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Like all trendy, privacy-conscious, NSA-suspicious self-respecting journalist, I am interested in Tails, an operating system that aims to “preserve privacy and anonymity”. But I didn’t have the inclination to try it until recently.

Tails uses Tor for anonymity, GPG for email encryption, and OTR for chat encryption. You can set them up in standard Linux distribution (like I have done), but in Tails all of these are already prepared for you and ready to use. It is also designed to be run from CD or USB drive, thus won’t leave any trace on the computer.

As the screenshot shows I run it on a virtual machine (VirtualBox instance), which is not really recommended for typical usage. But I am only curious about how it looks. It seems Tails is based on Debian Squeeze, which is really old (it uses, for instance, GNOME 2). But the kernel is rather modern (Linux 3.12), which ensure it to be compatible with latest hardware. The browser is also quite up-to-date (based on Firefox 24).

Because I have only used this OS for two days I haven’t tried feature(s) like persistent storage. I may provide further updates, so stay tuned.

Update: It turns out that persistent storage requires two things: Tails Installer (which is only found in Tails images) and a USB storage, with space larger than 4 GB. I failed at the last requirement, because I only have got 2 GB flash drives. No luck yet.