See the release schedule.


To release Tails you'll need some packages installed:

  • tidy mktorrent transmission-cli
  • Aufs DKMS module for your running kernel.
  • squashfs-tools that honors $SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH. Install it from our custom devel APT suite.
  • tails-iuk dependencies, including suggested packages (see debian/control in the debian branch of its repo)
  • tails-perl5lib dependencies (same trick as tails-iuk to get the list)


Export the following environment variables to be able to copy'n'paste the scripts snippets found on this page:

  • version numbers (see release schedule):

      export VERSION=$(dpkg-parsechangelog -SVersion)
      export TAG=$(echo "${VERSION:?}" | sed -e 's,~,-,')
      export PREVIOUS_VERSION=$(dpkg-parsechangelog --offset 1 --count 1 -SVersion)
      export PREVIOUS_TAG=$(echo "${PREVIOUS_VERSION:?}" | sed -e 's,~,-,')
  • NEXT_PLANNED_VERSION: set to the version number of the next Tails release (e.g. 0.23 when releasing 0.22.1, and 1.3 when releasing 1.2)

  • NEXT_PLANNED_MAJOR_VERSION: set to the version number of the next major Tails release
  • NEXT_PLANNED_MINOR_VERSION: set to the version number of the next minor Tails release; if the next release is a point-release, use that one; otherwise, use ${VERSION}.1
  • MAJOR_RELEASE: set to 1 if preparing a major release, to 0 else
  • ISOS: the directory where one stores tails-amd64-* sub-directories like the ones downloaded with BitTorrent.
  • ARTIFACTS: the directory where build artifacts (e.g. the .packages file) land.
  • MASTER_CHECKOUT: a checkout of the master branch of the main Tails Git repository.
  • RELEASE_BRANCH: the name of the branch of the main Tails Git repository used to prepare the release (stable or testing).
  • RELEASE_CHECKOUT: a checkout of the branch of the main Tails Git repository used to prepare the release (stable or testing).
  • IUK_CHECKOUT: a checkout of the relevant tag of the iuk Git repository.
  • PERL5LIB_CHECKOUT: a checkout of the relevant tag of the perl5lib Git repository.
  • DIST: either 'alpha' (for RC:s) or 'stable' (for actual releases)
  • export DEBEMAIL=''
  • export DEBFULLNAME='Tails developers'
  • export WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH="web/release-${VERSION:?}"


The release manager role documentation has more tasks that should be done early enough.

Coordinate with Debian security updates

See Debian security updates.

Select the right branch

What we refer to as the "release branch" (and RELEASE_BRANCH) should be testing for major releases, and stable for point-releases.

Read the remainder of this document from the branch used to prepare the release!


Major release

If we are at freeze time for a major release:

  1. Merge the master Git branch into devel:

     git checkout devel && git merge --no-ff origin/master
  2. Merge each APT overlay suite listed in the devel branch's config/APT_overlays.d/ into the devel APT suite.

  3. Merge the devel Git branch into the testing one:

     git checkout testing && git merge devel

    ... and check that the resulting config/APT_overlays.d/ in the testing branch is empty.

  4. Hard reset the testing custom APT suite to the current state of the devel one.

  5. Freeze the time-based APT repository snapshots that shall be used during the freeze.

  6. Make it so the time-based APT repository snapshots are kept around long enough, by bumping their Valid-Until to 10 days after the next major release (the one after the one you're preparing)'s scheduled date: time-based snapshots


If we are at freeze time for a point-release:

  1. Merge the master Git branch into stable:

     git checkout stable && git merge --no-ff origin/master
  2. Merge each APT overlay suite listed in the stable branch's config/APT_overlays.d/ into the stable APT suite.

Common steps for point and major releases

Reset the release branch's config/base_branch:

    echo "${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}" > config/base_branch && \
       git commit config/base_branch \
           -m "Restore ${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}'s base branch."

Bootstrap manual testing coordination:

  1. Create a pad.
  2. Copy the manual test suite into it.
  3. Send the pad URL to the usual testers (see manual_testers.mdwn in the internal.git repository).

Update included files

uBlock patterns and settings file

The patterns+settings file is stored as a converted sqlite text dump in config/chroot_local-includes/usr/share/tails/ublock-origin/ublock0.dump.

  1. Boot Tails
  2. Start the Tor Browser and open the uBlock dashboard by clicking on the uBlock icon.
  3. Select the tab 3rd-party filters
  4. Click on the button Update now to update all used patterns
  5. Close the Tor Browser
  6. Copy the .tor-browser/profile.default/extension-data/ublock0.sqlite from this Tor Browser instance into the root of Tails' Git repo and run the following command:

     # For posterity: the general idea is to introduce \r\n as a
     # token where we have made a line break to make the dump more
     # diff-friendly (and, hence, Git-friendly). The most complex
     # expression is the one done with perl, where we employ
     # negative lookahead. What it means, is: replace single
     # occurrences of | except when followed by \\n.
     echo '.dump' | sqlite3 ublock0.sqlite | \
         grep -v "cached_asset_content://cache://compiled-" | \
         awk '!/^INSERT/; /^INSERT/ {print $0 | "sort -n"}' | \
         sed 's_\\n_\\n\r\n_g' | \
         sed 's_,_,\r\n_g' | \
         perl -p -e 's/([^|])\|((?!\||\\n).)/\1\|\r\n\2/g' | \
         sed "/^INSERT INTO \"settings\" VALUES('\(remoteBlacklists\|cached_asset_entries\)'/"'s_,_,\r\n_g' > \
  7. Commit:

     git commit -m 'Update uBlock Origin patterns + settings file.' \
        config/chroot_local-includes/usr/share/tails/ublock-origin/ublock0.dump \
     && rm ublock0.sqlite

Upgrade bundled binary Debian packages

Skip this section unless we are at freeze time for a major release (i.e. we are about to prepare a release candidate).

That is: make sure the bundled binary Debian packages contain up-to-date localization files.

