#14545

OpenPGP and Pidgin survey (#17821)

Research questions

OpenPGP support outside of Thunderbird (#8310, #17183, #17169)

This will become an even hotter topic once Enigmail goes away in a few months: Thunderbird will maintain its own keyring, independently from GnuPG's ⇒ Seahorse will stop being useful for anything related to email, so the cost/benefit of vaguely supporting it will become even higher.

  • How popular is OpenPGP inside and outside Thunderbird?

    OpenPGP is much more popular outside Thunderbird than inside Thunderbird:

    • 16% of our users use OpenPGP inside Thunderbird.
    • 49% of our users use OpenPGP outside Thunderbird.
  • How technical are the people using OpenPGP outside Thunderbird?

    People using OpenPGP outside Thunderbird are slightly less technical that people using OpenPGP inside Thunderbird:

    • Enigmail users use mostly Linux significantly more than non-Enigmail users: 62% vs. 50%.
    • Enigmail users use the command line slightly more than non-Enigmail users: 62% vs. 56%.
    • The most popular OpenPGP tools are Nautilus (41%), Seahorse (37%), and the applet (34%).
    • OpenPGP users use mostly Linux slightly more than our users in general: 54% vs. 49%.
  • Could these people use Thunderbird instead?

    No.

    • 33% of our users use OpenPGP only outside Thunderbird.
    • 15% of our users use OpenPGP mostly to communicate using a website.
    • 16% of our users use OpenPGP mostly to communicate by email, which is the same fraction as the number of Enigmail users.
  • Who will suffer from the Thunderbird migration because they use OpenPGP both inside and outside Thunderbird?

    Almost all our Enigmail users:

    • 1% of our users only use OpenPGP inside Thunderbird.
    • 16% of our users use OpenPGP both inside and outside Thunderbird.
    • 55% of Enigmail users use OpenPGP mostly to communicate by email.
    • 16% of Enigmail users use OpenPGP mostly to communicate using a website.

Can we stop including an IRC client by default? (#15816)

This open question has been the main blocker for replacing Pidgin for years.

  • What would be the cost of removing the support for IRC by default in Tails?

    The cost would be way less than breaking Electrum or Seahorse:

    • 8% of our users use IRC in Pidgin.
    • 28% of our users use Electrum.
    • 37% of our users use Seahorse.

    We should provide an alternative, otherwise the noise might be similar to dropping 32-bit computers (4%), though the concrete impact is very different for people. IRC users are also use Electrum much more than our users in general: 51% vs. 28%.

  • How technical are the people using IRC in Tails?

    IRC users are much more technical than our users in general:

    • IRC users use mostly Linux significantly more than our users in general: 63% vs. 49%.
    • IRC users use OpenPGP a lot more than our users in general: 91% vs. 50%.
    • IRC users use the command line a lot more than our OpenPGP users in general: 91% vs. 58%.
  • Are people using IRC in Tails to connect to servers that do not block Tor?

    The most popular IRC servers are:

    • Freenode: 52%
    • Private IRC servers: 43%
    • IRCnet: 34%
    • OFTC: 10%
    • EFnet: 10%
    • Undernet: 7%

    I didn't check how much these servers block Tor.

  • How popular is XMPP among our users?

    A little bit more than Enigmail:

    • 16% of our users use Enigmail.
    • 17% of our users use XMPP in Pidgin.
    • 58% of our Pidgin users use only XMPP.
    • 92% of our Pidgin users use XMPP and IRC.

Notes

Prompt

Survey on ease of use and online privacy tools

Contribute to Tails by answering these few questions! (4–5 minutes)

To improve Tails we need to learn how people use it but, unlike others, we don't track you against your will. Your answers are anonymous and only our team can access the data.

Questions

  • Overall, how difficult or easy is it for you to use Tails? (*)

    7-point scale from Very Difficult to Very Easy

    OS Average
    All 5.9
    Windows 5.8
    macOS 5.9
    Linux 6.0

    A reference average for this Single Ease Question is 5.5, so we're doing pretty good!

  • If you could change just one thing in Tails, what would it be?

    Short text:

    I coded the answer and extracted the themes that were mentioned more than once.

