[tbb-dev] proposal for #28044 (Integrate Tor Launcher into tor-browser)

Mark Smith mcs at pearlcrescent.com
Fri Feb 8 18:20:09 UTC 2019

On 2/8/19 10:39 AM, intrigeri wrote:
> Hi,
>> Filename: NNN-integrate-tor-launcher-into-tor-browser.txt
>> Title: Integration of Tor Launcher into Tor Browser Core
>> Author: Mark Smith and Kathleen Brade
>> Created: 22-Jan-2019
>> Updated: 7-Feb-2019
>> Status: Draft
>> Ticket: #28044
> Sorry for the delay: we were busy with preparing our major 3.12
> release when this proposal came up, and I've just come back
> from holiday.

No worries; thank you for your input.

>>  R5. Continue to maintain a separate git repository for Tor Launcher. This
>>      will allow development of Tor Launcher to proceed outside of core
>>      browser development and will also facilitate continued use of Tor
>>      Launcher as a XUL/XPCOM extension by those projects that have that
>>      requirement, e.g., TorBirdy.
> OK. I understand this will allow Tails to:
>  - Build and ship a Tor Launcher extension (disabled in our main Tor
>    Browser profile, as per R3).
>  - Run Tor Launcher just like we currently do, until we switch to
>    68esr in October. Once we're based on 68esr, we won't be able to
>    run Tor Launcher as a XUL/XPCOM extension anymore, and we'll need
>    to replace it with another tool.

Tails uses -app today, correct? Has that been removed from Firefox now?

>> 4.1 TL_LOGO and pkg-prepare
>> Tails uses Tor Launcher for their Tor network configuration UI. To avoid
>> confusion, they include the Tails logo in their copy of Tor Launcher,
>> replacing the Tor Browser logo. This replacement is handled by the
>> pkg-prepare Makefile target. We will need to find a different way to
>> handle the logo override.
> Tails sets TOR_HIDE_BROWSER_LOGO=1 (#14122). It would be nice to keep
> it. Since it's a runtime setting, and not a build-time thing, I assume
> it's not too much trouble to keep support for it? If it's too much
> trouble, drop it. This would cause a minor usability regression in
> Tails but given the timeline, I'd rather use your "being nice to
> Tails" time on longer-term issues such as #27466 and #10760, rather
> than on a tool that we'll need to drop in 8 months anyway.

We do not plan to remove support for TOR_HIDE_BROWSER_LOGO=1. Honestly,
I forgot it was there... but our goal is to not break anything unless we
need to do so due to Firefox changes, etc.

> However, we do *not* replace it with a custom logo (#12451) and have
> never done so. I think there's some confusion because of the way
> proper introduced themselves "as a user of Tails and a maintainer of
> Whonix" on these tickets. By the way, IIRC Whonix has replaced Tor
> Launcher with their own thing a while ago, so perhaps they don't need
> any of this anymore and TL_LOGO could go away?

Yes, that was Tails vs. Whonix confusion on our part. And I think you
are correct: we can just drop the TL_LOGO build-time option.

>> 4.3 UI For Access To The Tor Network Settings
>> Currently, the Torbutton toolbar menu contains a "Tor Network Settings"
>> menu item which causes Tor Launcher to open its Network Settings
>> dialog. As plans for incorporating the Torbutton functionality into
>> the core browser proceed, we may need to provide a new method for users
>> to access the network settings. Tentatively, we plan to eliminate the
>> Torbutton toolbar item and its associated menu, which means new UI will
>> need to be added to provide access to Tor Launcher's Network Settings
>> dialog.
> I think Tails will need some way to hide this new UI (otherwise user
> experience will be poor as Tor Browser in Tails is not actually
> allowed to change such settings). If we can do this in our profile
> config, with something like userChrome.css, that would be good enough
> considering we'll need to replace Tor Launcher in October.

We will keep this requirement in mind as we move forward. Thanks for
bringing it to our attention.

Mark Smith
Pearl Crescent

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