[tor-dev] GSOC 2017: Proposal for anon-connection-wizard

irykoon irykoon at gmail.com
Sat Mar 25 19:07:20 UTC 2017

Hash: SHA512

Hello everyone!

The following is my first draft of the proposal for the
anon-connection-wizard. Could anyone offer me some feedback about it
please? Any recommendation, suggestion and criticism are very welcome
and appreciated!

> # Introduction
> Every software project should solve a problem. Before offering the 
> solution (your Google Summer of Code project), you should first 
> define the problem. What’s the current state of things? What’s the 
> issue you wish to solve and why? Then you should conclude with a 
> sentence or two about your solution. Include links to discussions,
> features, or bugs that describe the problem further if necessary.

The anon-connection-wizard is a Python-clone of the Tor Launcher which
aims at providing Tor users with a graphical instruction on
configuring the Tor. This applicatipn has been developed as a part of
the Whonix Project: https://github.com/Whonix/anon-connection-wizard
Some of the screenshots of the old version anon-connection-wizard can
be found here: https://www.whonix.org/blog/connection-bridge-wizard

This application is especially helpful for users
who live in Tor-censored area. This is because those users can only
connect to the Tor network with the help of other censorship
circumvention tools which include but are not limited to Tor bridges,
pluggable transports and other third party Internet censorship
circumvention tools like Lantern and VPN.

Currently, the Tor Launcher is shipped with the Tor Browser Bundle and
heavily relies on the Tor Browser for its implementation. These facts
cause using Tor Launcher without having the Tor Browser impossible. I
agree with the whonix core developer Patrick Schleizer that "the Tor
Browser Bundle has its kind of users. system Tor (refers to Tor from
packages.debian.org or deb.torproject.org) users, where Tor runs as
daemon, is used in different ways for different purposes. These users
cannot use Tor Launcher, because it only works with Tor Browser".
Therefore, although anon-connection-wizard is a Python-clone of the
Tor luancher, since all its dependencies are already in Debian and alrea
packaged, it can still be really useful for the system Tor users.

In addition, the current instructions provided by the
anon-connection-wizard and Tor launcher is not be clear enough for
user to configure Tor correctly. Therefore I would like to implement
and redesign the anon-connection-wizard. I hope that my work will help
more people to connect to the Tor network efficiently and successfully.

> # Project goals
> Be short and to the point, and perhaps format it as a list.
> Propose a clear list of deliverables, explaining exactly what you
> promise to do and what you do not plan to do. “Future developments”
> can be mentioned, but your promise for the Google Summer of Code
> term is what counts.

As mentioned above, the projects goals include two main parts:
1. The clone implementation of Tor Launcher;
2. The redesign of the anon-connection-wizard.

> # Implementation
> Be detailed. Describe what you plan to do as a solution for the 
> problem you defined above. Include technical details, showing that 
> you understand the technology. Illustrate key technical elements
> of your proposed solution in reasonable detail.

The clone implementation of Tor Launcher:
Currently, I have helped to implement the basic functions of
anon-connection-wizard. However, there are still several bugs need
fixing and a large number of exciting features need implementing,
which include:

1. The current implementation of configuring torrc file is very
rudimentary. The anon-connection-wizard should read the previous
bridge/proxy configuration from the file and adjust the default UI
accordingly. Just like what Tor Launcher has been doing. The "edit
marker approach" is preferred way to implement this:
2. The password for proxy setting should be covered by character *

The redesign of the anon-connection-wizard:
I have made a specific proposal for this topic, which can be found
The redesign should at least includes:
1. Rearranging the instruction page orders for better usability;
2. Rewriting the literal instruction so that it fits the actual
situation of people in censored areas;
3. Adding more features to the custom Tor bridges configuration input
box for more clear instruction. For example, syntax highlight,
tool-tips, etc;
4. Doing user behavior experiment to find out what can be helpful for
better usability;
5. Modifying the anon-connection-wizard based on the result of the

> # Timeline
> Show that you understand the problem, have a solution, have also 
> broken it down into manageable parts, and that you have a
> realistic plan on how to accomplish your goal.

Here you set expectations, so don’t make promises you can’t keep. A
modest, realistic and detailed timeline is better than promising the

Since the specific dates may be changed with the undecided working
schedule. I arrange my timeline in a week unit.

Week 1:
The password for proxy setting should be covered by character *.

Week 2:
Implement the "edit marker approach".

Week 3:
Rewriting the literal instruction so that it fits the actual situation
of people in censored areas.

Week 4:
Generate ideas on redesigning the anon-continence-wizard users
interface, basing on the recommendations from outside sources,
problems discussed above and suggestions from other people. Present
the planning redesign to public to receive feedback.

Week 5:
Rearranging the instruction page orders for better usability;
Rewriting the literal instruction so that it fits the actual situation
of people in censored areas.

Week 6:
Adding more features to the custom Tor bridges configuration input box
for more clear instruction. For example, syntax highlight, tool-tips, et

Week 7:
Prepare for the user behavior experiment, including recruitment and
setting up environment.