    • More persistent settings (57)

      16 Persist Tor Browser preferences (security level, NoScript, etc.)
      15 Persist background
      11 Persist keyboard and language
       9 Persist more settings
       4 Persist Tor settings
       2 Easier Persistent Storage
      
    • Nothing (53)

      53 Nothing
      
    • Messaging applications and voice calls (38)

      11 Messaging
      10 Voice calls (including Signal for voice calls)
       7 Signal
       7 Omemo
       3 Telegram
      
    • Tor is painful for web browsing (39)

      19 VPN
       6 Faster Tor
       5 Websites blocking Tor
       4 Download from Unsafe Browser
       3 Sound in Unsafe Browser
       2 Private Unsafe Browser
      
    • Better upgrades (25)

    • Improvements to Tor Browser (22)

      10 Safest by default (overlaps with persisting preferences)
       4 NoScript in taskbar
       3 Prevent maximizing Tor Browser
       3 Full browser screenshot
       2 Remove letterboxing
      
    • Network connection (21)

      10 Bridges (easier, more reliable, and by default)
       7 Better circuit view or control
       4 Network connection
      
    • More cryptocurrencies (18)

      16 Monero
       2 Other cryptos
      
    • Additional Software (16)

      11 Additional Software (easier, persist config, more choice, etc.)
       5 Package manager
      
    • Application launching (7)

       3 Favorites (different or custom)
       2 Better Applications menu
       2 Launchers on the desktop
      
    • More tools

       6 Video editing
       4 Better media player
       3 More tools in general
       3 Video download
       2 Scribus
       2 MAT GUI
       2 GPT-3
       2 BitTorrent
       2 Ability to play CDs
      
    • Tech trolling

      17 Replace GNOME
       4 Whonix design with VMs
       3 Spoof entire MAC
       2 Replace systemd
      
    • Hardware support

       5 Wi-Fi support
       3 Booting is hard
       2 Mac hardware
       2 Mobile
       2 Tablet
      
    • Misc

      13 VeraCrypt (creation of volumes)
      10 Disk install
       9 More documentation
       8 OpenPGP
       7 toram
       5 Dark theme
       4 Freeze
       4 Faster boot
       3 Windows camouflage
       3 Smaller OS
       3 Clock display
       3 Backups
       2 U2F keys
       2 Confirm before shutdown
       2 Disable camera and microphone
       2 Change entry guard
      
  • How often, if at all, do you use the following tools in Tails? (*)

    Application Sometimes Most of the time Total
    Tor Browser 3% 97% 100%
    OpenPGP 24% 26% 50%
    Electrum 16% 12% 28%
    Thunderbird 17% 10% 27%
    OnionShare 22% 5% 27%
    Pidgin 13% 6% 19%
  • Other than Tails, which of the following operating systems do you use the most?

    OS
    Windows 45%
    macOS 7%
    Linux 49%

    These results are very similar to the one from the VeraCrypt surveys. The question was asked differently so I don't think that we can compare them in details.

Conditional questions on OpenPGP

  • How often, if at all, do you use the following tools for OpenPGP in Tails? (*)

    Randomized array

Never Sometimes Most of the time Don't know
The gpg command line
Enigmail in Thunderbird
The OpenPGP applet in the top bar
The Passwords and Keys utility
The Files browser
The Archive manager
  • Which other tool, if any, do you use for OpenPGP in Tails?

    Short text

  • Which of the following options describe the best what you use OpenPGP for?

    Single choice

    • Exchanging encrypted messages or files by email
    • Exchanging encrypted messages or files using a website
    • Exchanging encrypted messages or files using an external device
    • Encrypting text or files for myself
    • Other:

Conditional questions on Pidgin

  • How often, if at all, do you use Pidgin in Tails to connect to XMPP (also called Jabber) servers?

    To see if your accounts use XMPP/Jabber, choose Accounts → Manage Accounts in Pidgin.

    • Never
    • Sometimes
    • Most of the time
    • Don't know
    • No answer
  • How often, if at all, do you use Pidgin in Tails to connect to IRC servers?

    To see if your accounts use IRC, choose Accounts → Manage Accounts in Pidgin.

    • Never
    • Sometimes
    • Most of the time
    • Don't know
    • No answer
  • How often, if at all, do you use private conversations (also called OTR) in Pidgin in Tails?

    • Never
    • Sometimes
    • Most of the time
    • Don't know
    • No answer
  • Which IRC servers, if any, do you connect to using Pidgin in Tails?

    Randomize multiple choice

    • Private IRC servers
    • Freenode
    • IRCnet
    • Undernet
    • OFTC
    • EFnet
    • Leetnet
    • Other:

Conditional questions on OpenPGP or Pidgin

  • We might be interested in asking you a few more questions to understand better how you use OpenPGP or Pidgin in Tails. If you feel like it, you can share your email address with us. We will only use it to contact you as part of this research and delete it afterwards.

    Short text

Conclusions

  • Our users find Tails relatively easy to use.

  • Linux users are still the biggest share of our user base, which hasn't changed much since 2017.

  • Top 5 priorities of our users, in rough order:

    1. The single most frequent comment is to do nothing because Tails is great already :)

    2. More persistent settings

      • Security level and NoScript settings in Tor Browser
      • Background
      • Keyboard and language
    3. Messaging applications and voice calls

      Signal was the most mentioned as it also allows voice calls.

