Some test results that might be useful to keep are saved.

Read this document from the branch used to prepare the release.


Keeping an eye on the changes between released versions is one of the many safeguards against releasing crap.


Compare the to-be-released source code with previous version's one e.g.:

Boot the candidate ISO and find the commit it was build from with the tails-version command.

Then, from the source tree, see the diff:

git diff --find-renames <old ISO commit>..<ISO commit>

e.g. git diff --find-renames 334e1c485a3a79be9fff899d4dc9d2db89cdc9e1..cfbde80925fdd0af008f10bc90c8a91a578c58e3


Compare the list of bundled packages and versions with the one shipped last time. .packages are usually attached to the email announcing the ISO is ready.

/usr/bin/diff -u \
    wiki/src/torrents/files/tails-i386-1.3.1.packages \
    tails-i386-1.3.2.packages \
    | wdiff --diff-input  --terminal

Check the output for:

  • new packages that may cause harm or make the images unnecessarily big
  • packages that could be erroneously removed
  • new versions of software we might not have audited yet (including: does the combination of our configuration with software X version Y+1 achieve the same wished results as with software X version Y?)

Image size

Check the image size has not changed much since the last release.

In a directory with many Tails ISO images:

find -iname "tails*.iso" -exec ls -lh '{}' \; | sort -rhk 5

Automated test suite

Our long term goal is to eliminate the manual test suite (except the parts which require real hardware) and have the automated test suite run all our tests. It's design, and how to write new tests, are documented on a dedicated page.

Running the automated test suite

See setup and usage.

Do point --old-iso to the ISO of the previous stable release.

Automated test suite migration progress

The manual test suite below either contains tests that cannot be automated, has no automated test implemented yet, or has a test implemented, but it either hasn't been reviewed, had a confirmed pass by someone other than the test author, or has issues. The latter is tracked by tickets prefixed with todo/test_suite:.

Tor Browser

Security and fingerprinting

  • Run the tests the TBB folks use. (automate: #10260)
  • Compare the fingerprint of Tails and the latest TBB using at least (automate: #10262)
    • The exposed User-Agent should match the latest TBB's one.
    • Update the fingerprint section of the known issues page if needed.
  • WebRTC should be disabled: (automate: #10264)
    • In about:config check that media.peerconnection.enabled is set to false.
    •, especially the getUserMedia test. It's expected that the audio test works if you agree to share a microphone with the remote website; anything else should fail.
    • should display ifconfig | grep inet | grep -v inet6 | cut -d" " -f2 | tail -n1
  • Running /usr/local/lib/getTorBrowserUserAgent should produce the User-Agent set by the installed version of Torbutton, and used in the Tor Browser. (automate: #10268)


  • Check mail over IMAP using:
    • a hidden service IMAP server (e.g. Riseup, zsolxunfmbfuq7wf.onion with SSL).
  • Check mail over POP using:
    • a hidden service POP server (e.g. Riseup, zsolxunfmbfuq7wf.onion with SSL).
  • Send an email using:

    • a hidden service SMTP server (see above).
  • Check that the profile works and is torified:

    1. Send an email using Icedove and a non-anonymizing SMTP relay (a SMTP relay that writes the IP address of the client it is relaying email for in the Received header).
    2. Then check that email's headers once received, especially the Received: one.
  • Also check that the EHLO/HELO SMTP message is not leaking anything at the application level:
    1. Start Icedove using the GNOME Applications menu.
    2. Disable SSL/TLS for SMTP in Icedove (so take precautions for not leaking your password in plaintext by either changing it temporarily or using a disposable account). Or better, configure StartTLS, since it will send two EHLO/HELO: one before TLS is initiated; one after. The assumption here is that Icedove will send the same both times.
    3. Run sudo tcpdump -n -i lo -w dump while sending an email to capture the packets before Tor encrypts it, then close tcpdump. Note that the packet containing EHLO/HELO will be sent really early, so even if the email failed (e.g. because the mail server doesn't support plaintext SMTP on port 587) we are ok.
    4. Check the dump for the HELO/EHLO message and verify that it only contains sudo tcpdump -A -r dump | grep EHLO
  • Make sure Icedove Mail use its dedicated SocksPort (see "SocksPort for the MUA" in /etc/tor/torrc) when connecting to IMAP / POP3 / SMTP servers (both clearnet and hidden services) by monitoring the output of this command:

    sudo watch -n 0.1 'netstat -taupen | grep icedove'



  • I should be able to send a bug report with WhisperBack.
  • When we receive this bug report on the tails-bugs mailing list, Schleuder tells us that it was sent encrypted.

Root access control

  • Check you cannot login as root with su neither with the amnesia password nor with the live one. (automate: #10274)

Virtualization support

  • Test that Tails starts and the browser launches in VirtualBox.


Make sure that I2P is up-to-date, at least if the changelogs mention that security critical bugs were fixed.

APT (automate: #8164)

 grep -r jenw7xbd6tf7vfhp.onion /etc/apt/sources.list*
  • Make sure the Tails repository suite in matching the release tag (for example the release version number) is in APT sources.
  • Make sure the Tails repository unversioned suites (e.g. testing, stable and devel) are not in APT sources.

