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Whonix experimental for how long

I was quoted twice here. People complaining about low quality, or expecting a solid system, is a negative in your eyes Patrick? If that’s the attitude then there’s really no point in such posts. You need to clarify that though, I was under the impression that pointing out things that can be improved is actually some kind of contribution.

Yes I support switching to a research label because its more accurate about the project’s goals and open problems.

It also gives it a more professional branding than “alpha” which otherwise implies that it’s an unmaintained hobbyist side project to most people.

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@pano where did that come from? Patrick was making neutral statement about your posts and using them as an example of people’s expectation? No one dislikes your topics and we are happy to discuss new ideas.

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I get the impression many users’ posts are seen as a burden. Perhaps they are a burden. I can understand that and I really do appreciate the work done here by Patrick and others and I also understand the pressure of having to complete a lot with limited resources.

Personally I don’t seek great features, I seek stability. I wouldn’t mind at all if Whonix stayed on Jessie for example for a few more years. I think the type of users who need Whonix fit the same profile. All those warnings / experimental / research approach / being understaffed / underfunded / obviously overworked remarks aren’t reassuring. And reassurance is needed if one is to believe a project will not be abandoned at some point. Yes I didn’t contribute much here so far, but I spent already many many hours learning about Whonix and trying to figure the ins and outs, and I plan to continue doing that. Why would one spend a lot of time and energy if there is little confidence in the future of a project?

Reducing expectations levels, moving to research mode and emphasizing an ever lasting experimental state will be detrimental to receiving more funding, that’s for sure. People want to use and invest in viable, stable and long lasting projects, not in experiments. I agree with the OP, after what, 6+ years, Whonix can’t be viewed as an experiment any more. It’s either a success or a failure, and personally I think it’s a success. It is endorsed by many security experts, there is nothing like it, it works and does it’s job. No, it cannot cover 100% of security aspects, no product can, but you get a much lighter and optimistic feeling going through Qubes website for example.

+1 “actively maintained research project”

Qubes has more funding, paid staff, user contributions, larger audience. And by more, I don’t mean just greater than, but order of magnitude more. (Also, you mentioned the website specifically. I think Whonix could definitely improve on that front. But we don’t have a webmaster currently, let alone a web-designer.)

There is absolutely none to give. If Patrick were to quit tomorrow, there are certainly Whonix devs/users that have the skills to pick up the project, but absolutely no guarantee that anyone will do so. The best way to ensure the project’s survival is to have more participation in development.

There aren’t exactly a lot of Whonix-alternatives to choose from. Time and energy spent studying Whonix shouldn’t be viewed as an investment in Whonix as much as knowledge that can be applied to any privacy project.

These kinds of projects aren’t funded by VCs looking for return on investment. Funders are looking for projects that address a pressing need and require funds to survive. They want their limited funds to carry impact. Granted, they don’t want their funds to go to waste by a project that immediately shuts down. But it’s a lot more complicated than simply a label.

Many users’ posts are a burden. I say that as a matter of fact - not with any specific animosity. This is a complex project with many pieces - the vast majority of which are developed elsewhere: kvm, xen, qubes, vbox, debian, kde, all the application software, all the system daemons, etc, etc. It’s perfectly fine that new users don’t always know the best place to go to for support, or what is appropriately whonix-specific. And new users often have good ideas (especially regarding usability), so the goal is not to discourage posting.

However, there are things that users can do to lessen the burden.

  • First, look at the effort in this thread: Long Wiki Edits Thread . The accumulated time and energy that has gone into the wiki and forum posts is wasted when posters don’t search even Whonix resources.
  • Second, a basic web search can answer many questions, and if not, can make the poster more educated about what exactly they need help with.
  • Finally, I don’t post random links. The links I share are directly relevant (and if not, marked as such). I don’t post any links that I haven’t read myself (or written in some cases). My absolute pet peeve is when I take the time to find the appropriate links, and the poster comes back 5 minutes later, having ignored the links, to ask the same original question. That’s a burden.

