Whonix ™ Coding Style

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For lack of better term, Whonix ™ is simple. It does not fork or re-compile software packages by upstream projects.

Examples of software where it is often assumed that it is being modified by Whonix ™ or being asked in that is the case:

This has the advantage that questions and issues caused by upstream projects can be redirected upstream as per Free Support Principle. This reduces the maintenance load at Whonix ™ project.

Issues which cannot be caused by Whonix ™ are sometimes mistakenly attributed to Whonix ™. Examples:

Related: Relationship With Upstream


It’s good to be innovative. Such as in case of Whonix ™ shipping kloak [archive] by default is a win. That threat model has been demonstrated through a proof of concept already. Proactive yes, but in this case of remounting /etc with nosuid the benefit of the change doesn’t have a strong rationale.

In most cases goals should be reached by using 1 implementation. For example to remount /run etc. with more secure mount options an implementation should do this - if possible - either entirely in initramfs or entirely using systemd. It shouldn't do the exact same things twice in initramfs and systemd.

There’s a huge amount of things which users might potentially do which won’t make sense from Whonix ™ developers point of view. For example there is the hello [archive] package which most users won’t know and won’t install. I am using it as an example here. No need to pick on that particular contributor of that Debian package. Why allow installation of that package? What if that contributor turned evil and somehow included a backdoor in the hello package? To prevent such a backdoor from doing damage, there could be an apt wrapper that prevents installation of that and other packages which most users will probably never need. I am not supposing to invent an apt wrapper for this hypothetical scenario. It would be worse having that code than having that risk.

Feature Removability[edit]

In case a feature becomes unmaintainable there needs to be a possiblity to remove the feature for users who use upgrade their system using apt.

Default Application Policy[edit]

See Default Application Policy.

No Trailing Whitespaces[edit]

Get a decent editor and don’t leave whitespace at the end of lines.


Do not use too deep levels of if and similar.

Bad example:

machine_id() {
   if ! test -f /etc/machine-id ; then
      existing_machine_id="$(cat /etc/machine-id)"
      ## ...

In above example there is need need to put everything under the if. This is specifically important when there are several levels of conditionals.

Example good:

machine_id() {
   if ! test -f /etc/machine-id ; then
      return 0

   existing_machine_id="$(cat /etc/machine-id)"
   ## ....

Shell Scripts[edit]

avoid sed awk whenever possible[edit]

There might be some older code (before introduction of str_replace) that uses sed / awk. Patches welcome to port to str_replace.

use str_replace whenever possible[edit]

str_replace [archive] is installed in Whonix ™ / Kicksecure ™ by default. (man page [archive]) [1]

use type -P instead of which[edit]

Please do not use which. Please use type -P instead. [archive]

Proper Whitespace Handling[edit]

See Dev/bash.

See Also[edit]

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