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Other Desktop Environments

From Whonix


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Current Situation[edit]

The Downloadable Whonix ™ versions are available with either:

  • XFCE desktop environment; OR
  • CLI text terminal only (no desktop environment).

However, other desktop environments like Gnome, KDE, LXDE and so on can be manually installed.

Risks[edit]

When installing your own desktop environment such as GNOME, you're on your own. If you are going that path, start with Whonix ™ CLI, the text terminal only version of Whonix, which comes without a desktop environment installed by default, and install a desktop environment of your choice there. This is much better than starting with Whonix ™ XFCE and then uninstalling XFCE to install another desktop environment.

In theory (also tested a little bit), everything should work except Whonix ™ open-link-confirmation [archive] (asking for confirmation, if you want to open a link you click outside the browser in Tor Browser to avoid linking) and Tor Browser won't be the default browser by default. [1]

Other desktop environments install other background services. We haven't researched the privacy implications of having these installed. For example, Gnome automatically installs GeoClue [archive]. (Whonix ™ prevents installation of that very package, but still...) Other desktop environments also ship a different selection of default applications that have not necessarily been checked for privacy. For example, Thunderbird is the only recommended mail client (as explained on the E-Mail and Encrypted Email with Thunderbird page). Installing your own desktop environment may result in installing software packages such as KMail, which is discouraged to use in context of Whonix ™, since there is no TorBirdy-like extension for KMail.

Future[edit]

Since Whonix ™ is an Open Source / Freedom Software [archive] project, Whonix ™ developers are hoping that other developers join the project and maintain other desktop environments. That someone could be you?

See Also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. The tb-default-browser [archive] package has not been made to work / tested with Gnome yet.


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This is a wiki. Want to improve this page? Help is welcome and volunteer contributions are happily considered! Read, understand and agree to Conditions for Contributions to Whonix ™, then Edit! Edits are held for moderation. Policy of Whonix Website and Whonix Chat and Policy On Nonfreedom Software applies.

Copyright (C) 2012 - 2020 ENCRYPTED SUPPORT LP. Whonix ™ is a trademark. Whonix ™ is a licensee [archive] of the Open Invention Network [archive]. Unless otherwise noted, the content of this page is copyrighted and licensed under the same Freedom Software license as Whonix ™ itself. (Why?)

Whonix ™ is a derivative of and not affiliated with Debian [archive]. Debian is a registered trademark [archive] owned by Software in the Public Interest, Inc [archive].

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