(Redirected from Free Support Principle)
- 1 Free Support
- 2 Safety Advice
- 3 General Advice
- 4 Free Support Principle
- 5 Creating an Anonymous Email Account for Support
- 6 Professional Support
- 7 Footnotes
Tip: User questions are likely to have been asked and answered before in either the Whonix/Qubes/Debian documentation, Whonix/VirtualBox forums, Qubes/Whonix bug trackers, Debian/Qubes/KVM/Tor mailing lists, stackexchange, or other community/developer portals.
In the first instance, users should search the following free resources for their issue(s).
- General questions about computer security can be discussed at Information Security Stack Exchange.
- When Tor Browser Downloader is failing, refer to the Whonix User Forums. Since many users are affected when it breaks, there is probably already an existing topic and documented solution.
- Linux/Debian related questions are welcome  on Unix and Linux Stack Exchange.
- Add the whonix tag , which will alert Whonix developers and followers.
- Qubes OS-related questions are welcome at Qubes help resources.
For general Tor questions not directly related to Whonix like "What are end-to-end correlation attacks?", use:
For Tor-on-host questions unrelated to Whonix such as "How do I configure bridges?", see:
- Tor Project contact page;
- Tor Stack Exchange;
- tor-talk mailing list; and
- Also available: Webchat or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
For Whonix-specific Tor questions, see:
- Tor Stack Exchange. Add the whonix tag,  which will alert Whonix developers and followers. 
- For Whonix-specific questions that are unsuitable for the stackexchange Q/A format, use the Whonix User Forum.
- Help others by subscribing to Whonix support channels.
- If an anonymous email address is needed for signing up at Whonix User Help Forums, then click here.
- Whonix User Help - Forum Best Practices.
- Professional Support.
- #Whonix on irc.oftc.net (Webchat).
Warning: Be careful what you say, especially in public places that are archived!
What is said may reveal personal information such as:
- Location / IP Address.
- Skills, Aims, Goals.
- Personal Details.
To keep the IP address hidden, visit these websites anonymously over Tor, using either the Whonix-Workstation or Tor Browser from The Tor Project. To delink questions from an existing email or OpenID, it is advisable to create a separate email address, OpenID, and user name/s just for this purpose.
Be careful with the advice received from public places. Always get a second opinion and do not run commands or perform steps which you do not understand. Never post any custom code or output that pertains to your system or onion service specifically.
Tip: Do not accidentally substitute Tor for a question related to Tor Browser, as this causes confusion. Further, the correct terminology is Tor, not TOR.
Free Support Principle
It is recommended to follow these steps in order:
- Check the Documentation to see if the question has already been discussed. Use the Whonix internal search engine and external search engines (DuckDuckGo, Startpage).
- Search the Whonix forums and issue tracker for the problem.
- If possible, search for a solution without the Whonix-specific part of the question, as it may have been answered in mainstream Linux fora.
- Check if the problem can be replicated in vanilla operating system environments like Debian stretch, KDE, inside the virtualizer, or over Tor.
- After completing steps 1-4, a specific support request should be made if the user cannot locate a similar reference for their problem. Suitable options may include Debian user forums, unix stackexchange, VirtualBox forums, KVM mailing lists, Qubes' issue tracker, Tor mailing lists, software-specific community / developer forums (for example, LibreOffice), and so on.
- If no solution is found, the user should create a new post in the Whonix forums.
- If a solution is provided, please consider editing the Whonix Documentation as a small contribution and/or providing a complete answer in the forums.
Free Support Principle Rationale
In an ideal world, all free support requests would be answered with minimal to no effort or systems would run flawlessly, thus negating the need for asking questions. Unfortunately, real world systems are flawed and developer time and knowledge is limited.
Whonix will always be free in price as well as in freedom (Why?). In order to create a solid open source software solution, Whonix has adopted the approach of treating users as co-developers.  This concept is further elaborated below.
The User Co-developer Concept
The majority of common questions have been answered in the available Documentation. If the solution to an issue is already documented, users will usually receive just a link to the documentation in response to their question.
Whonix is a Linux distribution, with Whonix developers and users playing the role of integrators. Whonix itself is based on several components and software distributions developed by other projects; it is standing on the shoulders of giants.
In simple terms, Whonix is based on: 
- A supported platform (Debian).
- Two software packages produced by The Tor Project (TPO) - Tor and Tor Browser.
- A host of other software packages.
It is impossible for the Whonix team to be aware of the solution to each and every problem that is encountered. Users are therefore encouraged to first consider if their problem is general, and unspecific to Whonix.
Putting this principle into action means rephrasing the question, seeking solutions in other arenas, and preferably documenting this solution in the Documentation. Experience has shown that for some questions, this is the only realistic way to solve them.
