How to install Vscode in Tails


Vscodium launcher in Tails

Vscode or Vscodium?

Vscode is a powerful text editor, coming with hundreds of extensions, widely used and actively developed. The code is open-source, but the official package is generated by Microsoft, which adds arbitrary code and telemetry.

That’s why we’ll use Vscodium instead, which is built directly from the open-source code. The binaries are licensed under the MIT license and telemetry is disabled.

Overview

We will first set up Tails to keep our installation persistent. Then we’ll see how to install Vscodium and create a persistent launcher.

Setup Persistence in Tails

Tails is amnesic by design. To save our configuration across reboots, we need to set up a persistent storage and persistent dotfiles. Then restart Tails and activate the persistence

Download and install Vscodium

  • Visit the release page of Vscodium
  • Download the package named VSCodium-linux-x64-XXX.tar.gz (where XXX is the last version number - make sure to select the package ending with .tar.gz)
  • Once the download is finished, move the archive to the Persistent folder
  • Right-click on the file and select Extract here
  • Rename the created folder in vscodium

Add a launcher

We’ll create two files: a bash script and a launcher:

Create a bash script

Open a terminal and paste gedit ~/Persistent/vscodium-start.sh (Hint: to paste in the Terminal, use Ctrl+Shift+v). Hit enter.

Gedit is now open, paste the following two lines:

#!/bin/bash
/home/amnesia/Persistent/vscodium/codium --no-sandbox

Save and close

Back in the terminal, make the script executable: chmod u+x ~/Persistent/vscodium-start.sh

Create the launcher

Create the persistent folder

mkdir -p /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.local/share/applications

Create and edit the launcher with Gedit

gedit /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.local/share/applications/code.desktop

and paste the following lines

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Version=1.0
Type=Application
Terminal=false
Exec=/home/amnesia/Persistent/vscodium-start.sh
Name=Code
Icon=/home/amnesia/Persistent/vscodium-icon.png

Last step, save the following icon in your Persistent folder:

vscodium-icon

You’re done, congratulations! You now have a fancy launcher in your Applications menu:

vscodium launcher

What’s left to improve?

  • Document the usage of Vscode extensions with Tails (working, will publish soon™)
  • Investigate the consequences of using ‘no-sandbox’
  • Add Vscode to the right-clic menu in Nautilus
  • Automatically open some files (.txt, .md etc) with VSCode

You know how to do that? in the context of Tails?
→ Please take a minute and give me a hint!


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