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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Fully FOSS Tails OS

From: Jaromil
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Fully FOSS Tails OS
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2017 09:46:50 +0100
User-agent: Jaro Mail <>

hello everyone,

> hellekin <address@hidden> wrote:
> > Parazyd is working on

On Thu, 12 Jan 2017, Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli wrote:
> There is also a HEADS distribution at

Parazyd's heads was first. The "persistent-tails" just came after our
announced intention and with a splash at #3c33, but nothing
more. We'll keep occupying the namespace and interpreting the other
side of the medal as a serious critique of Tails shortcomings rather
than just a persistent version of it.

> > that provides an alternate Tails with the linux-libre kernel.
> > Joining forces?
> This is great! I hope it will respect the free software distribution
> guidelines(FSDG). If so we could have freedom and privacy.

of course this is the intention, at we always did everything
possible to cope with the FSDG guidelines while respecting the
community will. This resulted with at least one 100% free distro and
we plan to update that and produce more this year based on Devuan
GNU+Linux and linux-libre. This will eventually also revamp use of
Hurd as a kernel for Devuan BTW.

I'll take the occasion to pose a question we have unanswered at the
moment: because of our plan to make heads really secure, the wish is
that of applying the -grsec patch to linux-libre.

is there any concern regarding the free nature of the -grsec patch?

> Beside using linux-libre, I also think that the following has to be
> addressed:
> - Tails has debian repositories enabled. This also includes the
>   non-free repository (It is probably there for the firmwares).
>   As far as I know the usability of the debian package system within
>   Tails is not great:
>   - The user is expected to install packages from the command line.
>   - To install packages, the user must have chosen to enable the root
>     account at login time. If not the user must reboot and enable the
>     root account before being able to install packages.
>   - The user can then install packages, but even if the storage is
>     enabled, they are not kept across reboots. As the persistence
>     settings also have a setting to keep pakcages, it might also be
>     because I did something wrong or that I didn't do something?
>   Given the issues above the debian repositories can be disabled
>   without a lot of downside. If that is done, only what is shipped in
>   the livecd has to be compliant with the Free Software Distributions
>   Guidelines.
>   That's probalby doable without much work.
> - Firefox and the tor-browser have an internal package manager (The Get
>   add-ons button) in about:addons. Searching for "Ghostery" shows up
>   some proprietary software add-on that can easily be installed.
>   Here again, disabling the add-ons might be the right thing to do,
>   since the Tor documentation very very strongly advise people not to
>   install any add-on since it has a huge probability of de-anonymizing
>   users by rendering their copy of the tor-browser unique.
>   This can probably be done easily by changing some of the about:config
>   options.
>   Looking in about:config finds many addresses.
>   Again this shound't be too hard nor time consuming.

good round-up, thanks

> Assuming that this is done, and that the distribution is FSDG
> compliant, and listed in the fsf website, it is strongly advised to
> find a way to verify if the websites that are being visited can
> distinguish between Tails[3] and it's FSDG counterpart.  Asking the
> tor developers about it on their mailing list might be a good way to
> find out.

we'll take care of positioning once a stable version is out. Our
effort is non-profit so visibility and marketing is not as much a
priority as the quality of our results, but your concern on percepted
distinction is a valid one, we'll eventually need a hand also in case
the persistent-tails distro insists in using the heads name.


~.,_   Denis Roio aka Jaromil think &do tank
    "+.   CTO and co-founder      free/open source developers
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