For each bundled Debian package, cd into the package's root directory (e.g. a checkout of the whisperback repository), and then run the import-translations script that is in the main Tails repository. For example:

cd whisperback

If the import-translations script fails to import translations for the current package, manually copy updated PO files from the Transifex branches of git:// (e.g. whisperback_completed) instead. In this case, skip PO files for translation teams that use Git.

Add and commit.

Then check the PO files:


Correct any displayed error, then commit the changes if any.

Then see the relevant release processes, and upload the packages to the release branch's custom APT suite:

Upgrade Tor Browser

See the dedicated page: tor-browser

Upgrade Tor Browser AppArmor profile

See the dedicated page: ?browser-apparmor-patch

Upgrade Thunderbird

See the dedicated page: thunderbird

Update PO files

Pull updated translations for languages translated in Transifex, refresh the code PO files, and commit the result, including new PO files:

cd "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}" && \
./import-translations  && \
./refresh-translations && \
./submodules/jenkins-tools/slaves/check_po && \
git add po && git commit -m 'Update PO files.'

If check_po complains:

  • delete the offending PO files;
  • send a note to so that they get in touch with whoever can fix them.

When preparing an actual release

If we're about to prepare an image for a final (non-RC) release, then follow these instructions:

Major release

Merge each APT overlay suite listed in the testing branch's config/APT_overlays.d/ into the testing custom APT suite.


For point-releases, we generally do not put any RC out, so freeze time is the same as preparing the actual release. Hence, the following steps have already been done above, and this section is a noop in the general case.

Merge each APT overlay suite listed in the stable branch's config/APT_overlays.d/ into the stable custom APT suite.

Update other base branches

  1. Merge the release branch into devel following the instructions for merging base branches.

  2. Merge devel into feature/buster following the instructions for merging base branches. Given that these two branches' APT suites have diverged a lot, and that tails-merge-suite currently happily overwrites newer packages in the target with older packages from the source, it's probably easier to just merge each individual APT overlay that was just merged into the release branch into feature/buster's APT suite. Also, most of our just upgraded bundled packages (e.g. tails-greeter) may need to be rebuilt for Stretch.

  3. Ensure that the release, devel and feature/buster branches have the expected content in config/APT_overlays.d/: e.g. it must not list any overlay APT suite that has been merged already.

  4. Push the modified branches to Git:

     git push origin                          \
        feature/buster:feature/buster       \

Update more included files


Remove the placeholder entry for next release in debian/changelog, and then:

git checkout "${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}" && \
./release ${VERSION:?} ${PREVIOUS_TAG:?}

This populates the Changelog with the Git log entries.

Then, launch an editor for the needed cleanup of the result:

dch -e

Then, gather other useful information from:

  • every custom bundled package's own Changelog (Greeter, Persistent Volume Assistant, etc.);
  • the diff between the previous version's .packages file and the one from the to-be-released ISO;
  • the "Fix committed" section on the Release Manager View for ${VERSION:?} in Redmine.

Finally, sanity check the version and commit:

if [ "$(dpkg-parsechangelog -SVersion)" = "${VERSION:?}" ]; then
    git commit debian/changelog -m "Update changelog for ${VERSION:?}."
    echo 'Error: version mismatch: please compare ${VERSION:?} with the last entry in debian/changelog'

Included website

Merge master

Merge master into the branch used for the release:

git fetch origin && git merge origin/master

version number

If preparing a RC, skip this part.

In the branch used to build the release, update the wiki/src/inc/* files to match the version number and date of the new release. Set the date at least 24 hours in the future! Between tests and mirror synchronization, the build will not be released on the same day. Try to make sure it matches the date of the future signature.


echo "${VERSION:?}"      > wiki/src/inc/stable_amd64_version.html
echo -n "${RELEASE_DATE:?}" > wiki/src/inc/stable_amd64_date.html
sed -ri "s%news/version_.*]]%news/version_${VERSION:?}]]%" wiki/src/inc/stable_amd64_release_notes.*
${EDITOR:?} wiki/src/inc/*.html
git commit wiki/src/inc/ -m "Update version and date for ${VERSION:?}."

Website translations

Refresh the website PO files and commit the ones corresponding to pages that were added or changed accordingly to changes coming with the new release. This e.g. ensures that the RC call for translation points translators to up-to-date PO files:

./build-website && git add wiki/src && git commit -m 'Update website PO files.'
git push origin "${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}:${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}"

Call for translation

If at freeze time, send a call for translations to tails-l10n, making it clear what Git branch the translations must be based on, and what are the priorities. Also, add a few words to remember the translation teams using Git that they should regularly contact Transifex translators, as detailed on the documentation for translators.

To get a list of changes on the website:

git diff --stat ${PREVIOUS_VERSION:?}.. -- \
    wiki/src/'*'.{mdwn,html} \
    ':!wiki/src/blueprint*' \
    ':!wiki/src/contribute*' \
    ':!wiki/src/inc' \
    ':!wiki/src/news*' \

Import the signing key

Skip this part if you have a Tails signing subkey on an OpenPGPG smartcard, i.e. if you are one of the usual release managers. This is only relevant when the master key has been reassembled, e.g. for signing a Tails emergency release where none of the usual release managers are available.

