In 2019, we are especially proud of celebrating with you the 10 years of Tails.

The first release of Tails, back then amnesia, was announced in 2009. Since then we released 98 versions of Tails, which were used more than 25 million times.

Here are some stories about how it all started and some vintage screenshots. But first of all, the birthday cake!

                      _____
                     |_|_|_|
                     | . . |
                     |_____|
                    ´       `
                    |       |
                    |  :-)  |
                   {}       {}
                   ||       ||
                  _||_______||_
             {}  {~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~}  {}
             ||  { ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ }  ||
           __||__{_____________}__||__
          {\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\}
       {} {         H a p p y        \} {}
       || {\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\} ||
     __||_{___________________________}_||__
    {\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\}
    {            B i r t h d a y            }
    {       ! ! !   T a i ls   ! ! !        }
    {/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/}
    {_______________________________________}

2009–2010: amnesia, T(A)ILS, and their ancestors

Today, Tails is based on Debian, Tor, and GNOME. We inherit from their work and try to contribute back in order to create a healthy ecosystem of reliable, secure, and usable tools.

When we started the amnesia project back in 2009, other projects before us paved the way to what is Tails today:

  • Knoppix, born in 2000 and still alive today, was the first popular live Linux distribution. Back then, it was a groundbreaking achievement to be able to start and use Linux without going through lengthy, very complex, and uncertain Linux install "parties". Knoppix was primarily designed for convenience and diagnosis.

  • ELE, born in 2005 and based on Damn Small Linux, Anonym.OS, born in 2006 and based on OpenBSD, and Incognito, born in 2007 and based on Gentoo, pushed the concept of live operating systems a bit further by focusing on security, online anonymity, and the use of Tor.

    Incognito was the first live operating system to include a full set of applications preconfigured to go through Tor (browser, email client, IRC client, etc.), offer a persistent Home directory, and even allow hosting onion services. Incognito was also the first live operating system to receive an official recognition from the Tor Project.

    The original author of Incognito, Pat Double, resigned in 2007 and anonym, who still works for Tails today, took over the maintenance.

  • On August 16 2009, intrigeri announced the first release of amnesia on the tor-talk mailing list.

  • In March 2010, Incognito was declared dead and amnesia its "spiritual successor". Some weeks later, amnesia would be renamed T(A)ILS, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, to act the fusion between amnesia and Incognito.

    We quickly realized that having parenthesis in our name looked very radical but was quite confusing and finally settled on Tails in 2011. Eight years later, we still see most people on the Internet write it TAILS though it's never been written in all caps on our website.

    Hey people, it's Tails not TAILS!

This is how amnesia 0.2 and our website looked like in 2009. The browser was Iceweasel with Tor Button and the Tor controller was TorK.

2011-2014: core features, Tails 1.0, and public recognition

Until Tails 1.0 (April 2014), we would develop most of the core features that make Tails today:

  • Tails Installer, forked from the Fedora Live USB Creator
  • Persistence
  • Tails Greeter, our welcome screen
  • Automatic upgades
  • MAC Spoofing
  • MAT (Metadata Anonymization Toolkit), which was developed by Julien Voisin as a Google Summer of Code with our help in 2011.

To support this intense development and the increased responsibility on our shoulders, we accepted our first grant, from the Swedish International Development Agency in 2011 and started paying for some of the development work.

In October 2012, Tails was started around 2 500 times a day, 10 times less than today.

In June 2013, Edward Snowden would reveal thousands of classified documents on the surveillance programs of the NSA. Tails got mentioned by famous technologists Bruce Schneier and Micah Lee as one of the tools that protect from the NSA surveillance.

In March 2014, we received our first award, the Access Innovation Prize for Endpoint Security. According to Access Now:

Tails embodies the successful collaboration of developers, trainers, security professionals towards tackling the spectrum of user needs -- from usability to security -- in high-risk environments.

