[[!meta date="Tue, 01 May 2012 15:24:33 +0200"]]
[[!meta title="Report: January to April 2012"]]
We are pleased to present you this Tails report. This report sums up
the work that was done on Tails from January to April 2012.
Two new major versions of Tails were released.
The main changes featured by [[Tails 0.10|news/version_0.10]],
released on January 4th, are: remove potential information leakage by
forcing explicit proxying through Tor; new GnuPG encryption applet to
replace flawed FireGPG; new Iceweasel 9 version with HTML5 support;
Iceweasel privacy improvements; new Tor version; better hardware
support through new Linux kernel and X.Org versions,
In [[Tails 0.11|news/version_0.11]], released on April 26th, brought
in: a new Tails Greeter login screen with easy access to new options;
new Tails USB installer; optional configurable encrypted persistence;
Traverso and GNOME keyring; better internationalization including BiDi
support; better hardware support thanks to a new Linux kernel; new
versions of Iceweasel and Vidalia.
We thoroughly documented the new features brought by Tails 0.11.
We also upgraded of some outdated bits inherited from
We setup the
mailing list, that was of great use to coordinate documentation
writers, developers and translators during the 0.11 release cycle.
Translators are [[more than welcome|contribute/how/translate]]!
After seeing Max write a non-neglictible part of [[todo/TailsGreeter]]
last year, Tails is participating in the Google Summer of Code once
again: Julien Voisin, who implemented the [Metadata Anonymizing
Toolkit](https://mat.boum.org/) last year, will work on the [[!tails_ticket 5688 desc="Tails
server project"]]. We warmly welcome him into the
Tails and Tor development communities, and we would like to thank
everyone who made this happen!
One of us has become a Debian Developer and, among other things, has
been taking care some Perl modules are properly packaged so that we
can migrate a few of our custom applications to GTK3 once Tails builds
In January, we have replied to Jacob Appelbaum about the many
suggestions he sent us. See the tails-dev mailing list archives
Tails 0.12 is likely to be ready for early summer. We are working on
using the potential of Tails Greeter to let the user easily enable
Bridge mode and MAC address randomization are other candidates that
might require some more time to get fully ready. Free WiFi hotspots
support and local firewall hardening are not far from being
As a glimpse at our [[!tails_roadmap]] shows, we are
getting close to the Tails 1.0 release, which might be out before the
end of the year.
Re-scaling our infrastructure
Most of our current infrastructure has slowly grown from what was
initially setup back in the early days of a project called amnesia.
Since then, well, many things happened. It's almost a miracle that our
infrastructure has scaled this well until now. But the limits of the
old design are becoming apparent in various places. Most of the needs
were thought through already, some of the future plans are crystal
clear, what is now needed is to spend serious time on it, implement
designed bits and design others for the next few years:
* [[Manage an APT repository for Tails|todo/APT_repository]]: this
blocks the Git split, the move to Icedove, and possibly
* [[Split the main Tails Git repository|todo/split_Git]]: our current
Git repository is too big, and mixes stuff that hardly belongs
together. Post-0.11 will be a great time to rewrite history, as we
won't have that many unmerged development branches.
* [[Improve the web forum|todo/improve_the_forum]]: moving to a better
web forum will get us a less cluttered Git history, better user
experience, and hopefully even better community dynamics.
* [[!tails_ticket 6090 desc="Automated builds and tests"]]: this
will become huge, but should start small.
* [[Make WhisperBack SMTP relay more
reliable|todo/more_stable_WhisperBack_SMTP_relay]]: bring some more
hardware up and running, refactor the Puppet recipes into
a dedicated module.
* document and clarify how our infrastructure works: some parts are
very well documented, some are not at all. It should become easier
to share infrastructure maintenance work.
* miscellaneous other stuff:
- [[Locking down the Tails website|todo/locking_down_this_website]]
- [[Better web interface for website translation|todo/better_web_interface_to_translate_this_website]]
Connecting back to our immediate surroundings
Many, among the software projects that are Tails upstream, are
currently preparing new stable releases. Time is getting tight to make
sure their upcoming releases fits Tails needs.
* [[Get ready for live-build 3.x|todo/live-build_3.x]]: Tails relies
on Debian Live. Heavily. Tails 0.11 will ship live-boot and
live-config 3.x, but we're still using live-build 2.x. We need to
convert our configuration tree to the (deeply incompatible)
live-build 3.x format. There is no turning back. All unmerged
branches shall be converted, if possible at the same time. Just like
the Git split, I think post-0.11 is a great time to do so... and,
along the way, fix any bug in live-build 3.x we find.
* Debian Wheezy: Tails relies on Debian. Heavily. Debian Wheezy is
supposed to be frozen in June. We need to check what, in the current
state of Debian Wheezy, is not fit for Tails, and fix it or have it
fixed. Next step: to build Wheezy test images.
* [[AppArmor|todo/Mandatory_Access_Control]]: some of us have started
to work on getting Debian Wheezy some AppArmor support. If the
Wheezy freeze is not postponed, June is the deadline to get such
things into Debian.
* Tor 0.2.3.x: we need to make sure the next major Tor stable release
will be great for Tails, with a focus on the separate streams
features. Next steps: everyone of us, let's run Tor 0.2.3.x and use
the separate streams feature. Put it into Tails experimental.
* Vidalia 0.4 is supposed to be released as stable in the next few
months. We need to make sure it will be great for Tails, with
a focus on the areas it's lacking for us (bridges support) and where
we patch it (see our patches). It would be great if we could ship
Vidalia 0.4 without any custom patch, wouldn't it? Next steps:
- run Vidalia 0.3.x from Debian experimental
- test the branch that implements Tor#2905
- look at our patches, and see what we could drop, have merged, or
implement as a plugin
We will implement [[!tails_ticket 5754 desc="partial upgrades"]] in
May. Upgrade packs will provide only what has changed between two
releases (deltas) and a way to apply those changes to the currently
running Tails (taking effect after reboot).
We have acknowledged a while ago Claws Mail usability shortcomings,
especially when using slow connections; we [[settled on
Icedove|todo/Return_of_Icedove?]] (also known as Thunderbird outside
Debian) to replace it a while ago; we implemented a few necessary
improvements (`git://labs.riseup.net/tails_icedove.git`); some more
tweaks are needed though, and this is blocked by the lack of a proper
Tails [[APT repository|todo/APT_repository]].
Tails will soon ship an [["unsafe", non-torified
browser|todo/add_support_for_free_wifi_hotspots]], that will be useful
to connect to networks that require registration, such as