You should never import the Tails signing key into your own keyring, and a good practice is to import it to a tmpfs to limit the risks that the private key material is written to disk:

export GNUPGHOME=$(mktemp -d)
sudo mount -t ramfs ramfs "${GNUPGHOME:?}"
sudo chown $(id -u):$(id -g) "${GNUPGHOME:?}"
sudo chmod 0700 "${GNUPGHOME:?}"
gpg --homedir ${HOME:?}/.gnupg --export ${TAILS_SIGNATURE_KEY:?} | gpg --import
gpg --import path/to/private-key

Let's also ensure that strong digest algorithms are used for our signatures, like the defaults we set in Tails:

cp config/chroot_local-includes/etc/skel/.gnupg/gpg.conf "${GNUPGHOME:?}"

Build the almost-final image

  1. Build an ISO image from the release branch.
  2. Carefully read the build logs to make sure nothing bad happened.
  3. Keep at least the resulting ISO image and the manifest of needed packages until the end of this release process.
  4. Record where the manifest of needed packages is stored:

     [ -f "${PACKAGES_MANIFEST:?}" ] || echo "ERROR: PACKAGES_MANIFEST is incorrect"

Tag the release in Git

git tag -u "${TAILS_SIGNATURE_KEY:?}" \
  -m "tagging version ${VERSION:?}" "${TAG:?}" && \
git push --tags origin "${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}"

(Pushing the tag is needed so that the APT repository is updated, and the Tails APT configuration works at build and boot time. It might be premature, as testing might reveal critical issues, but this is a signed tag, so it can be overridden later. Yes, there is room for improvement here.)

XXX: From this push of a tag, the builds in Jenkins fail because we prevent it to continue if the last debian/changelog entry has a tag. There are workarounds we need to decide and implement.

Prepare the versioned APT suites

  • Prepare the versioned APT suite in our custom APT repository.

  • Prepare tagged snapshots of upstream APT repositories:

        ./bin/tag-apt-snapshots "${PACKAGES_MANIFEST:?}" "${TAG:?}"


    • This command can take a while (about a dozen minutes).
    • It's expected that the packages that were pulled from our custom APT repository are listed under "some packages were not found anywhere" (because we are currently not using time-based snapshots for our custom APT repository). However, no other package should be on that list. Now, we have a "safety" net, in case you don't notice such a problem: if other packages are missing, the next build (that will use the newly created partial, tagged APT repository) will fail.

Build images

Sanity check

Verify that the Tor Browser release used in Tails still is the most recent. Also look if there's a new -buildX tag for the targeted Tor Browser version in these Git repositories:

A new tag may indicate that a new Tor Browser release is imminent.

Better catch this before people spend time doing manual tests.

SquashFS file order

  1. Burn the almost final ISO image to a DVD.
  2. Boot this DVD on bare metal.
  3. Add profile to the kernel command-line.
  4. Login.
  5. Wait for the "Tor is ready" notification.
  6. Start the web browser.
  7. A few minutes later, once the boot-profile process has been killed, retrieve the new sort file from /var/log/boot-profile.
  8. Copy the new sort file to config/binary_rootfs/squashfs.sort.
  9. Cleanup a bit:
    • remove var/log/live/config.pipe: otherwise the boot is broken or super-slow
    • remove the bits about kill-boot-profile at the end: they're only useful when profiling the boot
  10. Inspect the Git diff (including diff stat), apply common sense. The following command is also helpful but requires that you save a copy of the old sort file into /tmp/squashfs.sort.old:

     diff -NaurB \
         <( cut -d' ' -f1 /tmp/squashfs.sort.old | sort ) \
         <( cut -d' ' -f1 config/binary_rootfs/squashfs.sort | sort ) \
         | less
  11. git commit -m 'Updating SquashFS sort file' config/binary_rootfs/squashfs.sort

Build the final image

Then all included files should be up-to-date and the versioned APT suite should be ready, so it is time to:

  • Mark the version as "released" in the changelog:

      dch --release --no-force-save-on-release --maintmaint
      git commit -m "Mark Tails ${VERSION:?} as released." debian/changelog

      export SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH=$(date --utc --date="$(dpkg-parsechangelog --show-field=Date)" '+%s')
  • tag the release again, with all included files in:

      git tag -f -u "${TAILS_SIGNATURE_KEY:?}" \
              -m "tagging version ${VERSION:?}" "${TAG:?}" && \
      git push --tags --force && \
      git push origin "${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}"

    Note: for Jenkins to build the release you must push the release branch with its tip tagged. I.e. if you deviate from the above commands by e.g. committing a commit in between git tag and the first git push then Jenkins won't build from the tag -- please avoid that!

  • build the final image!

  • make sure at least two tails@ members will build the ISO image. Example: if you, the RM, is a tails@ member, you only have to ask one more member.

  • compare the new build manifest with the one from the previous, almost final build; they should be identical, except that the debian-security serial might be higher. To ensure we publish the final build's .build-manifest, please run:

      export PACKAGES_MANIFEST="${ARTIFACTS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}"
  • check out a new branch:

      git checkout -b "${WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH:?}" "${TAG:?}" && \
      git push -u origin "${WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH:?}"

    (as soon as a new commit is created on $RELEASE_BRANCH, its ISO build will start failing until a new changelog entry is created, which we don't want to do on $RELEASE_BRANCH before it's merged into master at release time)

Generate the OpenPGP signatures and Torrents

First, create a directory with a suitable name and go there:

mkdir "${ISOS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}" && \
cd "${ISOS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}"

Second, move the built image to this brand new directory:

mv "${ARTIFACTS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso" \

Third, generate detached OpenPGP signatures for the image to be published, in the same directory as the image and with a .sig extension; e.g.

gpg --armor --default-key "${TAILS_SIGNATURE_KEY:?}" --detach-sign *.iso
rename 's,\.asc$,.sig,' *.asc

Fourth, go up to the parent directory, create a .torrent file and check the generated .torrent files metainfo:

cd .. && \
mktorrent \
  -a 'udp://' \
  -a 'udp://'   \
  "tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}" && \
transmission-show tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.torrent

Lastly, let's set some variables to be used later:

ISO_SHA256SUM="$(sha256sum "${ISO_PATH:?}" | cut -f 1 -d ' ' | tr -d '\n')"
ISO_SIZE_IN_BYTES="$(stat -c %s "${ISO_PATH:?}")"

Prepare incremental upgrades

Build the Incremental Upgrade Kits

Incremental upgrades may be skipped if the delta is too big (like when migrating to a new Debian release) or if there are changes outside of the scope for IUKs (like partition table changes). Use common sense!

