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'sudo apt-get install whonix' Part I / Distro-Morphing

The ability to install Whonix meta-packages packages from a repository is finished.

How it Works:

In two steps a user is able to convert plain Debian VMs into Whonix:

  1. First by adding the Whonix repo URLs to the apt sources list (optionally: check instructions for anonymous repo downloads)

  2. Then doing ‘sudo apt-get install whonix-(gateway|workstation)’

What Becomes Possible:

The concept of distro-morphing is an incredible technical milestone because at the moment, no other derivative OS can be directly installed on its upstream base just by running a package manager. This makes Whonix packages accessible to Debian virtual machine users in a couple of commands.

Whonix becomes portable and possible to install on every alternative hardware architecture supported by Debian with little effort. It also sets allows installing select Whonix packages on Debian hosts.

Another advantage is easier testing of Whonix packages across different hypervisors and reduced template sizes for Qubes-Whonix.

Related:

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Theory:

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Practice:

This was implemented and now used in the wild.

Whonix reported to be running on POWER9 using distro-morphing.

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Awesome :slight_smile: I was thinking about alternative platforms like Talos when writing about this feature. Happy to see people pick it up and run with it.

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WOW Thats Awseome!!!

Bad News

To elaborate on that one…
distro-morphing is still in use to a degree.

  • During the build process of Non-Qubes-Whonix and Qubes-Whonix a Debian base image (created in earlier build step) will be morphed into Whonix.
  • During the build process of Kicksecure a Debian base image (created in earlier build step) will be morphed into Kicksecure.

What’s hard indeed is supporting arbitrary user installations of Debian which could contain a lot state (configuration, gnome vs kde vs whatever desktop environment) to be morphed to Whonix or Kicksecure.


Good News

This is also related to distro-morphing:

To learn early when distro-morphing would break due to package installation issues:

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So are you saying it should work if the user doesn’t try to install a different DE or set of packages different from the official defaults?

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That depends what the definition of the word “should” is. :wink:
Yes, should work.
Best chance is to start with a minimal installation without GUI or XFCE if it must be one and then installing a meta package (cli or xfce).

I wrote that because I think it’s a bad use of development time to support individual geeky exercises if something better (Whonix-Host) can be created instead.

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Good to know. Worth adding to documentation since this is the second time recently I’ve seen people interested. Great to see it a building block in some projects like yoshidako’s laptop.

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Done here: https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Kicksecure/Debian

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