Users might expect Whonix to provide a unified experience similar to a Windows machine. While the Whonix developers make every effort to meet user expectations, limited funding and human resources makes meeting these expectations all but impossible. 
Whonix Reliance on Debian
In simple terms, Whonix is just a collection of configuration files and scripts. Whonix is not a stripped down version of Debian; anything possible in "vanilla" Debian GNU/Linux can be replicated in Whonix. Likewise, most problems and questions can be solved in the same way. For example: "How do I install xrandr on Whonix?" -- "The same way as in Debian
Tip: Since Ubuntu is a Debian derivative, online help for Ubuntu most often works for Whonix.
An example of an inappropriate question seeking Whonix support would be "How do I save a document in Libre Office as a PDF?". The solution is easily found by use of Internet search engines. Even if a solution was difficult to find, LibreOffice would behave identically on Debian and other operating systems. Logically, the recipient for the question should be the LibreOffice community.
On the other hand, in the unlikely event this hypothetical problem only occurred in Whonix, then it would constitute an appropriate support referral, for example: "I know how to save a document in LibreOffice as a PDF. It doesn't work in Whonix. How can I make it work in Whonix?"
Creating an Anonymous Email Account for Support
Users can try anonymous speech, Secure Email or ProtonMail + Tor. This is not an endorsement! Users should not trust the providers with any of their personal information, but only use them for creating the forum account.
As a last resort, Patrick or TNT_BOM_BOM can be contacted on IRC with the desired user name and password. An account can then be created which does not require e-mail verification.
Lead Whonix developer Patrick Schleizer can provide professional support and consultation for anonymity, privacy, security, data security, Whonix & system administration services. Service is provided by ENCRYPTED SUPPORT LP.
Answers or solutions can usually be provided within one or two business days. Work samples verifying the quality of support is demonstrated in public Whonix forum activity. Upon request, answers can be provided in private to clients. Several communication channels are available for client convenience: email, chat, and remote desktop-based help via vnc / ssh.
Every effort will be made to resolve any client problem/s. However, there is no guarantee that a solution can be found for every issue. Prior experience suggests problems related to the wide range of topics already covered in the Documentation have a higher chance of resolution, and within a shorter time frame. That said, other topics may be referred as well; get in touch for further advice (see contact details below).
The standard price for support is 200 EUR per hour.
As a measure of goodwill, clients will receive partial charge backs if issues cannot be resolved, and hours billed will be leniently counted. Lower prices are negotiable if the request is of personal interest to developers, or it will benefit the broader Whonix project; for instance, if features are developed that become available in the next public release. Discounts are also provided for existing and long-term clients.
Special Client Proposals
Alternatively, clients may negotiate a proposal by sending the details and asking price (with reasonable budget expectations) to lead Whonix Developer Patrick Schleizer:
Professional Support Categories
Patrick Schleizer can provide professional support in various IT domains, including but not limited to:
- Computer security engineering and education.
- Linux distribution maintenance.
- Qubes OS (computer security by compartmentalization).
- Online privacy.
- Project coordination.
- Threat modeling. 
- Community management.
- Cooperation with other software projects.
- Documentation writing.
- User support and education.
- Basic website administration using common web applications.
- Scandal prevention. 
- Build automation script engineering.
- Continuous Integration (CI).
- iptables firewalls.
- systemd unit files.
- Shell scripting.
- Debian packaging.
- Debian APT repository management.
- Linux sysadmin tasks. 
- Licensing compliance.
- Debian machine readable licensing.
- Release maintenance: freeze, build, sign, upload, support, and hot fixes.
- Reviewing user code and documentation contributions.
- Contributor coordination.
- Upstream project bug reports.
- Review of python and ruby code.
- Spam reduction: moderating mailing lists, forums, and wikis.
- Network mirroring.
- Mediation. 
- Computer maintenance and education.
- Blog posts. 
- proposals, protocols, RFCs
- See also portfolio / github profile.
Thanks for developing, releasing and supporting VPN-Firewall, it is a nice and useful piece of scripting.
-- Mike Horgan CTO, Interlock Technology Waltham, MA +1.337.335.0070, www.interlock-tech.com
- Whonix users are welcome to post in this forum.
- This is explained in more detail on the About page.
- A problem all Linux distributions face.
- One example can be found here.
- This cannot be guaranteed, but there has been no bad press or posts pointing out any scandals, misinformation or inappropriate behavior by the Whonix team.
- To oversimplify it, Whonix is a collection of shell scripts, package selections and configuration files.
- For example, contributions to mediating the stale /etc/bash.bashrc.d implementation dispute - https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=675008#72
- Technical and other content may require minor edits to meet specific editorial standards.
This is a wiki. Want to improve this page? Help is welcome and volunteer contributions are happily considered! See Conditions for Contributions to Whonix, then Edit! IP addresses are scrubbed, but editing over Tor is recommended. Edits are held for moderation.