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[tor-talk] Tor Weekly News â February 26th, 2014

Tor Weekly News                                      February 26th, 2014

Velkomin to the eighth issue of Tor Weekly News in 2014, the weekly
newsletter that covers what is happening in the Tor community.

News from the 2014 Winter Developersâ Meeting in ReykjavÃk

Since 2010, the Tor Projectâs core contributors have tried to meet twice
a year to enjoy the pleasure of each otherâs company and move projects
forward through face-to-face discussions and hacking time. This year,
close to forty people attended the â2014 winter dev. meetingâÂ[1], which
was held in ReykjavÃk, Iceland.

The team discussed over forty topics ranging from organizational matters
to highly technical design decisions. Among the highlights: many
sessions were focused on discussing and producing roadmaps â a mid-term
vision for the Tor BrowserÂ[2], a step-by-step plan for the Tor Instant
Messaging BundleÂ[3], detailed ideas for new bridge bundlesÂ[4], ways to
solve the research problems around guard nodesÂ[5], and how to plan
little-t tor releasesÂ[6].

The meeting also enabled cross-team communication: pluggable transports
developers were able to discuss integration into the Tor BrowserÂ[7] and
the lifecycle of recommended transportsÂ[8], while the Tor Browser group
and the support teams met to see how to improve communications on both
sidesÂ[9]. One outcome is a plan to remix existing documentation to
create the Tor Browser User ManualÂ[10].

Two days of intense discussion were followed by hands-on sessions which
saw their fair share of hacking and write-upsÂ[11].

Some of the minutes are still missing, but there is already plenty to
read. Now that the developers have had to stop contemplating the
Northern LightsÂ[12], some discussionsÂ[13] are already continuing on
the projectâs various mailing lists. Stay tuned!


Miscellaneous news

Karsten Loesing announcedÂ[14] an IRC meeting to discuss the next steps
for the rewrite of Tor Weather, to be held on the OFTC #tor-dev channel
on Wednesday 26th February at 18:00 UTC. âTopics include reporting
progress made since the last meeting two weeks ago, making plans for the
next week, and possibly turning this project into a GSoC projectâ.


Nick Mathewson announcedÂ[15] the start of a weekly Tor developerâs
meeting, to be held on the OFTC #tor-dev channel, âfor working on the
program âtorâ. (This wonât cover all the other programs developed under
the Tor umbrella.)â.


The Tails developers will be holdingÂ[16] their next contributorsâ
meeting on the OFTC #tails-dev channel at 9pm UTC on March 5th;
âeveryone interested in contributing to Tails is welcome.â.


Andrew Lewman submitted his monthly status report for JanuaryÂ[17], and
also wrote up a report of his involvement in the recent Boston


Alexander Dietrich publishedÂ[19] a multi-instance init script for Tor
(âbasically the current official init script and torservers.netâs
âinstancesâ mechanism frankensteined togetherâ, in Alexanderâs words) in
response to a recent discussion on tor-relaysÂ[20].


Responding to a message from someone interested in writing a DNS-based
pluggable transport, George Kadianakis suggestedÂ[21] several ways in
which the existing obfsproxy code could be reworked to accommodate this.


George also recommendedÂ[22] that operators of obfs3 or ScrambleSuit
bridges install the python-gmpy package on their relays, as it can
significantly increase the speed of some cryptographic operations.


Jens Kubieziel wrote upÂ[23] the results of an attempt to determine
whether the recent transition between the TAP and NTor handshake
protocols is connected to some usersâ reports of hidden service


Max Jakob Maass publishedÂ[24] the preliminary results of a test in
which the RIPE Atlas measurement API was used to retrieve the SSL
certificate of torproject.org from as many countries as possible in
order to detect attempted attacks or censorship, and wondered whether it
might be worth running such a test on a regular basis.


With regard to a coming redesign of the âVolunteersâ section on the Tor
Projectâs website, Moritz Bartl wrote up a list of proposed volunteer
categories that was the fruit of a brainstorming session at the Tor
developersâ meeting, and asked for suggestionsÂ[25] of âobviousâ missing
sections, as well as âacceptably-licensedâ graphics that could serve as
icons for each category.


Nathan Freitas wroteÂ[26] from the Tor developersâ meeting with a
request for help in compiling âuser storiesâ on the Tor wiki: that is,
stories of the form âa [type of Tor user] wants to [some feature of a
Tor app] in order to [some reason related to security, privacy,
etc]âÂ[27]. If you have any to add, please write them up on the
dedicated wiki page!


Yawning Angel sent outÂ[28] a draft of a proposal to âextend the SOCKS5
protocol when communicating with pluggable transports to allow passing
more per-bridge meta-data to the transport and returning more meaningful
connection failure response codes back to Torâ.


Josh Ayers wroteÂ[29] to the Tor-ramdisk list suggesting possible ways
to ensure that sufficient entropy is available to the kernel by the time
tor-ramdisk generates its long-term keys.


Tor help desk roundup

A common question the help desk receives is how to respond to the Tor
Browser Bundleâs download warning message. The message indicates that
the Tor Browser Bundle only routes browser traffic through Tor, not
traffic from any other application. For example, a PDF file that
connects automatically to a URL will not route its traffic through Tor
if the file is opened with an external application. An open bug ticket
for improving this warning message has more information about the


Upcoming events

Feb 26 18:00 UTC | Tor Weather development meeting
                 | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
Feb 28 17:00 UTC | Pluggable Transports development meeting
                 | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
Mar 01 10:00 EST | Andrew @ Boston/Cambridge Countersurveillance DiscoTech
                 | Boston, Massachusetts, USA
                 | https://surveillance.hackpad.com/BostonCambridge-Countersurveillance-DiscoTech-lpF9SgcyhR2
Mar 03-07        | Tor @ Financial Cryptography and Data Security 2014
                 | Barbados
                 | http://fc14.ifca.ai/
Mar 05 21:00 UTC | Tails contributorsâ meeting
                 | #tails-dev, oftc.net
Mar 22-23        | Tor @ LibrePlanet 2014
                 | Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
                 | http://libreplanet.org/2014/

This issue of Tor Weekly News has been assembled by harmony, Lunar,
Matt Pagan, Nicolas Vigier, Roger Dingledine, and George Kadianakis.

Want to continue reading TWN? Please help us create this newsletter.
We still need more volunteers to watch the Tor community and report
important news. Please see the project pageÂ[31], write down your
name and subscribe to the team mailing listÂ[32] if you want to
get involved!


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