Here's how to set up an environment to run our automated test suite. Alternatively, you way want to use the tails::tester class from the puppet-tails Puppet module.

Once you have a working environment, see usage.

Operating system

If you usually run another operating system than Debian Bookworm or Sid, then you need to:

  1. Enable nested virtualization on your host system.

    For example, if the host system has an Intel CPU:

      if [ "$(cat /sys/module/kvm_intel/parameters/nested)" != Y ]; then
         echo "options kvm_intel nested=Y" | \
              sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/kvm.conf
  2. Prepare a Debian virtual machine; we recommend the stable release.

  3. And then, every step below applies to this virtual machine, instead of to the host system.

Install dependencies

To install the dependencies on our test suite:

  1. Enable the non-free APT component.

  2. Potentially enable some workarounds:

     sudo apt update
         apt-cache policy virt-viewer \
             | sed -n 's/^  Candidate: \(.*\)$/\1/p'
     if dpkg --compare-versions "${virt_viewer_candidate_version}" ge 10.0; then
         sudo install --owner root --group root --mode 644 \
                  config/chroot_sources/tails.chroot.gpg \
         echo 'deb isotester-bookworm main' \
             | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/isotester-bookworm.list
  3. Install the following packages:

     sudo apt update && \
     sudo apt install \
         cucumber \
         devscripts \
         dnsmasq-base \
         gawk \
         git \
         imagemagick \
         libcap2-bin \
         libnss3-tools \
         libvirt-clients \
         libvirt-daemon-system \
         libvirt-dev \
         libvirt0 \
         obfs4proxy \
         openssh-server \
         ovmf \
         pry \
         python3-debian \
         python3-distro-info \
         python3-requests \
         python3-psycopg2 \
         python3-slixmpp \
         python3-yaml \
         qemu-system-common \
         qemu-system-x86 \
         qemu-utils \
         qrencode \
         ruby-guestfs \
         ruby-json \
         ruby-libvirt \
         ruby-packetfu \
         ruby-net-dns \
         ruby-rb-inotify \
         ruby-rspec \
         ruby-test-unit \
         seabios \
         tcpdump \
         tcplay \
         tor \
         unclutter \
         virt-viewer \
         x11vnc \
         tigervnc-viewer \
         x264 \
         xdotool \
         xvfb \
         ffmpeg \
         python3-opencv \
         python3-pil \
         && \
     sudo service libvirtd restart

Other requirements

Synchronized clock

Enable systemd-timesyncd.service or your favorite time synchronization tool: the system running the test suite needs an accurate clock.

File permissions

The user that runs QEMU (via libvirt) needs read-access at least to the content of features/misc_files/ in the Git checkout.

AppArmor tweaks

If you have AppArmor enabled:

  • You need to add the /tmp/TailsToaster/** rwk, line to /etc/apparmor.d/libvirt/TEMPLATE.qemu, in the profile LIBVIRT_TEMPLATE section; then delete /etc/apparmor.d/libvirt/libvirt-* and restart the test suite. If you use a custom TMPDIR to run the test suite, replace /tmp/TailsToaster with the value of that $TMPDIR.


If you have a firewall enabled, check that you can receive connections from VMs back to your host system. A typical rule to accomplish this might be:

iptables -I INPUT 1 -i virbr+ -j ACCEPT

but of course this depends on the specific firewall you have.

The rule posted above will accept any connections from any VM you have on your system. If you have other VMs running on your system and don't want to accept their connection, take care before running this command.

Special use cases

Access the system under test with VNC

If you're running the test suite in a nested environnement, install tigervnc-viewer on the bare metal level-0 host. Then you can use vncviewer's -via option so that it automatically setup a ssh tunnel to your first level test suite domain for you and display the Tails VM. E.g. where $DISPLAY is the display given to you by run_test_suite (often 0):

vncviewer -viewonly -via user@level0 localhost:$DISPLAY