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22 November 2010

Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2010 12:36:51 +0100
From: Eugen Leitl <eugen[at]>
To: cypherpunks[at], or-talk[at]
Subject: Liberté Linux


Liberté Linux is a secure, reliable, lightweight, and easy to use Gentoo-based LiveUSB Linux distribution intended as a communication aid in hostile environments. Liberté installs as a regular directory on a USB/SD key, and after a single-click setup, boots on any desktop computer or laptop. Available internet connection is then used to set up a Tor circuit which handles all network communication. During first boot, a unique email ID is generated from fingerprints of user's certificate and Tor hidden service key. This persistent ID allows one to stealthily communicate with other Liberté users (the communication part is not yet finished). The distribution includes image and document processing applications, and can function as a secure web browsing platform.

For developers, Liberté can also serve as a robust framework for mastering Gentoo-based LiveUSBs/CDs. The build process is fully automated with incremental build support, and is more mature and reliable than most of Gentoo's own outdated LiveCD tools. Gentoo is an extremely flexible distribution for safely generating custom live media from source b for instance, Liberté does not contain Portage, GCC, Perl or Python.

Download: (see Install), liberte-2010.1-src.tar.bz2 (see Build), SVN (changelog)

Project: SourceForge (files, tracker, support)

License: GPL

News: SourceForge, (subscribe),


Liberté Linux Motivation and Philosophy

Project scope

Liberté Linux is not a generic live Linux distribution with anonymity features. For that purpose, you are better off installing the relevant software on an off-the-shelf operating system (regular or live), or using one of the live distributions that come pre-installed with anonymity software, such as The (Amnesic) Incognito Live System.

The primary focus of Liberté is to let you communicate, stealthily and securely, with other people in a hostile environment. Here, hostile environment is one where someone is out to get you because of something you do. Therefore, as security inevitably comes at a price of usability, and assuming that you are a typical Tor (or Freenet, I2P, ...) user, Liberté Linux is not for you.

[trollface] Why? Let's consider the (realistic) possibilities. A likely one is that you are a clueless spoiled American adolescent (or a European equivalent of one) with liberal views, believing that it is vital to prevent the government from snooping on his political views, as expressed in various circle-jerk online forums. Another possibility is that you are an adult American neocon nutjob who likes to buy guns and memorize their technical specifications, and frequently masturbates to the absurd idea that it will be a rabble of people like him, and not the military elite, who might one day overthrow the evil centralized government. Yet another possibility is that you simply like to view nude pictures of little kids -- which, depending on your jurisdiction and the hypocritic prurience of your surroundings, might as well include 20-year-old nubile females.

In none of the cases above (or a combination thereof), is anyone really out to get you. You are simply not significant. (Sure, the party van might still show up at your front door in the last case, but you weren't really communicating with anyone in the first place.) Same goes for privacy freaks, etc., etc.byes, Google keeps your search history forever, but it's only to enhance its capability of shoving advertisements down your throat, nothing personal. [/trollface]

Now, if you are still reading, you might as well be more unique. A dissident in Iran, perhaps, or an anti-government cell coordinator in China. A highly-ranked mole in the US intelligence service, passing information to his handler in the Belarusian embassy. Or, a whistle-blower in an international petroleum corporation. All these accounts have something in common: high technological capacity of the authority in place, and willingness to use this capacity to find out who you are in order to stop you. [More worth reading.]