Feature #8948

Reconsider the terminology around "persistence"

Added by sajolida 2015-02-24 12:12:34 . Updated 2020-05-04 16:39:25 .

Target version:
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:


Feature Branch:
Type of work:
End-user documentation

Affected tool:
Deliverable for:


Original problem statement

We inherited this terminology from the world of live distributions but during the discussions about the Tor Browser confinment and the Greeter revamp, several people raise issues about it.

It might be worth thinking about that and see if we can find something better (and otherwise be happy with it but for a good reason).

We should be really careful while doing that as it could impact many many place in our project (website, documentation, code, even infrastructure). So feasibility, cost effectivness and flexibility are important issues here as well.

Current status

In https://lists.autistici.org/message/20200227.123500.9aee624d.en.html, we agreed on using “Persistent Storage”.

See examples: https://tails.boum.org/contribute/how/documentation/style_guide/persistent_storage/.

Next steps:

  • Merge these examples into the style guide, reducing them to the minimum.
  • Apply this change consistently across our doc and interfaces. It will break tons of translations so let’s do it all at once.


Feature #10048: Improve some terminology and phrasing of the Persistence wizard Confirmed sajolida


Related issues

Related to Tails - Feature #8949: Rework /doc/encryption_and_privacy/your_data_wont_be_saved_unless_explicitly_asked Confirmed 2015-02-24
Related to Tails - Feature #9814: Clarify what Tails is and what makes it so awesome Confirmed 2014-07-06
Blocks Tails - Feature #15573: Ask for confirmation when starting without unlocking the persistent storage In Progress 2018-05-05
Blocks Tails - Bug #16384: Force restarting after creating persistent storage Confirmed 2019-01-23
Blocks Tails - Feature #17247: Core work 2020Q1 → 2020Q2: Technical writing Confirmed


#1 Updated by sajolida 2015-02-24 12:13:38

  • related to Feature #8949: Rework /doc/encryption_and_privacy/your_data_wont_be_saved_unless_explicitly_asked added

#2 Updated by BitingBird 2015-04-10 16:47:52

Could you be more specific about the issues that people raised? I do like the name “persistence” and users are used to it, so without more precise comments, I don’t see the point…

#3 Updated by sajolida 2015-05-05 16:11:49

To explain a bit more the issue. The word “persistence” does not define an object as such but the quality of an object. So unless we’re confident enough in using such a neologism, we need to add some object to go along this quality. So far we’ve been using the object “volume” (quite a technical term without much meaning on its own). But then we realized that “persistent volume” was not conveying the idea of encryption which is another key idea (at least as much as being persistent in the case of Tails). So in some places I’ve used “encrypted persistence” (neologism) or “encrypted persistent volume”.

I agree that users are getting used to that term. And that’s the reason why we should be careful while changing those things. But this should not prevent us from finding better terms that might be easier to graps for newcomers or easier to manipulate for doc writers.

#4 Updated by sajolida 2015-05-05 16:14:59

In the thread https://lists.autistici.org/message/20150425.181220.bd80416d.en.html, we are proposing “Persistent Encrypted Storage”. The word “storage” is less jargonistic and has much more meaning that “volume”. It conveys better the idea of a place to store your data.

Note that when using “storage” the work “persistent” becomes slightly redundant.

#5 Updated by BitingBird 2015-05-05 18:54:22

I like “Persistent Encrypted Storage” - well, maybe with less caps, Persistent encrypted storage. I like mentionning that it’s encrypted, lots of users are unaware of that and ask (at least on irc).

#6 Updated by sajolida 2016-04-30 08:26:45

These days I’m thinking that going for the neologism “persistence” (without “volume” or “storage”) should work and has the advantage of being shorter and it’s also what use prefer using on development channels. Maybe we should ask opinion from natives about how this sounds.

#7 Updated by Anonymous 2017-06-30 14:13:00

That’s also how it’s called in Debian Live by the way. See https://debian-live.alioth.debian.org/live-manual/stable/manual/html/live-manual.en.html#556 for reference.

#8 Updated by Anonymous 2017-06-30 14:13:53

In the german translation we call it Beständiger (verschlüsselter) Speicherbereich, pretty much persistent encrypted storage.

#9 Updated by Anonymous 2018-01-17 17:04:02

  • QA Check set to Dev Needed

Next steps on this ticket: ask native speakers about the terminology as suggested by sajolida in https://labs.riseup.net/code/issues/8948#note-6.

Other than that we seem to be fine with the term now and could close this ticket.