Ideas to improve Whonix are always welcome - as long as people are mindful of the fact that this is an open-source, volunteer project and not one to which they are entitled to dictate. In many cases (like I2P Integration) when ideas can not be acted upon in a timely manner, suggestions are given to the original poster on how they can get involved personally - by contacting upstream projects, researching ideas further, or testing different scenarios.

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Well, this is the impression, the point is not putting anyone on the defense, if you care about Whonix you will try to spot the details I’m right about and not try to refute them. I am not trying to win an argument, it’s good for nobody.

Regarding the documentation - I commented about some issues in the past, but I was very polite. I want to be a bit more direct this time - it is just terrible.

Almost every page is way too long to be useful for people with any kind of time constraints, who can’t become Whonix / Debian / networking experts before they find a solution to their specific problem.
Every page covers all possible options for every Hypervisor or setting, making an already complex technical point or procedure much more difficult to implement than it should be.
And, it contains mistakes and outdated information (see the VPN page, with the riseup account that “does not work anymore for the author of those lines”, and is still given as an example).

Then, switch to the Tails documentation. One gets the feeling it’s possible to cover it in a single afternoon.

Hey, tails developers don’t even maintain a forum like that. They don’t need to. Try to think why.

What part of underfunded and understaffed do you not understand? I agree that the wiki is verbose (sometimes for good reason) and could use better organization. I don’t agree that it’s constructive to complain without offering help (money or effort is gladly accepted). You are proficient in English. So like torjunkie and 0brand, who came to this project with little expert knowledge, you could also make massive contributions to cleaning up and expanding the documentation - which is btw, one of the most comprehensive how-to’s on internet privacy in existence.

You are absolutely right. Tails is a fantastic project. Highly polished, non-experimental, and amnesic to boot. That may be exactly what you’re looking for. (Of course, Tails users can be decloaked by root-escalation exploits, but hey, what’s a little deanonymization when you can get through the docs in an afternoon?)

[For the record, only the last question is sarcastic. Tails has its place, as does Whonix - and they’re not interchangeable. Comparing the two as you’ve done only illustrates that you don’t know the difference between apples and oranges.]

Umm, ok, I’ll give it a shot:

  1. They did have a forum.
  2. They closed it. https://tails.boum.org/news/tails-support/index.en.html
  3. They now offer support via email, chat, and mailing list. https://tails.boum.org/support/index.en.html

It’s so entangled I have no clue where to start. For example, if I wanted to write a simplified and consice chapter about a specific issue in Whonix 13 - Virtual Box case, I could do it, but the structure of the documentation dictates all hypervisors are discussed in a single page. Unless you write separate guides for each, or allow the user to filter them (as I suggested in an earlier thread and was told it’s not realistic), things won’t be improved and the clutter will stay. Again I think when you’re understuffed, underfunded you need to focus, as I suggested in this thread.

I like a bit of sarcasm, it made me smile and I enjoy your sense of humor. On the serious side, if I didn’t think Whonix has an important place I wouldn’t spend time on it. But I think it offers the biggest advantages especially to those who need ongoing access to the internet, for example those who run onion sites.

It is correct Whonix provides a better protection from some malware if it is present and from certain attacks, but on the other hand it will be probably easier for a malware to gain a foothold in Whonix rather than in Tails. Why? simply because Tails starts from scratch each time, so as long as the installation is clean and the user is very careful to save only what he absolutely has to, only plain data (in a persistent volume or a separate USB), and is careful in general, I think it is reasonably safe. Tails doesn’t have an admin pass to being with. Of course user had less flexibility in instalations etc.
You can roll back to an earlier snapshot in Whonix, correct, that can assist with this aspect, but first of all - this isn’t a default procedure, and defaults are important when we are in reality and not in theory (also - some people connect a string to the USB stick and pull it as a dead man switch, I wonder if roll-back can be done that quickly), and second, for sure the forensics side is better handled with Tails.

