Focus on low-effort maintainability
Many, many Live system projects — including a few ones that aimed at enhancing their users’ privacy — have lived fast and died young. We explain this by their being one wo/man efforts, as well as design decisions that made their maintenance much too costly timewise and energywise.
We want Tails to live as long as it is needed: Tails is not meant to be solely a pet project.
Since the early days of this project (i.e. early 2009), ease of maintenance in the long run has been a major factor in every decision we have made. Nowadays Tails is more alive and kicking than it has ever been, and we feel this would have been impossible without this mindset.
Our focus on low-effort maintainability has practical consequences.
First of all, we tend to carry the smallest possible delta with our upstreams (i.e. upstream software and Debian). For details about this, read our relationship with upstream statement. Moreover, we encourage you to improve Tails by working on Debian or by working on GNOME.
Second, we try not to reinvent the wheel , and we flee the Not invented here syndrome like the plague. Very little code is actually written specifically for Tails: most of what we call code work on Tails is more similar to system administration than it is to programming. We glue existing pieces together. When we need a feature that no software provides yet, we tend to pick the best existing tool, and do whatever is needed to get the needed feature upstream… which sometimes implies to write a patch ourselves.
Do you remember Haven, Anonym.OS,ParanoidLinux, onionOS, Phantomix, Liberté Linux,Mempo, …, ?
There is huge list of abandoned projects but only a very small list of active projects: