Despite everything, 2020 was a great year for Tails. We released major improvements that made Tails easier to use by the people who need it the most.

If you enjoyed our work in 2020, take a minute now to donate and fight surveillance and censorship!

From the number of automatic upgrades, we know that Tails was used 20% more in 2020 than in 2019, which is our largest increase since 2016. From March to May only, when the lockdown measures were the strictest worldwide, Tails got used 10% more than ever before.

Today, Tails is used close to 32 000 times each day.

Simplified starting procedure

We added support for Secure Boot in April. Secure Boot doesn't really make your computer any safer but it forced most users to edit their BIOS in complicated and risky ways to be able to use Tails (or Linux in general). Now you don't have to edit the BIOS anymore!

We also documented the Shift+Restart procedure to start Tails from Windows 8 or 10 using the Start menu. Now you don't have to hammer that Boot Menu key anymore!

All this dramatically simplified our starting instructions for PCs.

Better upgrades

Because we know that upgrades are one of the most painful aspects of using Tails, we released significant improvements to automatic upgrades in January. We made automatic upgrades:

  • Available from all prior versions to the latest version in a single upgrade.

    For example, you can upgrade from 4.10 to 4.14 directly, without having to first upgrade to 4.12 anymore.

  • Available endlessly between minor versions of Tails.

    For example, you don't have to do a manual upgrade anymore after a few upgrades. You will only have to do a manual upgrade between major versions, for example to upgrade to Tails 5.0 at the end of 2021.

  • Use less memory.

  • Better documented, especially manual upgrades.

But also…

  • We completely redesigned our Home page to explain better what is Tails and why people should use it.

  • We made it possible to save the settings of the Welcome Screen in the Persistent Storage: language, keyboard, and additional settings.

  • We simplified the verification procedure on our download page by replacing the Tails Verification extension with similar JavaScript code that runs directly on the page.

    People without JavaScript are also now pointed to the checksum of the download.

  • We added support for the hardware cryptocurrency wallets Trezor and Ledger.

Under the hood

Unfortunately, the biggest part of our work doesn't lead to such major changes for our users. Tails is an endless work of updates and maintenance: publishing a new release every 4 weeks to fix security vulnerabilities, adapting to new versions of the underlying software, keeping our website and development infrastructure secure and reliable, etc.

  • We published more releases than ever. In 2020 we released 15 new versions of Tails to always have your back covered!

    At the end of 2019, Firefox switched from releasing a new version every 6 weeks to releasing a new version every 4 weeks. And so did we.

  • We streamlined our release process by automating its most time-consuming parts. This reduced the work needed to publish a new release of Tails from 2 full days of work to only 1 day.

    In the long run, this will help us spend more time on what really matters to our users and allow us to react faster to emergencies in case of security vulnerabilities.

  • We migrated to GitLab and saw many more of you jump in and give us a hand!

Help us fight surveillance and censorship

All our work is made possible by donations from people like you. We particularly appreciate monthly and yearly donations, even the smallest ones. Because they help us plan our work, they are the most valuable for the sustainability of Tails.

If you enjoyed our work in 2020, take a minute now to donate and fight surveillance and censorship!

Posted 2020-12-23 Tags:

Releases

The following changes were introduced in Tails 4.13:

  • Update Thunderbird from 68.12 to 78.4.2. Thunderbird 78 replaces the Enigmail extension with built-in support for OpenPGP encryption. If you used Enigmail before Tails 4.13, follow our instructions to migrate from Enigmail to Thunderbird 78.

  • Add a button to restart Tails at the end of creating the Persistent Storage. (#16384)

  • Only include translations for languages that are available in the Welcome Screen. This reduces the size of the download by 5%. (#17139)

  • Make the root directory of the Persistent Storage only readable by the root user. (#7465)

  • Users of the Dotfiles feature of the Persistent Storage can choose Places ▸ Dotfiles to open the /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles folder in the Files browser.

