Failed to start Secure Distributed Web Date

Hi all,

I am using Whonix on Virtualbox on top of Linux Mint. I have not updated any of these in years. But today is the first day it has given me a problem. I am not very skilled with linux so please pardon any noob-ery.

The error I am getting prevents the Workstation from starting. It is a black console screen with the message: Failed to start Secure Distributed Web Date. It finishes with “Started Update UTMP about System Runlevel changes.” I would copy the complete text here, but it won’t let me select anything.

I found a thread made in 2018 by someone with the same problem, however, I did not at all understand the references to altering various python scripts… lost me there.

The gateway starts just fine. It shows the pending sdwdate icon in the bottom right. The sdwdate logs show a series of timeouts (again, wish I could paste them, but I can’t seem to!). It’s pinging sites like USA Today for “secure drop” links, saying the status is “False”, and value is “Timeout”. Then after a few tries it says “General Timeout Error. Internet connection might be down”. It is in fact, not down…

I have tried:

  • Restarting workstation+gateway. Multiple times.
  • Restarting the computer, multiple times.
  • Verbally reprimanding the computer
  • Running whonixcheck on Gateway. This gave me three things to try. First two did not work, the last one was to manually randonmise the time, and run a command to fake a success. This made it “successful” on the gateway, but my workstation was still refusing to start.

Is this perhaps an issue relating to a network wide DDOS? Or am I just… stuffed?

Really appreciate any guidance on this!


So I was able to start a virtual terminal in the workstation. Tor is definitely started. I am able to curl up to public sites and get a valid response. I can also traverse the file system with the command line normally.

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Ran out of disk space.