Whonix host - nonfree blobs - firmware-linux-nonfree

The position on nonfree firmware and discussion of arguments can be found here:


To me it seems obvious that if we want to ship a Whonix-Host we have to make sure it will support out of the box as many hardware configurations as possible. Like any modern linux-live does (see Ubuntu, Tails). Otherwise it is pointless.

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No, what you are suggesting is pointless because you are preferring performance over security and programming ethics. The software shouldnt care about horrible hardware which doesnt accept the principles of the free software. Also we cant put users into the microscope of as 100% using shitty non-free/blobs, because for surely there is a percentage who want to put everything right even if its 1% and thats what we focus on and leading others to follow their example.

If we dont do that comfortability of insecurity&nonfree will always give relaxing feeling which shouldnt. And i like Debian philosophy which they care about the software and focus on it thats why their software always produced as free software and thats what our values should be.

anyone who want to use blobs he can do that manually to serve his needs.

What I meant is that we should provide the same level of comfort and ease of use that provide Tails for instance, which runs out of the box on most hardware configurations at the best of my knowledge.

Impossible in a live environment.

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True , simply not Whonix issue = So as Free distros like Debian.

But solution that might be in the middle for ONLY live versions which it can be a version without blobs and version with blobs and we let the users choose which one they are comfortable with. But we dont force them on having blobs into their version (which in case if there will be only one nasty version).

Two separate downloadable versions are unlikely for a few reasons:

  • development resources are limited
  • minority interest in a freedom-only such a version
  • usability: more choices leads to more confusion

We don’t force anything on anyone. Whonix source code is free in price as well as in freedom. It’s an volunteer offer. Not a lawful prescription. Those who don’t like the final product can either any or multiple of the following:

  • software fork Whonix
  • create their own custom freedom-only Whonix builds from source code using a build parameter
  • do not use Whonix
  • use a different product

There will always be people who won’t like Whonix for whatever reason. Making everyone happy is impossible.

Edits by myself:

  • specify minority interest in freedom-only version
  • removed tangential relevance of XFCE vs KDE
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Then no need for blobs and keep it free.

That rises the question: ALL whonix products going to have blobs or only whonix-host? meaning:


all of these products going to have the same blobs? or just one or two… please explain more.

My previous post edited by me just now.

Whonix-Host only.

There will be two new meta packages.

  • whonix-host-kvm-freedom (entirely Freedom Software)
  • whonix-host-kvm-nonfreedom (depending on nonfreedom firmware)

The exact package names are yet to be decided.

These packages will not installed inside VMs. Whonix-Host default download would be built the -nonfreedom version.


I see , since the main product of whonix is not going to be contaminated with dirty software than thats great. And thats alone is a choice users can decide if they want to run whonix in free VS nonfree environment.

Edited my previous post. (The clarification inside () was actually swapped.) Now fixed.

What can be added once Whonix-Host exists and once we get to it… Whonix calamares based installer can have a question.

Install non-freedom firmware?

[x] yes
[ ] no

If you don’t know: say yes here.

yes being the default. That would give users capable / willing to run entirely Freedom Software the choose to do so.

It would still be non-perfect because the non-freedom packages are still on the ISO, no separate Freedom-only ISO but at least after installation the system will be entirely Freedom Software.

A separate Freedom-only ISO might be released as hardware capable to run freedom-only (without nonfreedom firmware) is more widespread.

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if there’s enough of a debate or interest in this, that’s probably the easiest way. it’s what debian does.

Easiest? For those who want Freedom-only ISO? For sure, yes.

Otherwise, no. That is for usability of the website (confusing users
with proprietary hardware who never understood “Free” Software with
choices) and also extra effort on my side.

As important as I believe free firmware is for a project especially of this nature, Patrick is probably right. Whonix Dev resources seem stretched thin as it is.

For now, until free firmware is more accessible, perhaps providing a hyperlink to documentation on how to build your own free firmware only live ISO from source would be fine. Those capable or willing to run the free firmware version are probably advanced enough to be willing to do that as building or buying $$$ a fully free device isn’t that easy right now.

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