[tor-dev] RFC: porting torbrowser (was: Re: GNU Guix and Tor Browser Packaging)

ng0 contact.ng0 at cryptolab.net
Tue Apr 11 11:31:04 UTC 2017

Hi folks,

as your trademarks team / person suggested to me I get in touch with the
dev team of torproject. While I'm more involved in GNUnet, I work at the
intersection of projects. Currently this means I'm involved in system
integration. At Guix we are interested in working closer with projects
like tor, TAILS, Whonix and the like. Porting torbrowser is not only in
the interest of the Guix community but also in the interest of Wonix who
recently expressed interest in selectively using Guix for their work.
For me as maintainer of the system (in development) pragmaOS it also
means that we can decide between icecat OR torless torbrowser for
proxied GNUnet connections.

I'm interested in your response to the actions listed below and wether
you think this will still qualify as torbrowser or what other option you
propose for us at Guix to use. "Option" here means that I am not sure
what other graphical theme you have for versions of the browser which do
not use the trademark when they can (logically) also not use the firefox
I would reflect in the description of the package that it is not
torbrowser but a reconstruction of the way torbrowser is build, tracking
upstream as closely as possible while removing (list of features which
were removed goes here).
This can be compared to what the inoffical Gentoo maintainer does in the
.ebuild file here:

My request here is just in the position as a contributor to Guix, not
for pragmatique (the project which works on pragmaOS etc), Whonix,
GNUnet or any other project I mentioned before. 

Thanks in advance. Now the content I've been talking about:

It looks like the changes I need to make to torbrowser are not so
grave at all. Someone pointed me to the gnu-linux-libre at nongnu.org list
to reach out to other FSDG systems.
The thread can be reviewed here:


I will need to discourage Mozilla leftovers:
- the mozilla addon service will be overwritten, in other words:
  Where you would find https://addons.mozilla.org/ at "Preferences > AddOns"
  it will be replaced by the thing Icecat  points to. Longterm plan is
  to offer firefox extensions native through "guix package -i

Privacy / Tracking reasons:
- Firefox "Sync" will be disabled.
- Google will be removed from the search plugins if I understood the
  procedure correctly (at least it is not in Icecat)

A question directly for torbrowser team:
- about:license does not list licenses the torbrowser project uses, only
  firefox. Why?

- Luke from parabola mentioned that drm has been enabled in recent
  versions of torbrowser. This needs to be removed aswell.

ng0 transcribed 3.4K bytes:
> bancfc at openmailbox.org transcribed 1.9K bytes:
> > There is a serious Tor Browser packaging effort [3][4] being done by ng0
> > (GNUnet dev) for the GNU Guix [0] package manager. GNU Guix supports
> Eh, now that the cat is out of the bag (cat's don't belong into bags
> anyway), I think I have to do this now and not on my own conditions.
> Hi!
> As I told bancfc somewhere else, I've had a short contact with the
> trademarks team of torproject. I will get back to you when someone was
> able to identify issues in torbrowser which might lead to modifications
> of torbrowser (for more details I just hope trademarks at tp.o can
> communicate it to you) because all packaged software which is included
> in upstream of Guix (master) must follow the GNU Free System
> Distribution Guidelines.
> I hope that I have to make as little modifications as possible as I
> I am aware that the fingerprint of the browser could change depending on
> the kind of changes.
> I hope to get back to this task in about 3 weeks, right now I'm busy
> with getting more documentation done for another project.
> > transactional upgrades and roll-backs, unprivileged package management,
> > per-user profiles and most importantly reproducible builds. I have checked
> > with Guix's upstream and they are working on making a binary mirror
> > available over a Tor Hidden Service. [2] Also planned is resilience [2] to
> > the attack outlined in the TUF threat model. [1]
> > 
> > Back to the topic of Tor Browser packaging. While there are good reasons for
> > Debian's pakaging policies they make packaging of fast evolving software
> > (and especially with TBB's reliance on a opaque binary VM for builds)
> > impractial. Both we and Micah have been doing a good effort to automate
> > downloading and validating TBB but I still believe its a maintenance burden
> > and Guix may be a way out of that for Linux distros in general.
> > 
> > What are your thoughts on this?
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > ***
> > 
> > [0] https://www.gnu.org/software/guix/
> > [1] https://github.com/theupdateframework/tuf/blob/develop/SECURITY.md
> > [2] https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/guix-devel/2017-03/msg00192.html
> > [3] https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/guix-devel/2017-03/msg00189.html
> > [4] https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/guix-devel/2017-03/msg00149.html
> > _______________________________________________
> > tor-dev mailing list
> > tor-dev at lists.torproject.org
> > https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-dev
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