[tor-dev] GSoC 2017 - Project "Crash Reporter for Tor Browser"

Georg Koppen gk at torproject.org
Sun Mar 26 15:23:00 UTC 2017

Tom Ritter:
> Hi Nur-Magomed,
> Great to have you interested in this!
> So we would want to use the Crash Reporter that's built into Mozilla
> Firefox (which is called Breakpad, and is adapted from Chromium).  At
> a high level, I would break down the project into the following
> sections:

Those look all good to me. I just have one small addition/clarification

> 1) Get the crash reporter built (at all) in our toolchain. We
> currently disable it and I know there will be at least one or two
> hurdles to overcome here as we've never tried to built this on
> Linux-for-Windows.  If you wish you could focus on a single platform
> for this at a time (e.g. Linux) so you can move onto the next step.
> 2) Audit the crash reporter data and see what it is that gets
> reported, when, and how. We'd want to err on the side of caution about
> what we report in a dump. So we'd need to enumerate each field that
> gets reported, get some samples of the data, and review if we'd want
> to include it or not. We'd also want to review what prefs govern crash
> submissions, how crashes get stored (which I think is on-disk next to
> Tor Browser), and when they get reported.
> 3) Change the way they get reported. We absolutely cannot have crashes
> sitting around on disk next to Tor Browser for the next time the user
> starts the browser - no matter how much data we strip out of them. So
> we'll need to brainstorm how we might try submitting them immediately
> upon crash instead of next startup.

Even though it seems to me the critical UX part is implicit in the
section above, I thought it might be better to point it out explicitly
as well:

We should have a good user interface ready giving the user at least an
explanation on what is going on and a way to check what is about to be sent.


> 4) Get a submission server running. Mozilla has a ton of tools to
> analyze crashes (https://crash-stats.mozilla.org/home/product/Firefox
> is one and https://github.com/mozilla/socorro is the general backend).
> We should look at Socorro and probably adapt it for use by Tor rather
> than building our own.
> 5) Circle back and get the crash reporter built reproducibly, and for
> all platforms. I put this one last because it may be the case that
> there are annoying time-sinks here, and I think by doing this last
> you'll be able to make the most headway on things that will take the
> most time - like enumerating, documenting, and evaluating the fields;
> and fiddling with Socorro.
> This is my take on it - Georg may have additional thoughts.
> -tom

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