Qubes OS aims to be the more secure, more resource intensive, big brother to subuser. It divides your computer into security domains which each run on their own separate virtual machine. If you want rock solid NSA proof security, I strongly recommend you check it out.
Subgraph OS, like subuser, aims to securely partition the operating system at the application level. Subgraph’s goals are purely security based, where-as subuser focuses on portability and maintainability as well. Subgraph is able to take advantage of specialized kernel features like grsec and thus has a level of security which exceeds that of subuser. However, unlike subuser, the user of subgraph must specially configure their operating system/kernel for use with subgraph. In the security by isolation spectrum, subgraph is one step bellow Qubes OS. It is less resource intensive and less secure than Qubes. Subuser is one step bellow subgraph. Subuser is more portable and less secure than subgraph.
A 2010 academic project which had a very similar design to subuser. No code has been published, however the talk is interesting.
Bedrock Linux is a project that I learned about long after I started working on subuser. Like subuser, it allows you to install software packaged for a variety of Linux distributions. Unlike subuser, which installs and runs programs in isolated environments running within a base system, Bedrock Linux mixes everything together at the same level without any segregation.
Run applications in docker with access to the X11 server also supports xpra and xephyr for secure window display, just like subuser. Looks very nice and UNIXy! Certainly more flexible/manual than subuser. Written in bash. Is more traditional in its approach to dependencies, for instance, using xpra actually requires xpra to be installed on your host system as well as within the container ;). On subuser this isn’t needed!
This is a project started after Subuser was already around for a while. While this seems in some abstract sense to be quite similar to subuser it seems to be very Gnome specific.
- zero-install, Portable Linux Apps, Autopackage, Listaller, Limba, and to a lesser extent: PPAs and One Click Install
These allow one to package software “universally” so that the software may be installed and run on any distribution. They have two flaws:
- It is hard to package software for these systems
- They don’t deal with the security implications of running untrusted third party code
Subuser solves both of these problems.
Subuser’s permission sets were inspired by Android permissions. We build off experience from the Android project and avoid the mistakes of using overly broad permissions and permissions that the user cannot easily deny.
Subuser has many of the same goals as Java Web Start. We want users to be able to easily and safely install and run programs that they find on the internet. We mostly learn from Java Web Start’s mistakes here. Don’t ask/warn users every time a program tries to open a file, don’t restrict programs to using GUI toolkits with crappy fonts ect.
This is an academic project that I learned about after I started working on subuser. It’s main utility share’s the name subuser. It has some of the same goals when it comes to security via containment.
These are competing programs which enforce Mandatory Access Control(MAC) policies. Those are either white lists or black lists of what the program is allowed to do. While these pieces of software work fine for protecting the system, they are complicated to set up and provide overly wide access to user data. Normally, when a program is expected to work with user data under SELinux or AppArmor, that program is given full access to the user’s home directory.
This is a patchset for the Linux kernel which improves kernel security. It can help make subuser more secure by reducing the risk that a program will escape it’s container by finding a kernel exploit.
Docker is the containment system that powers subuser.
LXC is a competitor and backend to Docker.
There are many different chroot type setups.
Firejail is a sandboxing program based on Linux namespaces, seccomp-bpf and Linux capabilities.