Multiple Architecture Documentation (multiarch)

Time to document multiple architecture support.

Distro morphing is probably already possible. We have power9, previously arm64 (RPi) and new arm64 (M1) support.

For example Kicksecure should easily work on power9 or arm64. Ready for call for testers soon.

Multiple platform support seems difficult documentation, usability wise. I don’t even know how to name the current builds which we got, “amd64”.

Calling them “amd64” would alienate Intel users. “amd64” meaning “also Intel” is one of the worst terms ever.

Also cannot call it “PC” since there are also google results for “ARM based PC” which means “PC” doesn’t exclusivity mean x86-64.

Calling it “x86-64” (has a wikipedia page with that name) is slightly better but still very confusing. I don’t know any laymen that know that they are using “x86-64”, “amd64”. People just know they have a notebook. I’ve seen laymen failing on the Debian download page due to this and ending up with Ubuntu or otherwise instead which is exclusively x86-64 without mentioning it prominently.

Libvirt file name has to change. Currently:


Suggested new for arm64:


(Mentioning qcow2 because arm64 images initially will be only available as raw images.)

Suggested new for amd64:


Or use PC anyhow? Even though there are arm64 based PCs we can pretend the original PC architecture was x86, nowadays amd64, therefore reserved for that and other platforms should choose distinctive names.


On the website / in the wiki I would go as far as writing:

PC (Intel and AMD) (most users) | arm64


Using AMD/Intel nomenclature will cause confusion as both of these companies now have arm64 chip designs of their own to hedge their bets. Using PC isn’t a good idea either as desktop architectures have changed with time and what is ‘PC’ today may not be tomorrow so we must refer to the architecture name directly without any euphemism.

Including x86 is redundant as 32bit platforms are deprecated. x64 should be enough.

If you dislike arm64 because it looks too similar to amd64 then use aarch64 instead which is equally valid.

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Great, this makes confusion perfect. :slight_smile:

Good idea. I am most worried about people reading amd64 asking “what about Intel”.

On the website we could use AMD64 (upper case) versus arm64 (lower case) for better distinction. There could be a footnote in the wiki explaining that the different case isn’t implying a value judgement but for purpose of better usability, distinction.

For the website (when I say website I mean whonix.org homepage) what about using

Intel/AMD64 | arm64


People usually know if they’re using Intel / AMD. (Not necessarily 64 bit.) Because of the fancy stickers on notebooks. That would at least not add confusion to the still huge majority of hardware owners.

Created stub https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Architectures - that page could be used for further explanation if someone gets confused, wants to learn more or as justification (design documentation) why terminology was chosen as is.

Pages (potentially) involved:

The Debian pages have nice tables:

These might be useful.

  • Port Architecture Description Status

  • Architecture Manufacturer Status Comments

Maybe we could simplify, re-use their style. That is what think users will care about. Figuring out what to download. In technical terms, identifying their manufacturer and thereby their computer architecture.

Corrected myself: the main term is architecture. Not platform. As used by wikipedia and Debian.

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Alright I guess going with the colloquially used names is best for the wiki as long as the details I mentioned are documented on the architecture page to be crystal clear.


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