The same month, we launched a logo contest. It was heartwarming to receive 36 very creative proposals. Here are some of the best ones:

In April 2014, Freedom of the Press Foundation launched the first crowdfunding campaign for Tails and revealed that Tails "has been critical to all of the main NSA journalists". Since then, Edward Snowden and journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Micah Lee have repeatedly stated the importance of Tails for their work and supported us in many ways.

Snowden plugging an SD card in a laptop with a blue Tails USB stick Snowden showing NSA documents on Tails to Ewen MacAskill Images from Citizenfour by Laura Poitras, minutes 37 and 41.

A few weeks later, the release of Tails 1.0 got press coverage on The Verge, CNET, Boing Boing, and many others. In December, Der Spiegel published internal NSA slides that categorize Tails as "catastrophic impact" and "highest priority":

Tor, TrueCrypt, Tails are classified as 'Use Risk: Current Highest
Priority Target Use' and 'Impact: Catastrophic (near-total loss/lack of
insight to target communications, presence)'

This is how Tails 1.0 looked like in 2014. It had a camouflage mode that looked like Windows XP and the Tor controller was Vidalia.

2015-2019 - Maturity, user experience, and automation

In May 2014, the UX team at NUMA Paris invited us to organize a usability testing session of Tails with journalists. We asked participants to do slightly complex tasks such as establishing an encrypted conversation with someone else using Pidgin. Reality hit us hard when all the journalists in the room encountered problems to either install, start, or connect Tails to Tor. We realized that, despite having laid down most of the core features in Tails 1.0, we still had a lot of work to do to make Tails easy to use by most people.

Since then, we focused our work on 3 aspects of the project that don't bring in so many new features but rather ensure its long term sustainability and growth: user experience, continuous integration, and project sustainability.

User experience

Since these first usability tests in 2014, we systematically relied on user-centered design practices to ensure that all the major changes that we do in Tails are making it easier to use. We conducted 10 sessions of usability tests, used paper prototypes, conducted quantitative surveys, and defined better our audience using personas.

Our 3 personas: Riou, Cris, and Kim

This usability work was key in all the work that we did since 2015 to make Tails easier to install:

Continuous integration

To cope with this rapid development and the many releases, we built a cutting edge continuous integration infrastructure:

  • Images of Tails are built automatically every time we develop a change for an upcoming release.
  • These images are tested automatically against a comprehensive list of usability and security scenarios.
  • All our images are reproducible, which allows security researchers to verify that the images distributed on our website have not been modified to introduce undisclosed security vulnerabilities.

The following video shows the test suite in action. On the left, it displays the scenario that is being tested, for example "symmetrically encrypting a message". On the right, it displays Tails being manipulated automatically according to the scenario.

This infrastructure increases the quality and reliability of our releases. It also makes it faster to publish emergency security releases when important vulnerabilities are fixed, for example in Firefox and Tor Browser.

Project sustainability

The combination of these efforts both on visible improvements and behind the scene had to go hand-in-hand with working on the sustainability of the project as an organization.

Since 2014:

  • The number of Tails users was multiplied by 2.4, increasing by 20% each year on average, reaching 25000 daily users on average in 2019. Our yearly budget was multiplied by a similar amount, to reach 240 000€ (estimated) in 2019.
  • We worked on foundational documents and processes to ensure a healthy community and project, such as our Code of Conduct, Social Contract, and Missions and values.

Sustainability cannot go without enjoying working together and having fun. We had memorable gatherings where we danced to the privacy-protecting sound of Rockwell — Somebody's Watching Me, Rap News — Whistleblower, Pete Seeger — The Onion Makes Us Strong (sic), The Police — Every Breath You Take, and Cyndi Lauper — Girls Just Want To Fix Bugs (sic), ate delicious vegan mafé from our beloved cooking team, and squashed an anarchist coup d'état.

In 2018 and 2019:

  • 66 different people contributed to our main source code, including coders, writers, and translators.
  • 22 different people were paid to work on Tails: a few of them full-time, most of them part-time or as consultants.
  • We attended 21 conferences in 10 different countries to stay connected with the communities of the Tails ecosystem: related Free Software projects, digital security trainers, and users.
  • 20 people, both workers and volunteers, attended our yearly gatherings.

