[tor-project] Cloud Compute Resources for Tor Browser

Shari Steele ssteele at riseup.net
Fri Aug 18 16:20:18 UTC 2017

> On Aug 18, 2017, at 9:00 AM, Tom Ritter <tom at ritter.vg> wrote:
> As we wrap up the GSOC, I wanted to do a retrospective on the Tor
> Browser development process for new people.
> Basically, building Tor Browser is difficult from a setup perspective
> (we're always working on making it easier, but it's still not trivial)
> and it's difficult from a resource perspective - it can take a long
> time to build Tor Browser. You can easy have a day where if you get
> two compiles in - that's a good day.  Couple that with the trial and
> error process that new people usually have with a software project -
> and you have a pretty high barrier to entry.
> The experience with nmago this past summer illustrated how important
> this is. I estimate he would have been able to accomplish 33% to 50%
> more than he was able to accomplish if he had both a faster machine
> and a pre-set-up build environment.
> What I'd like to do to improve this situation is to provide a
> development instance on EC2. We can publish an image that anyone can
> run on their own and do development in. They would have to pay their
> own money to run the machine, while the host org (Tor or me) would pay
> a small cost each month to provide the image (I think <$3/month).
> Furthermore, I'd like Tor Project to _fund_ this development image for
> future GSOC people and potentially others on a case by case basis.
> GSOC is finishing, so this isn't an actual request to pay any money
> now. But I think we should in the future.
> Right now, the cost to reserve a single machine for an entire year is
> 2248.28. If we only did on-demand it would be 825.72 for 3 months.
> There is no reason we couldn't have multiple people using a single
> machine; aside from if two people compile at the same time they'll be
> fighting for resources. Depending on how often it is used this may not
> matter or it may matter a lot.
> Obviously we don't trust cloud images, but this is for developing
> patches which will receive code review. There is no real trust here,
> unless the user does something silly like put their ssh keys on it,
> which they should not.
> -tom

Hey Tom.
Can you be more specific about the actual costs?  Are you saying that for all of our GSOC interns combined, we'd need to pay one single charge of $825.72 to get 3 months plus the approximately $3/month over the course of the year?  Or would the $825.72 charge be for each GSOC intern?  We could probably manage the former but not the latter.

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