Incremental upgrades

  • List the versions from which an upgrade paths to this one is described. In the stable or testing branch:

    git grep -l "  version: '\?0.23'\?" wiki/src/upgrade/
  • For each description file, open it and verify if it allows incremental upgrade or only full upgrade.

  • For each previous version from which an upgrade paths is described, install it and try to upgrade:

    • For every incremental upgrade path: make sure the resulting updated system "works fine" (boots and pretends to be the correct version).
    • For upgrade paths that only propose a full upgrade: make sure the user is told to do a manual upgrade.



      echo 'TAILS_CHANNEL="alpha"' | sudo tee --append /etc/os-release && \

    Else, use a local test setup:

    • A web server on the LAN.
    • A copy of wiki/src/upgrade from the stable or testing branch, for example in /var/www/tails/upgrade/v1/Tails/0.14~rc2/i386/stable/updates.yml
    • A copy of the iuk directory of our HTTP mirrors, for example in /var/www/tails/stable/iuk/Tails_i386_0.14-rc2_to_0.14.iuk.

      To synchronize your local copy:

      torsocks rsync -rt --progress --delete /var/www/tails/stable/iuk/
    • Patch /etc/hosts in Tails to point to your web server:

      echo "" | sudo tee --append /etc/hosts
    • Patch sudo configuration to allow passing arbitrary arguments to tails-upgrade-frontend:

      sudo sed -i \
          -e 's,/usr/bin/tails-upgrade-frontend ""$,/usr/bin/tails-upgrade-frontend,' \
    • Call the upgrader must be called, from inside the system to upgrade, with every needed option to use the local web server rather than the online one, for example:

      tails-upgrade-frontend-wrapper --override-baseurl \

Unsafe Web Browser

  • Browsing (by IP) a FTP server on the LAN should be possible. (automate: #10252)

  • Google must be the default, pre-selected search plugin. (automate: #10253)

Real (non-VM) hardware


  • Boot on bare-metal from USB.
  • Boot on bare-metal from DVD.
  • Again, boot on bare-metal from DVD, and measure the boot time (from syslinux menu until the GNOME desktop is ready -- quickly press ENTER in the Greeter) and compare with the boot time of the previous Tails version. The new one should not be significantly slower to start.


  • The "Tails documentation" desktop launcher should open the getting started page (automate: #8788):
    • in one language to which the website is translated
    • in one language to which the website is not translated (=> English)
  • Browse around in the documentation shipped in the image. Internal links should be fine. (automate: #10254)


Boot and check basic functionality is working for every supported language. You really have to reboot between each language.

  • The chosen keyboard layout must be applied. (automate: #10261)
  • The virtual keyboard must work and be auto-configured to use the same keyboard layout as the X session. (automate: #10263)
  • In the Tor Browser:
    • must be the default, pre-selected search plugin. (automate: #10265)
    • the, Startpage and Wikipedia search plugins must be localized for the supported locales (automate: #10267):

      . /usr/local/lib/tails-shell-library/


  • Check that every supported language is listed in the list of languages for spell checking. (automate: #10269)
  • For a few languages, check the spell checking:
    • Type something in the textarea.
    • Right-click and select a language.
    • Verify that the spelling suggestion are from that language. (automate: #10271)


  • Check that Tails Greeter's "more options" screen displays properly on a display with 600 px height, preferably in a language that's more verbose than English (e.g. French). (automate: #10276)
  • Check that all seems well during init: (automate: #10277)
    • systemctl --failed --all should say 0 loaded units listed
    • the output of journalctl should seem OK.


  • Visit in a Firefox-based browser. Verify that you can install the Firefox Addon. Start downloading a Tails image and copy the used mirror URL.
    • The URL should only start with if Javascript is disabled in your browser (requires a restart!). Otherwise it should contain a mirror URL from
    • Verify that pausing and resuming the download from this URL works.
    • Verify that when you start the download, you can see it appear in the download list (Ctrl+Shift+Y).
  • Test a disabled mirror (Possible only in FF > 51 because of
    • Disabled mirrors have "weight": 0 in so just pick one of them. If there's none, skip this test.
    • Do not use Firefox over Tor.
    • To disable Firefox's internal DNS cache, navigate to about:config and set these prefererences:
      • network.dnsCacheExpirationGracePeriod = 0
      • network.dnsCacheExpiration = 0
      • network.dnsCacheEntries = 0
    • To enable logging, in about:config add these preferences:
      • = "all"
      • extensions.sdk.console.logLevel = "all"
    • Then edit your /etc/hosts file to point the URL of the previously used mirror to
    • Now reload the download page, and try to resume the download again. XXX: How is it ensured that the disabled mirror we picked above is used?
    • In the Firefox console (Ctrl+Shift+J) you should see the mirror.blob variable pointing to a different mirror. This should work. XXX: Please provide more instructions for how to find this variable, possibly with a (large but shortened) example.