I just deployed tails on a flash drive, and were busy tweaking it. Is it possible to persistently remove some stock software packages from my copy of tails? I tried to apt-get remove them, but they reappeared on startup. Also, I understand that added applications can be reinstalled each time by caching them at persistent storage and appending them to live-additional-software.conf, but my point is not reverse of this, i.e. actually keeping the packages and removing them at startup. I straight out don't want them to be present and use space in my flash drive.

(And as a personal comment, who would care to use audacity for a distro based on such specific set of operations anyway? Some default packages look really absurd on tails. Anyways...)


No, it is not possible to do this. You'd need to remove them each restart, since it stores no short-term state it will always start up with the same set of packages.

This always means you'd need to always be an account with administrator rights, which is something you should avoid doing wherever possible.

You'd need to build your own tails, with the packages excluded which is probably going to make things interesting later down the line when you need to upgrade.

There is some outline of the build process in the Tails documentation, and some information on how to customize it can be found here, and the list of packages installed is found here.

It's going to require more reading on the build process itself and I'm not sure how well it'll play with updates, you may need to rebuild it yourself each time ("upgrade by cloning"), also beware interdependencies and possible violations of expectation (e.g. "is the package being remove called by a script somewhere?").

  • I think it's a worthwhile project. I'm going to be doing it myself soon, hopefully... – cacahuatl Aug 7 '16 at 19:41

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