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[tor-talk] Tor Weekly News â June 4th, 2014

Tor Weekly News                                           June 4th, 2014

Welcome to the twenty-second issue of Tor Weekly News in 2014, the
weekly newsletter that covers what is happening in the Tor community.

Tails moves to Wheezy

The Tails live systemÂ[1] is a Debian derivativeÂ[2] aiming at
preserving the privacy and anonymity of its users.

The first Tails releases were based on Debian LennyÂ[3] (2009-2012);
since version 0.7, Tails has been based on Debian SqueezeÂ[4] (2011-).
Meanwhile, Debian has released a new stable version dubbed WheezyÂ[5],
and the upcoming Tails 1.1 will be the first release to be based on the

The general set of features should not change much from the previous
Tails release, but almost every software component has been updated. On
May 30th, the Tails team released a beta imageÂ[6]; given the number of
changes, testing is even more welcome than usual.

Testers can also try out the new UEFI support, which enables Tails to
boot on recent hardware and on Macs.

Several issuesÂ[7] with the current beta image have already been
identified, so be sure to have a look at the list before reportingÂ[8].

The details of the release schedule are still being discussedÂ[9] at the
time of writing, but Tails 1.1 is likely to be out by the end of July.
Please help make it a great release!


Stem 1.2 brings interactive interaction with the Tor daemon

On June 1st, Damian Johnson announcedÂ[10] the release of StemÂ[11] 1.2.
Stem is a Python library for interacting with the Tor daemon. It is now
used by several applicationsÂ[12] like the armÂ[13] status monitor and
Philipp Winterâs exit scannerÂ[14].

The new version brings an interactive control interpreter, âa new method
for interacting with Torâs control interface that combines an
interactive python interpreter with raw access similar to telnetâ. This
should make Tor hackers happy by saving them from having to manually
poke the control port through telnet or create complete Stem scripts.

For the complete list of changes, head over to the changelogÂ[15].


Monthly status reports for May 2014

The wave of regular monthly reports from Tor project members for the
month of May has begun. Pearl Crescent released their report firstÂ[16],
followed by Sherief AlaaÂ[17], Damian JohnsonÂ[18], Nick MathewsonÂ[19],
Colin C.Â[20], Georg KoppenÂ[21], LunarÂ[22], Arlo BreaultÂ[23], and
Matt PaganÂ[24].

Lunar also reported on behalf of the help deskÂ[25], while Arturo
Filastà did likewise for the OONI teamÂ[26], and Mike Perry for the Tor
Browser teamÂ[27].


Miscellaneous news

Pups, a chat system implemented by Sherief Alaa for real-time
invitation-based user support, has gone liveÂ[28], and can now be used
by Torâs support assistants when that method promises a quicker
resolution of an issue.


In response to a question about the writing of unit tests for tor, Nick
Mathewson sharedÂ[29] a brief guide to identifying lines in torâs
codebase that have not yet been covered by tests.


Nick also put out a call (relayed by Moritz BartlÂ[30]) for Tor relay
operators running version or later to profile their
relays, in order to identify potential bottlenecks. Basic instructions
for doing so on Debian and Ubuntu can be found in the comments to the
relevant ticketÂ[31].


During a discussion on the role of JavaScript hooks in Tor Browser, Mike
Perry clarifiedÂ[32] the merits of writing direct C++ Firefox patches
over using such hooks, as well as the possibility of incorporating
Torbuttonâs privacy features into either Firefox itself or a dedicated


Andrew Lewman reportedÂ[33] on his trip to Stockholm to address Sida and
the Stockholm Internet Forum.


Juha Nurmi sent the second weekly reportÂ[34] for the ahmia.fi Google
Summer of Code project.


Marc Juarez is working on website fingerprinting countermeasures in the
form of a pluggable transport. Marc wants to âimplement a set of
primitives that any link padding-based defense would benefit ofâ and is
looking for feedbackÂ[35] on the envisaged primitives.


Philipp Winter announcedÂ[36] that AtlasÂ[37], the web application to
learn about currently running Tor relays, will now display information
about a relayâs IPv6 exit policy, as well as the already-existing IPv4
exit summary.


Tor help desk roundup

Sometimes users with no network obstacles will email the help desk to
ask how to configure their Tor Browser. Often these users will not need
to configure anything, and clicking âConnectâ is all that is necessary.
Discussion on this problem is taking place on the bug trackerÂ[38].


Easy development tasks to get involved with

The bridge distributor BridgeDBÂ[39] populates its database from the
cached descriptor files copied over from the bridge authority. Thereâs a
small bugÂ[40] in BridgeDB where a line that is included in two
different cached descriptor files gets added twice to the database. The
ticket says this bug is easily reproducible and even contains commands
for reproducing it. If you enjoy digging into unknown Python/Twisted
codebases to find the few spots that need fixing, this bug may be for
you. Be sure to comment on the ticket when you have a fix!


Upcoming events

June  4 18:00 UTC | Tor Weather development meeting
                  | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                  | https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-June/006937.html
June  4 19:00 UTC | little-t tor development meeting
                  | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                  | https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-June/006938.html
June  6 15:00 UTC | Tor Browser online meeting
                  | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                  | https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tbb-dev/2014-April/000049.html
June  6 16:00 UTC | Pluggable transports online meeting
                  | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                  | https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-April/006764.html
June  7 19:00 CDT | Colin @ CryptoParty, Winnipeg
                  | SkullSpace, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
                  | http://wiki.skullspace.ca/index.php/CryptoParty
June 11 19:00 UTC | Tails contributors meeting
                  | #tails-dev, irc.oftc.net
                  | https://mailman.boum.org/pipermail/tails-dev/2014-May/005818.html

This issue of Tor Weekly News has been assembled by harmony, Lunar,
Matt Pagan and Karsten Loesing.

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[41], write down your
name and subscribe to the team mailing listÂ[42] if you want to
get involved!


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