latest update 5.14 was released on June 13th 2023, which shows us the fact that it’s still up and running.
It’s interesting to note that Tails OS is recommended by The Tor Project.
Whonix OS was released on 29th February 2012. The team behind it is the great Tor Project. Perhaps, that’s why everything is communicated via Tor.
Just like Tails, Whonix also belongs to the Unix-Like Linux family.
It’s been 2 years since its last update. Is it losing its relevance? We will see about that in a while.
Programming languages used: Bash, Python, Perl, C and C++
Qubes was released on 3rd September 2012. It’s also based on the Unix-like Linux OS family. If we talk about Qubes last update, it was released on 14th March 2023. So we can say its developers are not that inactive.
The idea of Qubes is based on isolation. If one thing is compromised, you’ll still be safe.
Programming languages used: C, Python, Qt, and other language utilization using Xen hypervisor
Use Cases of Tails, Whonix, and Qubes
What Does Tails OS Have?
- Anonymous & Safe Internet Browsing: Designed to provide secure and anonymous browsing, routing all network connections through the Tor network. More importantly, it saves you from censorship, surveillance, viruses, and unwanted advertisements.
- Whistleblowing: Often used by whistleblowers and journalists who need to communicate and share sensitive information while maintaining their anonymity and protecting their sources.
- Secure Communication: Tails includes tools for encrypted email, instant messaging, and file encryption, making it useful for individuals who need to communicate securely.
What Does Whonix Have?
- Anonymous Web Surfing: It provides a high level of anonymity by routing all internet traffic through the Tor network. It separates the user’s activities from the network-level activities, enhancing privacy and security.
- Virtualized Anonymous Environment: It runs inside a virtual machine, isolating the user’s activities from the underlying operating system. This isolation prevents malware and other attacks from compromising the user’s privacy.
- Secure Application Testing: It’s commonly used for security testing and auditing of applications. Its isolation features allow researchers to analyze software behaviour without putting their own systems at risk.
What Does Qubes Have?
- High-Security Computing: Qubes offers isolation by running different applications and tasks in separate virtual machines known as qubes. This prevents malware from compromising the entire system.
- Secure Work Environment: It’s suitable for individuals and organizations that handle sensitive information, such as financial institutions or government agencies.
- Privacy-Conscious Computing: Makes it easy for users to separate different activities, such as personal browsing, work-related tasks, and net banking, into separate qubes. A system like this one can save you from losing everything in one go.
Limitations of Whonix, Tails, and Qubes
Limitations of Tail OS
- Tails OS is meant for privacy and anonymity. And because of that, you might experience limited functionality and software compatibility.
- The strict security measures may become a challenge for users who have always used friendly operating systems.
- It can either be used on a USB or virtual machine.
- Updates and improvements are less frequent compared to mainstream operating systems, which might lead to vulnerabilities.
- Users have reported that this has limited driver support, which causes difficulties when installing or configuring specific hardware components.
Limitations of Whonix
- Setting up and maintaining Whonix’s complex network configuration isn’t easy for those who are not into technical stuff.
- The additional layer of virtualization can introduce performance overhead, affecting overall system speed and responsiveness.
- This may not offer extensive customization options or access to specialized software applications due to its focus on anonymity.
- Its unique workflow and security measures may require users to adapt and may not provide the same level of user convenience as mainstream operating systems.
- The complete reliance on Tor network connections can lead to occasional slowdowns or interruptions while browsing through the internet.
Limitations of Qubes
- The complex architecture based on Xen virtualization may pose a significant learning curve for users unfamiliar with virtualization concepts.
- Hardware virtualization support is required for Qubes, limiting its availability on older or less powerful hardware configurations.
- The segmentation approach may result in increased system resource usage, impacting overall performance on low-end hardware.
- Managing and interchanging between different virtual machines in Qubes can be a big headache for users who have no technical background.
Which OS is Best for Darknet Users?
As far as I can understand, I’d say you should stick to Tails OS for darknet. The reason being, it leaves no traces on your hard disk. After all, everything is installed in the RAM. Everytime you use it, it starts from zero. Even though it’s not easy for daily purpose, it provides you with high-level anonymity.
By the way, you can read this guide I wrote which explains how to use tails OS. Apart from this, here are some USB sticks recommendations for tails that I believe are among the best for your darknet activities.
Just know that I’m not affiliated with any of those USB stick companies. I just wanted to help you pick the most secure pen drive. That’s all.
Hey there, I’m a dark web geek who’s been around for the last 8 years. More precisely, I’m livedarknet’s senior content writer who’s been writing about darknet marketplaces, tutorials, and cybersecurity stuff for educational purposes.