[Tails-project] 2018 Summit report

Muri Nicanor muri at immerda.ch
Fri Sep 7 19:46:37 CEST 2018

Once a year a dozen or two Tails contributors come together to meet each
other in person, to discuss the project and to plan the next steps. This
year, we met in August and enjoyed one week of discussions, skill
sharing and work sessions.
One of the outcomes of the summit is the roadmap [0], which roughly
defines what we want to and/or have to work during the next two years.
The roadmap on our website is still the *previous* one, the new and
changed plans will be added in the next few weeks.

[0] https://tails.boum.org/contribute/roadmap

There have been meetings of nearly all the teams that are listed in the
collective process description [1] (under *Roles*) and more. These
meetings serve as a place for evaluation of last year's work,
discussions about hot topics and also preparations for defining a
roadmap. For example, the Foundations team talked about porting Tails to
Debian Buster, the discontinuation of vmdebootstrap [2], the migration
to overlayfs [3] and the problems our test suite has with Java 9 [4].

[1] https://tails.boum.org/contribute#collective-process
[2] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/15349
[3] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/8415
[4] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/15460

The help desk team reconfirmed the need for a request tracker [5] and
the Fundraising team reviewed the donation campaigns we did last year
and decided to strengthen Tails' relationship with existing partners.
The team of technical writers, which now has one additional person,
started working on a writing style guide and intends to tackle
explaining better what Tails is and what makes it so awesome [6]. The UX
team reviewed the redesign of the download page and the work on
Unlocking Veracrypt Volumes as well as on the Additional Software
Packages feature. It also expressed the need for someone doing review
when working on the website.

[5] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/9960
[6] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/9814

We also had a skill sharing session in which some of us who do Tails
workshops discussed their approach to teaching about Tails. A couple of
translators got together to talk about their experience translating the
Tails documentation and the applications that are included in Tails.
There was also a session about the upcoming translation platform [7] and
there are plans to do workshops about translating with Weblate to
onboard new translators and translation teams once the platform is in
production. In other discussions we talked about our relationships with
upstream projects like Tor and Debian and what we could do better in
this regard.

[7] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/10034

Throughout the whole summit, we prioritized the personas [8] that were
developed and discussed in the monthly meetings [9]. Together with
Simply Secure [10] there were workshops where we worked on Tails'
identity and a tagline, which will be incorporated into the mentioned
work on explaining better what Tails is [11].

[8] https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/personas#index5h1
[9] https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/monthly_meeting
[10] https://simplysecure.org/
[11] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/9814

In between the sessions we did some *networking* to get to know each
other better, which helps enormously in the day to day business of
working on Tails. After long and intense days we developed several
tactics not to get eaten by mosquitos at night :)

All in all it was a very productive couple of days. The roadmap now
includes the plan to distribute a USB image [12] + [13], make
quantitative surveys of our user base [14] and go in production with our
translation platform [15]. On the long run we are toying with the ideas
of replacing our Upgrader [16], switching our Git workflow and issue
tracker to Gitlab [17] and looking at snapshots/flatpak for sandboxing
applications [18].

[12] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/15292
[14] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/14545
[15] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/10034
[16] https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/Endless_upgrades/#non-nih
[17] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/15878
[18] https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/15874

As you can see, there are a lot of things that have to be done, a lot of
ideas how to make Tails better and a lot of places that can benefit from
more helping hands! *You* can perhaps make the difference, so do not
hesitate to join the dance [19]!

[19] https://tails.boum.org/contribute/

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