Use tails-create-iuk to build the following IUKs:

  • From the two previous planned releases, and any emergency releases in between and after. This should be, more or less, all releases for the last 12 weeks (although irregularities in Firefox release schedule may add or remove a few weeks).

  • From the last RC for the version being released, e.g. 1.0~rc1 to 1.0. This should be done even if there was no IUK generated from the previous stable release since it is a good way to test the iuk code that'll be used for the incremental upgrade paths to the next version.

Include each such version in a white-space separated list called IUK_SOURCE_VERSIONS, (e.g. IUK_SOURCE_VERSIONS="2.8 2.9 2.9.1 2.10~rc1") and run the following:

for source_version in ${IUK_SOURCE_VERSIONS}; do
    sudo su -c "cd ${IUK_CHECKOUT:?} && \
      LC_ALL=C \
      PERL5LIB=\"${PERL5LIB_CHECKOUT:?}/lib\" \
        ./bin/tails-create-iuk \
           --squashfs-diff-name \"${VERSION:?}.squashfs\"           \
           --old-iso \"${ISOS:?}/tails-amd64-${source_version:?}/tails-amd64-${source_version:?}.iso\" \
           --new-iso \"${ISOS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso\"          \
           --outfile \"${ISOS:?}/Tails_amd64_${source_version:?}_to_${VERSION:?}.iuk\""

Note that developer tools for creating IUK and upgrade-description files were only tested on Debian sid. It should hopefully work well on Jessie too.

Make sure at least two tails@ members reproduce the same IUKs. Provide them with the value of IUK_SOURCE_VERSIONS that you used!

Prepare upgrade-description files

  1. Prepare upgrade-description files (see the upgrade-description files specification for details). The idea is to:

    • update (create if needed) an upgrade-description file for every previous supported release (e.g. N~rc1, N-1, N-1~rc2) that replaces all existing upgrade paths with the path to the version being released;
    • create a new upgrade-description for the version being released and for the next one, that expresses that no upgrade is available for these ones yet.

    This is what tails-iuk-generate-upgrade-description-files tool does:

     ( cd ${IUK_CHECKOUT:?} && \
     ./bin/tails-iuk-generate-upgrade-description-files \
         --build-target amd64 \
         --version "${VERSION:?}" \
         --next-version "${NEXT_PLANNED_VERSION:?}" \
         --next-version "${NEXT_PLANNED_VERSION:?}~rc1" \
         --next-version "${VERSION:?}.1" \
         --iso "${ISOS_PATH:?}" \
         --previous-version "${PREVIOUS_VERSION:?}" \
         --previous-version "${VERSION:?}~rc1" \
         --iuks "${ISOS:?}" \
         --release-checkout "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}" \
         --major-release "${MAJOR_RELEASE:?}" \
    • The --iuks argument must point to the directory where the IUKs generated at the previous step are stored.
    • At least the last stable release and the previous release candidates for the version being released must be passed to --previous-version.
    • Older versions for which there is no incremental upgrade path to the new release must be passed with --previous-version, so that users who skipped a release or two are informed of the new one. Note that multi-steps incremental upgrade paths are valid and supported: e.g. when releasing 1.1.2, 1.1 users should still be able to incrementally upgrade to 1.1.1, and in turn to 1.1.2; to make this work, one must not pass --previous-version 1.1, that would remove the existing incremental upgrade path from 1.1 to 1.1.1.
    • If preparing anything but a final release (e.g. an alpha, beta or RC), add --channel alpha
    • If preparing anything but a final release (e.g. an alpha, beta or RC), drop all --next-version arguments, and instead pass (untested!) --next-version $(echo ${VERSION:?} | sed -e 's,~rc.*$,,')
    • If preparing a point-release, pass neither --next-version "${VERSION:?}.1", nor --next-version "${VERSION:?}.1~rc1"
  2. Create an armoured detached signature for each created or modified upgrade-description file.

     find "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}/wiki/src/upgrade/" \
        -type f -name upgrades.yml | \
        while read udf; do
            if [ -n "$(git status --porcelain "${udf:?}")" ]; then
                gpg -u "${TAILS_SIGNATURE_KEY:?}" --armor --detach-sign "${udf:?}"
                mv --force "${udf:?}.asc" "${udf:?}.pgp"
                ( \
                  cd ${IUK_CHECKOUT:?} && \
                  ./bin/tails-iuk-check-upgrade-description-file "${udf:?}" \
                ) || break
  3. Add and commit the upgrade-description files and their detached signatures to the Git branch used to prepare the release ($WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH):

     ( \
       cd "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}" && git add wiki/src/upgrade && \
       git commit -m "Update upgrade-description files." && \
       git push origin ${WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH:?} \
  4. If preparing anything but a final release (e.g. an alpha, beta or RC), copy the generated or updated files to ${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?}, replace channel: alpha with channel: test, sign them, commit and push.

  5. Else, if preparing a final release, copy the generated UDF for the previous release to the test channel in $MASTER_CHECKOUT, modify its content accordingly, sign it, commit and push:

     ( \
       cd ${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?} && \
       git fetch && \
       for old_version in ${IUK_SOURCE_VERSIONS:?}; do
         stable_udf="wiki/src/upgrade/v1/Tails/${old_version:?}/amd64/stable/upgrades.yml" && \
         test_udf="wiki/src/upgrade/v1/Tails/${old_version:?}/amd64/test/upgrades.yml" && \
         mkdir -p "$(dirname "$test_udf")" && \
         git show origin/${WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH:?}:${stable_udf:?} \
           | sed -e 's/channel: stable/channel: test/' > ${test_udf:?} && \
         gpg -u "${TAILS_SIGNATURE_KEY:?}" --armor --detach-sign ${test_udf:?} && \
         mv ${test_udf:?}.asc ${test_udf:?}.pgp && \
         git add ${test_udf:?}* ; \
       done && \
       git commit -m "Add incremental upgrades on the test channel for Tails ${VERSION:?}" && \
       git push origin master:master \

Prepare the ISO description file for DAVE

If preparing a RC, skip this part.

