I know it’s a little late to mention but since we are switching to a new DE and considering how low resource usage is a priority, what do you think of the Enlightenment Desktop?
It was designed from the ground up for devices with low computing power and can function with all KDE/GNOME software. It is bare-bones itself which means you don’t have to mask out any cruft programs that Whonix doesn’t really need.
I just gave Enlightenment, Xfce and KDE a try. I used a CLI workstation, upgraded it to buster and installed the different DEs with --no-install-recommends. Free RAM was ~610 MB for both Enlightenment and Xfce and 400 MB for KDE.This varies a bit depending on which terminal you use and after which time after boot you start looking at the stats. Imho KDE is definitely the most visually appealing DE and also comes with more default applications but you can also feel that it is a bit slower. Enlightenment is imho somewhere between LXDE and Xfce. There does not seem to be that much development going on for Enlightenment which is not necessarily a bad thing but it crashed once and I sometimes could not type anything in a focused window. But this was just a first test and I’m not familiar with Enlightenment. There will also be a new version of Xfce soon™ based on gtk3 which will maybe consume more RAM but I don’t know if it will already be in buster.
You are going to have problems with it you won’t have with XFCE due to the specialized nature of it.
I think XFCE makes more sense as ‘complete package’. It also helps that it doesn’t have releases all the time either. I think XFCE is also a better option as it’s officially supported by Debian’s live-cd project whereas Enlightenment is not. I also don’t think Cinnamon is nearly stable enough having tried that.
I don’t really see the usecase for Enlightenment. You’d be better off doing a variant of Whonix Workstation that JUST includes a cut down window manager and Tor browser. That is something that would benefit people who use multiple Whonix Workstatations for different contexts. It would also have very minimal depedency (being just above a console-only version of Whonix).
This would be the go-to option for advanced users without too much effort. Personally I’d pick i3 because it’s well maintained and does have a active future Sway, when the time comes that we all use Wayland it will be easy to transition.
Whatever you pick for that I’d go for something that uses has a ‘brother’ that uses wlroots. Eg if you wanted awesomewm because there’s Way-cooler for that time when it will need to be transitioned away from X11.