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RAM Adjusted Desktop Starter

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rads - RAM Adjusted Desktop Starter - Starts [no] desktop environment based on available RAM. Automatically boots into graphical desktop environment, when there is enough RAM. Or into terminal-only, when there is too little RAM. Useful inside virtual machines. - For better usability.

RAM Adjusted Desktop Starter will not start the desktop environment. The terminal-based Whonix-Gateway ™ can be used instead.

When booting up, a prompt will appear offering to prevent XFCE from starting. Users can also manually press Ctrl + C for the same effect.

By default, Whonix-Gateway ™ is configured with 768 MB virtual RAM. This can be reduced on systems with low available resources.

  • If total RAM is more than 512 MB, the default desktop environment (XFCE) is started.
  • If total RAM is less than 512 MB (for example, the minimum 256 MB RAM requirement), XFCE (lightdm) is not started. [1]

Users with low RAM resources should find this convenient because Whonix-Gateway ™ RAM can be reduced to 256 MB and still function. Further, if something needs configuring or checking, 512 MB RAM can be assigned to automatically boot into the graphical XFCE desktop. Additional settings are available in /etc/rads.d/ to configure this feature: additional RAM can be added (but still not choosing to boot into a desktop environment), different display managers can be used and so on.

If users would like to never automatically start a desktop environment independently on how much RAM they assigned.

In the terminal complete the following steps.

Open file /etc/rads.d/50_user.conf in an editor with root rights.

(Qubes-Whonix ™: In TemplateVM)

This box uses lxsudo for root privilege escalation and mousepad as editor. These are examples. Other tools could archive the same goal too. If these example tools do not work for you or if you are not using Whonix, please see this link.

If you are using a graphical Whonix or Qubes-Whonix ™ with XFCE, run.

lxsudo mousepad /etc/rads.d/50_user.conf

If you are using a terminal-only Whonix, run.

sudo nano /etc/rads.d/50_user.conf

Add the following content.

rads_start_display_manager=0

Save.

The procedure is now complete.


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  1. Whonix-Gateway ™ can work with as little as 128 MB RAM, but resource intensive operations like kernel package upgrades that rebuild the initrd leave the virtual machine in a frozen state.