[tor-project] March 2017 Report for the Tor Browser Team

Georg Koppen gk at torproject.org
Wed Apr 5 12:16:00 UTC 2017

Hi all!

In March we made three releases, Tor Browser 6.5.1[1], 7.0a2[2], and

Tor Browser 6.5.1 was the first point release in the 6.5 series fixing
mainly regressions we found after 6.5 got out and containing version
bumps to a variety of our components to close security holes. We needed
to put some effort into creating a new patch for our W^X JIT
implementation as the backported patch we used got broken by a security fix.

The alpha and the hardened releases shipped tor but included
otherwise nearly the same changes as the stable one.

Besides work related to our releases we focused mainly on making our
build system faster and more scalable[4], and on moving to Firefox ESR
52[6]. We organized our tickets in a way that blockers for our switch to
ESR 52 in our nightly builds were easily visible by using the keyword
`tbb-7.0-must-nightly`. We solved all of them and are about to start
nightly builds with a browser based on ESR 52. Bundles should be
available from tomorrow on.[6] We made further progress on our build
system improvements as well and nightly builds using rbm, our new
reproducible builds manager, should be available this month, too.[7]

The full list of tickets closed by the Tor Browser team in March is
accessible using the TorBrowserTeam201703 tag in our bug tracker[8].

In April we plan to get a set of new releases out (6.5.2, 7.0a3, and
7.0a3-hardened) and focus on getting the alpha series into a stable
shape. We have created special keywords to track both the work needed
for the alpha and the work to get it stablilized while retaining all the
properties outlined in our design documentation. Those keywords are:
`tbb-7.0-must-alpha` and `tbb-7.0-must`. If there is time left we plan
to work further on making our build system faster and more scalable. We
intend to set up regular nightly builds which would allow us to quantify
the build time improvements we expect from the new build infrastructure.[9]

All tickets on our radar for this month can be seen with the
TorBrowserTeam201704 tag in our bug tracker.[10]


[1] https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-651-released
[2] https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-70a2-released
[3] https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-70a2-hardened-released
[4] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/17379
[5] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/query?keywords=~ff52-esr
[6] https://people.torproject.org/~linus/builds/
[7] See https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/17379 and child
[9] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/21286

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