Update the ISO description file (IDF) used by the browser extension:

cat > "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}"/wiki/src/install/v1/Tails/i386/stable/latest.yml <<EOF
build-target: amd64
channel: stable
product-name: Tails
version: '${VERSION:?}'
- sha256: ${ISO_SHA256SUM}
  size: ${ISO_SIZE_IN_BYTES:?}
cat > "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}"/wiki/src/install/v1/Tails/amd64/stable/latest.yml <<EOF
build-target: amd64
channel: stable
product-name: Tails
version: '${VERSION:?}'
- sha256: ${ISO_SHA256SUM}
  size: ${ISO_SIZE_IN_BYTES:?}
( cd "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}" && \
  git add wiki/src/install/v1/Tails/{i386,amd64}/stable/latest.yml && \
  git commit -m "Update IDF file for DAVE." )

Upload images

Sanity check

Verify once more that the Tor Browser we ship is still the most recent (see above).


The following instructions are now meant to be followed by both the RM responsible for this release, and the the Trusted Reproducer (TR), i.e. the tails@ member that was asked earlier to reproduce the Tails ISO image and all IUKs. Some instructions are meant for only one of these roles, e.g. if we write "TR: $INSTRUCTION", we mean that only the TR should follow this instruction.

Reproduce the ISO and IUKs

Now the RM sends a signed email to the TR, containing the SHA-512 of the Tails ISO image and IUKs; the TR responds to this email with their SHA-512 of the same files. Note that this could take some time, potentially blocking the RM from continuing the release process. However:

RM: continue the release process at your own risk! If you get a negative answer from the TR later you might have to undo everything done from this point on. It's still a good idea to optimistically assume success in order to not be blocked at this point. However, be mentally prepared that it might have to be done once more, and make sure to return to this section once everyone is done with their reproduction attempts, and certainly before making the release public.

Once the SHA-512:s have been exchanged by the RM and TR, follow this decision tree:

  • If all hashes match: yay, we're good to go!

  • If there is a hash mismatch for the ISO: ouch! Now we are in a tricky situation: on the one hand it seems like a poor idea to block users from benefiting from this release's security updates, but on the other hand the failure might imply that something nefarious is going on. At this stage, no matter what, immediately exchange ISO images, compare them, and try to rule out build system compromise:

      diffoscope \
          --text diffoscope.txt \
          --html diffoscope.html \
          --max-report-size 262144000 \
          --max-diff-block-lines 10000 \
          --max-diff-input-lines 10000000 \
              path/to/your/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso \

    RM: if you understand the problem, try to explain it in an easily verifiable way to the TR.

    TR: if you are not confident analyzing this result, or don't fully understand any explanation the RM presents, involve another RM.

    • If you cannot rule out that the difference is harmful: let's take a step back; we might be compromised, so we are in no position to release. Halt the release, involve the rest of tails@, and then try to re-establish trust in all build machines and infra involved, etc. Have fun!

    • Otherwise, if the change is definitely harmless, RM:

      • If the source of non-determinism is identified quickly and is easy and fast to fix, and the QA of the current ISO has not gone very far (so at least that time is not wasted), then you should consider abandoning the current version, and immediately start preparing an emergency release with:

        • the reproducibility fix,

        • a new changelog entry,

        • adjustments to the release notes so they are re-purposed for this emergency release (the abandoned release gets none, since it effectively never will be released publicly).

      • Otherwise, let's release any way. But let's add a known issue about "This Tails release has reproducibility issues" to the release notes, linking to the ticket(s) (or similar) where the nature of the reproducibility failure is clearly described.

  • If there is a hash mismatch for an IUK (or several):

    RM: proceed with the release, except for the problematic IUK(s); remove them from the mirrors, and remove the affected incremental upgrade paths from the UDFs! In parallel with the rest of the release process, try to figure out what the problem with the IUK is and fix the cause, so a good IUK can be released as soon as possible. If a seemingly malicious difference is found, then immediately halt the release and go to the "If something seemingly malicious is found" case for the ISO above. Because of this it is advisable to not publicly release until malicious differences have been ruled out.

    TR: if you don't fully understand any solution or explanation the RM presents, involve another RM before attempting anything else

At this point you have either decided to abort the release, or proceed with an ISO image and zero or more IUKs.

Verify that the reproduced ISO and IUKs were uploaded

RM: as soon as the mirrors are synced, let the TR know that they should proceed with this section. This could block you from releasing later, so it's really best to make sure this is done ASAP.

TR: the rest of this section is for you.

Unless the above decision led you to abort the release, you and the RM should have agreed upon an ISO image and zero or more IUKs to be released. Now you download each of these from some random mirror. For the ISO:


For each agreed upon IUK, something like:


Also, for each "problematic" IUK, i.e. those that should not be released, make sure that the fetch fails because the file doesn't exist on the mirrors.

Lastly calculate the SHA-512 for each file and make sure they are as expected, based on the files you and the RM agreed on earlier.

Note that you are note done yet: later you will verify that our website "points" to the correct ISO image and IUKs.

