New Tails OS 2.0 Release Updates Privacy Features

by Tracy Knauer •

Tails OS 2.0, the latest version of the privacy-focused Linux-based operating system, is out this week. It features a new interface and many application updates, including version 5.5 of the Tor browser.

Tails 2.0 is designed to provide comprehensive, out-of-the-box privacy features. It comes with built-in Tor encryption for all network connections (not just the browser), as well as extra security features like AppArmor to resist attacks. It also runs in “live” mode, which means none of a user’s data or actions are saved permanently to disk unless the user explicitly chooses to save them.

Tails is based on Debian, a popular GNU/Linux distribution.

The latest release of Tails, version 2.0, introduces a number of new features. They include:

  • GNOME Shell. This is a desktop interface that has been around for more than five years in the Linux world, but is new to Tails. It’s designed to provide a simple and fast interface that works well on screens of all sizes.
  • The Tor browser has been updated to version 5.5.
  • Icedove is now the default email app.
  • Lots of other application updates to more recent versions for the word processor, video editor and so on.

Tails 2.0 also fixes some bugs that existed in earlier versions of Tails OS. In addition, it provides firmware updates, making the OS compatible with more hardware.

In some ways, Tails 2.0 also shows signs of aggressively promoting open source. Most notably, the OS now notifies users if Tails is running as a virtual machine using software that is not open source. That seems a little evangelistic, since it is a way to encourage users to choose an open source virtualization program even though it makes no real difference for privacy whether you have an open source or closed source hypervisor.

Otherwise, however, Tails 2.0 introduces a number of useful updates, which make plug-and-play privacy easier than ever.

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