  • Enable TCP timestamps. This might increase stability on slower Internet connections. (#17491)

Release management

A year ago, when we learned we had to switch to a 4-weeks release cycle to follow Mozilla's lead, we acknowledged that the need to streamline our release process, in order to make this part of our work more sustainable. In November, the Tails Release Managers team had a sprint focused on this very topic, during which we identified a great number of issues and fixed most of them! :)

For details, read the sprint report.

Code

  • We had a meeting to prioritize & organize work on our next big things. We decided to first focus on:

    • Wayland blockers, that can be addressed incrementally.

    • Deal with deprecation of Tor Launcher (#17215)

    • Rewrite Persistent Storage GUI frontend (#17803

  • We scheduled a sprint in January to bootstrap our work on the RIPE grant and on Wayland blockers.

  • We re-bootstrapped our experiment on sharing our team's "front desk" workload.

  • We started reorganizing our team meetings.

  • We now require Debian 10 "Buster" or newer for running our test suite (#17842), and started to take benefit from this change.

  • We automated a great part of the tests we do as part of release quality assurance.

Documentation and website

User experience

Hot topics on our help desk

  1. Touchpad and keyboard do not work in Asus computers
  2. Some users lost their OpenPGP keys but could recover them from the backup file
  3. Panda Wireless adaptors stopped working

Funding

  • The first numbers that we could analyze for the donation campaign look very promising compared to the same period last year:

    • PayPal: 34% more donations, 28% more money
    • Bitcoin: 62% more donations
    • Monero: 205% more donations
  • We programmed our biggest Twitter campaign ever: 34 tweets, 1 tweet every 2 days at most. Half of them are not direct calls to donate but rather build up on the new Home and About pages to talk about the main properties of Tails.

  • We decided not to blog about the donation campaign for now because our team is seriously overworked. It doesn't seem to have impacted the campaign significantly. We might still blog about achievements and plans in December.

  • Our grant to RIPE on improving Tails for censorship circumvention was approved.

Outreach

Past events

  • Privacy Week 2020: Tails.

  • Tails was mentioned in another Privacy Week 2020 speech: How internet works

  • Tails was presented (among other tools) to journalism students at Sciences Po Rennes (Rennes, France).

Translations

All the website

  • de: 28% (1897) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy
  • es: 51% (3392) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 21% (1396) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 78% (5224) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • it: 28% (1879) strings translated, 10% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 19% (1300) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website

  • de: 45% (970) strings translated, 23% strings fuzzy
  • es: 86% (1844) strings translated, 5% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 19% (426) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 76% (1633) strings translated, 12% strings fuzzy
  • it: 50% (1075) strings translated, 21% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 38% (822) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy

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

  • ar: 7% (165) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • ca: 8% (174) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • id: 6% (138) strings translated, 5% strings fuzzy
  • pl: 7% (166) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • ru: 8% (182) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • sr_Latn: 5% (114) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • tr: 8% (172) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • zh: 10% (222) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • zh_TW: 21% (460) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 947 384 times this month. This makes 31 579 boots a day on average.

How do we know this?

Posted 2020-12-16

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

Changes and updates

  • Add support for the Ledger hardware wallets in Electrum. (#15353)

  • Update Tor Browser to 10.0.7.

  • Update Thunderbird to 78.5.1.

  • Update Linux to 5.9. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).

  • Remove the Unifont font. (!263)

Fixed problems

  • Fix Additional Software by updating the APT key for deb.torproject.org. (#18042)

  • Fix changing the administration password stored in the Persistent Storage. (#18018)

  • Fix opening the Persistent Storage of another Tails USB stick in the Files browser. (#18050)

  • Restore automatically a GnuPG public keyring from its backup when it gets corrupt. (#17807)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

  • Ledger wallets are not detected by Electrum, with the following error message returned. (#18080)

    "No hardware device detected"
    

    Please try to execute the following command in a root terminal before starting Electrum:

     apt update && apt install python3-btchip/testing
    

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.14

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.2 or later to 4.14.

  • 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:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.14 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.15 is scheduled for January 26.

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 2020-12-15 Tags:

Today, we are retiring the Tails Verification browser extension that used to be advertised on our download page. We are replacing it with similar JavaScript code that now runs directly on the page.