Meanwhile, we counted no less than 21 projects, who also tried to build a live operating system for privacy and anonymity but are now abandoned.

A big thank you to everybody who either contributed to Tails or supported us:

  • All the people mentioned in this article one way or another
  • The people from other related Free Software projects that Tails relies upon
  • The thousands of activists, journalists, and human-rights defenders who are using Tails everyday
  • The digital security trainers and technologists who got excited about Tails in its early days and continue advocating for it today
  • Everybody who ever contributed to our source code, including the dozens of translators
  • Our partners, sponsors, and everybody who ever donated to Tails.

Thank you!

Posted 2019-12-15 Tags:

Documentation and website

User experience

Hot topics on our help desk

  1. Multiple users reported having trouble importing keys in Seahorse.

  2. We also had some reports about issues with Nvidia graphics cards.

  3. macOS users were affected by a bug in Etcher.

Infrastructure

  • We finished updating the list of members in our signing key revocation mechanism. (#16665)

    We lost 5 members and added 8 new members. So the resiliency of the scheme was increased overall. Thanks again to all the new members :)

Funding

  • Received a very generous donation of 6 bitcoins from PrivCoin.

  • We blogged about our plans for 2020.

  • Our fundraising campaign is doing pretty well.

    Compared to the same period in 2017 and 2018 (first 41 days):

                   2016       2017        2018       2019
                   ----       ----        ----       ----
    Amount         54 925 €   54 873 €    28 854 €   48 710 €    69%
    Count            1124        717        1182       1084     -16%
    
    

    Final amount 76 055 € 101 644 € 74 480 €

    We are doing pretty good in terms of both amount and number of donations thought we're not set any record in either metrics.

    This is not due to the lack of counter this year because the first 2 weeks of this year were much worse than last year (when they was no counter yet) and weeks 3-5 were better (when we had a counter already).

    We cannot really explain these 16% less donations but it's not a big deal either.

Outreach

Past events

  • Damaris Mendoza presented Tails to 20 digital security trainers at the Encuentro Centroamericano de Seguridad Digital in Guatemala City.

On-going discussions

Translations

All the website

  • fr: 89% (5302) strings translated, 2% strings fuzzy
  • es: 52% (3120) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • de: 36% (2139) strings translated, 11% strings fuzzy
  • it: 31% (1854) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 28% (1690) strings translated, 11% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 22% (1361) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website

  • fr: 93% (1697) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • es: 89% (1619) strings translated, 3% strings fuzzy
  • de: 64% (1169) strings translated, 16% strings fuzzy
  • it: 60% (1095) strings translated, 18% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 43% (792) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 32% (596) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 767 400 times this month. This makes 25 580 boots a day on average.

How do we know this?

Posted 2019-12-14

On October 7, we launched our donation campaign by explaining why supporting Tails is more important than ever. On October 31, we summarized what we did in 2019 to make Tails easier to adopt by new users. Today we pass on to you our plans for 2020.

But first, we are pleased that the donation campaign has been pretty successful so far. We received around 50 000 € already, which is 69% more than last year. Still, these good results are due to some large donations and fewer people have been donating so far, 16% less than in 2018. We hope that after reading this post many of you will consider donating to Tails.

Less manual upgrades (January 2020)

Tails ships an automatic upgrade mechanism since 2013. But this mechanism only works for a limited amount of upgrades, after which a "manual" upgrade is needed.

These manual upgrades are a major pain point and we know that users often think their Tails is "broken" when automatic upgrades are not possible anymore.

In 2020, we will remove the need for most of these manual upgrades. And as automatic upgrades are also often too painful we will research ways to make them lighter and more robust.

New homepage and outreach material (April 2020)

Leveraging all the work that we have done in the past years to make Tails easier to install and use, in 2020, we will explain better what Tails is and why people should use it.

