[tor-reports] February 2015 Report for the Tor Browser Team

Mike Perry mikeperry at torproject.org
Sun Mar 1 06:36:59 UTC 2015

In February, the Tor Browser team released 4.0.4[1] and 4.5-alpha-4[2].

The 4.0.4 release was a point release in the 4.0 stable series, and
updated Firefox to the latest point release on the ESR series. We also
updated NoScript, removed a spurious NoScript menu option[3], and landed
a fix to prevent meek transport users from seeing multiple update
notification windows (due to meek actually running a second instance of
Tor Browser to handle TLS camouflage)[4].

The 4.5-alpha-4 release additionally featured updates to Tor to, fully signed incremental updates, and several
improvements to usability. The usability improvements were driven by the
results of the usability sprint at the end of last month[5]. In
particular, the Torbutton onion menu and related preference windows have
been overhauled to provide more simplicity and more focus[6,7,8,9]. The
onion menu now features a much requested "New Circuit for this site"
option[10], and the security and privacy settings window have been
simplified[11]. For censored users, the first run configuration wizard
was also improved to present the choice of Pluggable Transport before
the local proxy information, in an effort to avoid confusion between
Pluggable Transports and local proxies[12]. The browser now also warns
users before closing their windows on New Identity[13], and informs them
that a restart is needed to enable/disable disk history records[14].  As
can be seen from the changelog on the release post, the release contains
several other usability tweaks and enhancements as well.

With these releases, we also completed our transition away from Erinn
Clark's GPG key for purposes of signing the individual Tor Browser
release files. Both series are now signed with a new Tor Browser key, as
documented on our signature verification page[15]. The new fingerprint
is EF6E 286D DA85 EA2A 4BA7 DE68 4E2C 6E87 9329 8290.

Both the GPG and the update signatures are created using an offline
signing process, as outlined in our Release Process documentation[16].

On the QA and testing front, it is now possible for Tor Browser
developers who have a Tor LDAP account to request automated testing of
their own builds[17]. This process is documented in the Tor Browser
Hacking document[18].

The full list of tickets closed by the Tor Browser team in February can
be seen using the TorBrowserTeam201502 tag on our bug tracker[19].

In March, we will wrap up our work on 4.5-alpha, with one final alpha
release occurring on March 31st. The 4.5 series will then become stable
in mid-April. The list of tickets on our radar for the 4.5 release is
available by viewing the tbb-4.5-alpha tag[20].

As usual, the full list of tickets that the Tor Browser team plans to
work on in March can be seen using the TorBrowserTeam201503 tag on our
bug tracker[21].

1. https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-404-released
2. https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-45a4-released
3. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/14849
4. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/14203
5. https://blog.torproject.org/blog/ux-sprint-2015-wrapup
6. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/11175
7. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/14632
8. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/13406
9. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/5698
10. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/9442
11. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/14630
12. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/13271
13. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/9906
14. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/8400
15. https://www.torproject.org/docs/verifying-signatures.html.en
16. https://gitweb.torproject.org/tor-browser-spec.git/tree/processes/ReleaseProcess
17. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/12222
18. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/TorBrowser/Hacking#Requestingtestingofacustombuildusingthetbb-qa.ymlfile
19. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/query?status=closed&keywords=~TorBrowserTeam201502
20. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/query?keywords=~tbb-4.5-alpha&status=!closed
21. https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/query?keywords=~TorBrowserTeam201502

Mike Perry
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