This living document reflects the current state of the thinking process, within the Tails project, about our mission and goals.

How to read this document

Every stated property or goal below is tagged with letters between square brackets ([]) as being part of one or several categories:

  • R for relevance & usefulness goals, expressed in numbers or facts e.g. "triple userbase in 3 years", "you use Tails in Tibet"

  • I for identity: the way we want Tails to be perceived, for example "Tails is for everyone and not just for extreme use cases like Edward Snowden"

  • UX for UX goals: the problem we want to solve for our users. For example, "non-technical Mac users say it's easy to install Tails" or "Tails makes me safe when I'm in Saudi Arabia"

  • D for differentiators: what are we offering that noone else can? e.g. "you can use Tails on someone else's computer"

  • B for benefits, that is why should users care: for example, answers to "why should I put that much effort into getting started with Tails?" such as "it feels good to use a computer that behaves the way I legitimately expect"

The examples above are only meant to be examples, not necessarily actual goals.

Each stated property or goal below is also tagged with numbers that reflect how attendees of the Tails summit 2017 ranked it. Every attendee was given five "+1" dots and five "-1" dots. For example, "+3-1" on a statement means that that three attendees put dot in favour of it, while one attendee put a dot against it.

Current properties

Seems consensual

  • Tails works on ~cheap, 2nd hand or off-the-shelf PC hardware [D+B, +5]
  • Tails works on computers that have no baseband [D, +1]
  • Trustworthy OS: does what it says on the box, honest about its limitations, driven by ethical values [B,D,I, +4]
  • Tails is self-contained: use it everywhere and keep it in your pocket [B, +1]
  • Tails doc is world class [D, +1]
  • Tails is reliable and here to stay [I+D, +3]
  • Tails contributors can be occasional + part-time + ad-hoc [I, +1]
  • A nice help desk & user support [D, +2]
  • Tails cares about its international audience [I, +1]
  • Tails allows me to act more freely (with sense of security) [B, +1]

Needs discussion

  • I can afford a 2nd computer for Tails only [B, +1-1]
  • Can share Tails with other users [B, +1-2]


Seems consensual

  • Streamline installation / 1st boot / upgrade [UX, +19]
  • Using Tails, I can communicate with smartphone users (e.g. Matrix, Signal, etc.) [UX, +3]
  • All journalists know how to use Tails (as part of their studies) [UX, +2]
  • Tails doc is fun and sexy [D, +2]
  • Use data gathered by help desk to refine documentation [R, +1]
  • More heterogeneous & easy to join community [R+I, +11]
  • Wi-Fi works [UX, +1]
  • Tails works [I, +2]
  • You cannot break Tails (just reboot) [D, +2]
  • Tails is easy: you don't have to know how it works [I+B, +5]
  • Support more diverse users / use cases, e.g. blind users, people using Tails 3 times a year only, Windows & macOS users [I+R, +8]
  • I don't have to be a power-user to use Tails conveniently; e.g. no terminal involved, don't scare users away with complexity [UX+D, +4]
  • Sustainable funding: e.g. 100% of core budget comes from unrestricted funding, more recurrent donations after help desk & from partners, Tails is endorsed (sponsored?) by major press organizations [R, +5]
  • 10% of core budget goes in UX improvement (including whatever software development it may require) [R, +2]
  • Attract + hire new project members specialized in accounting, management, and grant writing; lighten the plate of the current accounting team members. This does not cover team leads for development projects, who have to be technical people. [R, consensus]
  • Less concentration of responsibility/workload, and Tails survival does not depend on any individual. [R, +3]
  • More contributors [R, +2]
  • Persistence should be trivial to use and to backup [UX, +2]
  • Keeping a DIY and family sprint for our gatherings which is both cheaper and more friendly [R, consensus]
  • Stick to self-organization, consensus-based decision making, and welcome people with diverse backgrounds as long as they are fine with this and abide by our Code of conduct ([R, consensus])
  • I want to find things on the website without the 90s experience [UX, +2]
  • Make it easier to switch between a Tails contextual identity and another identity outside of Tails

Needs discussion

  • Sandboxing (better resist exploitation without degrading UX) [R+B, +9-4]
  • Tails runs on mobile/touch/ARM devices [R, +6-3]
  • Oppressed people can safely use Tails (e.g. without being detected) [B, +5-3]
  • Usability without documentation [UX, +3-1]
  • Users can give feedback to help improve UX [UX, +1-1]
  • Tails is easily customizable [UX+B, +2-2]
  • Tails should be endorsed (sponsored) by (meta-) state institutions (EU?) [R, +1-3]
  • I can meet Tails people in person [I, +1-1]
  • The Tails project can be trusted [I, +2-1]
  • Funding from government independent organizations [I, +2-2]
  • Public advocacy and increased visibility [I, +2-1]
  • I can't go outside without my Tails [I, +1-1]

To be discussed at Tails Summit 2018

  • We can accommodate more diverse financial needs, e.g. long-term stable full-time workers, various part-time or occasional contributions [R, +6-1]
  • How large should our project, and user base be [R+I, +7-5]


Current properties

  • Free do-it-yourself online safety


  • Users know how to interact with the developer community [?, +1]
  • I don't need to trust Tails' infra/servers [UX, +1]
  • Cut through national firewalls to allow free flow of new + knowledge [?, +1]
  • Tails is something obvious [I, +1]
  • Website nice and easy (personas) [UX, +1]
  • Tails is an all-in-one solution to global surveillance [B, +1]
  • Tails "employs" >= 1 more Debian developers [R, +1]
  • UX/documentation/l10n is as important as technical aspects [R, +1]
  • I can easily create a safe communication channel with others [B, +1]
  • Help desk budget < RM budget [R, +1]
  • Tails itself is a friendly environment of Tails development [UX, +1]