Complicated history, dating back to 2013-2014. For example:

  • Once Tails was proposed to be part of a grant proposal but then it was submitted with Tails knowing.
  • Once Tails sent a grant proposal through Tor and Tails had to ping restlessly to know what was going on.

It failed safer for Tails to keep autonomy and distance while Tor was messy; while still staying a bit close to Tor.

But Tails is listed on the Tor homepage as "our projects". Tor pays for the hosting of the main server of Tails and Tor has given Tails some money in the past (bug bounty, event organizing, etc.). Tor is hosting the translation files of our software on Transifex.

In Rome we started discussing again how to get closer. The Tor Browser team has been very supportive, solving issues that were affecting Tails only.

All this made Tails realize that Tor is a more mature and trustworthy organization.

Tails in numbers:

  • ~15 paid workers, all part time freelancers.
  • 200k€ yearly budget.

On top of the bad feelings from the past, another major issue is the difference in cultures and organization styles.

But now Tails feels ready to try a few steps to get closer to Tor, and collaborate more on an organizational level.

Library Freedom Project now uses Tor as their fiscal sponsor. OONI writes their own grant proposals and Shari signs them, without overlook or influence.

Fiscal sponsorship

Right now, Tails has 2 fiscal sponsors: RiseupLabs and Center for Cultivation of Technology. Shari wonders how it would work to have Tor as one of several fiscal sponsors.

Tor is ready to take over a grant as a fiscal sponsor for Tails and happy to help Tails write and administer the grant.

Advantages, drawbacks, and challenges

Tails as a project is super important for Tor. The mission of Tails is perfectly aligned with Tor. It would be a big win!

It would be a great relief for Tails to do less administration work.

The cultural differences can also be reflected in the products. For example, Tails ships an AdBlocker (as a political statement) while Tor does not (as a strategic move). If we want Tails to become an official Tor product, we would need the technology decision to be well aligned.

From Tails, there's a fear of a power imbalance by Tor being much bigger. OONI reassures that decisions are made openly and they have their say. Shari explains that decisions are always made given a good reason and with some group process.

intrigeri notes that the kind of specialization and decision making that's not involving the whole group is already somehow happening in Tails, though at a smaller scale.

Next steps

  • Inviting more Tails people at Tor meetings.
  • Getting more people on tor-internal@.
  • Being closer to the roadmapping of Tor (Tor Browser, UX, network).
  • Sending the Tails monthly reports to tor-project@.
Last modified 2 years ago Last modified on Oct 15, 2018, 5:37:07 PM