[tor-project] [TSoP] stem.client - status report #3

Dave Rolek dmr-x at riseup.net
Mon Jun 25 17:26:27 UTC 2018

Hi everyone!

This is my third status report for the stem.client TSoP project [1].
You may see my previous reports on the tor-project ml. [2][3]

This report comes a bit late - sorry about that!

# Updates

Last week I was feeling ill, so I didn't tackle things quite as big
(long periods of concentration were hard to achieve) nor get quite as
much done.

## stem.client

I pushed things forward a bit on code review [4][5][6], including
branching some discussion/findings out into separate tickets [7][8][9].

Still waiting on some architecture discussion [10].

## stem, general

I did a few small fixes:
* document the --quiet testing flag [11]
* improve reliability of an integration test [12]
* address some linter findings [13]

I also spent some time working on the tox configuration, although that's
not push-ready, so I don't have a reference for that.

## tor protocol, general

Per previous suggestion from Roger, I've been glancing through the
tor-design paper [14][15][16] and updates [17][18][19] while reading the
specification, and that's been helping solidify my understanding.

I neglected to mention in my last update that I brought up handling of
padding bytes [20] at the network-team meeting that week. There's been a
bit of discussion thereon with atagar in the context of stem.client.

# What's next

## stem.client

Per my previous plan, I'll be tackling some
not-so-architecture-dependent changes. Hoping to get some feedback on
the architecture soon, and start implementing some of those changes!

## stem, general

I still have a few 'dev' tickets I'd like to work on. As mentioned
above, I've done some work on improving the tox configuration, so I plan
to wrap that up.

## tor-spec

As aforementioned, I'll push forward on the padding bytes ticket [20]
into a spec change.

# Other Tor things

On the side, I've spent time chatting with a lot of people about tor in
the past few weeks, and it's really cool to see how many people are
interested in it! This has spanned a wide range of professions from
journalists, to artists, to musicians, to librarians, to software
developers, to students, and more (I can't even remember all of it -
lots of informal discussions).

The Tor Browser manual's graphic showing a connection to a website [21]
has been pretty helpful for ad-hoc descriptions. And when I haven't had
paper to draw on, I've used various small objects to cover up parts of
the graphic to contrast Tor with a VPN, and people have been able to
make the mental leap!

One person already came with some pre-existing knowledge of Tor, and so
with him I asked him to explain what he thought Tor was / how it worked
prior to any other input / visual aid (didactic strategy of having
others teach you), and he did a pretty good job! I helped set a few
things straight, but it was cool to know that he'll likely be able to
explain Tor confidently now to anyone else. :)

# Closing

As with before, I've been active and reachable over IRC, where my nick
is dmr. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me via IRC or email!


[4] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26227#comment:7
[5] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26227#comment:9
[6] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26227#comment:13
[7] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26420
[8] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26431
[9] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26432
[10] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26226
[11] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26421
[12] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26225
[13] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26483
[14] https://www.torproject.org/docs/documentation.html.en#DesignDoc
[15] https://svn.torproject.org/svn/projects/design-paper/tor-design.pdf
[20] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/26228
[21] https://tb-manual.torproject.org/en-US/media/how-tor-works.png

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