Self Support First Policy for Whonix

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"Self Support First Policy" is usually employed by small open source teams with limited resources. It means utilizing all of your options from public sources first, then search engines, already existing content and answers, then sources inside the and only then consider reaching out in the forum and through direct support.


  1. Self support is often easier and more effective than suspected. It saves the user time and helps the developer team concentrate on improving the product
  2. Please Use Search Engines And See Documentation First and read the FAQ. Most questions have already been answered.
  3. Use the Whonix internal search engine and external search engines like DuckDuckGo and Startpage which the additional keyword "Whonix".
  4. Search the Whonix User and issue tracker for the problem.
  5. If possible, search for a solution without the Whonix-specific part of the question, as it may have been answered in mainstream Linux fora.
  6. Check if the problem can be replicated in vanilla operating system environments like bookworm, Xfce.
  7. See General Advice.
  8. See documentation introduction, user expectations, footnotes and references.

After completing these steps, 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, software-specific community / developer forums (for example, LibreOffice), and so on.

Self Support First Policy Rationale[edit]

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. This is further elaborated in chapter Policy Rationale.

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. [1] This concept is further elaborated below.

The User Co-developer Concept[edit]

Most common questions have already been addressed in the available Documentation. When a solution to a question exists in the documentation, users typically just receive a link to the relevant section.

Whonix is a Linux distribution. Both Whonix developers and users serve as integrators. Whonix builds upon various components and software distributions from other projects, essentially standing on the shoulders of giants.

In essence, Whonix is built upon: [2]

  • Numerous other software packages.

The Whonix contributors cannot possibly know the solution to every encountered problem or answer every question exhaustively. Therefore, users are encouraged to first determine if their issue is general and not specific to Whonix.

Applying this principle entails rephrasing the question, searching for solutions in different places, and ideally documenting the found solution in the Documentation. Past experience indicates that for some questions, this approach is the only realistic approach to solve them.

Some users may anticipate that Whonix offers a unified experience akin to a Windows system. While Whonix developers strive to fulfill these expectations, constraints in funding and manpower make it impossible. [3]

Whonix Reliance on Debian[edit]

Info Tip: Since Ubuntu is a Debian derivative, online help for Ubuntu most often works for Whonix.

In oversimplified 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 VLC Media Player on Whonix?" -- "The same way as in Debian apt install vlc. Whonix does not break anything, limit functionality, or prevent installation of compatible software.

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?"

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  2. For a more detailed explanation, see the About page.
  3. This is a challenge common to all Linux desktop distributions.