Releases

Code

  • We fixed issues regarding reproducible builds (#14924, #14946, #14933) and later realized that one of them fixes did not work in some corner cases… that include the ISO images we build for the Tails official releases. Sadly, due to an internal communication mishap we've announced that Tails 3.3 was reproducible before we had learned about this remaining problem.

  • We uploaded a new version of tails-installer (5.0.2) to Debian and Ubuntu. This version has a simpler interface than previous versions.

Documentation and website

  • We have documented internally how active Tails contributors can be sponsored to attend events on behalf of Tails and are now working towards publishing this documentation so that all contributors are aware of this option (#14727).

User experience

  • We almost finished the work on the new download page and verification extension for Firefox and Chrome. We're stuck blocked by security reviews and improvements on the JavaScript code.

  • Our survey on file storage encryption was answered 1012 times between October 17 and December 1. It was a huge success and we'll not move on to analyzing the results.

Hot topics on our help desk

  1. #14968: Ublock is not working in Tails 3.3

  2. #12328: Tails Firefox Add-on is not working in last Firefox

Infrastructure

Funding

  • We submitted a funding request for the Secure Operating Systems Summit that we are organizing with Qubes OS, Subgraph OS and Whonix.

  • We applied to the "Good of the Internet" call for proposals by RIPE NCC. Our proposal is titled "Interoperability and communication continuity between mobile, laptop and desktop computers, in privacy and security-sensitive environments".

  • We continued to run our donation campaign.

Outreach

Past events

  • Some of us attended the Reproducible Builds World summit in Berlin, Germany (report).

  • intrigeri attended the OTF summit in Valencia, then followed-up with people he has met there.

  • ignifugo gave a talk about Tails at a greek hackerspace.

Upcoming events

On-going discussions

Press and testimonials

Translation

All the website

  • de: 54% (2902) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy, 47% words translated
  • fa: 39% (2103) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy, 41% words translated
  • fr: 89% (4742) strings translated, 0% strings fuzzy, 84% words translated
  • it: 38% (2022) strings translated, 5% strings fuzzy, 33% words translated
  • pt: 24% (1292) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy, 20% words translated

Total original words: 57402

Core pages of the website

  • de: 80% (1506) strings translated, 12% strings fuzzy, 79% words translated
  • fa: 34% (647) strings translated, 11% strings fuzzy, 34% words translated
  • fr: 99% (1864) strings translated, 0% strings fuzzy, 99% words translated
  • it: 76% (1444) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy, 77% words translated
  • pt: 45% (851) strings translated, 16% strings fuzzy, 46% words translated

Total original words: 17062

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 655.776 times this month. This makes 21.859 boots a day on average.
  • 12.371 downloads of the OpenPGP signature of Tails ISO from our website.
  • 99 bug reports were received through WhisperBack.
Posted Thu 14 Dec 2017 11:56:17 AM CET

As part of our current donation campaign, we recently explained why we need donations and what we accomplished this year. Today we are sharing with you some of our plans for the next years:

Applications and features

  • Tails Server: run onion services from Tails (VoIP chat rooms, collaboration tools, web servers, messaging servers, etc.) (#5688, Blueprint). (Planned for early 2018.)
  • VeraCrypt support in GNOME: graphical utilities to mount VeraCrypt volumes (#11684, #6337, Blueprint). (Planned for late 2018.)
  • Graphical interface for the Additional Packages persistent feature: allow users to customize which applications are available in their Tails (#14568, Blueprint). (Planned for late 2018.)

User research and support

  • Power our help desk with a request tracker to know better how to help our user base at large (#9803, Blueprint)
  • Web translation platform We have received a grant from Lush Digital fund to set up a translation platform for our website. This platform shall make it easier for translators to translate our documentation, and to have our website translated into more languages (#10034). (Planned for late 2018.)

Better adoption

  • Rethink the installation and upgrade process in depth and reflect on the future of Tails Installer, the installation on Windows and macOS, and automatic upgrades (#11679)
  • Give some love to our troubleshooting documentation:

Resistance to remote exploitation

  • Persistent Tor state to have persistent entry guards (#5462, Blueprint)
  • Persistent seed for random number generator to have stronger crypto (#7675, Blueprint)
  • Have critical parts of Tails audited (#14508)

These are all items that we find important and want to prioritize. But making them a reality will require lots of work, time, and money; on top of all the day-to-day work that we do to simply keep Tails alive.

If you want us to get there faster, please take one minute to make a donation.

Posted Mon 04 Dec 2017 01:00:00 PM CET Tags:

We are working on making it much easier to use VeraCrypt in Tails.

