This page intend to sum up the current tests done about using tomoyo in Tails.

A dedicated feature/tomoyo branch has been created in Tails' git.


It has been configured to start in learning mode. It means that it won't block anything, but in place will log what happens, and the tomoyo-* tools can be used to dump and create the different files needed for the policy to be configured.

For this to work, the only modification to the Tails configuration has been to add security=tomoyo to the kernel command line, add tomoyo-tools to the installed packagelist, and provide a basic configuration which enable the learning mode together with logging in syslog of tomoyo's activity (the default configuration of the learning mode in the tomoyo-tools package don't have logging enabled).

Tomoyo has different config files it is worth understanding, a good resource about that can be find in the policy specification page of tomoyo's documentation.

Once something like a working policy will have been written, it will be possible to change the use_profile 1 flags in domain_policy.conf to use_profile 3, which will enforce the policy and help in testing it.


In order to work on this feature, one have to build Tails from the feature/tomoyo branch.

Once done, obviously the build iso has to be started. :)

Beware that all the activity that will happen on the system will end in the policy. A first test trying almost every applications in Tails output a 70000+ lines policy file...

You can use the command tomoyo-savepolicy to dump the in-kernel learned policy in /etc/tomoyo/ at any time. I will then create new policy files whose names contain the date of their creation, and symlink the defaults policy files to them.

A proper way to have a trace of what have been tested on the system to build the policy could be to:

  • After the boot has finished : issue tomoyo-savepolicy in order to save what happened.
  • Test every application/feature that the users are supposed to be able to do in Tails, then issue a tomoyo-savepolicy between each tests.
  • In a separate file, note what test have been made, and what policy files date extension is refering to this test.

You can then diff between the different saved policy to see what was modified and tune it. tomoyo-loadpolicy can be used to update the in-kernel policy from the config files.

An interesting side effect of working on this feature is that it forces to think about User Experience in Tails, what users should be able to do, what they should not. That's why it's important to note down what tests have been done.

Once most tests have been done, only part of the job is really finished. The policy have to be carefully read and simplified. See the Tuning policy page of the documentation for more insights. Special commands issued for the tests and that the user is not supposed to do are to be removed from the policy.


  • It will probably be required to define clearly the tests process and policy generation procedure: which applications should be tested and how. This will have to be included in the test phase of the release process, as for example some policies will contain old paths (e.g. /usr/lib/perl/5.10.1/).
  • The most tricky part of writing down a working policy that will be enforced later in the release will probably be the memory wipe on shutdown/media removal feature. It will be hard to be able to save the corresponding policy files. We'll probably have to hook the initramfs sdmem option to copyt the policy content somewhere before shutdown, if the kexec doesn't erase the in kernel policy.
  • For the sake of the policy simplicity, shall we make more general rules than the one dumped directly from the kernel, i.e, shall we permit to a python application to access every libs in /usr/lib/python{,2.X}, or keep the more strict rule.
  • In tomoyo, every command not listed in exceptions_policy.conf with the initialize_domain flag is defined by the so called domain transition. It means that different rulesets are generated and applied depending on how the program is called, i.e if iceweasel is launched by clicking on it's icon, a different policy is applied than if it is started from the cli. It might be interesting to simplify the policy to define a number of commands that have the initialize_domain flag. For example, in Tails there are at least four different ways to use GnuPG, shall we create only one for this command? What would the drawbacks of such configuration be?
  • Should the tomoyo logs be enabled when Tails is released. It might help a lot to understand if tomoyo is responsible for the reported bugs (as its logs in syslog are included by default by WhisperBack), but it might also leak information.