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Whonix Desktop Installer with Calamares - field report

onion_knight via Whonix Forum:

XFCE still broken because of misconfigured xfce4-session.xml.whonix file.

That should be fixed in
https://github.com/Whonix/whonix-xfce-desktop-config and in next Whonix
tag yet to be created.

Theming is still broken though, but I understand it is not a priority right now.

Not really anything sorted by priority yet. all needs implementation.

https://phabricator.whonix.org/project/board/145/

https://phabricator.whonix.org/project/view/26/

https://phabricator.whonix.org/project/view/132/

Other issues still need to be addressed (see my posts above, passwordless sudo rights for Live User, etc.).

I should have created tickets for all of that?

Please have a look at:

https://phabricator.whonix.org/feed/

Please kindly create tickets for any missing items.

It’s rather difficult to take action based on forum posts for me if it
is getting complex and convulsed with a bunch of tasks that require
different work such as research, implementation, build, testing that all
easily take more than 1 hour of time.

1 Like

Didn’t see that until now becuase no one copied me. Seems that dnsmasq package is missing on Whonix Host which prevents the network from starting NAT successfully.

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Should dnsmasq then be part of the https://www.whonix.org/wiki/KVM guide?

dnsmasq is a DHCP server. Security issue having it installed on the host? Can be reconfigured to serve KVM only? If yes, any alternative without dnsmasq?

If ok or no alternative, could you add to Depends: please here:

Scratch that, That was a wrong guess. Tested libvirt/KVM install on Buster and dnsmasq-base is one of the automatically installed deps of libvirt. There are no security problems with the way libvirt uses and confgures it. It is otherwise not active for external interfaces. (links about that will be posted shortly in the DHCP thread).

I have no idea what other reason causes Whonix-External to fail. Let’s deal with it when other blockers are solved.

1 Like

HulaHoop via Whonix Forum:

I have no idea what other reason causes Whonix-External to fail. Let’s deal with it when other blockers are solved.

Only start is failing inside chroot but start inside chroot is not
important at all as long as start works when the image gets actually booted.

1 Like

Could calamares be configured to somehow not create user user during boot instead? That would simplify implementation on the Whonix side a lot.

Then we might be able to use /usr/share/pam-configs/mkhomedir ( http://blog.dailystuff.nl/2012/07/create-home-directory-on-first-login/ ) which would also solve https://phabricator.whonix.org/T913 / bug: not all files form /etc/skel are copied to /home/user.

( sudo pam-auth-update --enable mkhomedir )

Hi @Patrick

I am not sure I understand what you ask.

Here is how it works last time I tested:

-> Starting “Whonix-Desktop-with-Calamares-Installer” in live-mode: live-user is created on boot if correct kernel flags or appended (so already working)
-> Using Calamares-Installer: the user creates a user for his new machine he is installing Whonix-Desktop on (is this what you would like to suppress?)

1 Like

Just to let you know that I am currently rebuilding from scratch with version 15.0.0.3.3.

1 Like

Good question. :slight_smile: If I remember right, you previously said, that calamares gets confused by user user already being created during live boot. Therefore you manually deleted account user user before creating the iso.

Therefore we concluded that user user should be created during first boot of Whonix rather than during build of Whonix. However, also in live mode user user creation should not be done by Whonix anon-base-files.postinst but by calamares.

I guess what I am asking is, is it possible to make calamares not get confused by an already existing user user account?

What’s the name of that user account? user user? I guess not? Probably live-something? That should not really matter since it does not interfere with anything.

Yes. Ideally that would also be left to anon-base-files.postinst?

Currently for non-live Whonix builds as per git master anon-base-files.postinst creates user user with --no-create-home, uses pam-auth-update --enable mkhomedir, thereby populates the home folder on first login.

Also anon-base-files.postinst locks root account as per Restrict root access for new builds by default so calamares don’t need to ask about root account either.

I don’t know the calamares requirements and how we could design this interaction. Should we support users choosing arbitrary user account names in the installer? Self-chosen passwords right in the installer or enough after they login first?

So the more calamares (except for live-something user in live mode perhaps?) can be configured to stay out, the easier it would be from the Whonix side. Otherwise anon-base-files.postinst user user creation part would have to be converted to a systemd unit file which is more complicated.

I’ve just built a Whonix-Desktop-Calamares-ISO based on 15.0.0.3.3 (sudo -E /home/user/Whonix/whonix_build --build --redistribute --target iso --flavor whonix-host-xfce --freedom false).

By default, the ISO boots in live-mode with user Debian Live user (identified as user).

In my understanding, this behaviour is not caused by Calamares (which is merely the OS install program), but by live-config (see content of /lib/live/config/ directory).

