Benjamin Schieder


2005 December 21

A week ago I started using The onion router (tor) because of the sudden increase in Bogons being measured in the EU.

Step 1 - Installing tor

Installing tor was quite straight forward. I packaged tor, privoxy and tsocks for ROCK Linux and installed them. Followed the installation instructions and had it up and running in less than 30 minutes including compilation.
Sadly, the tsocks configuration that comes with tor is incomplete so I had to add a line there to get it to work:

local =

Step 2 - Webbrowsing

I pointed my browser to the locally running Privoxy (formerly known as Internet Junk Buster) and surfed away. Or so I thought.
After browsing a few pages I disabled the filtering options in Privoxy because it's way too greedy. Lots of buttons are missing, tons of images don't load anymore, iframes went missing (and some of the pages I visit use them) and so on.
Also, some pages block certain features for tor users. You can't vote anymore on slashdot, for example.
But what really annoyed me was the speed. Or lack thereof. I could make lunch ready while waiting for my daily webcomics to load. After about five minutes of waiting I canceled all loading, switched off privoxy and the sites loaded within 10 seconds.
What's also pretty annoying is name resolution. In good times, around 25% of DNS lookups fail. In bad times, 100%.

Step 3 - other programs

Other programs are easily torified. To torify ssh, telnet and irssi just add 'torify' before the commands. With IRC this works pretty nice. Lag times of 2 seconds but that's acceptable for IRC. But I don't recommend tor for interactive commands. Playing SLASH'EM on my server or logging in to the same machine by ssh takes a) ages to enter the interactive session and b) is ass-slow even with compression.


I do realise that tor is development stuff. But I still can't recommend using it for anything else than IRC or sending SPA^W e-mail. It's just unbearable slow, even for a routine paranoid like me living in Orwellian Europe.


Category: blog