[[!meta date="2011-07-05 17:04:54 +0200"]]
[[!meta title="Bimonthly report: May and June 2011"]]
We are pleased to present you the third Tails bimonthly report.
This report sums up the work that was done on Tails in May and June 2011.
The new Tails 0.7.2 bugfix and security release was out on June 13th. See its
[[announce|news/version_0.7.2]] for details.
All main pages of Tails website have been vastly improved. Content
is now better structured and easier to read; it also looks a lot nicer.
Many efforts have been put in the [[install]] page that now provides
a much improved step by step explanation of how to get, verify, install and
use Tails. Screenshots, Windows and Mac OS X instructions are included
for even more awesomeness, along with dozens of other tiny little
layout and design improvements.
The *walkthrough* that was initially imported from Incognito is still
outdated, but sections that need to be reworked have been clearly labeled
More work on the documentation is happening in the [public
Tails developers are not that skilled in documentation writing, so
[[help is needed and much welcome|contribute/how/documentation]]!
Our public email address was renamed to <email@example.com>; its [[OpenPGP key|doc/about/openpgp_keys]] was
updated accordingly. We also have documented
how to get to trust our OpenPGP keys.
As [[announced in the previous report|news/report_2011_03-04]],
the Tails project is participating in the Google Summer
of Code. One student committed to work on the [[tails-greeter|todo/TailsGreeter]],
which will enable us to implement many features that depend on a better boot menu.
His progress can be followed on the [[project's development
blog|todo/TailsGreeter/blog]]. The code can be seen in the [tails-greeter Git
and in a [feature branch in the main Tails Git
With this new boot menu in mind, a solution was implemented
to offer a [[safer handling of administrative privileges within
Tails|todo/better_root_access_control]]. It will be enabled as soon as
tails-greeter is ready for prime-time.
Unless bad security issues are detected, the next Tails version will
be a major one, dubbed as 0.8. It should contain a few new features:
* To make Tails users harder to single out from other Tor users, Pidgin
nickname generation process was improved.
* An easily reachable immediate shutdown button was added to the top
panel; moreover, the computer is now shutdown when any
power-related button is pressed (power, sleep, lid close).
* Accessibility: install a screen magnifier and a screen reader.
* The current on-screen keyboard shipped in Tails (namely: onBoard)
never made it into Debian. We have been carrying the burden of
forward-porting our patches for more than one year. Florence, a
new, nicer and more featureful on-screen keyboard entered Debian a
few weeks ago and [[should be
shipped|todo/virtual_keyboard_in_Debian]] in Tails by the next
* The PiTIVi video editor is now installed in Tails.
It should also include several minor fixes and improvements:
* The handling of hardware clocks that are skewed enough to prevent
initial connection to Tor was fixed.
* The firewall was tightened a bit more.
* Tails build system now uses more elegant and robust ways to disable
swapoff and hide items from the GNOME menu.
* Frequent disconnections while using Gobby were fixed by adding its
port to Tor's LongLivedPorts list.
* VirtualBox 4.x guest packages are now installed. We have prepared
the backports that were pushed to the Debian Backports archive.
* The [arm](http://www.atagar.com/arm/) terminal status monitor for
Tor is now installed.
This new major release will introduce several changes that might be
tricky to get totally right at first. Enthusiasts, your help will be
very welcome to test preview images once they are published. Stay
Installing and upgrading Tails onto a USB stick
As [[announced in the previous report|news/report_2011_03-04]], a few
of us have started working on a tool for [[easy install and upgrade of
Tails onto USB sticks|todo/usb_install_and_upgrade]], with support for
an encrypted persistent volume in mind.
Research has also been made on how to reduce download size (and times)
of minor releases. A solution to this problem was thought through and
its working was confirmed by preliminary testing.
As an alternative to [[supporting Flash|todo/Flash_support]], we are
considering [[shipping a HTML5-compliant web
browser|todo/html5_ready_browser]]. We have been investigating
shipping [[todo/Iceweasel_5.x]] and conducted some initial tests.
Doing so would additionally allow us to [[todo/stop_using_polipo_in_iceweasel]]... and
the [[problems|todo/applications_audit/polipo]] it causes.
We have acknowledged Claws Mail usability shortcomings, especially
when using slow connections. After [[some more
research|todo/Return_of_Icedove?]], it looks like Icedove (Debian's
rebranded version of Mozilla Thunderbird) could be a proper candidate
to replace Claws Mail; a few tweaks and verifications are needed
before this happens, though.
Compressing the Tails SquashFS using [[XZ (formerly known as LZMA)
compression|todo/use_lzma_compression]] will lower the generated
images' size by about 100MB! XZ has been supported in the mainlaine
Linux kernel since 2.6.38, and has since made its way into kernels
shipped by Debian. Hence, Tails is likely to use this feature soon.
Patches to mute the system's sound levels at boot time were
However, they need more polishing before we can merge them.
The lack of support of arbitrary DNS queries being annoying for some
Tails (power-)users, we have [[made some
progress|todo/support_arbitrary_dns_queries]] towards a resolution
of this issue; the implementation of a proper solution was blocked by
[[!tor_bug 3369]]; therefore, we contributed a tiny patch to fix it.
This issue will be solved once Tor 0.2.2.x is stabilized and shipped
We have also worked towards Tails-compatible support of bridges in Tor and
With respect to [[todo/VoIP_support]], we have refreshed our VoIP software
round-up and got in touch with some of their developers to get a better idea
of which one we will include in Tails.
To end with, the Tails core developers have recently discussed nearly
every pending task whose implementation was blocked by the lack of a
clear decision. As a consequence, our [[!tails_roadmap]] was
updated. This makes it possible for us, and [[any other
contributor|contribute]], to move forward on many topics.