We want to test our design with users to make sure that it is really easy to use. We are looking for users of either VeraCrypt, Tails, or both.

Don't be shy! It will be a great opportunity to contribute to world-class privacy software like Tails, even if you have little or no knowledge of Tails or VeraCrypt.

The tests will take place in Berlin (Wedding) on Friday 8, Saturday 9, and Sunday 10 of December in the afternoon. Plan to stay with us for 1 hour.

We will give you a Tails T-shirt as a token of our thanks.

Please, take this survey so we can organize our schedule:

https://survey.tails.boum.org/index.php/374714 (We have enough people already!)

And if you can't come, maybe you can forward this to 2-3 other people in Berlin?

Posted Thu 23 Nov 2017 01:34:56 PM CET Tags:

Reproducible Tails builds

We have received the Mozilla Open Source Support award in order to make Tails ISO images build reproducibly. This project was on our roadmap for 2017 and with the release of Tails 3.3 we are proud to present one of the world's first reproducible ISO images of a Linux operating system.

From source code to binary code

When we write software, we do this using programming languages which a human can read and understand. This is called the source code. One can imagine source code much like a very precise recipe. Such a recipe describes an exact procedure: which ingredients and which amount of ingredients do you need? How should they be mixed together at which temperature should they be cooked or baked? The recipe will even describe the expected outcome: how the meal should look and taste like.

When we generate a Tails ISO image, our source code and the Debian packages we include are assembled into a binary ISO image, much like when the ingredients of the recipe are mixed together, one obtains the meal. The amounts and ingredients of this meal cannot be easily reverse engineered. The result of our cooking process is a Tails ISO image which users download and install onto a USB stick.

We, chefs and aides in the kitchen (Tails developers and contributors), provide you, our users, with several means to verify that this ISO image is indeed the one we want you to download, either using our Firefox add-on which does this verification automatically for you or by using our OpenPGP signature. Both of these verification methods simply tell you that the ISO image is the image which we want you to download: That the meal you get is indeed the meal that you've ordered, and not a meal which has been poisoned or exchanged by an evil waiter (such as a download mirror).

However, even with such sophisticated verification methods, it is still impossible to trace back the meal to the recipe: Does the meal contain only the ingredients it is supposed to contain? Or could unauthorized personnel have broken into the kitchen at night, and then poisoned the ingredients and made the oven cook at 50 degrees higher than displayed? In other words, could a malicious entity have compromised our build machines? That's what reproducible builds help verify and protect against.

What's a reproducible build?

Reproducible builds are a set of software development practices that create a verifiable path from human readable source code to the binary code used by computers. (quoted from https://reproducible-builds.org/)

In other words, with reproducible builds, each cooking process of the same recipe is exactly repeatable.

At Tails, we have worked during a year to implement such a set of practices. This makes it now possible to compare ISO images built by multiple parties from the same source code and Debian packages, and to ensure that they all result in exactly the same ISO image.

Or again, using our cooking metaphor: Several of us will cook the meal, compare that we all cooked the same meal and only once we're sure about that, we will deliver it to you.

We all can thus gain confidence that no broken oven has introduced malicious code or failures: or we would notice it before delivering the meal.

What does this mean for you as a user?

This does not change anything in the way you download and install Tails, and you don't have to make additional verifications. It simply helps trust that the Tails ISO image that we distribute is indeed coming from the source code and Debian packages it is meant to be made of. With reproducible Tails, it only takes one knowledgeable person to build Tails and compare with the ISO image the Tails project distributes to uncover some kinds of backdoors.

And by the way, not only our ISO images are now reproducible, but so are our incremental upgrades. And you are benefiting from this improvement without even noticing :)

Thank you

Besides Mozilla's Open Source Support and the Reproducible Builds community that provided critical help where we strongly needed it, we'd also like to thank all members of our community who helped us test this process. You giving us a hand is much appreciated!

Technical implementation

If you are interested in the technical details of our implementation, we invite you to read our report to the Reproducible Builds community about how we did it.

We've also published technical instructions to verify one's own build.

Help us make Tails even better

Tails is a self organized free software project. We depend on partnerships, grants and most importantly on donations by individuals like you.

Care to give us a hand to make Tails bake even better cakes in the future?

Known issues

Any reproducible build process is reproducible… until proven otherwise. In our case last-minute issues were discovered and should be fixed in the next Tails release:

Posted Wed 15 Nov 2017 11:00:00 AM CET Tags:

This release fixes many security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

Changes

Upgrades and changes

  • Update Tor to 0.3.1.8 which saves bandwidth when starting.