#10 Updated by Anonymous 2018-08-18 12:28:37

  • Assignee set to cbrownstein

Tentatively assigning this ticket to crbrownstein. See my previous comment and question.

#11 Updated by sajolida 2018-08-19 18:28:20

  • Assignee changed from cbrownstein to sajolida
  • QA Check deleted (Dev Needed)

I’ll work on this with Simply Secure.

#12 Updated by sajolida 2019-06-12 17:13:34

  • related to Feature #9814: Clarify what Tails is and what makes it so awesome added

#13 Updated by sajolida 2019-06-12 17:15:28

  • Target version set to Tails_3.16

From discussions with Simply Secure I’m tempted to stick with “Persistence”, with a capital “P” to mark it as a special feature.

Users I’ve interviewed were fine with “persistence”, or used their own version like “persistent memory”.

I’ll make a final call this summer while testing the content I’m writing for Feature #9814 and I could update it in a bunch of places in time for Tails 4.0.

#14 Updated by sajolida 2019-06-12 17:15:45

  • blocks Feature #16711: Core work 2019Q3 → 2019Q4: Technical writing added

#15 Updated by sajolida 2019-09-03 09:35:31

  • Target version changed from Tails_3.16 to Tails_3.17

#16 Updated by intrigeri 2019-09-12 14:25:06

  • Target version changed from Tails_3.17 to Tails_4.0

#17 Updated by sajolida 2019-09-18 19:22:27

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.0 to Tails_4.1

#18 Updated by sajolida 2019-11-21 18:45:46

  • blocks Feature #15573: Ask for confirmation when starting without unlocking the persistent storage added

#19 Updated by sajolida 2019-11-21 18:51:17

  • blocks Bug #16384: Force restarting after creating persistent storage added

#20 Updated by sajolida 2019-11-21 18:52:28

  • blocks Feature #10048: Improve some terminology and phrasing of the Persistence wizard added

#21 Updated by CyrilBrulebois 2019-12-04 11:31:14

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.1 to Tails_4.2

#22 Updated by sajolida 2020-01-05 16:23:21

  • blocks Feature #17247: Core work 2020Q1 → 2020Q2: Technical writing added

#23 Updated by sajolida 2020-01-05 16:23:35

  • blocked by deleted (Feature #16711: Core work 2019Q3 → 2019Q4: Technical writing)

#24 Updated by sajolida 2020-01-05 16:25:39

  • Status changed from Confirmed to In Progress
  • Target version changed from Tails_4.2 to Tails_4.3

I’ll apply https://tails.boum.org/contribute/how/documentation/style_guide/persistence/ when working on Feature #9814 and test it with users.

All this will be done by 4.3.

#25 Updated by anonym 2020-02-11 15:25:23

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.3 to Tails_4.4

#26 Updated by CyrilBrulebois 2020-03-12 09:55:43

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.4 to Tails_4.5

#27 Updated by sajolida 2020-03-24 19:19:10

  • Description updated
  • Target version changed from Tails_4.5 to Tails_4.6

I did a last round of answers on tails-project@ since I proposed “Persistent Storage” there on February 27.

All core developpers who answered were happy with this choice (segfault and moire) and nobody else raised important concerns. So it looks like we finally reached the end of this discussion. Pfff!

#29 Updated by sajolida 2020-04-15 02:37:09

  • Status changed from In Progress to Needs Validation
  • Assignee changed from sajolida to cbrownstein
  • Feature Branch set to doc/8948-persistent-storage

@cbrownstein: Here is a branch. Warning: it’s huge.

  • Don’t review anything in /contribute: it’s messy and not worth improving further :)
  • I didn’t update anything on /news, /blueprint, and /security.
  • Now I use ‘turn on’, which was recommended over “enable” and “activate” by both the Microsoft and Apple style guides.
  • I thought it was better to do 2 big commits instead of splitting bed90b6531 into a billion smaller commits.

I didn’t update the UI itself so sometimes, the references on the actual labels in the interface don’t match the style guide. I’ll update the interface later on in Feature #10048 but I didn’t want to block one by the other.

#30 Updated by cbrownstein 2020-04-22 22:55:46

  • Assignee changed from cbrownstein to sajolida

I’ve pushed some changes to my branch:


Otherwise, looks good!

#31 Updated by sajolida 2020-04-23 16:18:03

  • Status changed from Needs Validation to Resolved
  • % Done changed from 0 to 100

Applied in changeset commit:tails|a39cdfe552cfa71eef9cca01e22809b70606cac8.

#32 Updated by sajolida 2020-04-23 16:21:18

  • Assignee deleted (sajolida)

@cbrownstein: Thanks for the very careful review. I learned things!