Week 8:
Conduct the experiment.

Week 9:
Process and analysis the experiment data.

Week 10:
Write the research report.

Week 11:
Modifying the anon-connection-wizard based on the result of the

Week 12:
Modifying the anon-connection-wizard based on the result of the

> If you have other commitments during GSoC, such as a job,
> vacation, exams, internship, seminars, or papers to write, disclose
> them here.

I am going to be enrolled for the Summer 2017 semester that begins May
22nd and ends June 23th at XXX University. I am going to take two
classes from Monday to Friday for each week during the Summer
semester. One will be from 3:20PM to 5:00PM (UTC) and another one will
be from 7:00PM to 8:40PM (UTC).

> GSoC should be treated like a full-time job, and we will expect 
> approximately 40 hours of work per week. If you have conflicts, 
> explain how you will work around them. If you are found to have 
> conflicts which you did not disclose, you may be failed.

The sum of the time I will be in class for each weekday will be 3
hours and 20 minute which is totally fine to me. My current overall
GPA is 4.0/4.0 which may help to prove I can handle my school study
well. According to Google Summer of Code timeline, the “[c]oding
officially begins” at May 30th which means there will be approximate
three weeks that I have both school study and Google Summer of Code.

To work around it, I have came up with three plans which either of
them is fine to my potential mentor:
1. Since I have been familiar with the contributing workflow for
Whonix, I do not have to spend a lot of time to get used to it.
Therefore I can use the “Community Bonding Period” which is from May
4th to May 30th to do the real coding for the project;
2. I can also keep committing to the project during each weekend from
now on before May 4th . This is also a way to work around the time
3. If I am expected to code only during the official timeline, I can
spend 5 hours each day during the weekdays and spend 8 hours each day
during the weekends.

> Open and clear communication is of utmost importance. Include your 
> plans for communication in your proposal; daily if possible.

I agree that “[o]pen and clear communication is of utmost importance”.
This is because of two main reasons from my point of view. First, a
successful free and open source software development heavily relies on
the collaboration between different people. A good communication skill
will create a positive and supportive atmosphere which not only make
everyone works for it more efficient but also attracts more people to
join the development. Second, feedback from others, especially mentor,
can be extremely beneficial to a student’s progress. Without the
feedback, it may take a student years until one day after a
frustrating debugging process to realize a mistake he/she made; while
he/she may realize several mistakes he/she made almost immediately
from his/her mentor’s feedback.

I have already been working on the project with my potential mentor
Patrick Schleizer. A small part of our open communication can be found
which may be helpful to prove we have been having an open and clear

My plan is to take the [Whonix Forum](https://forums.whonix.org/) as
the daily communication platform with my potential mentor Patrick. And
just like what I have been doing, I will also post a detailed progress
report for each working period which is no more than a week. I can
definitely send the posts to the tor-dev mailing list if it is
considered as a good idea.

> # About me
> Provide your contact information

Currently, people can contact me through the following ways:
1. Email: irykoon at gmail dot com GPG:
2. Github: @irykoon
3. Whonix Forum: @iry

I will inform the public if there is any change to my contact informatio

> and write a few sentences about you and why you think you are the 
> best for this job.

As one who was living in oppressive area, I deeply understand the
importance of Internet freedom to a society. At first, I merely
considered Internet freedom as fighting against Internet censorship.
However, after a large amount of observation, reading and reflection,
I realized that the self-censorship conducted by every scared citizens
was much more powerful and terrible than the censorship conducted by
the outside world. It was at that moment I realized the online
anonymity was a vital component to Internet freedom because it frees
people from fear.

I value Tor/Whonix. Without it, I couldn't have been freed from the
fear and explored the world freely and finally became who I am today.

Therefore, contributing to Tor/Whonix as a career is not only a
dream that I have been fighting for, but also an essential approach to
my self-actualization.

> Prior contributions are helpful; list your commits.

The followings are my pull requests on GitHub to the Whonix:
1. [Basic features
2. [Pluggable transport
3. [A proposal for redesigning anon-connection-wizard for better
4. [Port from Python2 to Python3.4 & from PyQt4 to

The following is my proposal for the redesign of anon-connection-wizard:

> Name people (other developers, students, professors) who can act
> as a reference for you. Mention your field of study if necessary.

My potential mentor, Patrick Schleizer, can be a reference for me. He
is a core developer of the Whonix Project,

> Other things to think about: * Are you comfortable working 
> independently under a supervisor or mentor who is several thousand 
> miles away, and perhaps 12 time zones away? How will you work with 
> your mentor to track your work? Have you worked in this style 
> before?

Yes! I have been interacting, working and learning in this style with
my potential mentor and I am really comfortable with that.

> * If your native language is not English, are you comfortable 
> working closely with a supervisor whose native language is
> English? What is your native language, as that may help us find a
> mentor who has the same native language?

Both my potential mentor Patrick and I can communicate in English. So
there is no problem with that.



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