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

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,


1 Like

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.

What I don’t like about XFCE is the bottom panel (panel-2). But it seems simple enough to disable it using /etc/xdg/xfce4/panel/default.xml.

Your code your rules :wink:

Personally I could live with the usability problems but I can’t speak for everyone.

I don’t think xfce4 is much worse than kde4 in terms of usability. It just isn’t any better. But I agree that time/effort would be better spent on higher priority issues rather than DE-porting.

Here are some numbers:

minimal stretch + xfce4 + xfce4-goodies + lightdm = 1.9 GB.

install konsole dolphin kgpg kwrite results in:

380 newly installed, 616 MB of additional disk space

install gnome-terminal nautilus seahorse gedit

177 newly installed, 417 MB of additional disk space

install libreoffice

197 newly installed, 685 MB of additional disk space

install libreoffice + 4 gnomish-apps

338 newly installed, 1,032 MB of additional disk space)
(strangely, not much overlap.)

minimal stretch + lxqt + xorg = 3.1 GB
(I have no idea if that’s a fair comparison to xfce.)

install konsole dolphin kgpg kwrite

120 newly installed, 225 MB of additional disk space

install gnome-terminal nautilus seahorse gedit

84 newly installed, 125 MB of additional disk space

install libreoffice

158 newly installed, 621 MB of additional disk space

install libreoffice + 4 gnomish apps

206 newly installed, 704 MB of additional disk space

I set up Whonix-13-stretch with LXQt in Virtualbox and it’s fast! (maybe even faster than xfce4). LXQt uses QT5 / KDE Framework 5. This means it can use KDE5 themes and look very nice. It can also use KWin instead of the default OpenBox window manager - not sure if that would weigh it down though. In terms of ease of use, I’d say it’s just slightly better than xfce4, about on par with kde4.

GTK: xfce4 (light), gnome-flashback (medium)
QT: lxqt (light), kde5 (?)


Good day,

Like written before, KDE5 is somewhat special. Despite the data (the FPS-Counter) showing it staying at fluid levels, there are situations where it seems to have a slight delay on executing commands. All in all though, it doesn’t seem to put a too big stress on the host-systems I was able to test with and doesn’t seem to be “heavier” than KDE 4.

Have a nice day,


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Patrix - personal OS for Patrick.

I now tested Cinnamon Mint on Vbox Windows - lags, lags, lags

Forget about LXQT.


Patrix - personal OS for Patrick.

I personally mostly use Qubes-Whonix, so I won’t get to see the XFCE
desktop that often.

Whonix keeps running in the spirit of Libre Software.

Maintainers providing other functionality, i.e. another desktop
environment are welcome. (
Ways to Contribute )

1 Like


Forget about LXQT.

Could use some reasoning.

The argument I have against anything other than the “big 2” DEs are the same reasons for choosing a major distro instead of a hobbyist distro project as a Whonix base. The long term investment and manpower behind GNOME and KDE make the the most stable choices (they have foundations, dozen of devs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual donations). Other DEs are merely remixes or dev/artist’s takes on what a desktop should look like but they are all powered by the formers’ libs under the hood. This fact also means the resource use argument is becoming irrelevant when you see the libraries of the big 2 moving into a direction where 3D support is preferred. If you accept this then we can ignore everything else besides GNOME and KDE.

GNOME ignoring their userbase’s wishes in the past does not make them all that attractive a choice (though they eventually changed things when distros started dropping them publicly). On the graphical side I find the interface non-intuitive and less pleasing to work with compared to KDE.

Another point against moving from KDE to anything else is the probability of needing different but similar workarounds to quirks in a DE such as disabling power-saving, the clipboard history and so on. So now we are throwing away considerable effort that went into taming what we have.

Again the choice is your as lead developer and maintainer. I don’t know if the current maintenance burden is much more excessive or having a big impact on your time. If so then of course do what you need to.

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I do accept your reasoning, which is why I wanted to see some reliable usage numbers. Given XFCE’s performance in the (non-definitive) popcorn results above and in this LinuxQuestion’s 2015 survey (Survey says: KDE Plasma is the most popular desktop Linux environment | CIO),

34% KDE
26% XFCE
10% Gnome-Shell
10% Cinnamon

I think it’s reasonable to consider XFCE as a contender even if it is borrowing GTK+3 from Gnome. Until Gnome / KDE provide a lightweight version of their DE, the demand for a 3rd lightweight DE will always exist. I’m not advocating for it - just giving you all options. :slight_smile:

I think we all agree that the top priority is to be able to make this transition with as little disruption to Whonix’s core objectives as possible. Which makes me reconsider one of the original requirements of having some consistency with Qubes. I’m not sure I see a need for that at all. GUI apps should not be accessible from dom0 (and won’t be after gui-domain is implemented). The only program I’ve ever run in a serviceVM is gnome-terminal and NetworkManager (which is pretty consistent everywhere).

So why do we need app-consistency with appVMs that many Whonix users will never use anyway? Is the motivation for this so that non-Whonix Qubes users can make the transition to using Whonix? Whonix is a distinct environment with a distinct purpose. If anything, having a separate DE reinforces that new users need to re-evaluate and reset their old computing habits.

I tried it also so I could compare apples to apples on my test system.

install kde-standard virtualbox-guest-x11: laggy animations as you said. on heaviness-scale, similar to gnome-flashback. not as heavy as gnome-shell, not as light as xfce or lxqt.

changed compositor from OpenGL2 to XRender. whoa! (kde) fps went from 15 to 60. Strange because OpenGL causes no slowdown on KDE4 in Virtualbox. UI is very responsive - feels just a tad slower than XFCE / KDE4. I’ve got KDE4 & KDE5 running side by side and apps (torbrowser, dolphin, konsole) take perceptibly longer to launch - but not so long that it’s disruptive to workflow. For example, torbrowser takes an extra 1-2 seconds on my system. Initial loading of the desktop is very slow.

I’ll have to go back and read the qubes’ KDE5 complaint thread. Maybe they weren’t happy with interaction with qubes-gui? Personally, I like KDE-apps and KWin and performance is fine AFAICT. I thought installing GTK applications like LibreOffice would pull in a bunch of Gnome dependencies anyway but my previous post seems to dispel the notion that a GTK DE would be much more efficient in terms of number of packages / disk space.

minimal stretch + kde-standard = 4.0 GB

install gnome-terminal nautilus seahorse gedit

110 newly installed, 267 MB of additional disk space

install libreoffice

157 newly installed, 613 MB of additional disk space

install libreoffice + 4 gnomish-apps

262 newly installed, 879 MB of additional disk space

I’ve said before.