Thoughts on changing our package names

Andrew Lewman andrew at
Fri Nov 13 12:50:00 UTC 2009

I've been meeting more and more tor users over the past few months who
are confused by our package naming.  They want to download a "tor
bundle" but instead get a "vidalia bundle".  They don't understand what
the difference between vidalia, tor, polipo, and the other stuff in our
bundles.  It's all Tor to them.

The version numbers also confuse them.  They aren't sure what all the
numbers mean, nor why they should care.  From the perspective of a new
user, they don't care about the different components of a package and
what version each component is; they just need to know if they have the
latest or not.

Until we have the secure updater deployed and going, our various bundles
are how users get Tor.  As Tor attracts a less technical user concerned
about their online privacy and anonymity, the bundle naming schemes
become increasingly confusing.

I'd like to simply get rid of the installation bundles in favor of Tor
Browser Bundles for Windows, OS X, and Linuxes.  However, that fantasy
world is a ways off.  We need help fine tuning the browser bundles for
OS X and Linux.

My next best thought is to simply name the installation bundles as such:

Tor-Installation-Bundle-for-(Windows|OS X)-(bundle version number).

The bundle versions can start off at 1.0 and work their way up with each
new release.  There would be package change logs to explain what's
different in each new installation bundle version.  Users will be able
to simply tell if they have the latest or not by comparing the bundle
version number.

Only -stable versions of Tor get a bundle version number as described
above.  -alpha packages are still built the with the version numbers of
tor and vidalia as a distinction.  Alternatively, we could switch to
some nomenclature such as odd numbered major versions as -alpha, even
numbered major releases as -stable.  However, given how fast we switch
from -alpha to -stable, we'll be at Tor Installation Bundle for Windows
14.1 soon enough.


Andrew Lewman
The Tor Project
pgp 0x31B0974B

Blog: torproject

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