Linux on Laptop: Security, GPU passthrough, etc?


King of Cable Management
Original poster
Jan 5, 2017
Hey friends!

So, I am currently using a MSI GS63VR that somehow has survived water damage and traveling around. It looks like I might spend a year or so in China teaching English, so I'm trying to become a more conscientious about security and such. And, I'd just really like to push myself to become more familiar with Linux and the more high-level sphere of computing.

I've been made aware of Tails, and it seems like it can do a lot for covering my bottom. Especially when I don't really know what I'm doing out there.

My first thought was to make Tails my main OS, and do my Windows, etc. gaming in a VM hosted by Tails. Is this a good idea?

L1T has made me aware of Qubes, I think it's called, which is pretty cool, too. I plan to start reading more about that.

I also wanted to ask about GPU passthrough on a laptop. My laptop supports Nvidia Optimus, which I don't know if that helps or hinders this. It would make sense to me for my hypervisor/main desktop to use my Intel iGPU, and then I can just pass my entire GTX 1060 to my Windows VM for when I want to do the vidya or edit a video or something like that.

Currently, I only have a 1TB Samsung 960 Evo in here, but I'm sure I could pick up a 2.5" SATA SSD if running a dual disk setup would benefit me or make it easier to secure things. I ditched the HDD I had in here before leaving because it added a lot of weight and really reduced my battery life.

Thanks, I'd appreciate any advice or even just being pointed to some required reading.


SCSI for life
Digital Seppuku
Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 19, 2015
tails isnt normal linux, they do alot of stuff to make it self annihilating. it runs out of ram, it nukes alot of things at shutdown, there are alot of changes like tunnelling everything through tor, you have to reload all your updates at boot. In short Tails is designed to be self annihilating, to leave as little a trace as possible on the host and to not be normal linux. Installing it negates the vast majority of benefits it offers

the clue is in the name: The Amnesic Incognito Live System

Also things like GPU passthrough and hosted windows VM's are likely to be harder explicitly because of the mesures taken to ensure the OS is ephemeral.

Another thing to be aware of, Tor is highly frowned upon (illegal?) in china, there have been documented attacks and automated system in place to detect and block known and unknown tor on-ramps. Installing an OS that tunnels everything through it by default may or may not be the best idea. Whats more if your electronics are inspected at the border and they boot your laptop and see tails on it then your essentially putting your hand up as a target for increased scrutiny.
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