[nmglug] PureOS GnomeBoxes virtual machine on MX 'writable LiveUSB'

Brian O'Keefe okeefe at cybermesa.com
Fri Aug 7 10:02:13 PDT 2020

Thanks Tom,

I installed aqemu for a graphical interface to kvm and qemu. I played a 
bit with it and it looks like it would be simple enough if I had the 
concentration capabilities to follow the instructions here: 

I'd enjoy a face to face for help but that's not going to happen. I 
installed gnome-boxes and will check that out. I'd love Pure-os and and 
a Free VM manager.


On 8/7/20 8:33 AM, Tom Ashcraft wrote:
> PureOS GnomeBoxes virtual machine on MX 'writable LiveUSB'
> My notes with a bit of explication in case someone else might like to 
> try this (looking at you, Brian) or maybe provide additional virtual 
> machine/USB hints or comments.
> So far it all seems to work rather nicely--but it does make a 
> ten-year-old plus AMD Turion II Toshiba Satellite L505 with 4MB RAM 
> rather sluggish.
> I decided to try Qemu-KVM-VirtualMachineManager first rather than the 
> recent edition proprietary VirtualBox available in MX for the sake of 
> reinforcing general Debian transferable GNU FOSS skills.
> A couple of years ago I'd gotten fairly comfortable with setting up 
> Ubuntu and Debian servers in Qemu-KVM-VirtualMachineManager virtual 
> machines.  Also, yesterday I had just done a passably successful 
> installation of Windows 10 with spice guest additions that produced 
> really nice choices of display resolutions, but was slow because I was 
> unable to find any way to specify more than 16MB default for video, 
> though it is supposed to be possible to do this through XML setting 
> that never materialized in my instance of virt-manager).  Probably 
> some missing dependency that was unmentioned in the YouTube video I 
> was using as a guide.  At any rate, I couldn't make PureOS run under 
> Qemu-KVM-VMM probably for similar reasons (i.e. I didn't know what I 
> was doing.)
> Searching YouTube again I came accross Gnome Boxes which I had heard 
> about from Jared at an abqlug meeting but forgotten.
> Like Qemu-KVM, gnome-boxes passes muster as Debian free software, 
> shows and installs with apt.  Really easy to use and works like a dream.
> However, there are several packages/dependencies in common with 
> qemu-kvm, and also a few additional packages in common with both that 
> are required to get both to work properly, at least in the case of 
> using PureOS as a virtual machine.  Also, there is one more that I 
> think will be nice to have, and one more that is required to make it 
> all go under MX.
> So here's all the stuff, probably pretty closely in order of best 
> priority and sequence of installation.
> But first an aside about PureOS.  The first update to the latest 
> version replaces Pure Browser with Firefox ESR.  Apparently most 
> everything in PureOS is just Debian along with a special somewhat more 
> highly curated/ranked software repository.  I added several of my 
> favorite packages via apt and noticed they were listed with a slash 
> followed with the word amber.  I assume this is as in green/amber/red 
> categories of suspicion.  Just a guess.  I haven't yet looked into it.
> And just in case one happens to be preparing to create virtual 
> machines on a computer not used for virtual machines before, remember 
> to restart the computer, go into BIOS settings and make sure the 
> virtualization setting is enabled...
> Now.  Every command that follows a dollar sign below should be done 
> (except in one case where noted otherwise):
> For reference
> https://wiki.debian.org/KVM applicable command/packages summation:
> $ sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm libvirt-clients libvirt-daemon-system 
> virt-manager
> For reference
> (lifted from Chris Titus Tech who is coming from a place other than 
> Debian but catches most of what seems to be missing in other 
> references I've seen)
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdSxoSlxCNAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdSxoSlxCNAtps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdSxoSlxCNA 
> Applicable commands:
> Installation:
> $ sudo apt install gnome-boxes qemu-kvm libvirt-bin
> *But* if you did the above from wiki.debian.org/KVM (as I think is 
> likely best), all but gnome-boxes packages are consequently obsoleted 
> and will cause defeat the entire command, so just do:
> $ sudo apt install gnome-boxes
> Add User to kvm:
> sudo usermod -a -G kvm $USER
> Allow users in kvm group to start VMs:
> sudo sed -i -e 's/\#group\ =\ "root"/group=kvm/g' /etc/libvirt/qemu.conf
> Wiki:
> https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Boxes
> For reference
> https://forum.mxlinux.org/viewtopic.php?t=54953
> Fix MX problem with gnome-boxes and have more network options:
> $ sudo apt install bridge-utils qemu-utils
> And that did it.  GnomeBoxes is pretty well entirely self-teaching and 
> easy to figure out by clicking around a little.  A very nice program.
> PureOS install thereafter initiates loading of live/demo instance, 
> then imap & smtp, email password and keyring password setup is 
> required in order to proceed to first full use of desktop.
> Closed welcome page and hit Activities > Install.
> Uses the Calamares installer
> Other things about the automated aspects of my virtual installation 
> that I noted to note:
> Auto set/detected 'ATA QEMU HARDDISK - 20.0 GiB (/dev/sda)'
> Selected 'Erase disk', 'no swap', 'encrypt system'.
> Auto set/detected 'Boot loader location:  Master Boot Record of ATA 
> QEMU HARDDISK (/dev/sda)'
> Username, computer name, user password are set, then final commitment 
> to overwrite the 20.0 GiB above is made and permanent installation 
> proceeds.
> Takes at least a half-hour probably more on L505.
> Initial login and setup again first requires imap & smtp, email 
> address info and setup in order to achieve first full access to 
> desktop environment.
> Seems to me that from the security point of view, one's identity is 
> probably now already compromised by association with an ip address and 
> probably also some un-announced machine and browser identifications.  
> However, if anonymity is not a necessary requirement for one's 
> personal security, this set of arrangements likely represents a 
> reasonable workable compromise on the part of the Librem developers  
> between necessary social accountability/responsibility and the user's 
> legitimate needs for privacy against the prevailing ubiquitous 
> conditions of rampant unwarranted commercial/criminal/government 
> intrusion.
> Therefore, in my case, because of the "pure" orientation of PureOS, I 
> opted FOR DoH in Firefox.  (The initial state was opt-in, not opt-out 
> as Dr. Vixie has feared, and as I seem to remember it actually is in 
> the non-ESR version of Firefox.) That is, it is perhaps reasonable 
> that "they" should know who I am, but it is certainly none of their 
> business what I do, unless it is illegal.  I don't lie on my driver's 
> license; I lock the door of my house; I draw my shades together in the 
> evening.
> Firefox hamburger menu > Preferences > General.  Scroll all the way to 
> the bottom of the bottom, Network Settings > Settings.  Scroll to 
> bottom of opened Connection Settings window. Check box 'Enable DNS 
> over HTTPS'.  One does have to wonder exactly why this setting is so 
> far out of sight.
> So.  An easy-to-use encrypted Debian-based privacy-oriented OS in an 
> easy-to-use GNU virtual machine in an encrypted easy-to-use Debian OS 
> on a portable USB stick that still works as a storage device and 
> likely works on, as far as I presently know, just about any Linux or 
> Windows machine.  A veritable Swiss army knife. Might work as a cat 
> toy or bottle opener too (once).
> Tom
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