Very interesting discussion.
Thanks @xariv for all the good points you make.
But in my opinion you are overdramatizing things. While it’s surely very important to have a clear focus on what to work on given the scarce skilled developer resources at disposal, I fail to see where the Whonix project is currently at risk of shipping a “lower security standard” as you said. Could you provide some concrete examples of current lowered security standards?
I don’t see how Whonix as it is designed (and has been designed since the beginning as I understand it) would not address the needs of the “layman”, and how that would be a security problem. It is my understanding that on the contrary it can provide a solution for both non-technical and advanced computer users.
The way Whonix works is that it provides a fail-proof system out-of-the box, that prevents the host’s IP to be leaked to a potential attacker. If the user wants, he can dig deeper and try to run SSH/VPN tunnels, change any settings, install additional software, etc., at his own risk.
The Workstation, shipped with a user-friendly GUI (even more so since XFCE), allows users of any skills level to easily interact with it and address their particular needs, be it super complicated advanced settings, or just browsing anonymously Wikipedia…
Whonix has always be beginners-friendly. The only skill that you need is installing VirtualBox and importing the .ova files. And there you go, IP leak prevention out-of-the-box.
Then we try to convey the idea to the users that the journey is merely beginning, and we encourage them to read up on anonymity and computer security that we cover extensively on our Wiki, one of the most advanced resource on the matter that exists, although it probably needs some refreshing.
But to my knowledge, there is nothing in Whonix that should prevent beginners to use it out-of-the-box.
Take my case for example: I am not a computer specialist, have been using Whonix since more or less three years now, I had no previous experience with Linux and/or virtualization. Setting up and using it wasn’t complicated at all. The difficult part began when I tried to understand the inner workings, and documented myself on Tor and anonymity. But my initial ignorance didn’t prevent me from using Whonix. And I know personally people who use it without any knowledge on Linux systems or anonymity.
On the topic of focusing development efforts, from where I see it we are doing fine: Whonix has been ported to Buster before it has even been officially released.