  • Update Tor Browser to 7.0.10.

  • Update Thunderbird to 52.4.0.

  • Update Linux to 4.13.0.

Fixed problems

  • Fix UEFI support for USB sticks installed using Universal USB Installer. (#8992)

  • Fix errors on file system creation in Tails Installer when the target USB stick is plugged before starting Tails Installer. (#14755).

  • Fix Tails Installer on Debian sid and recent versions of udisks2. (#14809)

  • Fix the screen reader and screen keyboard in Tor Browser and Thunderbird. (#14752, #9260)

  • Make the configuration of the keyboard layout more robust when starting a session. (#12543)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

  • Due to an issue in Tor Browser, the documentation shipped in Tails doesn't open in Tor Browser anymore and lacks our sidebar. The warning page of the Unsafe Browser also lacks graphical design. (#14962)
  • Starting Tails 3.3 from DVD takes more than twice as long as earlier releases. (#14964)

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 3.3

What's coming up?

Tails 3.5 is scheduled for January 16.

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 Tue 14 Nov 2017 01:34:56 PM CET Tags:

Code

Documentation and website

  • We improved our donation page in preparation of the donation campaign to mention CCT instead of Zwiebelfreunde and be better structured.

User experience

  • We installed LimeSurvey on our infrastructure and advertised a first survey on file storage encryption from the homepage of Tor Browser in Tails. Our users have been very responsive to our call and since then we have gathered 30 complete answers to the survey each day on average, reaching 375 in total on October 30.

  • We extensively tested older and newer versions of UUI to understand why cloning from a USB stick installed using UUI sometimes fails. Everything is fine as long as "Format in FAT32" is checked which is documented but not always applied by users, so we should either improve UUI, our documentation, or Tails Greeter to prevent that.

  • We continued to port our verification extension for Firefox to Web Extensions and we now have a working prototype! that computes the checksum in a reasonable time (45 seconds).

Hot topics on our help desk

  1. Tails Installer treats drives differently depending on when they are plugged

  2. Install by cloning sometimes silently fails from a stick installed with UUI

  3. A few users with NVidia graphics reported some issues.

Infrastructure

  • We consolidated our system administration team by hiring a new member. Welcome, groente!

  • For our installation of LimeSurvey, we implemented an automatic monitoring of new upstream versions to notify system administrators when a security update is available (Git repository).

Funding

  • The proposal that we submitted to the Lush Digital Fund in May was accepted. It will fund the integration of a web-based translation platform in the build of our website and documentation.

  • We published our finances for 2016.

  • We launched our 2017 donation campaign and blogged about Many hands make Tails.

Outreach

Past events

  • The Hackmitin 2017 at Rancho Electronico in Ciudad Monstruo, Mexico featured two Tails workshops.

  • Some of us attended the Reproducible Builds World summit in Berlin, Germany.

Upcoming events

Press and testimonials

Translation

All the website

  • de: 54% (2825) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy, 48% words translated
  • fa: 40% (2107) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy, 43% words translated
  • fr: 89% (4631) strings translated, 1% strings fuzzy, 87% words translated
  • it: 39% (2025) strings translated, 5% strings fuzzy, 34% words translated
  • pt: 24% (1290) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy, 21% words translated

Total original words: 54735

Core pages of the website

  • de: 76% (1454) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy, 77% words translated
  • fa: 34% (651) strings translated, 11% strings fuzzy, 35% words translated
  • fr: 98% (1870) strings translated, 0% strings fuzzy, 99% words translated
  • it: 76% (1447) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy, 77% words translated
  • pt: 44% (850) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy, 45% words translated

Total original words: 17292

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 683188 times this month. This makes 22036 boots a day on average.
  • 11166 downloads of the OpenPGP signature of Tails ISO from our website.
  • 137 bug reports were received through WhisperBack.
Posted Sat 11 Nov 2017 01:34:56 PM CET

We recently asked you to give us a hand to fund our work in 2018.

Today, we want to tell you what we accomplished in 2017.

  • New features and userfriendly interfaces

    • We were particularly proud of releasing Tails 3.0 almost at the same time as Debian 9.0 (Stretch) which strengthens our commitment to the free software communities without which Tails wouldn't exist.

    • We added new features, like OnionShare for sharing files, and redesigned other core features, like Tails Greeter and Tails Installer, to be much easier to use.

  • Security hardening

    • We'll soon provide a reproducible build of the ISO image to protect users and developers from a malicious build of our ISO image. This effort was paid for by the Mozilla Open Source Support award which we received in 2016.

