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[[!meta title="Tails 2013 summit report"]]
[[!meta date="Fri, 09 Aug 2013 09:12:07 +0000"]]
[[!pagetemplate template="news.tmpl"]]

A bunch of people spend a dozen days together in July at the third
Tails developers yearly summit. This was a great opportunity to have
crazy hacking sessions in person, as well as to discuss where we are
heading to and how.

# Discussions

We mainly discussed the **growth of the project**: given the growing
number of users and our super-short release cycle, it is a challenge
to keep the project sustainable and maintainable in the mid/long term.

Our take on this is first reflected by [[!tails_roadmap desc="our
**updated roadmap**"]]: we now have a better vision of what we want to
focus on for the next major releases of Tails: the 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0
milestones are now pretty well defined, and we even were bold enough
to draft goals for 3.0.

Another key aspect on this topic was that we need to **make it easier
to contribute** to Tails. We have listed many enhancements that could
be made in this direction, especially [on the
website](https://labs.riseup.net/code/projects/tails/issues?query_id=115).
We also have identified areas that could benefit most from a few new
dedicated contributors. We will publish targeted calls for help in the
next few months.

We also **redesigned our communication channels** to ease involvement
of new contributors, to make more workload sharing possible, and to be
able to provide better user support. In short:

  * Our mailing lists see quite a lot of traffic these days.
    This might deter people from reading it. So, we will create two
    specialized mailing lists: a private, encrypted one will receive
    bug reports, while a public one will be dedicated to user support.
  * A growing FAQ will be assembled: it will be a tool for
    self-service help, and should make support work less repetitive.
  * In a few months, we will evaluate how all this fares and we will
    reconsider web support, which is postponed for the moment.

Still, the tails-dev mailing list remains the main communication
channel for development and project-wide discussions.

This summit gave us the chance to **evaluate and refine processes**
that we have set up a year ago, such as our time-based release
schedule and a formal merge policy.

To end with, the **public development meetings** experiment will be
extended, and we will go on having monthly **Low Hanging Fruits
sessions**. Not only these sessions are very useful to make Tails
better, but we were happy to see new people join these parties
recently. We hope to see even more of that in the future: these
sessions are great times to **start contributing** to Tails!

# Hack

Hours of meetings were certainly a necessary part of the summit, but
we also dedicated a fair share of our time to hands-on activities.
Fortunately there is quite a lot of room for improvements in Tails, so
we were never left unoccupied.

The most noticeable technical change that happened during the summit
was perhaps [our **move to
Redmine**](https://labs.riseup.net/code/projects/tails) for managing
our
[tasks](https://labs.riseup.net/code/projects/tails/issues?query_id=108)
and [[!tails_roadmap desc="plans"]]. We are not exploiting the full
potential of Redmine yet, but it already feels far less messy than how
we did previously. Hopefully this will help others get involved!
Many thanks go to Riseup for hosting the Redmine instance we use.
Note that we will keep using ikiwiki for [[blueprints|blueprint]].

Taking advantage of Redmine, we have started classifying tasks in
various useful ways: e.g. [**easy
tickets**](https://labs.riseup.net/code/projects/tails/issues?query_id=112)
do not require much knowledge of the Tails internals to be solved, and
are ideal places to get involved. In passing, other nice custom
queries provide lists of tasks involving
[sysadmin](https://labs.riseup.net/code/projects/tails/issues?query_id=113)
and [web
development](https://labs.riseup.net/code/projects/tails/issues?query_id=115).

We spent some time listing problems with early builds of **Tails based
on Debian Wheezy**. It is now clearer to us what remains to do:
[[!tails_ticket 6015 desc="a few dozens tickets"]] were
created. Did we mention that any kind of help is warmly welcome? :)

Our **Jenkins instance** also had been taken care of: it is getting
closer to something we can use and rely upon as part of our
daily workflow.

A lot of branches were **merged for the upcoming 0.20 release**,
including the installation of Dasher and a first step towards the
replacement of TrueCrypt.

The **Pidgin and OTR documentation** was
[rewritten](http://git.tails.boum.org/tails/tree/wiki/src/doc/anonymous_internet/pidgin.mdwn?h=doc/better-pidgin-and-otr-documentation) to be
clearer and more precise, as well as our explanation of the way random
nicknames are generated for Pidgin accounts.

More steps have also been done towards **not starting Iceweasel**
on startup.

# At the end is the beginning

As you can guess, this summit was as intense as the previous ones.
Tails is living decisive times, so we expect the next year to be
pretty interesting. *You* can perhaps make the difference, so do not
hesitate [[joining the dance|contribute]]!