This new verification procedure is:

  • Simpler and faster for first-time users
  • Compatible with more web browsers, for example, Edge and Safari
  • As secure as the Tails Verification extension

From the logs on our website, it seems like only a minority of downloads are currently being verified. We believe that this simplified verification procedure will greatly increase the number of downloads being verified and improve the security of our users.

Users of the Tails Verification extension can safely remove it from their browser. They will be reminded to do so on the download page.

We will remove the Tails Verification extension from the Firefox and Chrome stores in a few days.

The other 2 verification techniques are still available:

  • If you download Tails using BitTorrent, your BitTorrent client automatically verifies the checksum of the Tails image when the download finishes.

  • If you know OpenPGP, you can verify your Tails image using an OpenPGP signature.

Special thanks to Mike Meixler who donated his time to help us with the verification JavaScript!

In the future, this simplification will allow us to further simplify the download page and installation instructions. We also want to research how to make the verification faster. If you know WebAssembly, see if you can help us speed up the checksum computation.

See also our design document on the security and threat model of the download verification.

Posted 2020-12-09 Tags:

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

Changes and updates

  • Update Tor Browser to 10.0.5.

    Tor Browser 10.0.5 fixes the critical vulnerability discovered last week in the JavaScript engine.

  • Update Thunderbird from 68.12 to 78.4.2.

    Thunderbird 78 replaces the Enigmail extension with built-in support for OpenPGP encryption.

    If you used Enigmail before Tails 4.13, follow our instructions to migrate from Enigmail to Thunderbird 78.

  • Add a button to restart Tails at the end of creating the Persistent Storage. (#16384)

  • Only include translations for languages that are available in the Welcome Screen. This reduces the size of the download by 5%. (#17139)

  • Make the root directory of the Persistent Storage only readable by the root user. (#7465)

    Users of the Dotfiles feature of the Persistent Storage can choose Places ▸ Dotfiles to open the /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles folder in the Files browser.

  • Enable TCP timestamps. This might increase stability on slower Internet connections. (#17491)

Fixed problems

  • Fix the Upgrade button of Tails Installer when running Croatian, Danish, French, Hebrew, Macedonian, Simplified Chinese, and Turkish. (#17982)

  • Allow raising the sound volume above 100%. (#17322)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

None specific to this release.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.13

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.2 or later to 4.13.

  • 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:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.13 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.14 is scheduled for December 15.

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 2020-11-17 Tags:

Releases

The following changes were introduced in Tails 4.12:

  • Add a button to cancel an automated upgrade while downloading. (#17310)

  • Fix several internationalization issues in Electrum, Tails Installer, and Tails Upgrader. (#17958, #17758, and #17961)

  • Anonymize URLs in the technical details provided by WhisperBack. (#17147)

Code

  • Good progress on the upgrade to Thunderbird 78 (#17148, #17147)

  • Worked together with our Help Desk to improve our collaboration and focus on issues that will make a difference for many Tails users.

  • Resumed work on automating our manual release quality assurance.

  • Re-enabled TCP timestamps (#17491)

  • Added buttons to restart Tails at the end of creating the Persistent Storage (#16384)

  • Dropped obsolete code for read-only persistence (#17972)

  • Fixed tails-installer failing to operate in Turkish (#17576)

  • Anti-Test for ICMP dropping on tor_enforcement fails (#17848)

  • Document --keep-snapshots in our test doc (#17802)

  • Avoid mirrors and rsync.lizard running out of disk space during the release process when upgrades to a beta/RC are present (#17944)

  • Migrate deb.www.clubcpu.com APT source to v3 onion (#17937)

  • Regression with Intel Corporation [8086:22b0] and [8086:22b1] GPU since 4.9 (#17953)

  • Evaluate Debian packages maintenance setup (#17765)

  • Tor Browser displays an "Update Failed" pop-up (#17159)

  • All branches FTBFS since Thunderbird 78 reached the Buster security repo (#17962)

  • Move custom software to our main Git repository (#7036)

  • Move WhisperBack source to our main Git repository (#16936)

Hot topics on our help desk

  • A lot of people reached the helpdesk at the start of the month worried about JavaScript not being disabled when Tor Browser is in safest mode: NoScript is doing that job now, as intended. (#17963)

  • Keyboard and touchpad are not working anymore on some Acer and Asus laptops. (#17955)

  • Tails cannot start with some new Intel cards. (#17953)

  • Tails Installer does not allow upgrade in languages that have a translation for the 'Clone the current Tails' string. (#17982)

Infrastructure

Funding

Grants

  • Our application to RIPE NCC on improving Tails for censorship circumvention was approved.