    • We promised to work on making all our mirrors use HTTPS and we're proud to announce that our mirror pool now contains over 40 active and fast mirrors. They all serve our files over an encrypted TLS connection when downloading via the website with JavaScript enabled, when using our Download And Verify Extension and when Tails is updated.

  • Community

    • We published our Social contract, the guiding principles that reflect the commitment to our ideals.
  • Fundraising

    • Have more reliable and steady sources of income: We created a page presenting our past, present and future partners and hopefully inciting more companies and individuals to make substantial donations.

Next to this selection of new features, we also work on recurring tasks:

  • In 2017, we published seven Tails releases.

  • We answered 122 bug reports on average each month through our help desk and helped many people being safer online. Each user request costs us 6€ on average to proceed. In 2017 our help desk was paid entirely out of donations.

  • We maintain and update our infrastructure. You might not see this effort, but it constitutes a crucial part of our work to verify that everything is functioning correctly, build ISO images, test, make it possible to publish emergency releases faster.

  • Organizing our own meetings and attending conferences in our field is critical to keep our community alive and relevant. But this is usually hard to get funded by grants, so donations help us a lot here.

  • In 2017, we attended conferences and connected to free software and Internet freedom communities in 8 different countries: OTF Summit (USA), 33C3 & Reproducible Builds world summit (Germany), FOSDEM (Belgium), IFF (Spain), Tor dev (Netherlands), GUADEC (United Kingdom), DebConf (Canada), CryptoRave (Brasil).

  • Keeping Tails successful also implies quite a bit of administration to raise funds, do accounting, organize work, write reports, etc.

Besides substantial donations, we would be able to better plan our future work if we would receive many more monthly donations.

If you can, we'd love for you to sign up for monthly donations at whatever level suits you ($5 = formidable. $10 = wonderful. More money = magnificent.)

If you like our work, please take one minute to keep Tails alive.

Posted Thu 02 Nov 2017 01:00:00 PM CET Tags:

Today we are asking you to give us a hand to fund our work in 2018.

Tails protects thousands of people everyday to be safe online and we give out Tails for free because we believe that nobody should have to pay to be protected from surveillance and censorship.

We've all become used to get content and tools on the Internet without paying for them. But you know that this is the result of users having become the new product. While sharing images and messages online, users generate page and advertisement views — which in turn generate income, reaching up to several billions of dollars for some companies.

At Tails we will never sell your data, nor send you targeted advertising. And we will never sell our project to a company. We have made this clear in our Social Contract. This contract is our public promise to our users as well as to the rest of the world, and with it, we are affirming a commitment to our beliefs.

Being free software is a necessary requirement for our tools to be safe and to protect you as intended. If our source code was closed, there would be no way of actually verifying that our software is trustworthy.

Last year we've made it clear how much of our overall budget came from government grants and that, in order to remain independent and to use our money in the best interest of our users, we needed to be able to rely on donations. Our first donation campaign was a big success in that regard: your donations covered nearly one third of our budget of 2017.

Our yearly expenses equal 230.000 € on average since 2015 - which is a very small budget compared to the multi billionaire companies and agencies running the surveillance business. Many of us still do a lot of work during their free time.

While last year's fundraising success was amazing, 2018 will arrive fast and our user base is continuously growing. During 2017 we counted 22.061 boots per day on average. (How do we know this?) Many hands make Tails: If each of our users gave $15, our budget for the whole year would be raised within one day. If we could fund Tails entirely through donations by our users, this would make us independent from government grants.

This image shows the evolution of Tails boots per day since 2013: Tails boots per
day increasing steadily from 7000 in December 2013 to 22000 in October 2017

But many of our users could actually get in trouble if they donated to an anti-surveillance tool like Tails. So when donating to Tails you are also giving a hand to these people by keeping Tails alive. Please consider setting up a yearly or monthly donation.

Last year, we received 2.043 individual donations. If you want Tails to survive and be largely independent from government grants, please take a minute and give us a hand!

Posted Fri 20 Oct 2017 12:00:00 PM CEST Tags:

Releases

The following changes were introduced in Tails 3.2:

  • We added support for PPPoE and dial-up Internet connections.

  • We installed BookletImposer to convert linear PDF documents into booklets, and vice-versa.

  • We added GNOME Screen Keyboard to replace Florence, the previous virtual keyboard, which had many issues.

  • We now require an 8 GB USB stick to install Tails. 4 GB USB sticks that are already installed can still be upgraded.

  • Tails Installer now detects when the target USB stick has Tails installed already and automatically proposes to upgrade. This made possible to remove the initial splash screen.