It doesn’t seem that the installer is getting confused by this in any way.

When booting into the newly installed OS (“Whonix-Desktop”), there is no user user available (I created a user with another username).

su user
su: user user does not exist

Debian Live user

I see. As of now, anon-base-files.postint is used during first boot of Whonix-Gateway and Whonix-Workstation, right?

I don’t know yet how to integrate this into Calamares. Maybe we could avoid it altogether in the Whonix-Desktop-ISO build? Is it necessary for the Whonix-Desktop?

As a reminder, this is what currently happens by default on Whonix-Desktop-ISO build 15.0.0.3.3:

all this tested only in KVM VM only, not yet on real hardware

-> boot with ISO in live-mode, with user Debian Live user, identified as user
-> Calamares Installer lets the user choose install configuration: encryption, username, password, same password for root account (=the username has sudo rights) or different password for root account, time zone, keyboard language, etc.
-> after install, when booting on the newly installed Whonix-Desktop (hard disk, no ISO), the only interactive user available is the one created during the Calamares install (as expected). It has a home folder with Desktop Pictures and Downloads directories. I guess its environment is being copied from /etc/skel?
-> there is however a /home/user/ directory, which is empty…

Side note: I have some bugs to report regarding, I’ll do it later, probably tomorrow.

Easy answer first, might have more answers later.

ls -la /home/user

?
Completely empty? Nothing inside?
I will review what might be causing this.

No. anon-base-files.postinst is run during installation of the anon-base-files package which happens during image creation inside chroot at build time.

That is, if you have the anon-base-files package installed. Do you have the anon-base-files package installed?

If you are building Whonix host you will be installing meta package whonix-host-xfce-kvm-freedom / whonix-host-xfce-kvm-nonfreedom so anon-base-files might not be installed. This could be considered a feature, not a bug depending on how we want to design it. Whonix host might need a different but similar package. On the other hand, I guess anon-base-files on Whonix host is a good idea?

No, it is not empty:

root@test-pc:~# tree -a /home/user/
/home/user/
└── .cache
    └── virt-manager
        └── virt-xml.log

and:
cat /home/user/.cache/virt-manager/virt-xml.log

[Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:04:36 virt-xml 13047] DEBUG (cli:200) Launched with command line: /usr/share/virt-manager/virt-xml Whonix-Gateway --add-device --filesystem source=/mnt/gateway-shared,target=shared,type=mount,accessmode=mapped
[Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:04:36 virt-xml 13047] DEBUG (cli:214) Requesting libvirt URI default
[Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:04:36 virt-xml 13047] DEBUG (cli:217) Received libvirt URI qemu:///system
[Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:04:36 virt-xml 13047] DEBUG (virt-xml:53) XML diff:
--- Original XML
+++ Altered XML
@@ -96,5 +96,9 @@
       <backend model="random">/dev/urandom</backend>
       <address type="pci" domain="0x0000" bus="0x00" slot="0x07" function="0x0"/>
     </rng>
+    <filesystem type="mount" accessmode="mapped">
+      <source dir="/mnt/gateway-shared"/>
+      <target dir="shared"/>
+    </filesystem>
   </devices>
 </domain>

[Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:04:36 virt-xml 13048] DEBUG (cli:200) Launched with command line: /usr/share/virt-manager/virt-xml Whonix-Workstation --add-device --filesystem source=/mnt/workstation-shared,target=shared,type=mount,accessmode=mapped
[Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:04:36 virt-xml 13048] DEBUG (cli:214) Requesting libvirt URI default
[Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:04:36 virt-xml 13048] DEBUG (cli:217) Received libvirt URI qemu:///system
[Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:04:36 virt-xml 13048] DEBUG (virt-xml:53) XML diff:
--- Original XML
+++ Altered XML
@@ -93,5 +93,9 @@
       <backend model="random">/dev/urandom</backend>
       <address type="pci" domain="0x0000" bus="0x00" slot="0x07" function="0x0"/>
     </rng>
+    <filesystem type="mount" accessmode="mapped">
+      <source dir="/mnt/workstation-shared"/>
+      <target dir="shared"/>
+    </filesystem>
   </devices>
 </domain>

It has been copied over from the ISO file, meaning it somehow survived the cleaning phase at build time.

Other observations regarding Whonix-Desktop-Calamares-Installer-ISO-15.0.0.3.3:
All tests done with KVM, not real hardware

Whonix-ISO (=BEFORE install, using the live ISO only)

  1. Theming is not OK
    It uses default debian buster theming:

  2. Trying to use Whonix-VM with virt-manager results in fatal error
    Error starting network 'Whonix-External': Unable to create bridge virbr1: Package not installed
    Same thing for virtual network Whonix-Internal.
    Virtual network ‘default’ fails with
    Error starting network 'default': internal error: Network is already in use by interface ens3

  1. Calamares Installer branding must be changed
    It is now using default debian buster branding. I already have suggestions to change the branding, will post in another thread.