More about malware - even if it gained foothold in Whonix-workstation it’s not supposed to find your IP. Well, there are many other ways to deanonymize one other than an IP. If you are active on the system then sooner or later the nature of your activity if monitored by malware will be enough to deanonymize you without requiring an IP. And you know what? if you click CTRL-C on your IP in the Gateway it is immediately known to the Workstation and anything that runs on it unless you change (the default? I don’t recall) settings in VirtualBox that allow that. I have no clue about KVM or Qubes. Plus - Whonix-Gateway can also be subject to an attack due to a Debian vulnerability or anything that runs on it.

So, for those who need ongoing online access or require a lot of installations and non-default tools or settings (it will be a pain to install them again and again in Tails), Whonix is certainly a better solution. Otherwise, it’s a difficult question to determine if the vulnerabilities inherent in Whonix due to persistance are compensated by the workstation - gateway architecture advantages.

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I am awful at contributing to the wiki myself so I empathize. I can assure you though, that if you get some text into the hands of torjunkie and 0brand, they will know exactly what to do with it.


Your points are mostly fair concerning Whonix vs Tails.

Regarding hypervisors, Virtualbox support is maintained because it offers the best compatibility and ease-of-use - important factors when considering the audience that may need Whonix the most.

However, the preferred hypervisor for those willing to work with more advanced setups is KVM or Qubes. Qubes, in particular, offers many advantages in terms of non-persistence (via templateVMs and disposableVMs), isolation of networking & usb (and soon graphics), and secure file exchange and clipboard (of particular interest to you).

I don’t how the average Whonix end user looks like. In the end most people usually want something where they just need to push a button or click somewhere and it just works. Imho, Whonix does this anonymity/security/privacy wise really well. I guess, though don’t know for sure, most just use it for surfing, chatting, file sharing … over Tor.
Then there are advanced users who need something more and then of course have to dig into the documentation. You can’t fit everyones usecase.

Whonix vs Tails:
In case of Tails, as soon as you have persistence then malware has persistence, too. You can save files on your USB drive but there has been malware that uses hidden partitions. Some people save deb packages there which could be changed by malware and phone home.
Non persistence is not the default mode of Whonix because this never was the main point and also has some disadvantages (updates, entry guards).
Regarding forensics, FDE solves 99% of the issues with the exception of data in RAM during shutdown. To my knowledge there have not been any cases where some RAM wipe feature helped someone in real live.
If you want to have non persistence similar to Tails in Whonix then you can use the Whonix-Qubes live cd from @unman or the optional live mode in Whonix 14 (should work in 13 too)

As long as you don’t store your tax data or personal address there probably not. Maybe you are pseudonymous or the malware steals your BTC but your real IP will not be revealed. I would not say the same about malware on Tails.

Sounds interesting. Can you elaborate?

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No “digging” is not required in properly structured guides.

I just went through the Proxy after Tor page. I looked at it in the past, it seemed too complicated. Now I was determined so I tried again. It took me about 2 hours, all I wanted was to find out “how to use a proxy after tor, for the specific case of tor browser”. And you know what? now that I understand, if I need to explain it to someone, verbally or in writing, it would not take me 2 hours. It would take me exactly 2 minutes.
This page contains all possible methods for every tool whatsoever, and it contains methods that are “untested, please report!” or “unfortunately don’t work” (followed by a detailed account of the steps for the method that doesn’t work!). It contains references to disputes and fights between developers of proxychains, it mixes technical steps with doubts about motivation to use tools, I couldn’t have written a more cluttered page if I tried.

Whonix works. It can be improved but it is good. Reading the docs is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Not complicated:

  • A user isn’t a search engine that can index all the info by DFS or BFS tree scan. Too much info can be as damaging as too little info.
  • A user isn’t a compiler either that requires block inside a block inside a block inside a block.
  • Start by concentrating on the most common issue, and on the simplest solution! 80% of or more the readers need just that!
  • If there are methods that are untested or are not working at all, don’t put them in the middle of the document! if you must include them at all, do that at the very bottom or better as a link at the bottom! Don’t put “TODO” notes in the middle of a guide that everybody read! isn’t there meta-info for a page or a better place?
  • Understand to clearly separate stuff an average user can do and material for advanced or even “testers only” info.

