Installing Tails onto a USB stick is probably the most common and recommended scenario when started with Tails as this allows incremental upgrades and persistence.

But as of 2014, getting Tails installed on a USB stick requires having a first temporary Tails to boot from and then running Tails Installer. Also, due to the way Tails Installer partitions the USB stick, this requires having two USB sticks and going through manual installation steps, often using command line.

We want to eliminate the need for a first temporary Tails and have Tails Installer available on Linux, Windows, and macOS.

As part of the ISO verification process we also want to push more verification logic to Tails Installer. See the blueprint on ISO verification.

Tails Installer is also used to do full upgrades. We want to move this to Tails Upgrader. See the blueprint on Tails Upgrader.



In 2015 we will work on porting Tails Installer to Debian. This is a first step before having Tails available on any other platform. This requires rethinking the scenarios in which Tails Installer is used (#7046) and adapting its interface accordingly.

Those are the improvements that we propose for 2015:

  • Implement "Install from ISO". ((#8865)
  • Adapt the splash screen to work outside of Tails (no "Clone" option).
  • Rework the wording of the main interface. (#8866)
  • Add visual and textual context to main interface.
  • Add a splash about creating persistence after rebooting.
  • Backport Tails Installer to Jessie (#8805).

This will have to be coordinated with the Ubuntu release calendar. Ubuntu 15.10 is planned to be freezed in August 2015.

Bonus for 2015

The following improvements would be a nice addition to the roadmap for 2015.

First of all:

  1. Autodetect if the destination key has Tails already, without making this visible to the user yet, but that's a prerequisite for the next steps.
  2. Simplify the splash screen a bit thanks to the autodetection code: merge "Clone and Install" and "Clone and Upgrade" into one single "Clone" button: Depending on whether the destination device already has Tails installed or not, dynamically change the label of main action button to "Install" or "Upgrade" (for the second device). (Note: this breaks the "re-installing Tails from scratch" use case, but IIRC we already have documented how to uninstall Tails, so that's no big deal). (#9006)
  3. If the destination device already has Tails installed, add a second button below or side-by-side with the "Install" button with the label "Upgrade". This allows to choose once more to either reinstall Tails from scratch or to upgrade the exisiting installation.
  4. When using the installer in Tails (as opposed to using the installer from another platform), remove the splash screen and add a "Clone" button to the main interface. (#8859)

And then:

  • If using the installer outside of Tails, point to the website to download the ISO. (#8867)
  • Make it possible to "Upgrade from ISO" from the command line. See the Debian Hacker bootstrapping path. (#8861)
  • Make it possible to "Install from ISO" from the command line. See the Debian Hacker bootstrapping path. (#8861).
  • Store version of Tails on destination key after install and upgrade. (#8863)
    • This would allow to display version in "Target Device". (#8862)
  • Have Tails Installer available on macOS as there is currently no suitable other installation technique using a graphical interface.