Whonix-Desktop on HDD (=AFTER install, without the live ISO)

  1. Residual files in /home/user/
    As mentioned above:

    root@test-pc:~# tree -a /home/user/
    /home/user/
    └── .cache
    └── virt-manager
    └── virt-xml.log

  2. Newly installed user cannot log in as root or execute a command with sudo rights
    This is probably the worst bug of the list. I have no idea where it comes from. It seemed to work last time I did a full build and test… Didn’t dig further, here are the outputs:

Trying to use sudo with sudo rights always fails with “incorrect password” (although it is correct):

test@test-pc:~$ sudo ls

We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System
Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:

    #1) Respect the privacy of others.
    #2) Think before you type.
    #3) With great power comes great responsibility.

[sudo] password for q:    
Sorry, try again.
[sudo] password for q:     
Sorry, try again.
[sudo] password for q:      
sudo: 3 incorrect password attempts

su command always gives a “Permission denied” error…

test@test-pc:~$ su -
Password: 
su: Permission denied

As I said, I didn’t dig further. Any ideas on how to investigate and solve this weird faulty behavior are welcome.

  1. Trying to use Whonix-VM with virt-manager results in fatal error (same error as with ISO)
    Error starting network 'Whonix-External': Unable to create bridge virbr1: Package not installed
    Same thing for virtual network Whonix-Internal.
    Virtual network ‘default’ fails with
    Error starting network 'default': internal error: Network is already in use by interface ens3

  2. There seems to be a problem with clock synchronization (lagging one hour behind).

1 Like

Sure you are not building from git master?
There was work on this:
Restrict root access
These are not yet tested in a new build and might cause some issues.

Does /var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-base-files.postinst contain passwd? To check:

cat /var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-base-files.postinst | grep 

This would mean you build from git master.

passwd
## mkpasswd
passwd --lock “$account_to_be_locked”
#sudo passwd

@onion_knight:

/home/user/.cache/virt-manager/virt-xml.log

Any idea which might be creasing those? @HulaHoop

Also can you help please with these KVM issues? @HulaHoop

https://github.com/Whonix/whonix-initializer/blob/master/usr/lib/anon-dist/chroot-scripts-post.d/80_cleanup does not attempt to clean the home folder yet.

Maybe soon we move to http://blog.dailystuff.nl/2012/07/create-home-directory-on-first-login/ / sudo pam-auth-update --enable mkhomedir. During that I will work on it.

Timezone issue? Sometimes it is a “BIOS” (virtual or real BIOS) vs system clock issue.
Is package timezone-utc installed? I guess we want to go for that?

OK as per the official guide there is a virtinst package needed for creating/cloning VMs via commandline. Please install and let me know if it works.

https://wiki.debian.org/KVM#Installation

1 Like

There is no such file:

ls var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-*
var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-icon-pack.list
var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-icon-pack.md5sums
var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-icon-pack.postinst
var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-icon-pack.postrm

This is all the commands I used for building. Is it correct?:

git clone --jobs=4 --recursive https://github.com/Whonix/Whonix
cd Whonix
git branch 15.0.0.3.3-stable
git checkout 15.0.0.3.3-stable
sudo -E ./whonix_build --build --redistribute --target iso --flavor whonix-host-xfce --freedom false

Already installed:

root@test-pc:~# apt install timezone-utc
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
timezone-utc is already the newest version (3:2.4-1).
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

Thanks, will try it later. I didn’t have this problem last time I built a Whonix-Host-ISO (in May I think). Was the package removed from the Whonix-Host build?

EDIT: the package is already installed.
Currently looking what else could cause the issue.

1 Like

OK, I have found the cause of

Error starting network 'Whonix-External': Unable to create bridge virbr1: Package not installed

One or some of the following protocols listed in /etc/modprobe.d/uncommon-network-protocols.conf are needed:

install dccp /bin/true
install sctp /bin/true
install rds /bin/true
install tipc /bin/true
install n-hdlc /bin/true
install ax25 /bin/true
install netrom /bin/true
install x25 /bin/true
install rose /bin/true
install decnet /bin/true
install econet /bin/true
install af_802154 /bin/true
install ipx /bin/true
install appletalk /bin/true
install psnap /bin/true
install p8023 /bin/true
install llc /bin/true
install p8022 /bin/true

Reverting back to a previous version of this file (I think, June?) solves the problem:

install dccp /bin/true
install sctp /bin/true
install rds /bin/true
install tipc /bin/true

Now, next problem is

Error starting network 'Whonix-External': Cannot check dnsmasq binary /usr/sbin/dnsmasq: No such file or directory

Seems easier to fix :slight_smile:

Installing dns-masq solves the problem (as reported earlier in this thread by @HulaHoop

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Bravo. It would have never come to my mind.