I can go on and on. It is frustrating.

The more you save the further away you get from security. This should be clear to all users. If you have a reference to a case of malware that was found in a Tails USB device in a hidden folder that will be an interesting read.

I don’t see how FDE solves any of that. The data is there and in many cases the attacker can either get to it independently or through you. When you have logs, browsing records and traces every application leaves, (in the case of Whonix) versus saving only the data you absolutely have to (in the case of Tails), there is a big difference.

I wouldn’t be so sure. It’s not only what you store, it’s everything you type, put into the clipboard, view, everyone you communicate with (some of those people will not maintain any OPSEC at all…) and so on. Unless you keep a completely fictitious identity inside each and every action this tracking can deanonymize you.
Of course, a malware in Tails will quickly get your IP. It may make more sense to use a remote connection with Tails.

Shared clipboard settings allow that.
Points I didn’t mention before:

  • Attack surface. Tails users are discouraged from adding more applications, Tails project makes a lot of effort to include enough tools, good tools, for most users. Whonix, that does not have an amnesic issue contains less tools, but encourages users to install others. This potentially can create a much larger attack surface in Whonix-Workstation.
  • Whonix-Gateway is mininal, but we have here 2 different systems that can be compromised, plus the host, plus the hypervisor. Is this a smaller or larger attack surface?

This, when i first found Whonix i was digging the Docs for a very long time and was learning a massive amount about privacy, security and anonymity. It is one of the few places where this much Information about these Topics is collected and i learned a lot while reading.
There are a lot of Sites that try to limit the Infos they expose to the Users, which isn’t helpful if you wan’t to learn as much as possible about these Subjects. So i disagree heavily with Pano, what you deem as useless might be helpful to a lot of people who try to understand all this.

Then describe it in 2 min and put it on the Wiki, why don’t you just add your “2min” explanation ?

Why are you so sure about that? Where is the other part of the 80% complaining ?

It’s really frustrating to read your posts, you complain about stuff you could easily fix for yourself and keep ignoring the fact that Whonix needs more of everything

I don’t want to comment on the rest, someone with more patience can do that.

My 2 satoshis…

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Wow this thread has exploded. It’s nice to see lots of enthusiasm, but there’s a lot of discussion here that wasn’t at all the point of this thread. When organizational stuff comes up everyone starts counting the problems they see and the mood can quickly start to look bad, but that is actually a fake mood. I for one think Whonix is a great success! The community is wonderful and the mood here feels great! There is no place I know of, where important privacy questions are listened to and addressed like here. To gain knowledge you need to make a personal effort and study, there is no other way. People who don’t understand this always have a disproportionately loud voice. Sometimes the forum answers may seem incomplete, but that is almost always a false impression. Some reasons for this:

  • the information is readily available if you just search
  • the sources provided contain the answers or are the proper starting point for further research
  • the question is hard and no one knows the answer
  • the problem has no perfect solution or not a better one than provided
  • the people who would need to most, don’t find explanations such as this one
  • the guide How To Ask Questions The Smart Way is not familiar

The regular answer-givers may sometimes feel that they are asked to write the too obvious, but that is just part and parcel of such a project. Especially if you work on it for years, users will come and go and questions will be repeated. This a sign of good health, the project seems vibrant and active to me. I think questions and suggestions may often come out harsh when they weren’t really meant so at all. Contributors are probably prone to such an impression, the postings above speak for this.