    4. Tor is painful for web browsing

      People complain about websites blocking Tor and captchas. I bet that's why people ask so much for VPN and use the Unsafe Browser whenever Tor Browser doesn't work.

    5. Better upgrades

Future surveys

Research questions

  • Size of user base

    • How many users do we really have?
    • Right now we only have number of boots per day but combining this with how frequently people use Tails, we could extrapolate rough number of users and maybe usage categories (fraction of frequent users and occasional users, etc.).
  • Technical skills

    • How technically skilled are our users?
    • How big is the difference between the technical skills of our target audience and real audience?
    • Is there a match between how hard Tails is to use and the skills of our actual users?
  • Region

    • Is Tails useful and accessible by a global audience?
    • Information on where Tails is used the most is very helpful for fundraising, outreach, or translation efforts.
  • Current features

    • What are people using Tails the most? This would help us clarify what are the most important features of Tails and prioritize incremental improvements.
  • New features

    • How shall we prioritize our future plans?
    • What is missing the most in Tails? This would help us build a better roadmap.
  • OpenPGP

    • How many users use OpenPGP mostly to verify downloads?
    • How many users use KeePassX to type their OpenPGP passphrase? (#17867)

Survey questions

  • In which region of the world do you use Tails the most?

    Single choice:

    • North America
    • Latin America and the Caribbeans
    • Western, Northern, and Southern Europe
    • Eastern Europe and Central Asia
    • Middle-East and North Africa
    • Western, Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa
    • South Asia
    • East and Southeast Asia
    • Oceania
  • Other than Tails, which of the following operating systems do you use the most? (*)

    Single choice:

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • Linux
  • Which of the following tasks are the most important to you when using Tails? (*)

    Pick n/10:

    • Chat on IRC
    • Chat on XMPP/Jabber
    • Read and write email in Tor Browser
    • Read and write emails using Thunderbird
    • Read Atom and RSS feeds using Thunderbird
    • Share file using OnionShare
    • Exchange bitcoins using Electrum
    • Use encrypted storage devices other than the Persistent Storage
    • Encrypt and decrypt PGP messages using Thunderbird
    • Encrypt and decrypt PGP messages outside of Thunderbird
    • Delete files securely
    • Manage passwords using KeePassXC
    • Create or edit office documents
    • Create or edit images
    • Create or edit audio files
    • Create or edit video
    • Print documents on paper
    • Access the internal hard disk of the computer
    • Publish content on the web anonymously
    • Connect to remote servers using SSH
    • Use somebody else's computer
    • Avoid viruses and spyware on my own computer
    • Store sensitive documents in the Persistent Storage
    • Clean metadata on images, video, or document
    • Use the command line
    • Change the security level of Tor Browser
    • Check the circuit view of Tor Browser
    • Clone the current Tails to another USB stick using Tails Installer
    • Other: Short free text

    Discarded:

    • Use Tor bridges or pluggable transports
    • Manage a social media account or a blog under a different identity (but not anonymously)
    • Participate in online communities (forums, chat, etc.) anonymously or under a different identity
    • Use the Unsafe Browser to log in to a captive portal
  • What are your main reasons to use Tails?

    Single choice:

A. I want to hide information about myself B. I want to communicate and collaborate securely C. I want to store information safely D. I want to leave no trace on the computer E. I want information to be free F. I don't want my data to be gathered by corporations and governments

Personas:

→ Access or publish sensitive or censored information (Riou) Access censored information online Publish sensitive information Access sensitive information Store, edit, and anonymize sensitive data → Hide information to people around me (Kim) Hide information from their family Hide their identity Avoid raising suspicion I want to keep information secret from my family and close people I don't want to raise suspicion → Avoid government and corporate mass surveillance online (Derya) I just want more privacy I want to keep information secret from my government Avoid corporate and government surveillance → Communicate or collaborate with others (Cris) Work with others who are surveilled or at risk Communicate with known and unknown peers Share and work on documents with others I want to communicate with others who are under surveillance → Have a more secure computer Use a computer that is not mine Use an untrusted computer I need to use a computer that is not mine

I want to access sensitive information stealthily
I want to hide my identity
I want to hide my location
I want to communicate securely with known peers
I want to communicate securely with unknown peers
We want to share and work on documents privately
I need to safely store my data
I want to edit or anonymize my data

→ Don't

Help others access censored information
Understand people using privacy tools
I want to understand people using Tails
  • New features

    Ranking:

  • Overall, how difficult or easy is it for you to use Tails?

    Single Ease Question

  • What one things would you improve on our website?

    Short text:

Resources