[tor-talk] TBB - Correct/proper use of TOR_SKIP_LAUNCH=1 ?

Zenaan Harkness zen at freedbms.net
Thu Mar 20 03:43:17 UTC 2014

>From here:

we see addition of
command line option to effect start-tor-browser.

My questions all assume using TBB.

Q1) When is it sensible to use the above TOR_SKIP_LAUNCH=1 option?
For example:
 - when connecting to local always-on relay?
 - when connecting to local sometimes-on relay?
 - when connecting to ones own 'cloud' relay via VPN?
 - when connecting to ones own physical host relay via VPN?
 - when connecting to a friend's home host relay via VPN?

Q2) When connecting to a trusted friend's relay via VPN, what is the
recommended TBB startup config/procedure - I'm thinking of the first
"connection dialog" questions - eg so far I have recommended to my
friends, when starting TBB:
 -> No (isp not block - assuming that's actually true)
 -> No (do not need proxy - unless really needed)
 -> enter relay nickname - in my case gracemissionstor

Is this sensible?

Is it better to figure out the relay key, and write that down or email
etc that to my friends, in place of my relay nickname?

Q3) Does TBB need Tor Control port 9151 in addition to SOCKS port 9150?

Q3b) (similar question) When running through a VPN to trusted host
running a tor relay, must both Tor SOCKS and Control ports be
forwarded, if intending to use this TOR_SKIP_LAUNCH option?

Q4) When running TBB locally, but connecting through a VPN to a
trusted host running a tor relay, what is the recommended connection
setup/settings, eg so you're not running tor over tor (does this make
sense?) - assuming specifying a particular tor relay to connect to?
Or does TBB figure out the right thing to do here?

Q5) When connecting to a trusted friend's relay via the open Internet,
is this what's called using the relay as a "bridge"?

Sorry about all the questions - I have read a lot of the torproject
website, trac tickets and security and other papers in the last few
weeks, trying to get up to speed, but my head is kind of spinning!

On some of these questions I feel unable to advise those I advocate to
on best practice, or even being able to give them or myself certainty
on what is a proper and secure setup, and a not-horribly-inefficient
setup (eg tor over tor) - there are no visual indications by TBB on
these questions except for the big stark "Something went horribly
wrong" warning which TBB displays on some circumstances!

I don't find that helpful to solving these questions/problems above,
although I do acknowledge that such warning is at least a minimally
useful and an entirely necessary thing.

I find the TBB startup dialog/window to be especially "sparse" in
regards to all my questions above!

That is, TBB does not have most of these situations catered for, nor
named, nor even explained when clicking on the "help" button!

So given my local-guru status and the expectations others place on me,
I'm struggling to feel as though I can give _any_ proper advice at the
moment. Perhaps there is some room for an "advanced" TBB startup

If I have simply missed some obvious point of tor documentation,
please let me know and I will gladly spend more time reading.

Thank you very much in advance,

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