The text on our Home and About pages have not changed significantly since 2011. It is too verbose, too technical for most people, and not sufficiently engaging visually. Since then Tails has come a long way: the number of people using Tails has been multiplied by 16. Tails is no longer an experimental project for privacy experts but a well-established reference.

For the less technical part of our target audience, Tails is a technological object like nothing they have used before. Some of the core concepts of Tails are particularly innovative and hard to understand before using it:

  • Tails is a full operating system that is started from a USB stick.

  • Tails forgets everything by default.

To make sure that the new explanation of Tails makes sense to less tech-savvy users, we will use user-centered design techniques and work with professional graphic designers.

To reach critical communities of users and digital security trainers worldwide, we will also print outreach materials based on this new explanation, make it available in 4 languages, and send it to partner organizations worldwide.

If your organization works with journalists, activists, or human-defenders and is interested in receiving leaflets about Tails in 2020, please get in touch with us.

Secure Boot for better hardware support (July 2020)

In 2019, we worked on making it much easier for users to start Tails on Mac and as a consequence, their numbers more than doubled.

For years, Secure Boot has been among the main sources of issues reported to our help desk and prevented less tech-savvy users to adopt Tails.

Currently, many have to learn how to disable Secure Boot on their computer. This process is slightly different on every computer, is very complicated to learn on your own, and can lead to scary problems on Windows computers, for example BitLocker asking you for a recovery key.

Next year, we will add support for Secure Boot to Tails, making it easier to start on PC, for which 90% of people download Tails.

In 2020, we will keep the focus on improving Tails usability and outreaching to the people the most in need of digital security. If you also think that this is important, please take a moment to donate to Tails.

Posted 2019-12-09 Tags:

This release fixes many security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

Changes and upgrades

  • Use https://keys.openpgp.org/, also available on https://zkaan2xfbuxia2wpf7ofnkbz6r5zdbbvxbunvp5g2iebopbfc4iqmbad.onion/, as the default OpenPGP key server.

    • keys.openpgp.org is more trustworthy than other OpenPGP public key servers because it only references an OpenPGP public key after sending a confirmation email to the email addresses listed in the key.

    • keys.openpgp.org does not distribute third-party signatures, which are the signatures on a key that were made by some other key. Third-party signatures are the signatures used to create the OpenPGP Web of Trust.

    • keys.openpgp.org prevents OpenPGP certificate flooding attacks, which can make your OpenPGP keyring unusable and crash your computer.

    To learn more about keys.openpgp.org, read their About and FAQ pages.

  • Update Tor Browser to 9.0.2.

  • Update Thunderbird to from 60.9.0 to 68.2.2.

  • Replace the TorBirdy extension with custom settings and patches in Thunderbird that provide equivalent privacy.

  • Update Enigmail to 2.1.3, which has a simplified setup wizard that automatically creates an OpenPGP key for new email accounts.

  • Update Linux to 5.3.9. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).

Fixed problems

  • Add back the Show Passphrase check box in Tails Greeter. (#17177)

  • Fix the display of the troubleshooting error when GDM fails to start. (#17200)

  • Add back the option to Open in Terminal when doing right-click (on Mac, click with two fingers) in a folder in the Files browser. (#17186)

  • Make the installation of additional software more reliable. (#17203)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

None specific to this release.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.1

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are available from 4.0 to 4.1.

  • If you cannot do an automatic upgrade or if Tails fails to start after an automatic upgrade, please try to do a manual upgrade.

To install Tails on a new USB stick

Follow our installation instructions:

All the data on this USB stick will be lost.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can directly download Tails 4.1:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.2 is scheduled for January 7.

Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

We need your help and there are many ways to contribute to Tails (donating is only one of them). Come talk to us!

Posted 2019-12-03 Tags:

Releases

The following changes were introduced in Tails 4.0:

  • Replace KeePassX with KeePassXC, which is more actively developed.
  • Remove Scribus.
  • Usability improvements to Tails Greeter
  • Tails 4.0 starts 20% faster.
  • Tails 4.0 requires about 250 MB less of RAM.
  • Tails 4.0 is 47 MB smaller to download than Tails 3.16, despite all these changes.
  • Add support for Thunderbolt devices.
  • ... and a lot more!

