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Re: [tor-talk] Invitation to try experimental Snowflake Tor Browser packages

These experimental session persistence features for Snowflake are now
standard in Tor Browser 9.5a13.


To enable Snowflake the first time you run the browser:
 * Click "Configure"
 * Click "Tor is censored in my country"
 * Click "Select a built-in bridge"
 * Select "snowflake" from the menu
If the browser is already running:
 * Go to about:preferences#tor (open the Preferences menu then click Tor
   on the left side)
 * Look at the "Bridges" section
 * Click "Use a bridge"
 * Click "Select a built-in bridge"
 * Select "snowflake" from the menu

Logging is disabled by default. To enable Snowflake logging, edit the
file Browser/TorBrowser/Data/Tor/torrc-defaults (or
Contents/Resources/TorBrowser/Tor/torrc-defaults on Mac) and append the
following options to the ClientTransportPlugin snowflake line:
	-log snowflake-client.log -log-to-state-dir
The log will appear in
Browser/TorBrowser/Data/Tor/pt_state/snowflake-client.log (or

Depending on what kind of NAT you have, it may take several minutes to
connect (or reconnect, when a proxy disappears).

On Wed, Feb 26, 2020 at 11:02:10PM -0700, David Fifield wrote:
> The anti-censorship team is looking for people to try Tor Browser
> packages built from an experimental branch of Snowflake that is supposed
> to make Snowflake more reliable. There are two versions; you can try
> either one or both of them. If you have feedback, tell us whether you
> are using the "kcp" or "quic" version.
> What's different about these experimental packages? As you may know,
> Snowflake is already part of alpha Tor Browser. Snowflake works by
> routing your connection through temporary proxies before they reach a
> bridge, but until now there wasn't a way to switch to a new proxy when
> the one you are using stops working--the connection would just stop
> working. These packages solve the problem by putting a session protocol
> under the temporary Snowflake layer. (That's why there are two options.
> We are testing two session protocols: KCP and QUIC.) If you are curious
> about the background:
> https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/anti-censorship-team/2020-February/000074.html
> https://bugs.torproject.org/33336
> https://github.com/net4people/bbs/issues/9
> These special packages are made not to auto-update until 2020-04-23.
> After that, they will update and become a normal Tor Browser alpha.
> What to expect. You should be able to use these browsers all day without
> the connection breaking. The speed of the Snowflake connection depends
> on the temporary proxy you get assigned. If you think you have a slow
> proxy, try this trick: go to about:preferences#tor, switch to obfs4 for
> 1 second, then switch back to snowflake. That will restart the pluggable
> transport and give you a chance at a different proxy. It takes 30
> seconds to detect a failed proxy. So if your proxy dies, it will be at
> least 30 seconds before your connection starts working again. It may be
> even longer than that, if you happen to be assigned another bad proxy
> right away. You can see what's going on by watching the log file:
> 	linux:   Browser/TorBrowser/Data/Tor/pt_state/snowflake-client.log
> 	windows: Browser\TorBrowser\Data\Tor\pt_state\snowflake-client.log
> 	mac: Tor Browser.app/Contents/Resources/TorBrowser/Tor/pt_state/snowflake-client.log
> Here's a guide to reading the log file:
> Traffic Bytes (in|out): 0 | 972
> Traffic Bytes (in|out): 52457 | 7270
> 	If the number on the left stays at 0, the proxy isn't working.
> 	If it's nonzero, the proxy is working.
> WebRTC: No messages received for 30s -- closing stale connection
> redialing on same connection
> 	This means that your proxy died and the system is switching to a
> 	new one.
> It's possible to run multiple Tor Browsers at the same time, if you want
> to run one of these Snowflake browsers alongside your normal Tor
> Browser, or run the "kcp" and "quic" versions at the same time. I posted
> instructions to https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/anti-censorship-team/2020-February/000074.html
> but the short summary is you have to set a couple of environment
> variables:
> 	TOR_SOCKS_PORT=9250 TOR_CONTROL_PORT=9251 ./start-tor-browser.desktop
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