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consolidating Whonix packages

Originally published at: https://www.whonix.org/blog/consolidating-whonix-packages
There have been some complaints, that there are too many Whonix packages. Specifically by people auditing or trying to understand Whonix better. I think here is some valid and some invalid criticism. Nowadays seemlingly almost everyone is overworked. Attention spawns are small. However, it should not be expected to be capable to get an overview about a linux distribution in 5 minutes. All I can do is ask to take 30 or 60 minutes to go through the list of Whonix packages one by one. Perhaps just read the quick github description. And if you want to learn more, see their readme files. That should give you a good first overview.

Okay, perhaps 120 packages is a bit much. And a bit can and will be consolidated.

If I combined for example let’s say kde-sounds-off with kde-lowfat, that does not really makes sense. Then someone else wanted to use only either functionality and complain that they are mixed.

The days of Whonix with KDE by default are counted anyhow. Perhaps with Whonix 14, Whonix will be ported to GNOME. I don’t care so much about KDE above GNOME anymore. And GNOME provides better accessibility support for the blind. Qubes is changing to GNOME by default, so Whonix has to do that for Qubes-Whonix also. EDIT: instead Whonix was ported to XFCE

As a side effect, that way there will be ~16 kde- packages less. They will be removed from github.com/Whonix, thereby making the packages list smaller, and perhaps remain unmaintained under github.com/adrelanos for historic and whatever purpose.

Anyhow. Some packages could usefully be consolidated. For example, from today’s perspective I was a bit too eager to make a separate packages scurl and poweroff-passwordless. That could be merged into the usability-misc package?

On the other hand, a separate scurl package advertises better it’s functionality and good security practices.

What about curl-scripts?

gpl-sources-download -> usability-misc?

Other suggestions for consolidation?

The chroot packages (-build-) will be deprecated as chroot scripts are deprecated. That’s ~ 9 packages less.

The absence of the dpkg feature ‘weak dependencies’ is also really sad. Since Whonix meta packages are removed just for uninstalling let’s say gpl-sources-download makes the split packages less worthwhile. That background is explained here and under technical stuff.

Split packages are still useful enough. For abstractions reasons. To make maintenance, audits and upstreaming easier.

Older developments not mentioned here.

Recent developments:

  • removed anon-iceweasel-warning since outdated, broken if re-invented should be added to anon-apps-config
  • deprecate tor-ctrl (as per tor-ctrl - Tor control port command line tool)
  • removed gpl-sources-download since merged into usability-misc
  • removed vbox-disable-timesync since deprecated
  • removed anon-mixmaster since deprecated

We are down to 90 packages.


Package deprecation under consideration:

  • apparmor-profile-gwenview
  • apparmor-profile-okular
  • apparmor-profile-virtualbox

as per Whonix AppArmor Profiles Development Discussion


Planned:

  • merge scurl into usability-misc
  • merge curl-scripts into helper-scripts

It didn’t plan out as envisioned. People who want to disable IPv6 don’t install package ipv6-disable. At least I never heard that.

The following packages are only used on Whonix-Gateway:

  • ipv4-forward-disable
  • ipv6-disable

Therefore these can be merged into anon-gw-anonymizer-config.

Done.

Done.

This is a popular image viewer. Can you please reconsider deprecation?

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Will answer here: Whonix AppArmor Profiles Development Discussion

This was done.


Also done:

  • merge xchat-improved-privacy (actually for hexchat) into anon-apps-config
  • merge anon-gpg-tweaks into security-misc / anon-apps-config
  • remove anon-iceweasel-warning since outdated, broken
  • remove gpl-sources-download since merged into usability-misc
  • remove vbox-disable-timesync since deprecated
  • remove anon-mixmaster since deprecated
  • merge power-savings-disable-in-vms into vm-config-dist

Here’s a list of all merged or deprecated packages:

https://github.com/Whonix?q=deprecated

These will be deleted after the next stable release of Whonix to not break building the current stable release from source code.

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