  • Disabled Bluetooth to protect against the BlueBorne attack. #14655.

  • Now deny access to the D-Bus service of Pidgin to prevent other applications to access and modify its configuration. #14612.

  • Fixed the import of secret OpenPGP keys in Password and Keys #12733.

Code

  • We've continued to work on making Tails ISO images reproducible:

    • We fixed all of the issues that were identified by our first build testers.
    • So far, everyone who tried reproducing the Tails 3.2~rc1 ISO image succeeded. We've received a couple non-reproducibility reports about 3.2, and they are all explained by a single, one-byte mistake in a translation of the wiki we ship inside Tails (we'll add sanity checks so we never release something with that type of mistake again).
    • We published a blueprint which explains how we did it.
  • We are improving integration of the Orca screen reader and the GNOME screen keyboard into Tails (#14752, #8260). A discussion about the screen reader's user experience has been initiated by Pablo Natalino, and intrigeri started a discussion upstream about the long-press delay for typing special chars with it.

  • We have formalized how the AppArmor profile for Thunderbird is maintained in Debian and upstream. This clarifies where and how our contributions should be submitted and at the end of the day this should avoid the need to maintain a Tails-specific delta.

  • We are working on fixing Seahorse buggy interfacing with pinentry-gtk2 upstream (GNOME bug #787543, Debian bug #869416). A workaround was applied in Tails 3.2 already but we try hard to stick to our relationship with upstream statement.

Documentation and website

User experience

Hot topics on our help desk

  1. Tails Installer treats drives differently depending on when they are plugged.

  2. Applications menu stops working some times.

  3. Keyboard and mouse do not work after upgrading to Tails 3.2.

  4. Many people had problems to use their Persistent Volume and had to reconfigure to access it.

Infrastructure

  • We finished upgrading all our systems to Debian Stretch (#12160).
  • We upgraded our Redmine instance (#11808).

Funding

Outreach

Upcoming events

On-going discussions

Press and testimonials

  • The 5th version of the Guide d'autodéfense numérique was released. This book proposes ways to understand how the digital world functions, what solutions can we organise against certain types of attacks, and which tools can help do that.

Translation

All the website

  • de: 57% (2866) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy, 51% words tanslated
  • fa: 43% (2160) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy, 46% words translated
  • fr: 89% (4450) strings translated, 0% strings fuzzy, 87% words translated
  • it: 31% (1548) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy, 27% words translated
  • pt: 26% (1330) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy, 23% words translated

Total original words: 53021

Core pages of the website

  • de: 78% (1493) strings translated, 10% strings fuzzy, 79% words translated
  • fa: 36% (693) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy, 38% words translated
  • fr: 99% (1875) strings translated, 0% strings fuzzy, 99% words translated
  • it: 75% (1434) strings translated, 11% strings fuzzy, 76% words translated
  • pt: 46% (888) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy, 48% words translated

Total original words: 17298

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 652000 times this month. This makes 21700 boots a day on average.
  • 10292 downloads of the OpenPGP signature of Tails ISO from our website.
  • 92 bug reports were received through WhisperBack.
Posted Wed 18 Oct 2017 02:34:56 PM CEST

This release fixes many security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

Changes

New features

  • We added support for PPPoE and dial-up Internet connections.

    Please tell us if this still doesn't work for you!

  • We installed BookletImposer to convert linear PDF documents into booklets, and vice-versa.

  • We added GNOME Screen Keyboard to replace Florence, the previous virtual keyboard, which had many issues.

Upgrades and changes

  • Upgrade Linux to 4.12.12. This should improve the support for newer hardware, especially NVIDIA Maxwell graphics card.

  • Upgrade Thunderbird from 45.8 to 52.3.

User experience

  • Require a 8 GB USB stick to install Tails. 4 GB USB sticks that are already installed can still be upgraded.

  • Tails Installer now detects when the target USB stick has Tails installed already and automatically proposes to upgrade. This made possible to remove the initial splash screen.

Security

  • Disable Bluetooth to protect against the BlueBorne attack. #14655

    Please let us know if this makes it hard for you to use Tails!

  • Increase the randomization of ASLR to the maximum. #11840

  • Deny access to the D-Bus service of Pidgin to prevent other applications to access and modify its configuration. #14612.

Fixed problems

  • Fix the import of secret OpenPGP keys in Password and Keys. #12733

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

None specific to this release.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 3.2

What's coming up?

Tails 3.3 is scheduled for November 14.

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 Tue 26 Sep 2017 02:34:56 PM CEST Tags: