The Tails system administrators set up and maintain the infrastructure that supports the development and operations of Tails. We aim at making the life of Tails contributors easier, and to improve the quality of the Tails releases.

Main responsibilities

These are the main responsibilities of Tails Sysadmins:

  • Deal with hardware purchase, upgrades and failures.

  • Install and upgrade operating systems and services.

  • Organize on shifts.

  • Discuss, support and implement requests from teams.

  • Have root access to all hosts.


When developing for and administering the Tails infrastructure, Sysadmins aim to:

  • Use Free Software, as defined by the Debian Free Software Guidelines. The firmware our systems might need are the only exception to this rule.

  • Treat system administration like a (free) software development project. This is why we try to publish as much as possible of our systems configuration, and to manage our whole infrastructure with configuration management tools. That is, without needing to log into hosts:

    • We want to enable people to participate without needing an account on the Tails servers.

    • We want to review the changes that are applied to our systems.

    • We want to be able to easily reproduce our systems via automatic deployment.

    • We want to share knowledge with other people.

Communication within Tails

In order to maintain good communication with the rest of Tails, Sysadmins should:

External relations

These are the main relations Sysadmins have with the outside world:

  • Serve as an interface between Tails and hosting providers.

  • Relate to (server-side software) upstream according to the broader Tails principles.

  • Communicate with mirror operators.

Necessary and useful skills and competences

The main tools used to manage the Tails infrastructure are:

  • Debian GNU/Linux; in the vast majority of cases, we run the current stable release.

  • Puppet, a configuration management system.

  • Git to host and deploy configuration, including our Puppet code

Other useful skills:

  • Patience and diligence.

  • Ability to self-manage (by oneself and within the team), prioritize and plan.


In order to get in touch with Tails sysadmins, you can:

The following lists of issues are also of interest to sysadmins:

Other pages