Matt Edman edmanm at
Thu Jun 1 23:35:40 UTC 2006

Hello, all, from one of the Vidalia developers.

On Jun 1, 2006, at 10:22 AM, Anothony Georgeo wrote:
>> Vidalia messed up me server settings, and my
>> comments I had made in the torrc file.
> When you use Vidalia to cinfigure Tor (ie. to become a
> server) Vidalia updates the torrc file it created with
> this new configuration setting.

This is partially correct. Rather than duplicating Tor's torrc  
parsing and saving logic in Vidalia, we just let Tor handle it itself  
by issuing a SAVECONF (see 
spec.txt for details) when some settings have changed. Roger touched  
on this in an earlier post.

> Note:
> Vidalia seems to use these keys as a 'master' config
> setting and as a 'backup' for the torrc.  If the torrc
> uses the server nic "A" and the reg keys use server
> nic "B" Vidalia will use server nic "B".

These registry keys are used for mostly Vidalia-specific things, such  
as which log messages to display, which lines to display on the  
bandwidth graph, etc. If you run a Tor server with Vidalia, the  
registry keys are also used to store the server-specific Tor  
settings, so that you can change your server's settings even when Tor  
is stopped. When Tor is started, Vidalia checks to see if any of  
these server settings were modified while Tor was stopped and, if  
changes were made, Vidalia tells Tor about the changes and asks Tor  
to save them to its torrc.

We discovered with TorCP that it confused far too many users when we  
had to explain why certain settings (settings we learn from Tor)  
could only be viewed and changed when Tor is running. Again, this is  
because we leave the torrc parsing logic to Tor and simply use their  
simple, easy-to-use interface for learning about some of Tor's  
current settings, and if Tor isn't running, we can't ask it what its  
settings are.

We have had a feature request for Vidalia to not use the registry to  
save these settings, but rather just save them in a .ini file or  
something similar on Windows, so that it's easier for Vidalia to be  
run off a thumb drive. This seems reasonable and I think we're going  
to be able to get to this soon.

> I am very happy with Vidalia and I like where it is
> going; v.0.0.5 looks good.  The creator of Vidalia is
> open to suggestions and feature requests.

We are open to good bug reports, too. We understand there are bugs in  
Vidalia and we have never declared it to be stable, which is why it  
hasn't even graduated past 0.0.x yet. Sadly, many of the bug reports  
we've had have been very vague and haven't included sufficient steps  
or information for us to reproduce, track down, and fix the bugs so  
some are still outstanding. Plus, the reporters seem to disappear  
after adding a bug report, or at least not answer our requests for  
some more information to help track down their bug. So, we'd like to  
know about any bugs anyone finds by adding them to our bugtracker,  
but please include sufficient details to reproduce the problem, or at  
least don't disappear. :)

>   IMO Vidalia is a great GUI with alot of
> potential and an author who is very motivated.

Thanks! We have mostly been motivated thanks to help, feedback, and  
constructive criticism from members of the Tor community and some  
generally nice people who have helped us out. Vidalia is developed by  
just two people who are still students and both have real jobs and  
real lives and a really small amount of spare time. Whenever somebody  
is willing to help us out, we appreciate it! I'm sure the same thing  
can be said for Roger and Nick and the Tor project itself, so I bet  
they'd appreciate some help, too.

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