Tails feedback post

Hi all, this thread is for talking about our experiences using Tails.

Please reply and mention any weirdness that caused Tails not to work over the NYC weekend, or anything else weird you noticed when testing it out. I’ll share the feedback with the Tails devs!

Just experienced the older Mac weirdness!

Same – unable to connect to wireless, but otherwise everything seemed to work well.

I booted Tails on my 7 yr old MacBook with no problems this weekend. AND I spent several hours updating it to the current OS for macs (had to update it to an older OS and then the new one) and got Onion browser up and running on it too.

I’ll keep playing with Tails

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While we were in NYC I was having that issue on my Mac (it’s probably about 5 years old?) where it wouldn’t connect to the wireless network. I haven’t had a chance to play with it at my house though to see if it’ll connect to my network.

Another thing that I experienced, I think @langur did as well, is that it would drop our mouse pads.

That said, I’m going to keep playing around with Tails and Tor until I feel fairly confident with them. I’d like to reach out to local women’s shelters and immigration resources centers and see if they are already using these types of tools.

I’m checking in with the Tails developers to see if there is a list of all known issues with macOS (and possible fixes). Will report back.

I wrote to one of the Tails devs about known issues with MacOS, and this is what he sent me back (from their support website):


  • Any Mac with 32-bit EFI may not succeed in booting Tails USB stick created by Tails Installer. You can check if a given Mac is 32-bit or 64-bit EFI on that list:http://www.everymac.com/mac-answers/snow-leopard-mac-os-x-faq/mac-os-x-snow-leopard-64-bit-macs-64-bit-efi-boot-in-64-bit-mode.html
  • MacBook Pro 2016 and 2017: the keyboard, trackpad and Touch Bar do not work. [this sounds like the issue that @langur was having]
  • MacBook Pro 5,5 does not boot with Tails in UEFI mode.
  • MacBook Pro 5,1 17" (Nvidia GeForce 9400M): one must add the nouveau.noaccel=1 boot parameter so that the display works properly.
  • MacBook Air 3,2 (A1369 EMC 2392) freezes when booting Tails in UEFI mode.
  • MacBook Pro (early 2011) fails to boot from DVD since Tails 1.1.
  • Mac Pro Tower and MacBook Pro 4,1 (both from early 2008) fails to boot from a USB stick created by Tails Installer.

I don’t see anything about the wireless issues that @Sarah_in_Oregon, @kellymce, and @josh were having, so I’m going to bring those up with him. Can yall tell me what year and model Mac each of you have?

I have a MacBook Pro from 2014.

I had never got Tails to work on laptop I brought to NYC. Day of our workshop I started from scratch with two usb drives. Initially, I could create the intermediary, but the installation on the second usb drive would fail. It worked when put the intermediary into a different usb port. (Wut? I dunno. It worked then. I didn’t dig very deep, but Tails website didn’t explain why the intermediary was necessary. & I didn’t check the OpenPGP signature.)

I didn’t have time to really dig in until back at work. I tried my work laptop but BIOS was locked and I didn’t have the password. I hopped on random staff PC and the BIOS was unlocked it and worked. I thought I might have to use a bridge to get on Tor but I did not. Next, I hopped on a public computer in our computer lab, again the BIOS was locked. So back to my personal laptop. The wireless card was not detected at all. I knew from past experiences the wireless card uses proprietary software and that some some free software operating systems do not play nice with it. I had free software wireless usb adapter. I plugged it in and we were good to go. (This was not my first visit to Nerdtown.)

Even with persistent storage wasn’t sure I had a use case where Tails was anything other than an interesting experiment, but with the “Persistence wizard” that pops up I noticed “Dotfiles–Symlink into $HOME every file or directory found in the ‘dotfile’ directory.” I’m one tick out my depth here, but I think what that is for is saving your localized settings between sessions. Otherwise, I’m confused about how something like Thunderbird and Pidgin would work without completely reconfiguring them everytime you booted up. If I’m on the right track about Dotfiles, then the potential for Tails to be a really useful on-the-go system grows exponentially but you’d be saving a lot more personal info in the usb drive. I’ll try to play around / learn more about Dotfiles symlinks in the future.

Meanwhile, I saved these notes in the persistent directory and chipped at them during boring meetings. Don’t tell anyone. I also tested accessing the this file on BIOS unlocked staff computers and my partner’s computer at home. It works! My goal was post this when working in Tails but I hit a small snag. I needed KeepassXC to log into our messageboard. Vanilla KeepassX would not work because, inspired by Rosalie in week 3, I finally got around to configuring a Yubikey to work with KeepassXC. (Full disclosure–I own a house in Nerdtown.) So I had to install KeepassXC which if not a Nerdtown resident might have been tricky but I did, and BOOM, I’m posting from within Tails.

P.S. - It was cool that Matt came to the workshop. I am curious know what his thoughts were hanging with non-devs using Tails for probably the first time.

P.S.S. - I noticed Tails includes the video editor Pitivi. Anyone up for video contest? Terms: 2min max length, subject = anything to do to with libraries/privacy, everything has to be done in Tails, deadline Nov. 1. Warning: this will likely be an exercise in masochism.

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hmm, I think this might actually just give you the option to save the dotfiles (configuration settings) as symlinks (basically shortcuts) to $HOME (your home directory) rather than some other place. because in the Peristence options, Thunderbird, Pidgin, etc all say “save configuration” and it should be all you need to get those programs working. but I don’t know why you’d want to make a special note to save your dotfiles as symlinks to $HOME, so I’ll ask the Tails devs about that one.

I’ll ask him! he’s a Tor dev, not a Tails dev, if that wasn’t clear, but he does seem to spend most of his time with other devs.

wow, you are taking a bold visionquest. see you on the other side man.