Publish the ISO and IUK over HTTP

Upload the IUKs to the primary rsync mirror:

for source_version in ${IUK_SOURCE_VERSIONS}; do
   rsync --partial --inplace --progress -v \
      "${ISOS:?}/Tails_amd64_${source_version:?}_to_${VERSION:?}.iuk" \

Upload the ISO signature to the primary rsync mirror:

scp "${ISO_PATH:?}.sig" rsync.lizard:

Pick a build from $RELEASE_BRANCH that produced an ISO identical to the one you've built locally (XXX must be the job ID, i.e. an integer):


Copy the ISO to the primary rsync mirror and verify the signature:

cat "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}/wiki/src/tails-signing.key" \
   | ssh rsync.lizard gpg --import
ssh rsync.lizard << EOF
   wget \
      "${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}/builds/${MATCHING_JENKINS_BUILD_ID:?}/archive/build-artifacts/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso" && \
   gpg --verify tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso{.sig,}

Move files in place with proper ownership and permissions:

ssh rsync.lizard << EOF
  sudo install -o root -g rsync_tails -m 0755 -d \
     /srv/rsync/tails/tails/${DIST:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?} && \
  sudo chown root:rsync_tails \
     tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso* \
     Tails_amd64_*_to_${VERSION:?}.iuk && \
  sudo chmod u=rwX,go=rX \
     tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso* \
     Tails_amd64_*_to_${VERSION:?}.iuk && \
  sudo mv tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso* \
          /srv/rsync/tails/tails/${DIST:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?} && \
  sudo mv Tails_amd64_*_to_${VERSION:?}.iuk \

Update the time in project/trace file on the primary rsync mirror and on the live wiki (even for a release candidate):

TRACE_TIME=$(date +%s) &&
echo ${TRACE_TIME:?} | ssh rsync.lizard "cat > /srv/rsync/tails/tails/project/trace" && \
[ -n "${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?}" ] && \
echo ${TRACE_TIME:?} > "${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?}/wiki/src/inc/trace" &&
   cd "${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?}" && \
   git commit wiki/src/inc/trace \
      -m "Updating trace file after uploading ${VERSION:?}." && \
   git push origin master

Announce, seed and test the Torrents

cat "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}/wiki/src/tails-signing.key" \
   | ssh bittorrent.lizard gpg --import
scp \
   "${ISOS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.torrent" \
   "${ISOS_PATH:?}.sig" \
   bittorrent.lizard: && \
ssh bittorrent.lizard << EOF
   mkdir --mode 0755 "tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}" && \
   mv "tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso.sig" \
      "tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}/" && \
   cd "tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}" && \
   wget \
      "${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}/builds/${MATCHING_JENKINS_BUILD_ID:?}/archive/build-artifacts/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso" && \
   gpg --verify tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.iso{.sig,} && \
   cd && \
   chmod -R go+rX "tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}" && \
   mv \
      "tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}" \
      /var/lib/transmission-daemon/downloads/ && \
   transmission-remote --add tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.torrent \
                       --find /var/lib/transmission-daemon/downloads/

Test that you can start downloading the ISO with a BitTorrent client.

ISO history

Push the released ISO to our Tails ISO history git-annex repo, so that our isotesters can fetch it from there for their testing. How to do so is described in our internal Git repo.


  1. Using check-mirrors, choose a fast mirror that already has the tentative ISO. E.g. or are reliable and have plenty of bandwidth.

     ./check-mirrors.rb --allow-multiple --channel ${DIST:?} \
         --ip $(dig +short | tail -n1) \
  2. Email to ask them to test the tentative ISO, pointing them to the up-to-date mirror you've found previously.

  3. Email and potential contributors (see manual_testers.mdwn in the internal Git repository) that tests may start:
    • point them to the up-to-date mirror you've found previously
    • make it clear what's the deadline
    • make it clear where and how you expect to get feedback
    • attach the Torrent
    • attach the .packages file
  4. Make sure someone is committed to run the automated test suite.
  5. Make sure that enough people are here to run the tests, that they report their results in due time, and that they make it clear when they're leaving for good.
  6. Fill the holes and make sure that the manual test suite is done in due time.
  7. Triage test results, reproduce bugs as needed, decide what the next step is and make sure it happens: add to known issues? file ticket? release blocker?

Update the website and Git repository

What follows in this section happens on the $WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH branch in ${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}.

If preparing a final release

Skip this part if preparing a RC.

Rename the .packages file to remove the .iso and build date parts of its name:

mv "${ARTIFACTS:?}"/tails-amd64-"${VERSION:?}".iso.packages \

Rename the manifest of needed packages as well:


Copy the .iso.sig, .build-manifest, .packages, .torrent and .torrent.sig files into the website repository:

cp "${ISO_PATH:?}.sig" \
   "${ARTIFACTS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.build-manifest" \
   "${ARTIFACTS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.packages" \
   "${ISOS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.torrent" \

Remove from wiki/src/torrents/files/ any remaining file from the previous release (including any RC).

Update the size of the ISO image in inc/*:

    LC_NUMERIC=C ls -l -h ${ISO_PATH:?} | \
      cut -f 5 -d ' ' | sed -r 's/(.+)([MG])/\1 \2iB/' \
      > "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}/wiki/src/inc/stable_amd64_iso_size.html"

Generate the expected signature verification output:

  gpg --keyid-format 0xlong --verify "${ISO_PATH:?}.sig" "${ISO_PATH:?}" 2>&1 | \
  sed 's/ /\&nbsp;/g;s/</\&lt;/;s/>/\&gt;/;s/$/<br\/>/g' > \

Ensure our technical writer has written the announcement for the release in wiki/src/news/version_${TAG:?}.mdwn.

Write an announcement listing the security bugs affecting the previous version in wiki/src/security/Numerous_security_holes_in_${PREVIOUS_VERSION:?}.mdwn in order to let the users of the old versions know that they have to upgrade. Date it a few days before the ISO image to be released was built. Including:

If preparing a release candidate

Skip this part if preparing a final release.

Copy the .iso.sig file into the website repository:

cp "${ISO_PATH:?}.sig" \
   "${ISOS:?}/tails-amd64-${VERSION:?}.torrent" \

Write the announcement for the release in ${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?}/wiki/src/news/test_${TAG:?}.mdwn, including:

  • Update the meta title directive.
  • Update the meta date directive.
  • Document important config changes that persistence users have to do themselves (e.g. the Pidgin proxy settings change in 9925321 breaks all existing persistent profiles).
  • Document known issues.
  • This snippet can help to convert the copied changelog's ticket references to links:

    sed -i 's@#\([0-9]\{4,5\}\)@<a href="\1">#\1</a>@g' \

In any case

If preparing a final release, what follows happens on the $WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH in $RELEASE_CHECKOUT. Else, it happens in $MASTER_CHECKOUT.