Whonix has the best documentation on privacy and anonymity, it’s like a treasure. There is so much to learn here and any privacy curious user would agree. I disagree strongly with some postings above, the documentation shouldn’t only be a set of instructions to follow. In places it is outdated or incomplete, but this is not a big problem. It is mostly very good and provides a uniquely rich resource on the topic of privacy. A big shout-out to everyone who put it together! :heart_eyes:

Whonix is the most universally useful from the trio of Qubes, Tails, Whonix. Tails is something you can use on occasion, but as the number of public computers continues to fall due to ever expanding wireless networks, its significance will diminish. Already now the use case for Tails is very limited and it will continue to shrink. I think Tails users are few and far between and the website reflects this. There’s virtually no documentation and the information provided is very scarce. The support is poor and insufficient because it allows for no discussion at all. You get a very brief email from someone lacking much time and so also interest in your question. Whonix is better than Tails in every aspect and hugely superior in terms of support. There is no comparison here.
Switching to Qubes is such a big step that it is only suitable for professionals or very enthusiastic users. But these users are very capable and interested so it may seem like their community is strong. Whonix is what “beginners” i.e. less knowledgeable or committed users will use. It’s like an entry point to security and privacy focused operating systems. That is why an impression may arise that more support is asked for. Let’s not forget Whonix plays a very important role in Qubes itself, there is no tool to match.

Back to the topic of discussion

I’m not sure how best to convey that the project is mature and recommended for use but at the same time could greatly benefit from more help. Probably any project designation would be inadequate to do this. What prompted me to start the thread were some of the goals listed here which just don’t make any sense to me. Make users more clever? Make weak password stronger? Really? Just how do you propose to do that? Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Like I said at the start - Whonix can’t solve all computer security problems, no one system can.

I don’t feel experienced or knowledgeable enough about Whonix to say what the best designation would be at this time. But I feel that some of the goals are just dreams we all have about computer technology but that no one on planet earth has found a solution for yet. Whonix must aim to be a fully torified operating system which does not allow anything running inside it to leak the real IP address. If that goal has been reached say so very clearly! Then say what the project’s real shortcomings are. A proper security audit or something else, you’d know better than me. Giving it the experimental label makes it look like it’s under heavy development and very unreliable. Saying not to rely on it for (strong) anonymity is surprising, is this also the case for Tor in general according to your criteria? Whonix is actually the best tool out there for using Tor, from what I gather this is also your view. If using Whonix is more safe than just using Tor Browser this must be obviously declared. There is no virtue or benefit in false modesty. No one is better off for it.

I just think more accurately conveying the state of usability and reliability of Whonix would be good at some point. There shouldn’t be a rush, but it’s definitely worth thinking about. Look at all that I wrote, but even I’m not sure how much I can rely on Whonix, given all the warnings. You really need to look long and hard before you can know and I’m not there yet. You may feel such cautiousness is exactly right and exactly how you want users to think. But this will keep Whonix always on the fringe, when it could improve the security and privacy of so many new users. Some of them won’t be careful enough to stay anonymous no matter what tool they use. Let’s not forget the target audience of Whonix is not huge to begin with. How many computer users run hypervisors, let alone for security? More users would make the project stronger, new contributors would appear. Let Whonix grow!

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@pano

I can understand your frustration and would agree that the wiki is a little confusing at times. The wiki could use a some readability edits here and there. But frankly that is not a priority nor should it be. As you have heard the project is low on resources and that dictates what get done and when. Now, its not that we don’t want to improve the readability of the docs. It just there are much higher priority edits. Whats important to me is users have the information they need to stay safe. If they have a question or can’t find something they can find help on the forum.

As you keep on mentioning all the warnings, clutter, low resources etc. I’ll address that.

  • Warnings on every page : they serve a very important purpose. Many of those are there to keep users from making mistakes. Many of which would have serious consequences so the warnings have to stay. If you can find a way to organize those a little better that would be great But they need to be blatantly obvious to readers.
  • TODOs - not going to waste mine or anyone else’s time with this.
  • Wiki pages to long for people with time restraints: Whonix/anonymity is not easy. There is lots of technical information. Shortening the pages will not help anyone understand any better. It takes time, there is no way around that. It will get easier once your more familiar with the wiki.
  • Wiki pages to cluttered - the pages are broken up into sections so I’m not sure what you mean. If I want to find out about bridges. I go to the bridges page and all the information is there. As it should.
  • Outdated information (yes there is). Solution: Whonix community gets off there butts and starts making contributions.
  • Not enough resources to [… ] - if the community would like better Whonix docs, features etc start contributing! If you have a good idea whats stopping you? If its more experienced community member(s) telling it will not work, there is a reason. You don’t think we have thought of this stuff before? The current wiki contribs don’t have the time, Period. We have a long list of edits that take priority. Would you like the old outdated info to be updated? Or would you rather have the wiki look pretty?