Code

Documentation and website

Hot topics on our help desk

  1. A lot of people reported having issues installing Tails with Etcher on MacOS.

  2. We got also numerous reports from people having trouble to import PGP keys with Seahorse.

  3. And some users are facing a graphic issue on computers with two GPU caused by MAC spoofing running udevadm trigger.

Infrastructure

Funding

Outreach

Past events

  • Tails was presented in Thessaloniki during 2 days for radical technologies

  • intrigeri attended the Mozilla Festival on October 26-27 in London (UK). We held a booth there, talked with lots of people including a number of Tails users, and ran a "Discover Tails and translate it into your own language" session.

  • There were a Tails workshop and a talk about the last 10 years of Tails at the privacyweek in Vienna

On-going discussions

  • We've started discussing how we will adapt to the fact Firefox will now be released every 4 weeks.

Press and testimonials

Translations

All the website

  • fr: 89% (5318) strings translated, 2% strings fuzzy
  • es: 51% (3067) strings translated, 5% strings fuzzy
  • de: 35% (2128) strings translated, 11% strings fuzzy
  • it: 31% (1837) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 28% (1694) strings translated, 11% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 23% (1364) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website

  • fr: 93% (1667) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • es: 85% (1523) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • de: 64% (1139) strings translated, 16% strings fuzzy
  • it: 60% (1071) strings translated, 18% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 44% (793) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 33% (598) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 794 831 times this month. This makes 25 640 boots a day on average.

How do we know this?

Posted 2019-11-12

We are happy to announce the launch of our translation platform.

Tails is an out-of-the-box tool that aims at helping people to preserve their privacy and anonymity online. It comes with a website & documentation that is currently translated into 6 languages besides English: Farsi, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. To help more users at risk around the world to understand and use Tails, updating and translating the documentation into more languages is welcome and needed.

This is why we have put enormous effort into setting up an easier way to translate the documentation: welcome our new translation platform. After creating an account you can start suggesting translations right away! For more details on how to get started, make sure to read our documentation for translators.

We are specifically looking for translations to a set of languages that we consider valuable to our user base: Arabic, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Turkish.

Please refer to the section Getting help if you have further questions or experience technical problems.

Thank you for your contribution!

Posted 2019-11-06

On October 7, we started our yearly donation campaign. Today, we summarize what we achieved with your help in 2019.

If you liked our work in 2019, please take a minute to donate and make Tails thrive in 2020!

Easier adoption by new users

In 2019, we focused on fewer but critical features to make Tails easier to discover and adopt for first time users.

  • In January, we completely changed the Tails installation procedure. Tails is now downloaded as a USB image: an exact copy of the data as it is written to the USB stick.

    This made the installation experience better for all operating systems and particularly easier and much faster for less tech-savvy users of Windows and macOS.

  • Then, we improved our documentation to help first time users with their Tails installation:

    • We explained better how to troubleshoot failing Wi-Fi, an issue unfortunately quite common, especially on Mac, and documented which Wi-Fi USB adapters work well in Tails.

    • We created a boot menu animation to visualize how to start Tails on PC and clarified related troubleshooting instructions.

As a consequence, more people than ever are using Tails:

  • Tails is used nearly 25 000 times every day worldwide. That's 15% more than in August 2018.

  • The percentage of people using Tails on Mac more than doubled since January 2019.

To continue making Tails more accessible to users globally, we built a translation platform for our website. Since then, people started translations in Arabic, Catalan, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Polish, Russian, Serbian, and Turkish.

We also improved a lot the usability of Tails Greeter for non-English users in Tails 4.0.

Maintenance work

2019 was also a year of heavy maintenance work, as always. Keeping alive a tool like Tails consists mostly of many tasks that are not very exciting: publishing new releases every 6 weeks, updating Tails and our infrastructure to new versions of Debian and other software that we use, fixing small issues as they are reported to us, and implementing the many small improvements that make Tails easier to use.

