Other Desktop Environments

Current Situation[edit]

Downloadable Whonix versions are available with

  • XFCE
  • or CLI (no desktop environment).


When installing your own desktop environment such as GNOME, you're on your own. If you are going that path, start with Whonix CLI and install the desktop environment 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's open-link-confirmation (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. (Whonix prevents installation of that very package, but still...) And comes with a different collection of default applications that have not necessarily been checked for privacy. For example, Thunderbird/TorBirdy (as explained on the E-Mail page) is the only recommended mail client. Installing your own desktop environment may result in installing KMail, which is not recommended, since there is no TorBirdy-like extension for KMail.


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

See Also[edit]


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

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