This blueprint analyses and proposes simplifications to the workflow of a new user discovering Tails until she gets a full-featured Tails USB stick with persistence.

Big logical steps are:

  • Learn what Tails is
  • Download the ISO
  • Verify the ISO
  • Install medium (might require going through a bootstrapping medium)
  • Create persistence


Check the following subpages to see the improvements that we proposed in different area of that process:

Table of content


Diagram of the detailed workflow as of December 2014


Over 2015 we will work on several improvements to simplify greatly this workflow:

Diagram of the detailed workflow as of December 2015 (work in progress)

Involved tools


  • Debian Hacker corresponds to a path on the command line only. Its main benefit is to go through the Debian keyring verification which is the strongest verification technique that we propose.
  • Debian is a path for Debian derivatives where Tails Installer is available. That will be the case of Ubuntu starting from 15.10, Debian Jessie backports, and Debian Stretch (#8805).
  • Other OS is Windows, macOS, Fedora, etc.
  • OpenPGP with Debian keyring are command line instructions for verifying the Tails signing key against the Debian keyring.
  • Extension from Debian takes for granted that the ISO verification extension will be available in Debian (#8822). This might not be the case and then people would fallback on Extension from browser.
  • GNOME Disks now has a "Restore Disk Image" feature which can be used to copy an ISO image onto a USB stick and is widely available.
  • UUI has been our canonical installer on Windows for years.
  • DiskUtils should be tested on Mac, unfortunately it doesn't work for us (#8802).

Bonus for 2015

  • Add splash when booting manual installation from USB ##8838.

Use cases

This is a brainstorming on the different use cases dealing with downloading, verifying, installing, and upgrading Tails. This list should be useful to check whether all scenarios are covered. The comments, placed after ':' correspond to our rough objectives for 2015.

  • Download
    • HTTP
      • Successful: 15 to 60 minutes
      • Failed: ?
      • Corrupted: ?
    • Torrent
      • Corrupted: ?
    • Nightly
  • Verify
    • Checksum
      • Firefox: extension, what's up with Torrents?
      • Chrome: extension? #8803, #8531
      • Other browsers:
        • Windows: fallback on OpenPGP?
        • Mac: fallback on OpenPGP?
        • Linux: fallback on OpenPGP?
    • OpenPGP
      • GNOME: seahorse-nautilus
      • Other Linux: command line
      • Windows: Gpg4Win
      • Mac: GPGTools #8807
  • Install
    • DVD
    • USB
      • Tails: friend + Tails Installer
      • Debian
        • Jessie: Tails Installer backport? #8005
        • Stretch: Tails Installer #8549
      • Ubuntu
        • Latest LTS, 14.04: Tails Installer? #8806
        • Latest, 15.04: Tails Installer? #8806
        • Next LTS, 16.04: Tails Installer? #8806
        • Next, 15.10: Tails Installer? #8806
    • Windows: UUI
    • macOS: command line or new graphical tool? #8802
    • Virtualization: VirtualBox, GNOME Boxes, virt-manager
  • Upgrade from ISO (full upgrade or nightly)
    • Full upgrade
      • From Debian, Ubuntu if available
      • From Tails otherwise: need bootstrapping device
    • Incremental upgrade
    • Virtualization: virt-manager
  • Misc
    • Newsletter
    • Donation: #7176?
    • Backups: #8812?
    • Signing key revocation or change