[tbb-bugs] #14121 [Tor Browser]: make TBB usable as "system Tor"

Tor Bug Tracker & Wiki blackhole at torproject.org
Tue Jan 6 15:29:16 UTC 2015

#14121: make TBB usable as "system Tor"
 Reporter:  proper       |          Owner:  tbb-team
     Type:  enhancement  |         Status:  new
 Priority:  normal       |      Milestone:
Component:  Tor Browser  |        Version:
 Keywords:               |  Actual Points:
Parent ID:               |         Points:
 = TLDR =

 We would like to use TBB as "system Tor".

 = Long =

 == Why? ==

 * Most, latest technology for censorship circumvention, i.e. pluggable
 transports such as meek, scamblesuite, fte, etc. will not be packaged for
 Debian anytime soon.
 * Pluggable transports are due to their nature too dynamically evolving.
 There is a giant gap between availability of a pluggable transports and
 installability from stable distributions such as Debian.
 * Vidalia has been deprecated. There is no nicely looking, maintained way
 to easily configure Tor and bridges anymore besides the tor-launcher add-
 * TBB comes with the tor-launcher add-on, which is a well maintained GUI
 for configuration and troubleshooting of Tor and all sorts of the latest
 and greatest pluggable transports.
 * TBB comes with recent versions of Tor.
 * TBB is built reproducibly.

 == Current Problem ==

 At the moment, TBB is an integrated browser package. It does not integrate
 well for use with other applications, with the general system. Because,

 * once you close the browser window, no other application can connect.
 * it's not possible to just configure and start Tor without opening the
 browser window
 * once Tor is configured, you cannot start Tor without running X server

 == Related ==

 It's still an open task how to "Make TIMB and TBB/PTTBB cooperate in a
 smarter way.":

 Maybe we can think of something to solve both at once.

 == Solution ==
 This is one solution that might work. Not necessarily the ultimate one. A
 rough plan.

 A combination of new start scripts + environment variables obeyed by tor-

 * keep ~/tor-browser_en-US/start-tor-browser as is
 * add other launcher scripts to the Browser (or so) sub directory to keep
 your main directory simple
 * add ~/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/start-tor-only
 * add ~/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/stop-tor-only
 * add ~/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/configure-and-start-tor
 * add ~/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/configure-tor-only (if that is possible)
 * add ~/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/start-browser-only (connect to
 previously started Tor)

 That should suffice making TBB usable as "system Tor".

 What do you think?

 = Feedback =
 What do you think about this proposal in general?

 Linostar and I have some other solutions involving xul launcher in mind.
 Maybe you have some other possible solution in mind?

 Depending on how much, complex, difficult this task is, linostar might
 provide a patch to add this feature.

Ticket URL: <https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/14121>
Tor Bug Tracker & Wiki <https://trac.torproject.org/>
The Tor Project: anonymity online

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