  • In October, we released Tails 4.0, which is the first version of Tails based on Debian 10 (Buster).

    Tails 4.0 was our most important release in years. Tails 4.0 adds KeePassXC, OnionShare 1.3.2, fixes Electrum, updates to Debian 10 and GNOME 3.30, starts faster and uses less memory.

  • We released 13 new versions of Tails to deliver improvements and security fixes as soon as possible.

  • We published more emergency releases than ever before: 5 emergency releases to fix 5 critical security vulnerabilities in Firefox and Tor Browser and always keep Tails as secure as possible.

  • We removed less popular software and localization packages, which you can now install yourself using the Additional Software feature. Optimizations like these made the USB image of Tails 4.0 47 MB smaller than Tails 3.6, which was the bigger release ever.

  • Tails depends on a wider ecosystem of Free Software and privacy tools. We continuously contribute improvements to other projects which are either included in Tails or used on our infrastructure. Some of these projects, that we call "upstream", are:

  • We had to temper several distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks targeting our infrastructure.

  • For 9 years, we have been relying on the hosting services provided by the fine people of boum.org. Thank you! As they were reducing their activities, we had to migrate our services. Our website is now self-hosted and our mailing-lists are taken care of by 2 experienced and trusted autonomous server projects: autistici.org and puscii.nl.

Community

Over the years, Tails has been able to gather a lively community which is growing, evolving, and deserves care.

  • We published a statement of our mission and values to help us clarify who we are, what we stand for, and what we want to do for our users.

  • We agreed on user personas, fictitious but concrete representations of the people using Tails. We use these personas to keep in mind who we are working for, what are their needs, and what Tails should do for them.

  • We attended 9 conferences and connected to Free Software and Internet freedom communities in 9 different countries, including FOSDEM (Belgium), Internet Freedom Festival (Spain), Tor Meeting (Sweden), OTF Summit (Taiwan), DebConf (Brazil), and MozFest (UK).

  • The wider Tails community organized 10 workshops to present Tails to new users in North and South America, Europe, and East and South-East Asia.

  • We answered 883 bug reports through our help desk and helped all these people to be safer online.

  • 2 new workers joined our help desk and sysadmin teams.

All of this is made possible by donations from people like you. And because these help us to plan our work, we particularly appreciate monthly and yearly donations, even the smallest ones.

If you liked our work in 2019, please take a minute to donate and make us thrive in 2020!

Posted 2019-10-31 Tags:

We are especially proud to present you Tails 4.0, the first version of Tails based on Debian 10 (Buster). It brings new versions of most of the software included in Tails and some important usability and performance improvements. Tails 4.0 introduces more changes than any other version since years.

This release also fixes many security issues. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

Changes and upgrades

Major changes to included software

  • Replace KeePassX with KeePassXC, which is more actively developed.

  • Update OnionShare from 0.9.2 to 1.3.2, which includes a lot of usability improvements.

  • Update Tor Browser to 9.0:

    • A gray border, called letter boxing, is now displayed around the content of web pages when you resize the window of Tor Browser.

      Letter boxing prevents websites from identifying your browser based on the size of its window. Letter boxing replaces the yellow warning that was displayed until now when maximizing Tor Browser.

    • The onion icon has been removed from the top bar.

      To switch to a new identity, choose  ▸ New Identity.

  • Update MAT from 0.6.1 to 0.8.0

    MAT has no graphical interface of its own anymore.

    To clean the metadata of a file:

    1. Open the Files browser and navigate to the file that you want to clean.

    2. Right-click (on Mac, click with two fingers) on the file.

    3. Choose Remove metadata.

  • Update Linux to 5.3.2. This should also improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).

  • Update Electrum from 3.2.3 to 3.3.8. Electrum works again in Tails.

  • Update Enigmail to 2.0.12 and gnupg to 2.2.12, which mitigate OpenPGP certificate flooding.