Generate PO files for the announcements with ./build-website.

Then, send them to so that they get translated shortly, perhaps even soon enough to integrate them before pushing the release out officially.

Then, record the last commit before putting the release out for real:

git add wiki/src && \
git commit -m "releasing version ${VERSION:?}"

Go wild!

Wait for the HTTP mirrors to catch up

Test downloading the ISO and IUK over HTTP.

Make sure every active mirror in the pool has the new version:

./check-mirrors.rb --channel ${DIST:?} --allow-multiple --fasts \

Ask to drop those that are lagging behind and notify their administrators.

If you haven't done it already, notify the Trusted Reproducer that the mirrors are synced so they can proceed verifying the upload in the reproducibility section.

Sanity checks

  • Check the outcome of the "Testing" section above.
  • Wait for the Mozilla security advisory to be published.
  • Verify once more that the Tor Browser we ship is still the most recent (see above).

Verify the meta data pointing to the uploaded ISO and IUKs

This is a follow-up on the reproducibility section.

RM: notify the TR that you are ready to release, and that they should follow this section.

TR: the rest of this section is for you (unless there is a problem or unexpected result, when the RM is involved again).

Below you'll need the SHA-256 for the ISOs and IUKs, so please compute them for all the files you have reproduced. Also, when we talk about the "expected ISO image URL" below, we mean exactly:${VERSION}/tails-amd64-${VERSION}.iso.

Checkout the release branch that is about to be merged into master:

git fetch
git checkout ${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}
  • In wiki/src/install/v1/Tails/{i386,amd64}/stable/latest.yml, the so-called "IDF", under target-files, make sure that:

    • the url value is the expected ISO image URL.
    • the sha256 value is the SHA-256 you computed from your reproduced ISO image.
    • the size value is the number of bytes of your reproduced ISO image.
  • For each IUK Tails_amd64_${OLD_VERSION}_to_${VERSION}.iuk, make sure that wiki/src/upgrade/v1/Tails/${OLD_VERSION}/amd64/stable/upgrades.yml is properly signed by Tails signing key via the accompanying .pgp file. Next, inside the file, look at one or two target-files entries, where type: full means a full upgrade, so it refers to the ISO image, and type: incremental means an incremental upgrade, so it refers to a IUK. Verify the url, sha256 and size values just like you did for the IDF in the previous step.

  • Build the website, which will be saved to config/chroot_local-includes/usr/share/doc/tails/website. Verify that the expected ISO image URL is used in the places we directly use it to fetch the ISO image:

    • inc/stable_amd64_iso_url.html: should contain exactly the expected ISO image URL.
    • install/download/openpgp: the Tails ${VERSION} ISO image link.
    • install/expert/usb: in the wget command.

If everything checks out ok, let the RM know so they can proceed with the release. If not, either mistakes were made by the RM that easily can be fixed, or something is extremely wrong. One could imagine a sophisticated attacks against the RM's build machine, where the correct ISO was built and uploaded, but that the URLs point to something else (e.g. an old release, or even something attacker-controlled outside of the Tails mirrors). You and the RM should carefully consider how to proceed now, possibly involving other tails@ members if you are unsure.

Finally, once the RM says the release is out, verify that they merged what you just reviewed.



If preparing a release candidate, just push the master branch:

git push origin master:master

If preparing an actual release, push the last commits to our Git repository like this:

( cd "${RELEASE_CHECKOUT:?}" && \
  git push origin \
      devel:devel \
) && \
( cd "${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?}" && \
  git fetch && \
  git merge "origin/${WEBSITE_RELEASE_BRANCH:?}" && \
  git push origin master:master \

Bug tracker

Skip this part if preparing a release candidate.

Mark all issues fixed in this release as Status: Resolved in our bug tracker. For a list of candidates, see:

Then, mark the just-released Redmine milestone as done: go to the target version page, click Edit, and set Status to Closed.

Tickets linked from the website

Go through the tickets linked from the documentation and support sections of the website and point documentation writers to the tickets that might be resolved in this release.

find wiki/src/{doc,support} -name "*.mdwn" -o -name "*.html" | xargs cat | \
    ruby -e 'puts\[\[!tails_ticket\s+(\d+)[^\]]*\]\]/)' | \
    while read ticket; do
        url_content=$(curl --fail --silent ${url:?})
        if [ "${?}" -ne 0 ] || [ -z "${url_content:-}" ]; then
            echo "Failed to fetch ${url:?} so manually investigate #${ticket:?}" >&2
        ticket_status="$(echo "${url_content:?}" | \
            sed -n 's,^.*<div class="status attribute"><div class="label">Status:</div><div class="value">\([^<>]\+\)</div></div>.*$,\1,p')"
        if [ -z "${ticket_status:-}" ]; then
            echo "Failed to find the status of #${ticket:?}" >&2
        if [ "${ticket_status:?}" != "New" ] && \
           [ "${ticket_status:?}" != "Confirmed" ] && \
           [ "${ticket_status:?}" != "In Progress" ]; then
            echo "It seems ticket #${ticket:?} has been fixed (Status: ${ticket_status:?}) so please find all instances in the wiki and fix them. Ticket URL: ${url:?}"

Remember that ticket expressions, e.g. <a href="">#1234</a>, can span several lines, so finding the ones reported by the above code might be harder than git grep "tails_ticket 1234".


Check in the comments of the ticket for the release notes if the technical writers have prepared a tweet. Otherwise tweet a simple link to the release notes:

Tails x.y is out:

Tor blog

XXX: move most of this to the list of things that can be done while waiting for manual test results, replace "Save and publish" there with "Save and keep unpublished", and keep only the "Save and publish" step here (+ adjust Authoring InformationAuthored on since the date of the draft creation won't be correct). I didn't do this yet as it would conflict with the changes I've done for #12629 in painful ways.

