Releases

The following changes were introduced in Tails 4.10:

  • Update Linux to 5.7.10. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).

  • Hide the welcome message when starting Thunderbird.

  • Fix support for USB Wi-Fi adapters with Atheros AR9271 hardware. (#17834)

  • Fix USB tethering from iPhone. (#17820)

Code

  • Added support for older TREZOR firmware (!142).

  • Started working on the upgrade to Thunderbird 78 ESR, and in particular its new OpenPGP support (#17148).

  • Automated generation of our Changelog (#17886).

  • Automated generation of the security advisory boilerplate from a template that technical writers can improve (!128).

  • Hidden broken "Turn on Wi-Fi Hotspot" feature in GNOME Wi-Fi settings (#17887).

  • Fixed sorting Intel GPUs last in the "Error starting GDM" message (#17903).

  • Upgraded Linux to 5.7.17-1 (#17895).

Documentation and website

  • Changed massively our instructions on how to start Tails:

    1. Documented Shift + Restart on Windows. (#16456)

      We're not telling Windows users to use the Boot Menu key anymore.

      It's still the default for Linux.

    2. Wrote dedicated pages for starting Tails on PC and Mac.

    3. Simplified troubleshooting sections.

      We simplified and made consistent the troubleshooting instructions in all installation scenarios.

    4. Removed instructions to report to Help Desk from the installation scenarios but kept them on doc/first steps/start.

    We believe that all these changes will lower your workload and make more people start Tails at the same time.

  • Rephrased our FAQ about VPN. (#15783)

  • Wrote an FAQ about 32-bit computers. (#17866)

  • Fixed all outdated links to torproject.org. (#17717)

  • Used ikiwiki's automatic referencing of HTML ids in table of content on the pages that have the longest tables of content. (#17844)

    Now you can copy links directly from the table of content to point to:

    https://tails.boum.org/support/faq/#javascript

User experience

  • Analyzed the responses of the OpenPGP and Pidgin survey. (#17821)

    It's pretty exciting because we barely have quantitative data about our user base at large.

    Highlights:

    • Our users find Tails relatively easy to use compared to an industry average.

    • Linux users are still the biggest share of the respondents and this hasn't changed much since 2017.

    • The top 5 wishes of our users are, in rough order:

      1. Do nothing because Tails is great already :)

      2. More persistent settings: security level in Tor Browser, background, keyboard, and language

      3. Messaging applications and voice calls

      4. Make Tor less painful for web browsing

      5. Better upgrades

    • OpenPGP is much more popular outside Thunderbird: 49% vs. 16%.

    • Enigmail users are more technical than OpenPGP users overall.

    • Electrum (28%) is more used than Thunderbird (27%), which is more used than XMPP (17%).

    • IRC is used by a non-negligible 8% of respondents.

Hot topics on our help desk

This last month we felt that the social crisis created by covid is starting to take a toll on our users mental state, and we received more derailed emails than usual. Hopefully there are local resources you can count on for this difficult times. Take care!

  1. Many users wrote to us with problems related to MacbookPros from 2020.

    Apple in general does not prioritize collaborating with Free Software projects, and their newest hardware is usually very hard for Free Software developers to get working with Linux, and thus Tails. In comparison, hardware for PC tends to be more open and get support for Linux faster. Please take that into consideration if you are buying hardware to run Tails.

  2. The last release also saw some users with graphics cards issues. Please read the page shown on the error message before mailing us, because there might be a solution for your graphics card.

  3. Some users had problems to do automatic upgrades to Tails 4.10. Update: this was fixed.

Infrastructure

  • Set up infrastructure that will allow Release Managers to upload to git-annex faster (tails/sysadmin/-/issues/17687).

  • Started coordination for requiring Buster or newer for running our test suite (#17842).

  • Started upgrading our Jenkins "isotester" workers to Buster.

  • Summed up the findings from "Gather usability data about our current CI" (#16959).

Funding

Grants

  • Our grant to Reset from May 1 was rejected.

  • We applied to RIPE NCC to work on usability improvements for censorship circumvention.

Donations

  • We surveyed "lapsed donors" who haven't donated since 2019 and analyzed 121 responses. Conclusions:

    • We're doing good! Negative comments were few exceptions in a mass of love: the work that we do is very important and we do it well.

    • We should communicate a bit more and better with past donors:

      • The main reason for lapsed donors not to renew their donation is lack of awareness.
      • We should write a newsletter to donors half-way through the year or when we have major improvements.
      • Adding an opt-in mechanism for our newsletter would allow us to be less shy to write them.
      • LimeSurvey is more convenient to send mass emails to donors.
      • We should communicate more about the impact of donations and how we spend the money.
    • About our donors and their interests:

      • Donors are mostly users (74%) but they are really into helping others (70%).

      • Donors mostly talk about:

        • Privacy (24)
        • Protection from oppressive governments and persecution (18)
        • Liberty and freedom of speech (16)
  • We merged a first batch of improvements to our Donate page:

    • To better explain our mission:

      • We wrote new slogans.
      • We improved the text on the left.
    • To better explain how we spend our money:

      • We simplified the chart and added short text to explain each of maintenance, improvements, user experience, and administration.
      • We added a section about our impact with numbers of daily users.
    • To increase trust:

      • We duplicated the recommendations from the Home page.
      • We improved the color scheme of the charts.

Partners

  • We added Freiheitsfoo as partner.

On-going discussions

  • Exporting secret PGP key in SeaHorse: Link to the thread.
  • GitLab MR terminology update: WIP→ Draft : Link to the thread.
  • Reviewers: Link to the thread.

Translations

All the website

  • de: 29% (1921) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy
  • es: 49% (3241) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 21% (1401) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 80% (5231) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • it: 27% (1805) strings translated, 10% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 19% (1289) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website

  • de: 47% (992) strings translated, 23% strings fuzzy
  • es: 83% (1744) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 20% (422) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 79% (1651) strings translated, 12% strings fuzzy
  • it: 48% (1010) strings translated, 21% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 38% (803) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website for languages not activated on the website yet

  • ar: 8% (172) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • ca: 8% (185) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • id: 8% (189) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • pl: 9% (214) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • ru: 10% (230) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • sr_Latn: 7% (164) strings translated, 3% strings fuzzy
  • tr: 9% (216) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • zh: 12% (272) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • zh_TW: 23% (505) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 939 540 times this month. This makes 30 308 boots a day on average.

How do we know this?