why polipo?

Michael Gomboc michael.gomboc at gmail.com
Sat Feb 20 16:03:19 UTC 2010

Thank you Andrew for the nice explication!

2010/2/19 Andrew Lewman <andrew at torproject.org>

> On 02/15/2010 12:09 PM, Michael Gomboc wrote:
> > Why is polipo used and no longer privoxy?
> The first question is, "why a http proxy at all?"
> The answer is, because Firefox SOCKS layer has hard-coded timeouts, and
> other issues, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=280661.
> Personally, I don't use an http proxy, I simply let my browser talk to
> tor via socks directly.  The user experience sucks, because you'll
> receive untold numbers of "The connection has timed out" warnings,
> because firefox won't wait for Tor to build a circuit.  Chrome, Safari,
> and Arora (amongst others) don't have this problem.
> Once Firefox fixes bug 280661, we don't need a http proxy at all.
> However, given the current pace of progress on 280661, we may switch to
> Chrome before the fix occurs.
> The second question is, "why switch from privoxy to polipo?"
> Privoxy is fine filtering software that works well for what is it
> intended to do.  However, it's user experience is lacking due to it
> lacking a few features, namely, http 1.1 pipelining, caching most
> requested objects, and it needs to see the entire page to parse it,
> before sending it on to the browser.  Lack of these three features is
> the reason we switched from privoxy to polipo.
> We've received plenty of feedback that browsing with polipo in place of
> privoxy "feels faster".  The feedback indicates that because polipo
> streams the content to the browser for rendering nearly as fast as it
> receives it from Tor, the user understands what's going on and will
> start to read the web page as it loads.  Privoxy, necesarily, will load
> the entire page, parse it for items to be filtered, and then send the
> page on to the browser.  The user experience, especially on a slow
> circuit, is that nothing happens, the browser activity icon spins
> forever, and suddenly a page appears many, many seconds later.
> If Tor was vastly faster, privoxy's mode of operation wouldn't matter.
> We're working on making Tor faster.  However, purposely showing the user
> how slow tor can be with privoxy was a huge point of complaint, and not
> what we intended to do.
> Does polipo have some bugs?  Sure.  Chrisd primarily, among others, is
> working on fixing them.  At the current rate of progress on firefox bug
> 280661, we'll have polipo fixed before mozilla releases the SOCKS layer
> fix.  Chrisd even wrote Mozilla a patch and submitted it on the bug.
> The final point is that this is all free software.  You are in control.
>  If you don't like polipo, but do like privoxy, then don't install
> polipo and use privoxy.
> The power of choice is yours.
> --
> Andrew Lewman
> The Tor Project
> pgp 0x31B0974B
> Website: https://torproject.org/
> Blog: https://blog.torproject.org/
> Identi.ca: torproject
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Michael Gomboc
pgp-id: 0x5D41FDF8
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