  • Upgrade most other software, for example:

    • Audacity from 2.1.2 to 2.2.2

    • GIMP from 2.8.18 to 2.10.8

    • Inkscape from 0.92.1 to 0.92.4

    • LibreOffice from 5.2.7 to 6.1.5

    • git from 2.11.0 to 2.20.1

    • Tor to 0.4.1.6

  • Remove Scribus.

    You can install Scribus again using the Additional Software feature.

Usability improvements to Tails Greeter

We improved various aspects of the usability of Tails Greeter, especially for non-English users:

  • To make it easier to select a language, we curated the list of proposed languages by removing the ones that had too little translations to be useful. We also clarified how Chinese is listed by having different entries for simplified and traditional Chinese.

  • We simplified the list of keyboard layouts.

  • We fixed the Formats setting, which was not being applied.

  • We prevented additional settings to be applied when clicking on Cancel or Back.

  • We fixed the opening of help pages in other languages than English, when available.

Performance and usability improvements

  • Tails 4.0 starts 20% faster.

  • Tails 4.0 requires about 250 MB less of RAM.

  • Tails 4.0 is 47 MB smaller to download than Tails 3.16, despite all these changes.

  • Add support for Thunderbolt devices.

  • The screen keyboard is easier to use.

  • Make it possible to show the password of the persistent storage when creating one.

  • Add support for USB tethering from iPhone.

New documentation pages

Other changes

  • Use the default bookmarks from Tor Browser instead of our own default bookmarks. (#15895)

  • Remove the Home launcher from the desktop. (#16799)

  • Remove the default accounts in Pidgin. (#16744)

Fixed problems

For more details, read our changelog.

  • Allow opening persistent volumes from other Tails USB sticks. (#16789)

  • Fix the delivery of WhisperBack reports. (#17110)

Known issues

None specific to this release.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.0

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

Automatic upgrades are not available to 4.0.

All users must do a manual upgrade.

To install Tails on a new USB stick

Follow our installation instructions:

All the data on this USB stick will be lost.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can directly download Tails 4.0:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.1 is scheduled for December 3.

Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

We need your help and there are many ways to contribute to Tails (donating is only one of them). Come talk to us!

Posted 2019-10-22 Tags:

Tails 4.0 will be the first version of Tails based on Debian 10 (Buster). It brings new versions of most of the software included in Tails and some important usability and performance improvements.

You can help Tails by testing the release candidate for the upcoming version 4.0!

We are very excited about it and cannot wait to hear your feedback :)

Changes and upgrades

Major changes to included software

  • Update Tor Browser to 9.0a7, based on Firefox 68.1.0esr.

  • Update Electrum to 3.3.8, which works with the current Bitcoin network.

  • Update Linux to 5.3.2.

  • Update tor to 0.4.1.6.

Usability improvements to Tails Greeter

We improved various aspects of the usability of Tails Greeter, especially for non-English users.

  • To make it easier to select a language, we curated the list of proposed languages by removing the ones that had too little translations to be useful.

  • We also simplified the list of keyboard layouts.

  • We fixed the Formats setting, which was not being applied.

  • We prevented additional settings to be applied when clicking on Cancel or Back.

Fixed problems

  • Fix the delivery of WhisperBack reports. (#17110)

  • Dozens of other problems — literally. For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

  • Spellchecking only works for English. (#17150)

    To fix it, set spellchecker.dictionary_path to /usr/share/hunspell in about:config.

  • Unsafe Browser tabs have the "Private Browsing" name and the Tor Browser's icon. (#17142)

  • The On-screen keyboard does not allow to input any accentuated char. (#17021)

  • Other open tickets for Tails 4.0

See the list of long-standing issues.

How to test Tails 4.0~rc1?

We will provide security upgrades for Tails 4.0~rc1 like we do for regular versions of Tails.

Keep in mind that this is a test image. We tested that it is not broken in obvious ways, but it might still contain undiscovered issues.

