Help, Support, Mailing Lists, and Forum

Help and support for Qubes OS is available from the documentation, the mailing lists, and our forum which are explained below. The Qubes OS Project does not offer paid support services.

If you’re looking for known issues or would like to file a bug report, please see the issue tracker. These issues are constantly being updated and may contain workarounds for problems that you’re experiencing, so it’s worth searching the issue tracker as a first step.

Staying safe

The Qubes mailing lists and forum are open to the public. The contents are crawled by search engines and archived by third-party services outside of our control. Please do not send or post anything that you are not comfortable seeing discussed in public. If confidentiality is a concern, please use PGP encryption in an off-list email.

The Qubes community includes people from all walks of life and from around the world. Individuals differ in areas of experience and technical expertise. You will come into contact with others whose views and agendas differ from your own. Everyone is free to write what they please, as long as it doesn’t violate our Code of Conduct. Be friendly and open, but do not believe everything you read. Use good judgment, and be especially careful when following instructions (e.g., copying commands) given by others on the lists.

All official announcements from the Qubes team to a mailing list will be signed by the PGP key belonging to the team member who sends the announcement. However, anyone on a mailing list can choose to sign their messages, so the presence of a PGP signature does not indicate authority. How, then, should you sort the good advice from the bad? This is up to each individual to decide, but it helps to know that many members of our community have proven themselves knowledgeable through their contributions to the project. Typically, these individuals sign their messages with the same key as (or another key authenticated by) the one they use to sign their contributions.

For example, you might find it easier to trust advice from someone who has a proven track record of contributing software packages or contributing to the documentation. It’s unlikely that individuals who have worked hard to build good reputations for themselves through their contributions over the years would risk giving malicious advice in signed messages to public mailing lists. Since every contribution to the Qubes OS Project is publicly visible and cryptographically signed, anyone would be in a position to verify that these came from the same keyholder.

Discussion guidelines

Qubes discussions mainly take place on qubes-users, qubes-devel, and our forum, all of which are explained below. Most questions should be directed to qubes-users or the forum. Please do not send questions to individual Qubes developers. By sending a message to the appropriate mailing list, you are not only giving others a chance to help you, but you may also be helping others by starting a public discussion about a shared problem or interest.

These are open venues where people freely come together to discuss Qubes and voluntarily help each other out of mutual interest and good will. They are not your personal, paid support service. No one owes you a reply. No one here is responsible for solving your problems for you. Nonetheless, there are many things you can do to make it more likely that you will receive a reply. This community is fortunate to have an exceptionally large number of friendly and knowledgeable people who enjoy corresponding on these lists. The vast majority of them will be happy to help you if you follow these simple guidelines.

Be polite and respectful

Remember, no one here is under any obligation to reply to you. Think about your readers. Most of them are coming home after a long, hard day at work. The last thing they need is someone’s temper tantrum. If you are rude and disrespectful, you are very likely to be ignored.

Be concise

Include only essential information. Most of your readers lead busy lives and have precious little time. We want to spend some of that time helping you, if we can. But if you ramble, it will be easier to skip over you and help someone else who gets right to the point.

Help us help you

Tell us what you’ve already tried, and which documentation pages you’ve already read. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. What essential information would they require in order to be able to help you? Make sure to include that information in your message. A great way to provide your hardware details is by generating and submitting a Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) report, then linking to it in your message. Ask questions the smart way.

Be patient

Do not “bump” a thread more than once every three days at most. If it seems like your messages to the mailing lists are consistently being ignored, make sure you’re following the guidelines explained on this page. If you’re already doing so but still not getting any replies, then it’s likely that no one who knows the answer has had time to reply yet. Remember that the devs are very busy working on Qubes. They usually only have a chance to answer questions on the mailing lists once every several days.

Be a good community member

As with any social community, members earn different reputations for themselves over time. We want these discussion venues to be friendly, productive places where information and ideas are exchanged for the mutual benefit of all. We understand that the best way to achieve this is to encourage and cultivate other like-minded individuals. Those who have shown themselves to be good community members through their past contributions have earned our good will, and we will be especially eager to help them and collaborate with them. If you are new to the community, you should understand that it may take time for you to earn the good will of others. This does not mean that you will not receive help. On the contrary, we are fortunate to have such a helpful and understanding community that many of them spend hours of their personal time helping complete strangers, including many who post anonymously. (Given the integration of Qubes with Whonix, we understand better than most the complexities of privacy and anonymity, and we know that many users have no other choice but to post anonymously.) You can read our project’s Code of Conduct for more information.

