Bug #17074

lsb_release -a returns Debian's distributor_id and description, not Tails'

Added by kogorman 6 months ago. Updated 6 months ago.

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


Feature Branch:
Type of work:
Affected tool:


In the version-3 series of Tails, `lsb_release -a` returns the Distributor ID as being `Tails`, and references Tails in the Description field. In Tails 4.0~beta2, `lsb-release -a` references `Debian` in both fields instead.

This impacts applications that rely on lsb or ansible_lsb to toggle Tails-specific features.

Related issues

Related to Tails - Bug #12372: Get software-properties-gtk starting / fix /etc/os-release Confirmed 03/18/2017


#1 Updated by intrigeri 6 months ago

  • Related to Bug #12372: Get software-properties-gtk starting / fix /etc/os-release added

#2 Updated by intrigeri 6 months ago

  • Status changed from New to Confirmed
  • Target version deleted (Tails_4.0)
  • Type of work changed from Debian to Code


Indeed, since 10.2018112800, lsb_release uses the info from /usr/lib/os-release, which we don't modify from the pristine Debian one. Patching that file is sufficient to fix this problem. It can be done by generating config/chroot_local-includes/usr/lib/os-release in auto/config, just like we already add bits to /etc/os-release there.

I don't know if dropping the Debian info there can break other stuff. Hopefully our test suite will catch such breakage once a branch is proposed and we run our CI on it.

Anyone who decides to work on this should also read #12372, that has some info about this topic: let's avoid making it harder to fix #12372, and in turn #15262, by fixing this bug.

I'm removing the "Target version" for now as I'm not aware of important use cases that warrant treating this as a blocker for releasing Tails 4.0, and our 4.0 plate is pretty full already. But this probably tells more about my ignorance than about anything else, so feel free to enlighten me :)

#3 Updated by kogorman 6 months ago

Thanks for confirming! SecureDrop configuration code uses lsb_release (and ansible_lsb) for Tails detection. We can work around this, so I don't think you need to treat it as a blocker, but if it makes it in it would simplify that logic a bit.

Also available in: Atom PDF