If you would like to help out that would be awesome! If you see a mistake in the wiki just hit the edit button. For larger wiki contribs I would suggest copying the chapter to a text editor and make the edit there. If you try directly editing the wiki you may lose your session data. Then you’ll have to start over and let me say I’m speaking from experience. For the most part the important thing is content. Once you compete that, torjunkie and I can help you with what to do next.

.

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That’s exactly the reason I gave the example of Tails documentation. 3-4 paragraph pages that give an answer to a specific problem are perfect. See what they do!
You can just claim everything is perfect or you can learn from projects that are, well, more successful and have more following, and, yes the quality of how you communicate stuff matters big time in that.

Whonix/anonymity is not easy. There is lots of technical information. Shortening the pages will not help anyone understand any better. It takes time, there is no way around that.

This is where you get it wrong. Thing’s aren’t easy meaning the guide should strive to be as crystal clear as possible. Many pages in the wiki take a tricky subject and then make it even more complex than it should be. I suggest you read again the page (warning: it will take time) I refer to and see for yourself.

Wiki pages to cluttered - the pages are broken up into sections so I’m not sure what you mean. If I want to find out about bridges. I go to the bridges page and all the information is there. As it should.

No, it is overwhelming to get a huge page, with sections inside sections, blocks inside blocks inside blocks, that contains many things that are irrelevant to any specific user (apart from being outdated sometimes or “unfortunately not working”), when you have a question about something very specific. Specifically if you want to understand Proxys after Tor in the case of Tor Browser, you have to collect info from many different areas of the page I mentioned, and skip many others in the way. Meaning, practically you have to go through everything to make sure you didn’t miss an important detail. And, average user will not even understand half of it.

You forget who reads it. If you wish to write specs for engineers only, then perhaps you’re right. If you truly to be accessible to people of different backgrounds, you need to make things friendly. I don’t know which planet you came from, Mr. Spock. Nobody here has any experience working with people? Easy solution, just dump everything in whatever format, when someone criticize, imply they’re lazy or stupid or what not.

If you would like to help out that would be awesome! If you see a mistake in the wiki just hit the edit button.

I can write specific, well understood pages for common problems. But if you just stick them as sections in a 6,000 words page that will not be helpful to anyone.
Why do you think places like StackOverflow are so popular and so useful? how many votes you think an answer there, that just sends a link to a 6,000 words page of any programming lanugage’s docs, will get?
Think “one problem one page”. Of course this does not apply not to all issues in the world, but to common problems. And only such that can be clearly defined and isolated to a specific issue.
Example: “How can I use Proxies after Tor with Tor Browser?”. In this page we DO NOT write about every other possible application under the sun, we don’t explain what is wrt, we don’t detail every approach that “doesn’t currently work”, and we don’t discuss the relationship between proxychain developers.
Simple question -> simple answer. And yes, there will still be place for proper warnings, as well as a link for more detailed documentation.
Interesting?

fish, sorry for taking your thread off-topic.

I generally agree with everything you say here, Whonix should be promoted based on its actual benefits, rather than try to further undermine itself using titles such as “experimental” or “research project”.

Now this is interesting. Was Whonix ever subject to an external security audit that was published?

Simple solution:

Qubes-like “Quick Guide” sections at the top of each relevant entry.

e.g. Create a sys-net DispVM in Qubes:

[dom0]: qvm-create -P <pool_name> --template service-dvm --class DispVM --label red disp-sys-net
[dom0]: qvm-prefs service-dvm virt_mode hvm
[dom0]: qvm-prefs disp-sys-net provides_network true
[dom0]: qvm-prefs net-disp netvm “”
[dom0]: qvm-pci
[dom0]: qvm-pci attach --persistent net-disp :
[dom0]: qvm-prefs disp-sys-net autostart true
[dom0]: qubes-prefs clockvm disp-sys-net

etc.

