[tor-project] July and August 2019 report for the Tor Browser team

Georg Koppen gk at torproject.org
Thu Sep 5 10:22:00 UTC 2019

Hello everyone!

We'll do the monthly reporting this time a bit different in covering the
last two months instead of just the last one.

During this period we made three releases: Tor Browser 8.5.4[1],
9.0a4[2], and 9.0a5[3].

The first two were regular maintenance releases picking up latest
security improvements in Firefox 60.8.0esr and adding a fundraising
banner. 9.0a4 started to ship with aarch64 support for Android for the
first time and due to a bug in our version codes[4] we needed to release
9.0a5 afterwards to get a roll out actually happening on Google Play.

It turns out supporting aarch64 properly is much harder than thought
with an "old" Firefox ESR 60 branch, as we were and are still working on
follow-up crashes on that platform which are now unfortunately affecting
our stable users as well[5][6].

Besides that the whole team was essentially busy preparing our first
alpha release based on Firefox 68 ESR and we are happy to announce that
we are about to get it finally out (boklm is publishing the release
while I am writing this status report). It's been a huge effort
comprising rebasing all of our patches, adapting our toolchains across
all platforms to new Firefox requirements and porting our extensions
over to make them compatible with the new ESR series.

The full list of tickets closed by the Tor Browser team in July and
August is accessible using the `TorBrowserTeam201907`[7] and
`TorBrowserTeam201908`[8] keywords in our bug tracker.

For September we'll stabilize all aspects of Tor Browser 9: Above all we
have reproducibility issues still open on many platforms[9][10][11] and
most of our toolchains still need slight adjustments.[12]
In addition to that a number of important issues besides toolchain and
reproducibility improvements have already piled up for Tor Browser 9 and
we plan to tackle them in the coming weeks as well. We have the
`tbb-9.0-must-alpha` keyword in our bug tracker for those.[13]
Additionally, for anyone following along at home, we have issues related
to Firefox 68 ESR tagged with the `ff68-esr` keyword for easier
assessment of the overall transition situation.[14]

Besides ESR transition work we hope to find time to work on the updater
for Tor Browser nightly desktop builds.[15] Not having an updater for
this channel is currently a major blocker from getting early adopters to
test out our nightly builds and iterate quicker over new features and

All tickets on our radar for this month can be seen with the
`TorBrowserTeam201909` keyword in our bug tracker.[16]


[1] https://blog.torproject.org/new-release-tor-browser-854
[2] https://blog.torproject.org/new-release-tor-browser-9.0a4
[3] https://blog.torproject.org/new-release-tor-browser-9.0a5
[4] https://bugs.torproject.org/31260
[5] https://bugs.torproject.org/31140
[6] https://bugs.torproject.org/31616
[9] https://bugs.torproject.org/31618
[10] https://bugs.torproject.org/31538
[11] https://bugs.torproject.org/31564
[12] https://bugs.torproject.org/30320
[15] https://bugs.torproject.org/18867

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