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Re: Vidalia

On Thu, Jun 01, 2006 at 01:36:39AM -0700, Charles Finley wrote:
> Yes, Ringo, I also wonder why it suddenly changed. I
> never saw any discussion either.

The short answer is that TorCP was (is) rotting beneath us. The
TorCP developers stopped working on it months ago and started Vidalia
instead. Further, TorCP relies on the old deprecated version 0 controller
protocol ( http://tor.eff.org/cvs/tor/doc/control-spec-v0.txt ) which
Tor has not been maintaining well either.

> In my opinion Vidalia has too many bugs to be released
> in a package that is supposed to be stable. If the
> developers want to include an unstable program like
> Vidalia 0.0.4, they should clearly call the
> tor-vidalia-bundle beta, or something more honest than
> stable.

The bundle is not labelled as stable -- Tor is. You can bundle
it with whatever you like. I left a link to the old TorCP bundle on the
download page too, for people who prefer it.

I should note that none of the Tor developers use Windows, so we rely
on our Windows users to make Tor more usable and stable there.

> I immediately went back to using TorCP, as it is
> stable and predictable.
> Vidalia messed up me server settings, and my comments
> I had made in the torrc file.

Ah. That would be Tor that did that. Look for a "torrc.orig.%d"
file nearby, for the backup copy that Tor kept.

When you click 'save' in Vidalia, Vidalia asks Tor to write the new
config to the torrc file.

How's this for a fix: when Tor writes the new torrc file, if it's
replacing an old non-autogenerated torrc, it should include a comment
at the top of the new torrc to go look for the ".orig" file if you want
the old one. Would that have helped to resolve your issue?

More generally, we definitely need to work on usability for servers. It
is still not easy to run a single Tor as both client and server, for
example because the rate limiting kicks in equally for both. That's on
my plate for the 0.1.2 release.

> Vidalia has the potential to become a good program,
> but the decicion to include an unstable release of
> Vidalia together with a stable release of TOR wasn't
> very smart, in my opinion.
> I would appreciate it if the developers continued to
> include TorCP in the bundle, until there is a stable
> Vidalia release where known bugs have been fixed.

We don't consider either TorCP or Vidalia to be stable. We take
what we can get, though.

> Also, it would be good to know why a GUI to TOR is
> called Vidalia? Where is the connection between the
> names? Why was Vidalia chosen as name? My opinion is
> that the name of a GUI should be related to the name
> of the main program. But maybe Vidalia is just a
> temporary GUI, and therefore the good names are saved
> for future GUI releases?


Hope that helps,