Duties

The Tails Foundations Team is responsible for:

  • maintaining the core Tails system, which includes e.g.

    • porting Tails to the new version of its upstream foundations, such as a new Debian, Tor or Tor Browser;
    • keeping our core code base up-to-date and maintainable, e.g. refactor or clean up stuff that has bit-rotted, migrate code that would otherwise rely on obsolete technologies;
    • maintaining the ISO build system;
    • doing the extra peer-review and release management work that corresponds to the above bullet points;
  • welcoming new code contributors, e.g. when enough mentoring is required to put it outside of the scope of the release manager's duty to review code contributions;

  • reviewing code contributions that are on nobody else's plate, e.g. those submitted by the release manager, and the translation merge requests sent to tails-l10n@boum.org;

  • checking how important each issue forwarded by Help Desk is, whether it's worth documenting it, and validating the workarounds. If it's worth documenting the problem and possibly the workarounds, either put it on our Technical Writers' plate, or draft something directly, or merge a draft proposed by Technical Writer apprentices;

  • help triage new tickets that are on nobody else's plate when frontdesk isn't in a good position to do it;

  • ensuring that development discussions started on tails-dev@boum.org are followed-up;

  • proposing a release schedule for next year once Mozilla's own schedule is available (generally during Q3), ensuring everyone affected is aware of it and OK with it (e.g. team managers for sponsor deliverables), leading this discussion to a conclusion, updating the calendar accordingly, and asking tails-rm@boum.org to decide between themselves how they will share the release manager shifts; things to keep in mind:

    • An emergency release is often needed shortly after Pwn2Own.
  • reviewing'n'merging proposed branches in a timely manner (1 week in general, up to 2 weeks if needed in exceptional cases). If a ticket is flagged Ready for QA, but nobody on the Foundations Team can take care of the review'n'merge, it's the Foundations Team's responsibility to ask for help. These tickets can be tracked using:

  • deal with last minute emergency fixes needed during release process, e.g. #14962;

  • if time allows, do whatever code task the project sees as top-priority, such as fixing Holes in the Roof, important bugs, or implementing a feature that is needed to keep Tails relevant.

  • Maintain Tails relevant Debian packages in Debian

    • as long as we ship these packages in Tails
    • until the EOL of the last Debian stable release (including LTS) we put it in, even if we drop the package from Tails: including a package in a stable Debian release implies a commitment to maintain it during its lifetime.
    • Maintain a bunch of packages.
    • Review and sponsor a few more packages.
    • Track bugs related to these packages in Tails and forward them to Debian.
    • Track Debian bugs and forward them upstream.
    • Not in the scope of this work:
      • Debian AppArmor team's packages:
      • Perl libraries our custom software depends on: intrigeri does it with his Debian hat.
      • torbrowser-launcher: we only use its AppArmor profiles, that we could easily take from upstream if the Debian package was not maintained.

Meetings

Each month the Tails Foundations Team gathers for an online meeting.

  • Date:
    • The 3rd day of the month if it's a day between Monday and Thursday (inclusive)
    • The 6th day of the month otherwise
  • Time: 16:00 Berlin time (14:00 or 15:00 UTC, depending on the date)
  • Location: tails-meeting XMPP chatroom

As a Foundations Team member, if you cannot make one of these meetings, please send the team before the meeting:

  • a brief status update about life, work and tickets;
  • information about how much more or less work you want for the following month(s).

People only maintaining Debian packages but not doing any other work in the team are not required to attend the meeting.

Contact

To get in touch with the Foundations Team, write to tails-foundations@boum.org.

OpenPGP key (details).