1 Like

onion_knight via Whonix Forum:

OK, I have found the cause of

Error starting network 'Whonix-External': Unable to create bridge virbr1: Package not installed

One or some of the following protocols listed in /etc/modprobe.d/uncommon-network-protocols.conf are needed:

install dccp /bin/true
install sctp /bin/true
install rds /bin/true
install tipc /bin/true
install n-hdlc /bin/true
install ax25 /bin/true
install netrom /bin/true
install x25 /bin/true
install rose /bin/true
install decnet /bin/true
install econet /bin/true
install af_802154 /bin/true
install ipx /bin/true
install appletalk /bin/true
install psnap /bin/true
install p8023 /bin/true
install llc /bin/true
install p8022 /bin/true

Strange you have them all Whonix 15.0.0.3.3-stable. This means somehow
you’re using packages from git master. Nonetheless this needs to be
fixes as this change is coming.

Reverting back to a previous version of this file (I think, June?) solves the problem:

install dccp /bin/true
install sctp /bin/true
install rds /bin/true
install tipc /bin/true

Could you please find out which module it is? Once root access is
restored…

sudo lsmod

Or @madaidan @HulaHoop any idea which module that could be?

Now, next problem is

Error starting network 'Whonix-External': Cannot check dnsmasq binary /usr/sbin/dnsmasq: No such file or directory

I speculate installing dnsmasq-base package would solve this.

Is dnsmasq a dependency of Whonix KVM? Should dnsmasq-base be a
Depends: of whonix-libvirt package? @HulaHoop

Can you make (sanely) Whonix KVM work while sudo apt purge dnsmasq*?
@HulaHoop

onion_knight via Whonix Forum:

There is no such file:

ls var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-*
var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-icon-pack.list
var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-icon-pack.md5sums
var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-icon-pack.postinst
var/lib/dpkg/info/anon-icon-pack.postrm

No anon-base-files installed package then. “Good” because nothing
“randomly” pulls the package. “Bad” because then also nothing sets
password for user “user” to “changeme”. Expected that sudo does not work
then since no password is set.

Just now added anon-base-files to whonix-host-xfce-kvm-freedom for user
“user” creation. Will be included in next git tag.

To gain “emergency” root, next git tag will also include a passwordless
recovery mode.

( Restrict root access )
( https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Recovery#Recovery_Mode )

(But that might already work in your build too.)
(For example, set a root password from recovery mode, or whatever
needed, type “exit” and continue boot.)

Can you boot the raw image of Whonix host for further experimentation
rather than iso? That might help making persistent changes (such

This is all the commands I used for building. Is it correct?:

git clone --jobs=4 --recursive https://github.com/Whonix/Whonix
cd Whonix
git branch 15.0.0.3.3-stable
git checkout 15.0.0.3.3-stable
sudo -E ./whonix_build --build --redistribute --target iso --flavor whonix-host-xfce --freedom false

Looks correct.

build-steps.d/1100_prepare-build-machine does

sudo $SUDO_OPTS git submodule sync --recursive
sudo $SUDO_OPTS git submodule update --init --recursive --jobs=200

the latter should set the git submodules to the correct git revision.

Does manually running git submodule update do something? It should not
but if it does it sets the correct revision (as it should reflect the
git tag).

OK as per the official guide there is a virtinst package needed for creating/cloning VMs via commandline. Please install and let me know if it works.

https://wiki.debian.org/KVM#Installation

Could you please make https://wiki.debian.org/KVM#Installation suitable
for use with apt --no-install-recommends? @HulaHoop

Thanks, will try it later. I didn’t have this problem last time I built a Whonix-Host-ISO (in May I think). Was the package removed from the Whonix-Host build?

I did not touch it. Manual build vs --no-install-recommends issue?

I can try, but I will need to blacklist each module one by one to see which one(s) causes the failure of bridge creation.

Installing dnsmasq solved the problem. I didn’t try with dnsmasq-base.

By default, there is no user user with the ISO build. Only a live user when booted in live-mode. I think it has sudo rights by default (I’ll check that again).

Important: problem with sudo/su arises in the installed machine (post Calamares), But I still can log in to graphical target with root.

Yes, that’s what I’m doing.

Once again, sudo/su problems are not with the ISO/raw Whonix Host, but on the installed image after Calamares install

.The package was already installed.

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