updating Whonix from jessie to stretch / Migration to Gnome-Shell / port to GNOME-ish applications


I tested many DE, WM and Linux distributions.
I think need to use XFCE.

See Linux Mint XFCE.


Got answers:


Good day,

Just tested it with Debian Stretch under VBox. Keeping in mind the way the GW is currently set up, some of the animations they had to crowbar into the launcher occasionally take a bit of time to be fully executed and are somewhat sluggish. Even on WS-Settings with more VRam (128mb) this is the case. Analyzing it with the FPS tool provided with KDE, I found out that the reason for this seems to be that the animations aren’t that backed anyways, as I got a consisent result of over 48 frames per second, which should appear smooth when it comes to such animations. Occasional dips below 20 can be provoked though, by forcing an animation to play multiple times in a short amount of time which seems to take quite a toll on the systems performance.

Have a nice day,



Added a few more:

30% gnome3
14% xfce4
10% kde5
5-7% lxde, cinnamon, gnome-flashback
1% mate

Not a perfect comparison because other distributions use one or more of these exclusively. (Knoppix, Raspbian = LXDE; MATE & Cinnamon get a nice boost from Linux Mint Ubuntu).

Surprising to me is gnome-flashback’s number. Does that make it a contender? The nice thing about gnome-flashback is that it benefits from gnome3 maintenance. I wonder just how much attack surface is DE-specific, ie not covered by upstream packages.


After two years you will migrate from Gnome.

Waste time and forces.


Bah, I misunderstood gnome-flashback. It is not a full DE but rather a session for gnome3, which is probably why the homepage says:

GNOME Flashback is a session for GNOME 3 which was initially called “GNOME Fallback”, and shipped as a stand-alone session in Debian and Ubuntu.

So the 30% gnome3 number includes all the gnome-flashback users. Test by installing gnome-session-flashback gdm3. I thought it would come with all the baggage in gnome3 but it feels rather light. Desktop is very familiar as expected.

My personal picks are:

kde framework: kde5 (need to test - wait until 5.8 as HulaHoop suggests) or lxde (need to test)

gtk framework: gnome-flashback

I like xfce4 personally but I have my doubts about whether it would make a good newbie DE. A trivial example: if you right click a .desktop icon, the first menu choice is “Execute”. Only geeks say execute - the rest of the world says, “Run program” or “Launch application”. How many newbs even know what an executable is?

another example: to edit the applications menu,

  • gnome-flashback: right-click applications menu
  • xfce4: I couldn’t figure it out last time so I had to go look it up. I remember I edited some config files. I’ve since forgotten how to do it and so had to go look it up again. https://wiki.xfce.org/howto/customize-menu. :confused: Apparently we can install menu editors…

Using Whonix-Workstation as a DisposableVM (DispVM)

Thanks for tesing. In your opinion is the perfrmance acceptable under VBox? - under normal use.

I think @entr0py did a good job summarizing the whole point of what the DE search is for. It comes down to something that VBox can run without choking.

Its useful to point out that choices not needing 3D acceleration are getting fewer with time and that all the major environments (and libs under the hood like Qt and GTK) are headed there if not now. The few holdbacks like xfce have usability concerns, aesthetics concerns with gnome-fallback or in MATE’s case - a dead future since it relies on a deprecated toolkit.

VBox’s 3D implementation is a security hole with terrible performance and stability problems. However given this is VBox, its not doing too hot in the security department anyhow even without 3D enabled - so this shouldn’t be a blocker IMO.


Good day,

Like said, definetly what I’d consider usable. All in all, it feels however like Plasma is still very much a work-in-progress seeing as animations don’t play out as fast as they, according to the FPS-Meter should. Will likely be improved in the future.

Didn’t mention it before, though I did the test specifically with 3D-Acceleration turned off due to this. Even 3D based effects, like the ones used for changing between applications worked fluently.

Have a nice day,





What about proprietary driver for Intel CPU? Is it safe?


Good day,

Driver for the CPU? Which do you mean. Such shouldn’t (and don’t) exist because it would go against how the Linux Kernel has been designed. Are you talking about drivers for the IGPU integrated in Intel’s CPUs? If so, why are you asking in this thread? This would in either case be off-topic. Also, what you install on your host is your decision, as integrating drivers into Whonix wouldn’t make any sense due to its virtualized nature.

Have a nice day,



I understand very little English. but if you are going to switch to Gnome. Please, do not do that. Gnome is crap and not the desktop !!! the best, or to develop its beautiful and minimalistic and secure desktop or use the KDE or Cinnamon. But KDE is also shit.


And nested virtualization?


Yes I know. But their youth and inexperience… :slight_smile:



Good day,

This is a discussion thread. No real decision has been made yet. We are still looking into what will be the best option.

That doesn’t change the way the Linux-Kernel has been built. The Kernel already includes the necessary driver side support for Intel-CPUs.

What you linked to there at askubuntu isn’t a driver. It’s microcode. Microcode is something completley different and again, only applies to your HOST, not Whonix or any other non-host-system. It is a sort of firmware, not a driver. Furthermore, it is, as already mentioned, off-topic.

Microcode is not necessary to run Linux, it just includes minor fixes from the maker of your CPU, though again, only for HOST-SYSTEMS, nothing virtualized, including nested-virtualization.

Adding to all of that, even if this were drivers AND they would have any purpose in Whonix, we wouldn’t have the right to include those out of the same reason no Linux ever includes proprietary GPU drivers. Because it wouldn’t be legal.

Though since non of this has anything to do with Whonix, that doesn’t matter anyways.

tldr; Has nothing to do with Whonix, isn’t a driver, and only applies on host.

Have a nice day,



And VGA Passthrough? Why is this dangerous?


@Lana please do not balloon this thread with offtopic statements and questions. Post them under new topics so this thread remains readable.


virtualbox-guest-x11 broken after jessie to stretch upgrade:


A strong motivation for me personally for XFCE as opposed to GNOME / KDE… Lots of Whonix packages would not need to be checked / fixed due to port to Debian stretch and could even be deprecated.