Releases

Tails 0.22.1 was released on February 4.

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 222 134 times in February. This make 7 933 boots a day in average.
  • 453 082 downloads of the OpenPGP signature of Tails ISO. Weird.
  • 92 reports were received through WhisperBack.

Code

New features:

  • Great progress was made towards better integrated, and more usable, support for using Tor bridge (#5479). This implied working with the TBB team to improve Tor Launcher, so that we can start it as a standalone XUL application, instead of as a browser add-on.
  • MAC spoofing support was completed and merged (#5421).
  • Phase four of incremental upgrades was completed (#6508), and given it was enabled by default in Tails 0.22.1, most users will see it in action when 0.23 is out.
  • One may now start IBus manually in locales environment where it is disabled by default (#6656).
  • Ship a 64-bit kernel in replacement for the 686-pae one (#5456).
  • The branch to stop creating auto-login text consoles was merged (#5588).
  • Support for persistence of I2P state was drafted (#5544).
  • The website lock down was merged and deployed.
  • A branch to stop installing Cookie Monster was prepared (#6790).
  • Some initial work to improve the Greeter's administration password interface was done (#5594).

Software updates:

  • I2P has been updated to 0.9.11 (#6696).
  • We have uploaded Pidgin 2.10.9 to squeeze-backports, and we now install it from there (#6661).
  • Install Poedit from squeeze-backports-sloppy, where we have uploaded it some time ago (#6456).
  • The fact that Linux 3.12 is not in Debian unstable anymore was taken into account.
  • The branch that installs Linux 3.13 was updated.

Bug and regression fixes:

  • The Intel Management Engine Interface driver was disabled. This fixes memory wiping at shutdown (#6460) on some, if not all, hardware.
  • The possibility to switch identities in the Tor Browser was added back (#6383).
  • An issue that lead to releasing needlessly big ISO images was resolved (#6390).
  • feature/create-additional-software-config was merged.

Towards Tails based on Debian Wheezy:

  • I2P packages compatible with Debian Wheezy were prepared, and are now installed in the feature/wheezy branch.
  • Application launchers were added to the GNOME panel.
  • A launcher to start the documentation viewer was added to the applications menu.
  • A more standard icon is used for the shutdown button.

Documentation, website and localization

  • Icons for the different roles on the Contribute section were finalized and deployed live.
  • The ?FAQ was greatly expanded, and is now almost ready for prime-time.
  • We have made good progress on specifying how the Tails logo should look like (#5797).
  • It was documented how to improve Tails by working on Debian. We have received positive feedback from Debian contributors about it.
  • Many small improvements to the documentation and its translations were done, including:
    • quite a few clarifications in the documentation for new contributors;
    • updated system requirements documentation;
    • documented how to change the passphrase for the persistent volume (#5621).
  • Links to the I2P website were updated.
  • Documentation for the new MAC address spoofing feature was drafted.
  • Work is in progress on documentation about contributing to Tails in the infrastructure (systems administration, automation) area.

Infrastructure

  • Our Puppet modules were published. This was a first blocker before we can welcome contributions to our infrastructure.
  • The system that hosts our Redmine was re-installed from scratch on a new machine, upgraded to Debian Wheezy and to Redmine 1.4.4.
  • Some improvements to our automated test suite were merged: test/fix-persistence-checks, test/keep-volumes-tag, and test/5959-antitest-memory-erasure. Thanks to this and the robustness improvements brought by the move to RJB, we were finally able to remove two of the most painful sets of tests from our manual test suite.
  • A mailing list for early testers was created and is being set up.

On-going discussions

Funding

  • We have discussed with GNOME how they could use the money they have raised for privacy and anonymity improvements.

Outreach

  • We have been working with people who want to build bridges between the graphics designers and usability experts community on the one hand, and Free Software developers on the other hand. Thanks to this collaboration, it is likely that Tails will go through a usability study in a few months, followed by a hackfest that will put at work designers and usability experts for finding solutions to (some of) the identified issues. The Tails sprint in July might host this hackfest.
  • One of us attended FOSDEM, and got a chance to talk with many interesting people in person there.
  • We got in touch with the people behind Freepto, and are looking how our two projects could collaborate more.
  • We are participating in two new Debian teams: the Debian OTR Team and the Debian AppArmor Profiles Team.

Press and testimonials

  • 2014-02-27: In his article "Why It’s Vital For Users to Fund Open-Source Encryption Tools" Trevor Timm from Freedom of the Press Foundation explains that Tails « has been vital for most, if not all, of the NSA journalists. [...] Its prime use case is journalists trying to communicate or work in environments in which they may normally be at risk or compromised. The NSA stories have been the biggest story in journalism in the past decade, yet the tool the reporters rely on is incredibly underfunded, is maintained by only a handful of developers, and operates on a shoestring budget. »
  • 2014-02-07: In his review of uVirtus, Kheops, from Telecomix concludes that « Users should prefer Tails and other mature secure live distributions (such as IprediaOS, Liberté Linux, Privatix and Whonix) over uVirtus since they provide a real safety improvement to the user. For any activity that does not entail transferring large quantities of data (such as video files), there is no strong reason to prefer uVirtus over any of these. »