Report issues and submit changes in the right places

The mailing lists and forum are good places to ask questions and discuss things. However, if you’re submitting a more formal report, we’d prefer that you submit it to our issue tracker so that it doesn’t get overlooked. Likewise, if you see that something in the documentation should be changed, don’t simply point it out in a discussion venue. Instead, submit the change.

Specific mailing list rules and notes

Use the correct list

Send your message to the correct list. Read the sections below to determine which list is correct for your message.

Do not top-post

Top-posting is placing your reply above the quoted message to which you’re replying. Please refrain from doing this. Instead, either interleave your reply by placing parts of your message immediately below each quoted portion to which it is replying, or bottom-post by placing your entire reply below the quoted message to which you’re replying.

Use proper subject lines

Include a precise and informative subject line. This will allow others to easily find your thread in the future and use it as a reference. (Bad: “Help! Qubes problems!” Good: “R2B2 Installation problem: Apple keyboard not working in installer.”)

Do not send duplicates

If your message is not successfully sent to the list, it probably got caught in the spam filter. We check the spam filter regularly, so please be patient, and your message should be approved (and your email address added to the whitelist) within a few days.

Keep the list CCed

Keep the mailing list CCed throughout the conversation unless there’s a special need for privacy (in which case, use PGP encryption). This increases the likelihood that a greater quantity of useful information will be available to everyone in the future.

Quote appropriately

If you’re replying to a thread (whether your own or someone else’s), you should make sure to quote enough from previous messages in the thread so that people reading your message can understand the context without having to find and read earlier messages from that thread. Each reply should continue the conversation and, ideally, be readable as a conversation in itself. Do not quote advertisements in signatures or inline PGP signature blocks. (Quoting the latter interferes with the ability of programs like Enigmail to properly quote replies thereafter).

English not required

If you do not speak English, you should feel free to post in your own language. However, bear in mind that most members of the list can only read English. You may wish to include an automated translation in your message out of consideration for those readers. If you choose to write in English, please do not apologize for doing so poorly, as it is unnecessary. We understand and will ask for clarification if needed.

Suggestions

While we’re generally open to hearing suggestions for new features, please note that we already have a pretty well defined roadmap, and it’s rather unlikely that we will change our schedule in order to accommodate your request. If there’s a particular feature you’d like to see in Qubes, a much more effective way to make it happen is to contribute a patch that implements it. We happily accept such contributions, provided they meet our standards. Please note, however, that it’s always a good idea to field a discussion of your idea on the qubes-devel list before putting in a lot of hard work on something that we may not be able or willing to accept.

Google Groups

While the mailing lists are implemented as Google Group web forums, a Google account is in no way required, expected, or encouraged. Many discussants (including most members of the Qubes team) treat these lists as conventional mailing lists, interacting with them solely through plain text email with MUAs like Thunderbird and Mutt. The Google Groups service is just free infrastructure, and we distrust the infrastructure. This is why, for example, we encourage discussants to use Split GPG to sign all of their messages to the lists, but we do not endorse the use of these Google Groups as web forums. For that, we have a separate, dedicated forum.

Mailing lists

This section covers each of our individual mailing lists, with details about the purpose of each list and how to use it.

qubes-announce

This is a read-only list for those who wish to receive only very important, infrequent messages. Only the core Qubes team can post to this list. Only Qubes Security Bulletins (QSBs), new stable releases, and end-of-life notices are announced here.

To subscribe, send a blank email to qubes-announce+subscribe@googlegroups.com. (Note: A Google account is not required. Any email address will work.) To unsubscribe, send a blank email to qubes-announce+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. This list also has an optional Google Groups web interface.

qubes-users

This list is for helping users solve various daily problems with Qubes OS. Examples of topics or questions suitable for this list include:

  • HCL reports
  • Installation problems
  • Hardware compatibility problems
  • Questions of the form: “How do I…?”

Please try searching both the Qubes website and the archives of the mailing lists before sending a question. In addition, please make sure that you have read and understood the following basic documentation prior to posting to the list:

You don’t have to subscribe in order to post to this list. However, subscribing makes your messages less likely to be marked as spam and allows you to receive messages sent directly to the list. To subscribe to the list, send a blank email to qubes-users+subscribe@googlegroups.com. (Note: A Google account is not required. Any email address will work.) To post a message to the list, address your email to qubes-users@googlegroups.com. If your post does not appear immediately, please allow time for moderation to occur. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to qubes-users+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. This list also has an optional Google Groups web interface and traditional mail archive.

qubes-devel

This list is primarily intended for people who are interested in contributing to Qubes or who are willing to learn more about its architecture and implementation. Examples of topics and questions suitable for this list include:

  • Questions about why we made certain architecture or implementation decisions.
    • For example: “Why did you implement XYZ this way and not the other way?”
  • Questions about code layout and where code is for certain functionality.
  • Discussions about proposed new features, patches, etc.
    • For example: “I would like to implement feature XYZ.”
  • Contributed code and patches.
  • Security discussions which are relevant to Qubes in some way.

You must be subscribed in order to post to this list. To subscribe, send a blank email to qubes-devel+subscribe@googlegroups.com. (Note: A Google account is not required. Any email address will work.) To post a message to the list, address your email to qubes-devel@googlegroups.com. If your post does not appear immediately, please allow time for moderation to occur. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to qubes-devel+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. This list also has an optional Google Groups web interface and traditional mail archive.

qubes-project

This list is for non-technical discussion and coordination around the Qubes OS project.

Examples of topics or question suitable for this list include:

  • Participation (talks, workshops, etc.) at upcoming events
  • Project funding applications and strategies
  • FOSS governance discussions
  • Most Github issues tagged “business

You don’t have to subscribe in order to post to this list. However, subscribing makes your messages less likely to be marked as spam and allows you to receive messages sent directly to the list. To subscribe, send a blank email to qubes-project+subscribe@googlegroups.com. (Note: A Google account is not required. Any email address will work.) To post a message to the list, address your email to qubes-project@googlegroups.com. If your post does not appear immediately, please allow time for moderation to occur. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to qubes-project+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. This list also also has an optional Google Groups web interface.

qubes-translation

This list is for discussion around the localization and translation of Qubes OS, its documentation, and the website.

Examples of topics or question suitable for this list include:

  • Questions about or issues with Transifex, the translation platform we use
  • Who is managing localization for a given language
  • Most Github issues tagged “localization

You don’t have to subscribe in order to post to this list. However, subscribing makes your messages less likely to be marked as spam and allows you to receive messages sent directly to the list. To subscribe, send a blank email to qubes-translation+subscribe@googlegroups.com. (Note: A Google account is not required. Any email address will work.) To post a message to the list, address your email to qubes-translation@googlegroups.com. If your post does not appear immediately, please allow time for moderation to occur. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to qubes-translation+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. This list also has an optional Google Groups web interface.

Forum

We have a community forum for Qubes OS users:

https://qubes-os.discourse.group

This is an official user forum where you can ask questions, get help, share tips and experiences, and more! For a long time, members of our community have sought a privacy-respecting forum experience with modern features that traditional mailing lists do not support. The open-source Discourse platform fills this need for us, as it does for many other open-source projects. Thanks to their generous free hosting for open source projects, we’re pleased to be able to create this space for our community.

Why was this forum created?

Previously, the only option for a forum-like experience was to interact with our mailing lists via Google Groups, but we understand all too well that the privacy implications and user experience were unacceptable for many members of our community, especially with the recent addition of a sign-in requirement to view threads. Many of you value the lower barrier to entry, organization, ease-of-use, and modern social features that today’s forums support. Moreover, Discourse features email integration for those who still prefer the traditional mailing list format.

How is this different from our mailing lists?

To be clear, this is not a replacement for the mailing lists. This forum is simply an additional place for discussion. Certain types of discussions naturally lend themselves more to mailing lists or to forums, and different types of users prefer different venues. We’ve heard from some users who find the mailing lists to be a bit intimidating or who may feel that their message isn’t important enough to merit creating a new email that lands in thousands of inboxes. Others want more selective control over topic notifications. Some users simply appreciate the ability to add a “reaction” to a message instead of having to add an entirely new reply. Whatever your reasons, it’s up to you to decide where and how you want to join the conversation.

Does this split the community?

Many open-source projects (such as Fedora and Debian) have both mailing lists and forums (and additional discussion venues). In fact, Qubes already had non-mailing-list discussion venues such as IRC and Reddit before this forum was introduced. We believe that this additional venue fosters the continued growth of community participation and improves everyone’s experience. In addition, we fully expect that many community members – especially the most active ones – will choose to participate in both venues. (Again, for those who still prefer interacting via email, Discourse supports that too!)

Unofficial chat channels

The following unofficial chat channels are maintained by the community: