Tails 5.11 has updated Tor Browser and Thunderbird versions and increased productivity thanks to the zram Linux kernel module.
Tails is a privacy and strongly security-focused Linux distribution designed to be run on a live USB drive, allowing users to boot the operating system on any computer while leaving no trace of their activity on the host computer.
The distro routes all internet traffic through the Tor network, providing a high level of anonymity and including a wide range of privacy and security tools such as the PGP email client, the Electrum Bitcoin wallet, and the VeraCrypt disk encryption software.
Yesterday, the Tails Project announced the general availability of Tails 5.11 with yet another dose of updates and novelties. So, let’s have a look at them.
Tails 5.11 Highlights
The Tor network lies at the heart of the Tails, and the Tor browser is its significant component. So, in Tails 5.11, the browser has received an update to v12.0.4 (based on Mozilla Firefox 102.9.0esr), and the devs bumped Thunderbird’s email client version to 120.9.0.
But, the emphasis of this release is on something else that could be seen as a significant change in Tails. First, and more precisely, Tails now uses the zram Linux kernel module to increase the computer’s memory capacity.
If you need to become more familiar with it in detail, zram, previously known as a compcache, is a Linux kernel module for creating a compressed block device in RAM. In other words, it is a RAM disk with on-the-fly disk compression.
It creates a block device in RAM where pages that would otherwise be written to swap are first compressed, then stored. This allows for a much faster IO and provides significant memory savings. This way, you can run more applications simultaneously and handle more load. Something that Tails 5.11 users can now take advantage of.
Apart from the above, the latest version of Tails has redesigned the unlocking section of the Welcome Screen. Under the hood, the distro is powered by Linux kernel 6.1. Finally, you can now record screencasts using GNOME’s integrated functionality.
Finally, if you want to upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage, your Tails version must be 5.0 or higher. Manually upgrade instructions are here.