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Re: [tor-talk] Tor Relay Smartphone App

Casey Rodarmor wrote:
I totally want one now. I am all for worldwide splendidness.
I think a super worthy project might be to design and sell a minimum
spec/size/power/price box pre-loaded with tor relay software.

When I was working on Commotion [1], we had a few of these to run local applications on our mesh networks -- they were really reliable and withstood some serious abuse, which is why I recommend them. But a couple of years ago, I bought a $35 refurbished Dell desktop with 1GB ram and ~1ghz processor, and it ran Tor relays beautifully. One of the main benefits of the software is that so much work has gone into making it light and compatible with a myriad of systems, so that Tor doesn't *have* to manufacture new hardware. There are lots of issues with hardware projects and it costs an obscene amount of money -- not to mention the implications on security and anonymity that it would introduce.

I do agree that there should be a note about what a base level system looks like. Most of the documentation is in the process of being rewritten, and this would be a great addition. The discussions around what is the ideal minimum for a new tor node to contribute are ongoing, and will impact the recommendations.

Create a disk image of a free operating system that boots and tries to
run the best node it can with whatever hardware it happens to have. It
might also try to upgrade and apply security patches to the operating
system and get the latest version of tor.

This could work, but would need a maintainer. Lots of hosts have pre-made images for other uses, and there are projects like VirtualBoxes[2] that might be good places to distribute these. An easier way would probably be to use something like a python/bash script or an ansible playbook to install dependencies, set permissions, and detect speed to configure the torrc.

Raise as much money for the project as possible. We shall assume that we
are able to raise 1 hojillion US dollars.

Just think of the amazing improvements to software and education we could do with a hojillion dollars! :D

Spam computer manufacturers with the specs from #1

The thing is, the ideal minimum specs to run a tor relay are really low. Anything you can buy that *isn't* a raspi/beaglebone will probably do okay. Even the Novena board can run relays. Even refurbished $35 computers can run relays. This is a long-solved problem. Tor doesn't need to solve it all over again.

Revel in how awesome the internet is.

  Done and done.

* Status light that shows when it's connected to the network, if it's
firewalled, and when there is tor network activity, to debug and give me
the warm fuzzies that I'm helping internet freedom.

James Vasile from OpenITP has a design in mind for a fire display attached to an ARM process. It's not very earth-friendly though ='(

TL;DR: Hardware projects are awful. That way lies dragons.


[1] https://commotionwireless.net/
[2] http://virtualboxes.org/

"I believe that usability is a security concern; systems that do
not pay close attention to the human interaction factors involved
risk failing to provide security by failing to attract users."
~Len Sassaman
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