Please, report any new problem to tails-testers@boum.org (public mailing list).

Get Tails 4.0~rc1

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are available from 4.0~beta1 and 4.0~beta2.

  • You can do a manual upgrade.

To download 4.0~rc1

Direct download

BitTorrent download

To install Tails on a new USB stick

Follow our installation instructions:

All the data on this USB stick will be lost.

What's coming up?

Tails 4.0 is scheduled for October 22.

Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

We need your help and there are many ways to contribute to Tails (donating is only one of them). Come talk to us!

Posted 2019-10-11 Tags:

Releases

These are some of the changes that were introduced in Tails 3.16:

  • Removed pre-generated Pidgin accounts
  • Removed LibreOffice Math
  • Upgraded Tor Browser to 8.5.5

Code

  • We started to integrate Tor Browser 9.0 (#16356).

  • We started working on the upgrade to Thunderbird 68 (#16771).

  • We did lots of work to improve the reliability of our test suite.

  • We did some initial research and tests on using Portals to improve the UX of saving downloaded files from Tor Browser (#10422, #15678).

  • We did some initial research on redesigning, in a Wayland-compatible way, our current sudo-based privilege separation model (#12213 and subtasks).

  • We improved the UX of the Greeter and fixed a few of its most annoying bugs (#16095 and the tickets it blocks). This work will hopefully land in time for Tails 4.0 :)

Documentation and website

  • We rewrote completely the instructions to backup the persistent volume.

  • We documented how to do right-click on Mac. (#15718)

  • We proposed to use Trimage to compress better the images on our website. (#17099)

  • We agreed on having a "People" page. (#17046)

User experience

  • We published a job offer on illustrations on what is Tails and how it works.

  • We did some stats on how good people upgrade their Tails, with data from April 2019. (#17069#note-4)

    • 16.6% of boots (3800/day) had no direct automatic upgrade path to the latest version because they were more than 3 months old.

    • 3.8% of boots (860/day) were stuck before 3.6, which had broken all automatic upgrades. The impact of breaking all automatic upgrades in 3.6 was still huge even 1 year later.

Hot topics on our help desk

Infrastructure

  • We upgraded our very old Jenkins to the current LTS version (#10068). This in turn allowed us to implement a bunch of improvements and bugfixes that had been blocked by this postponed upgrade.

  • We kept working on making our web translation platform ready for prime-time. We're almost there!

Funding

  • We submitted a joint grant proposal with Tor and the Guardian Project to the DRL Internet Freedom program.

  • We added Monero and Zcash as cryptocurrencies in which you can donate to Tails.

  • We received a $1 000 donation from TOP10VPN.

  • We prepared most of the content for our upcoming donation campaign: banner, blog posts, email, tweets, etc. (#16096)

Outreach

Past events

  • sajolida attended the 1st Café Internet on September 19 in Mexico City.

Upcoming events

  • intrigeri will facilitate a "Discover Tails and translate it into your own language" session at the Mozilla Festival on October 26-27 in London (UK).

Translations

All the website

  • de: 38% (2189) strings translated, 10% strings fuzzy, 35% words translated
  • es: 54% (3095) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy, 45% words translated
  • fa: 30% (1721) strings translated, 11% strings fuzzy, 32% words translated
  • fr: 90% (5148) strings translated, 2% strings fuzzy, 89% words translated
  • it: 33% (1887) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy, 29% words translated
  • pt: 24% (1383) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy, 20% words translated

Total original words: 59107

Core pages of the website

  • de: 66% (1178) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy, 68% words translated
  • es: 88% (1572) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy, 88% words translated
  • fa: 34% (606) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy, 31% words translated
  • fr: 94% (1669) strings translated, 3% strings fuzzy, 94% words translated
  • it: 62% (1114) strings translated, 17% strings fuzzy, 63% words translated
  • pt: 45% (801) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy, 47% words translated

Total original words: 16513

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 746 622 times this month. This makes 24 887 boots a day on average.

How do we know this?

Posted 2019-10-08