We announce major releases on the Tor blog:

  • Generate a Tor Blog-friendly post; please go through it manually, and look at the previews, to make sure it looks sane!

    ikiwiki --setup ikiwiki.setup \
            --render wiki/src/news/version_${VERSION:?}.mdwn | \
        tidy --wrap 99999 | \
        sed '0,/^<div id="content" role="main">$/d' | \
        sed '/^<div id="footer" class="pagefooter" role="contentinfo">$/,$d' | \
        sed '/^<div class="toc">$/,+7d' | \
        sed '/^<p><img [^<>]*\/><\/p>$/d' | \
        sed '/^<\/div>$/d' | \
        sed 's@<a name[^<>]*></a>@@g' | \
        sed 's@href="\.\./@href="' | \
        sed 's@src="\./@src="' | \
        sed 's@\(\.en\)\?.html@/@g' \
        > /tmp/tor-blog-post.html
        cat >> /tmp/tor-blog-post.html <<EOF
    <h1>Support and feedback</h1>
    <p>For support and feedback, visit the <a href="">Support section</a> on the Tails website.</p>
  • login to the Tor blog

  • click ContentAdd contentBlog Post
  • add these tags:
    • tails
    • anonymous operating system
    • tails releases
  • set Title to "Tails $VERSION is out"
  • choose Filtered HTML as the Text format in the blog post editor
  • copy the text you have prepared into the Post Body textarea of the blog post editor
  • open Content Settings and verify that comments are Closed
  • open Promotion Options and check Promoted to front page
  • click Preview and ensure everything is OK
  • click Save and publish

Tor weekly news

Write a short announcement for the Tor weekly news's next issue (follow the Next steps link), or find someone who's happy to do it.

Amnesia news

The release announcement are automatically sent to amnesia-news@ (thanks to the announce flag) on an hourly basis, but it will be stuck in the moderation queue. Log in and accept it.

Prepare for the next release

XXX: adapt / fork for release candidates. In the meantime, read all this, and skip what does not make sense for a RC.

  1. If you just released a new stable release, remove the previous stable release on the mirrors.
  2. Remove any remaining RC for the just-published release from the mirrors.
  3. Remove IUKs that are more than 6 months old from /{stable,alpha}/iuk on the rsync server:

    • first check that it's not going to remove anything we want to keep:

      ssh rsync.lizard /bin/sh -c \
          \"find /srv/rsync/tails/tails/alpha  \
                 /srv/rsync/tails/tails/stable \
                 -type f -name '*.iuk' -mtime '+183' \
                 -not -name '*~test_*~test.iuk' -ls \
    • then actually delete the files:

      ssh rsync.lizard /bin/sh -c \
          \"find /srv/rsync/tails/tails/alpha  \
                 /srv/rsync/tails/tails/stable \
                 -type f -name '*.iuk' -mtime '+183' \
                 -not -name '*~test_*~test.iuk' -delete \
  4. Check how much space our mirrors need:

     ssh rsync.lizard du -sh /srv/rsync/tails

    Compare it to the minimum disk space we ask of our mirror operators (30 GiB) and determine if any further action is needed to either reduce our usage by deleting stuff, or asking them to give us more space.

  5. Delete Git branches that were merged:

     cd "${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?}" && \
     git checkout master && \
     git fetch && \
     git submodule update && \
     bare_repo=$(mktemp -d)
     git clone --bare --reference "${MASTER_CHECKOUT:?}" \ \
        "${bare_repo:?}" && \
     PYTHONPATH=lib/python3 ./bin/delete-merged-git-branches \
        --repo "${bare_repo:?}" && \
     rm -rf "${bare_repo:?}"
  6. Remove all old versions in wiki/src/upgrade/v1/Tails and debian/changelog that were never released. Explanation: the post-release APT repository steps from the previous stable release will usually have had us prepare for an emergency release that was never made.

  7. Thaw the packages that were granted freeze exceptions.
  8. Pull master back and merge it into stable, and in turn into devel
  9. Thaw, on the devel branch, the time-based APT repository snapshots that were used during the freeze.
  10. Follow the post-release custom APT repository documentation. Make sure there are upgrade-description files for any new versions that were added.
  11. Verify that the snapshots used in the release branch are ok, e.g. they use the correct snapshots, and they were bumped appropriately (they should expire after the major release after the one you're preparing). Look carefully at the output of this command:

     git checkout "${RELEASE_BRANCH:?}" && \
     for dir in config/APT_snapshots.d vagrant/definitions/tails-builder/config/APT_snapshots.d; do
         echo "${dir:?}:"
         cd "${dir:?}" && \
         for ARCHIVE in * ; do
             SERIAL="$(cat ${ARCHIVE:?}/serial)"
             if [ "${SERIAL:?}" = 'latest' ]; then
                 if [ "${ARCHIVE:?}" != 'debian-security' ]; then
                     echo "Warning: origin '${ARCHIVE:?}' is using the 'latest' snapshot, which is unexpected" >&2
                 if [ "${ARCHIVE:?}" = 'debian-security' ]; then
                EXPIRY="$(curl --silent "${ARCHIVE:?}/dists/${DIST:?}/snapshots/${SERIAL:?}/Release" | sed -n 's/^Valid-Until:\s\+\(.*\)$/\1/p')"
             echo "* Archive '${ARCHIVE:?}' uses snapshot '${SERIAL:?}' which expires on: ${EXPIRY:?}"
         echo ---
  12. Push the resulting branches.

  13. Make sure Jenkins manages to build all updated major branches:
  14. Delete the Release Manager View for ${VERSION:?}_ Redmine custom query.
  15. Ensure the next two releases have their own Release Manager View.
  16. On the roadmap, update the Due date for the Holes in the Roof so that this section appears after the next release.
  17. If you are the release manager for the next release too, look at the tasks that must be done at the beginning of your shift in the release manager role page. Otherwise, kindly remind the next release manager about this :)

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