(No descriptions at all, just a label e.g. “sys-net DispVM Creation”, and commands. Advanced users and those in a hurry can just get it done.)

If someone was ambitious, simply do this for the most relevant sections of the main wiki e.g. security-related, updating etc. Create a new wiki page - “Whonix Pocket Reference” or “Whonix Cheatsheet”. Categorize the entries as relevant.

Then, put the maintainer tab up there with your name on it. Update it as things change, are deprecated, are updated/upgraded etc. Win a gold star from the Whonix team and end the forum debates on this easily solvable problem.

I estimate you could do most of the important wiki pages on the main ToC in one day’s work, maybe two.

There’s enough verbiage in this thread, that 5-10 pages could have been completed in the wiki with the same word count applied to this topic alone.

Lots of ideas and people come through the forums, but maybe 1/200 people actually contribute by hitting the edit button or submitting Whonix code.

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The easy solution would be for community members to actually contribute to the project and not just complain in the forum. You have all these ideas (a lot of them good) but you keep on making excuses as to why you won’t contribute.

Are you going to actually help out? Or do like most critics and just stir the pot a little and leave?

Here is what it comes down to. Put up or shut up!

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As already said by others: If you don’t like a specific wiki page, feel free to change it.

Where do you get the number from? Proxy before or after Tor is certainly not one of the common issues. Where do I get this from? My gut feeling. So I could be wrong. If it would be relevant for 80% of the common users there would probably more complains and the respective wiki page look more polished.
It is one of the inherent issues of such a project, that you don’t really know what the average user does or needs. Therefore you have to use common sense™, gut feeling … .

True.

Would be pointless. As soon as you use your usb device you increased your attack surface by introducing an additional point of persistence. Why did you do that? For convenience. It is always the same tradeoff. Use your favorite search engine with something like: usb malware hidden partition (or any kind of other USB exploit). Sure it would be not the average ransomware but more likely a targeted attack. Though there is always some kind of trickle down effect where the average bad guy starts to use such tools and not just the nation state attacker.
Tails was on the list of Zerodium so there is certainly a demand for such a thing. Whonix is not there yet, but if it gets used more and more it probably will.

There is certainly a higher risk the more data you have. But how did the forensics guy got to your location? Why and how did he send you some malware in the first place? If they exploited you once they likely can do it again since they expect you to hang around at certain places/websites. With Tails they will get your IP faster, connecting to a remote wifi will maybe slow them down but as @entr0py said in another thread: when they know your rough location or wifi you connect to then correlating your traffic + on/offline times etc starts.
If TheMan knocks on your door then because they already have something. The more FDE is used the more will forensics people work on getting you while the PC is running. If they get the PC with Tails or Whonix while it is running you probably lost.

True. So maybe it would be a wise decision to do that because:

If someone at the other f***s up neither Tails or Whonix can help you.

Take a look at todays Tails website :wink: Guess what they did. Increasing the attack surface?

It does, see my last post.

This is the good old attack surface vs virtualization discussion which has been going for years. My gut feeling (again) tells me the virtualization side sort of won. At least a certain project which initially was a proponent of “muh attack surface” started to introduce a hypervisor not too long ago. Hiding your hardware serials is going to be hard without virtualization. I really miss some kind of PC or SBC which shares exactly the same components and serial numbers :frowning:
If we say attack surface is only about lines of code then you are certainly right. You can come up with a gateway of maybe a few megabytes in size and also a workstation with just the browser for something like 300-400 mb (or maybe lower depending on the OS). Still way below what Tails has. You can also just use curl or wget for “surfing” and decrease your attack surface even more. However, now you maybe stick out of the crowd. Anonymity is hard. In the broader sense attack surface or lets says vulnerable people is also about certain tradeoffs like convenience. It is harder to debug such systems, make changes, maintenance over time … . Normal users are used to some kind of windows like gui … You can create a 99.9% secure™ system for 1% of the people or a 90% secure system for 90% of the people.

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