I am looking for alternative OS, and security is a key concern. I am interested in reading reviews which compare or simply deal with the security merits of OS, and which moreover not only consider the aspects

  1. is the code open source ?
  2. what are the audit code quality mechanism in place?

but also:

  1. how much code to audit and with potential bugs/backdoor-hidingspace exists? (the code volume).

I have attempted to find such reviews, but without any success, hence the question here

  • What do you consider to be part of the OS? Especially in Linux-land, a lot of userspace is commonly considered part of the OS, and a main feature that distinguishes distros is what software is pre-installed. But pre-installed doesn't matter much if you have to add much more to do what you want. – Xiong Chiamiov Jan 7 '17 at 17:08
  • @XiongChiamiov. I would mostly consider the kernel here, i.e. more or less anything which init process works with (system calls). You are right of course that it is a bit blurry, and since my perspective is motivated by the code review, maybe the os would be the what is maintained in one consolidated form in a repo (git/svn/cvs) and runs a pc – humanityANDpeace Jan 8 '17 at 16:04

The ideal would be to have a main infrastructure of minimal, open-source code that is distributed in a secure, signed fashion, but still be able to run untrusted code. The first thing that comes to mind is something like Qubes. I don't know of a comprehensive comparison, but i do know they take their codebase paranoia extremely seriously.

Qubes takes an approach called security by compartmentalization, which allows you to compartmentalize the various parts of your digital life into securely isolated compartments called qubes.

This approach allows you to keep the different things you do on your computer securely separated from each other in isolated qubes so that one qube getting compromised won’t affect the others. For example, you might have one qube for visiting untrusted websites and a different qube for doing online banking. This way, if your untrusted browsing qube gets compromised by a malware-laden website, your online banking activities won’t be at risk. Similarly, if you’re concerned about malicious email attachments, Qubes can make it so that every attachment gets opened in its own single-use disposable qube. In this way, Qubes allows you to do everything on the same physical computer without having to worry about a single successful cyberattack taking down your entire digital life in one fell swoop.





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  • I'm not sure this is really an answer. The OQ asked for a pointer to a comparison of different OSes, you suggested one solution. – MAP Jan 9 '17 at 2:55

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