  • Our applications to Prototype Fund in March and Code Lutins were rejected.

Donation process

  • We analyzed the results of the A/B testing on the new display of "one- time" and "monthly".

    The new version leads to more donation attempts AND less cancellations in the attempt. The new version is live on the website for everybody now.

Donation campaign

  • We launched the donation campaign!

  • We started a database of problems reported by donors, as a way of gathering data whenever we will want to improve on the most pressing issues.

  • The only metrics that we can gather right now is donations in cryptocurrencies.

    So far we've had +62% donations in Bitcoin (266, 6.9k€) and +205% donations in Monero (156, 2.2k€).

Translations

  • We improved the staging website build process.

  • We changed the maintainers email contact from tails-translations@boum.org to tails-weblate@boum.org, to prevent confusion on matters related to translations. (#17734

All the website

  • fr: 78% (5159) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy
  • es: 49% (3300) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • de: 28% (1899) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy
  • it: 28% (1863) strings translated, 10% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 21% (1396) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 19% (1299) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website

  • es: 83% (1791) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 75% (1603) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy
  • it: 49% (1059) strings translated, 21% strings fuzzy
  • de: 45% (972) strings translated, 23% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 38% (821) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 19% (425) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy

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

  • zh_TW: 21% (461) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy
  • zh: 10% (222) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • ru: 8% (181) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • ca: 8% (174) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • tr: 7% (171) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • ar: 7% (164) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • pl: 7% (165) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • id: 6% (139) strings translated, 5% strings fuzzy
  • sr_Latn: 5% (114) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 947 750 times this month. This makes 30 572 boots a day on average.

How do we know this?

Posted 2020-11-10

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

Changes and updates

  • Update Tor Browser to 10.0.2.

  • Update tor to 0.4.4.5.

  • Update Linux to 5.8 and most firmware packages. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).

  • Add a button to cancel an automated upgrade while downloading. (#17310)

Fixed problems

  • Fix several internationalization issues in Electrum, Tails Installer, and Tails Upgrader. (#17958, #17758, and #17961)

  • Anonymize URLs in the technical details provided by WhisperBack. (#10695)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

None specific to this release.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.12

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.2 or later to 4.12.

  • 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:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.12 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.13 is scheduled for November 17.

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 2020-10-20 Tags:

Releases

The following changes were introduced in Tails 4.11:

  • We added a new feature of the Persistent Storage to save the settings from the Welcome Screen: language, keyboard, and additional settings.

  • Configure KeePassXC to use the new default location Passwords.kdbx. (#17286)

  • Update python3-trezor to 0.12.2 to add compatibility with the new Trezor Model T.

  • Disable the feature to Turn on Wi-Fi Hotspot in the Wi-Fi settings because it doesn't work in Tails. (#17887)

Code

  • Completed the last steps of an effort started 14 months ago to import our custom software into our main Git repository (#7036), in order to streamline Tails development work:

  • Ported all our Perl code to a translatable strings format supported by GNU gettext (#17928), which will then allow us to benefit from brand new i18nspector checks, avoiding some classes of Tails bugs caused by buggy translations

  • Upgraded to tor 0.4.4 (#17932)

  • Settled on a new policy for kernel updates, that balances rapid hardware enablement with lower risk of regressions (#17911)

Hot topics on our help desk

  1. A lot of people reached the helpdesk complaining about JavaScript not being disabled by Tor Browser's safest mode anymore (NoScript is doing that job now as it should; to be documented in #17963).

