Reasons for Freedom Software / Open Source

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Why Open Source / Freedom Software are essential for user security, privacy and freedom. Security, Legal, Ethical and other Reasons. No Intentional User Freedom Restrictions.

Why Open Source[edit]

One of the advantages of Whonix is its Open Source nature. Being Open Source means that our source code is publicly available and accessible, allowing anyone to easily read it. Source code is the set of textual instructions written by programmers used to create a program.

What are some of the practical advantages?

  • Open Source software usually comes free of charge, providing a cost-effective solution.
  • Respects user privacy and freedom, establishing a trustful relationship between developers and users.
  • Often exhibits higher stability and quality due to the collaborative nature of Open Source projects.
  • Eliminates vendor lock-in, ensuring that the software can outlive its original authors.
  • Protects users from mistreatment by developers, providing a safer user experience.

Why is the openness of the source code significant? Here are two scenarios:

  • A) You're not a programmer: Source code? What's that? Unable to read or understand any of it? Does it seem irrelevant? Wrong. The availability of source code is beneficial, even if you're not a programmer. Other programmers' ability to work with the source code translates to numerous practical advantages for users.
  • B) You're a programmer: You have the liberty to study, modify, and even redistribute the source code under the respective licenses.

Open Source means full transparency in the design, construction, and operation of software. This can lead to more security and more trustworthy software.

Proprietary software (non-freedom software) is the opposite of Open Source software. It often includes anti-features or may even function as malware, thereby mistreating the user. There are many reasons to Avoid Non-Freedom Software.

If you don't know what your computer is doing, your computer is controlling you. Not the other way around.

Why Whonix is Freedom Software And Open Source[edit]

Table: Why Whonix is Freedom Software / Open Source

Motivation Rationale
Security Open Source like Qubes, and is more secure than closed software. The public scrutiny of security by has proven to be superior to security through This aligns the software development process with Kerckhoffs' - the basis of modern design. This principle asserts that systems must be secure, even if the adversary knows everything about how they work. Generally speaking, Freedom Software projects are much more open and respectful of the privacy rights of users. Freedom Software projects also encourage security bug reports, open discussion, public fixes and review.
Legal Whonix is based on Freedom A lot of Libre licensed software prohibits modification and distribution without sharing the modified source code.
Ethics Whonix developers believe it is immoral to benefit from those Software components and give back nothing. We stand on the shoulders of giants - Whonix and many other Libre software projects are only made possible because people invested in writing code that is kept accessible for the public benefit.
Community It is rewarding and enjoyable to have all types of people contributing. This works best in Open projects.
Impact When free in price, Whonix can spread faster than commercial tools that cannot provide security by default/design.
Commerce Developers hope to make a living from Whonix by selling additional services. (Plus Support | Premium Support)
Career Our experience volunteering on this project improves our skill set and makes us more valuable employees.

No Intentional User Freedom Restrictions[edit]

In the spirit of Freedom Software, Whonix does not intentionally restrict user freedoms. Whonix documentation might discourage certain configurations, but ultimately the user is free to ignore such advice.

In their default state, programs developed under the Whonix banner may afford additional protection against unsafe user configurations. For example, even if users wanted to do things which are known security risk and recommended against, but documentation might still be provided on how to disable this security mechanism. Simply put, the end user maintains ultimate control over the final Whonix configuration best suited to their needs.

Since Whonix is based on Debian it is valid to state that Whonix has adopted a specific Debian configuration. For this reason advanced Debian users can independently replicate the same technical implementation. Anything Whonix has pre-configured can be re-/de-configured by the user without restriction. User customization is not prevented by technologies used inside Whonix, nor is configuration of Whonix intentionally obfuscated.

Simply put, the end user maintains ultimate control over the final Whonix configuration that best suits their needs.

Software Fork Friendly[edit]

Whonix is free of charge.

Whonix policy is that the name of the project should ideally be a variable so it can be easily changed through a software fork.

For example, Whonix wiki markup text does not write Whonix literally. Instead it uses variables such as project_name_long which contains variable content Whonix. By changing the contents of that wiki template to a different textual string such as MyForkedProject, the name of the project would change wiki wide from Whonix to MyForkedProject.

This is also the reason why many packages names developed under the Whonix umbrella contain dist (which is a generic abbreviation meaning "distribution") instead of whonix-. Whonix source code such as package names avoid using the literal string Whonix as much as possible. Contributions towards that effort are welcome.

See Also[edit]

We believe security software like Whonix needs to remain open source and independent. Would you help sustain and grow the project? Learn more about our 12 year success story and maybe DONATE!