On October 7, we launched our donation campaign by explaining why supporting Tails is more important than ever. On October 31, we summarized what we did in 2019 to make Tails easier to adopt by new users. Today we pass on to you our plans for 2020.

But first, we are pleased that the donation campaign has been pretty successful so far. We received around 50 000 € already, which is 69% more than last year. Still, these good results are due to some large donations and fewer people have been donating so far, 16% less than in 2018. We hope that after reading this post many of you will consider donating to Tails.

Less manual upgrades (January 2020)

Tails ships an automatic upgrade mechanism since 2013. But this mechanism only works for a limited amount of upgrades, after which a "manual" upgrade is needed.

These manual upgrades are a major pain point and we know that users often think their Tails is "broken" when automatic upgrades are not possible anymore.

In 2020, we will remove the need for most of these manual upgrades. And as automatic upgrades are also often too painful we will research ways to make them lighter and more robust.

New homepage and outreach material (April 2020)

Leveraging all the work that we have done in the past years to make Tails easier to install and use, in 2020, we will explain better what Tails is and why people should use it.

The text on our Home and About pages have not changed significantly since 2011. It is too verbose, too technical for most people, and not sufficiently engaging visually. Since then Tails has come a long way: the number of people using Tails has been multiplied by 16. Tails is no longer an experimental project for privacy experts but a well-established reference.

For the less technical part of our target audience, Tails is a technological object like nothing they have used before. Some of the core concepts of Tails are particularly innovative and hard to understand before using it:

  • Tails is a full operating system that is started from a USB stick.

  • Tails forgets everything by default.

To make sure that the new explanation of Tails makes sense to less tech-savvy users, we will use user-centered design techniques and work with professional graphic designers.

To reach critical communities of users and digital security trainers worldwide, we will also print outreach materials based on this new explanation, make it available in 4 languages, and send it to partner organizations worldwide.

If your organization works with journalists, activists, or human-defenders and is interested in receiving leaflets about Tails in 2020, please get in touch with us.

Secure Boot for better hardware support (July 2020)

In 2019, we worked on making it much easier for users to start Tails on Mac and as a consequence, their numbers more than doubled.

For years, Secure Boot has been among the main sources of issues reported to our help desk and prevented less tech-savvy users to adopt Tails.

Currently, many have to learn how to disable Secure Boot on their computer. This process is slightly different on every computer, is very complicated to learn on your own, and can lead to scary problems on Windows computers, for example BitLocker asking you for a recovery key.

Next year, we will add support for Secure Boot to Tails, making it easier to start on PC, for which 90% of people download Tails.

In 2020, we will keep the focus on improving Tails usability and outreaching to the people the most in need of digital security. If you also think that this is important, please take a moment to donate to Tails.