  2. People are still affected (and will be until the Linux kernel is upgraded to 5.8) by a regression with some Intel GPU.

  3. Another regression affecting some Acer and Asus laptops was reported since the release of Tails 4.11.

  4. People are still regularly complaining about Seahorse failing to import public keys.

Also, it seemed important to the Help Desk team to remind Tails users that we are not responsible for the cosmetic changes made upstream (e.g. the handling of JavaScript in Tor Browser, or the new Firefox URL bar that received a lot of comments from users on our helpdesk as well as Tor project's). Any thoughts on those changes should be done directly to the people working on them.

Outreach

On-going discussions

Translations

All programs

  • ar: 22 translated messages, 316 untranslated messages.
  • ca: 48 translated messages, 290 untranslated messages.
  • cs: 112 translated messages, 226 untranslated messages.
  • da: 338 translated messages.
  • de: 55 translated messages, 283 untranslated messages.
  • el: 58 translated messages, 280 untranslated messages.
  • es: 335 translated messages, 3 untranslated messages.
  • es_AR: 336 translated messages, 2 untranslated messages.
  • fi: 45 translated messages, 293 untranslated messages.
  • fr: 338 translated messages.
  • ga: 335 translated messages, 3 untranslated messages.
  • he: 65 translated messages, 273 untranslated messages.
  • hr: 338 translated messages.
  • hu: 338 translated messages.
  • id: 6 translated messages, 332 untranslated messages.
  • it: 162 translated messages, 176 untranslated messages.
  • km: 38 translated messages, 300 untranslated messages.
  • ko: 1 translated message, 337 untranslated messages.
  • lt: 87 translated messages, 251 untranslated messages.
  • mk: 335 translated messages, 3 untranslated messages.
  • nl: 17 translated messages, 321 untranslated messages.
  • pl: 2 translated messages, 336 untranslated messages.
  • pt_BR: 94 translated messages, 244 untranslated messages.
  • pt_PT: 44 translated messages, 294 untranslated messages.
  • ro: 135 translated messages, 203 untranslated messages.
  • sv: 134 translated messages, 204 untranslated messages.
  • tr: 337 translated messages, 1 untranslated message.
  • zh_CN: 337 translated messages, 1 untranslated message.

All the website

  • de: 28% (1899) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy
  • es: 49% (3300) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 21% (1396) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 78% (5159) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy
  • it: 28% (1863) strings translated, 10% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 19% (1299) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website

  • de: 45% (972) strings translated, 23% strings fuzzy
  • es: 83% (1791) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 19% (425) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 75% (1603) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy
  • it: 49% (1059) strings translated, 21% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 38% (821) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy

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

  • ar: 7% (164) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • ca: 8% (174) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • id: 6% (139) strings translated, 5% strings fuzzy
  • pl: 7% (165) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • ru: 8% (181) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • sr_Latn: 5% (114) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • tr: 7% (171) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • zh: 10% (222) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • zh_TW: 21% (461) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 906 004 times this month. This makes 30 200 boots a day on average.

How do we know this?

Posted 2020-10-10

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

New features

  • We added a new feature of the Persistent Storage to save the settings from the Welcome Screen: language, keyboard, and additional settings.

    To restore your settings when starting Tails, unlock your Persistent Storage in the Welcome Screen.

    new Welcome Screen feature in the Persistent Storage settings

Changes and updates

  • Update Tor Browser to 10.0.

  • Update Thunderbird to 68.12.

  • Update Linux to 5.7.17. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).

  • Configure KeePassXC to use the new default location Passwords.kdbx. (#17286)

  • Update python3-trezor to 0.12.2 to add compatibility with the new Trezor Model T.

Fixed problems

  • Disable the feature to Turn on Wi-Fi Hotspot in the Wi-Fi settings because it doesn't work in Tails. (#17887)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

None specific to this release.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.11

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.2 or later to 4.11.

  • 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:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.11 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.12 is scheduled for October 20.

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 2020-09-22 Tags:

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:

    http://www.clubcpu.com/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.

Sponsors

  • We added Freiheitsfoo as sponsor.

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?

Posted 2020-09-12