Dev/Virtualization Platform

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Whonix is available for:

In an ideal world, Whonix would support all Virtualization Platforms. Theoretically it could be done using libvirt. Practically libvirt is out of question. libvirt-users Does libvirt abstract each and any vm specific command? Libvirt does not (yet) abstract some commands Whonix depends on.

Other Virtualization Platforms[edit]


In theory, Whonix could run inside any virtualizer, because its build scripts are very modular and extensible. In reality, Whonix has no man power to test other virtualizers. As soon as contributors join the project and maintain support for other virtualizers, support for them can most likely be easily added.

Support Plan[edit]

Whonix would need a maintainer to support the other virtualization platform.



  • Someone who creates, signs, uploads .ova images for the other virtualization platform (such as VMware, KVM, etc.).

Partially Finished Attempts[edit]

  • QEMU (deprecated)
  • VMware (proof of concept, no maintainer)


VirtualBox missing features[edit]

The following is non-ideal for verifiable builds, because we have to convert to vdi first:

The following is non-ideal, because we can not warn when host operating systems are being used we don't think are the right tool for hosting Whonix VMs:

  • VirtualBox uses VMDK version 3. This is non-ideal, because working with these images is difficult.
    • Converting these images is difficult.
      • qemu-img version 1.6.1 (qemu-img convert "vmdk_file" -O RAW "vdi_file") fails with: qemu-img: 'image' uses a vmdk feature which is not supported by this qemu version: VMDK version 3, which is a known issue in qemu. As per this, QEMU version equal or bigger than 2.8 should be capable to work with VMDK version 3 disks. TODO: try
      • Therefore it is required to convert them with VBoxManage to .vdi first. (VBoxManage clonehd --format VDI "vmdk_file" "vdi_file")
    • Therefore the Free guestmount doesn't support mounting VMDK version 3 as well (because it internally uses qemu-img). (Still true?)
    • It requires proprietary software to mount them, such as the proprietary nbdkit plugin vddk. We're not aware of a Free Software alternative yet. (Still true?)

VirtualBox no longer in Debian main[edit]

  • This is unrelated to VirtualBox Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack, which is proprietary, and which was never in Debian.

Arguments for keeping VirtualBox Support[edit]

  • KVM is not available to Windows users.
  • Simplicity, as in: VirtualBox has a VM import GUI feature.
  • We have a Whonix Windows Installer. (Unmaintained.)
  • Available to users not owning computer providing hardware virtualization. (KVM requires that. QEMU may or may not but is unsupported.)
  • Due to Windows users and simplicity it leads to greater popularity, which in theory attracts more users, developers, auditors, payments, etc and is therefore good for the overall health of the project.
  • Some Windows/VirtualBox users experimenting with their first Linux (Whonix) will one day become users who mainly use Linux as their host operating system.

Why Use KVM Over VirtualBox?[edit]

See Why Use KVM Over VirtualBox?

See Also[edit]

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