[graphical gui] Whonix Setup Wizard / Anon Connection Wizard - Technical Discussion

Great idea! Just like what whonix-setup-wizard has been doing.

I like how whonix-setup-wizard shows user the torrc files right before the real connection to the Tor happens. This offers user a feeling of transparency and control to what have been modified by anon-connection-wizard.

I will add a torcr_status page before the Tor status page :slight_smile:

That’s the right question we should ask.

It also depends on what Tor users are expected to use anon-connection-wizard. My first thought is that anon-connection-wizard is for basic/inexperience users to let Tor work.

After all, there are so many different commands in Tor manual and we can not implement all the options without scarifying simplicity.

Experienced users can add their own commands via text editor or torrc status page in anon-connection-wizard.

What do you think? :slight_smile:

Torrc_page has been implemented!

Currently it allows users to view the torrc file.

As Patirck said, it may be a good idea to allowing editing torrc via the little box, too. If we decide to do this, editing function should be disabled by default and only be enabled after users checking a checkbox. Otherwise, inexperience/careless users may accidentally change something in the torrc without noticing.

//cc @Patrick @JasonJAyalaP

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Sadly I speculate most people will be utterly confused if the config
page is shown by default. Thinking they have to do some changes, no idea
what, abort and give up. I fear for usability, best we can do is having
a checkbox for advanced users or a button show config. Even that could
be too much. You tell me.

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Yes, this may happen.

Here are several potential solutions to that problem:

  1. add a sentence in torrc_page, saying “The following is for experienced users to have a general view of torrc file. It does not matter if you do not know what this mean, just hit the Next button.”
  2. add a checkbox on the first page, saying “[advanced only] I want to have a look at the torrc file before connecting to the Tor network”, and unchecked by defualt.
  3. add a button to show the torrc file.
  4. do nothing about showing users the torrc file.

We may adopt the solution 1 and 2 at the same time.

For solution 3, the tricky thing is where we should place the button. It can be confusing if it appears on every page. But it also does not make sense to appear on one specific page.

That is true. I will try to get the answer! :slight_smile:




  • implemented edit mark approach
  • minor GUI changes
  • added a help button on proxy page
  • added an option on censorship circumvention tools options page

Could you review this please? @JasonJAyalaP

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New changes:

  • update assistance message
  • commented out an option for not using bridges
  • update URL for obtaining bridges
  • proxy password masked


  • come up with an instruction for the help button on the proxy page (just like what bridge page’s help button doing)
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The following is a brief instruction on how to set up a anon-connection-wizard testing environment on Whonix13:

  1. create a new whonix-gateway vm
  2. install dependecies:
    sudo apt-get install python3-yaml python3-pyqt5 python3-stem python-guimessages
  3. copy anon-connection-wiazard.py and tor_status.py to /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/
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Whonix 14 release is at least 1 month if not more away.

How are our chances for torrc.d support in Tor from a Tor version from deb.torproject.org Tor stable stretch repository? Perhaps we have a chance to not need to ship the edit marker approach?

And if we need to ship the edit marker approach we need to plan ahead how to migrate to torrc.d. (Just take the edit marker block and move it to its own file?)

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cypherpunks answered in the ticket:

The first released tor version with this feature is
As usual there will be alpha packages on deb.torproject.org

If you want this feature now you can use the nightly builds:

Yes, this will be the best case.

I tried the torrc.d style support but failed. The following is what I did:

  1. out commented the #deb http://deb.torproject.org/torproject.org tor-nightly-master-jessie main
    in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/torproject.list
  2. sudo apt-get update to update Tor to nightly version
  3. tor --version: Tor version (git-a73d0fe9a87df762+b433dff).
  4. sudo mkdir /etc/tor/services-available
  5. sudo cp anon-connection-wizard.torrc /etc/tor/services-available/
  6. sudo mkdir /etc/tor/services-enable
  7. sudo ln -s /etc/tor/services-available/anon-connection-wizard.torrc /etc/tor/services-enable/anon-connection-wizard.torrc
  8. reload tor
  9. since bridges are used in anon-connection-wizard.torrc, when we use arm to check the connection, tor should connect to one of the bridges, if torrc.d style configuration worked. However, it didn’t work.

Do you have any idea about the problem, @Patrick?

I can also ask about this in @tor-dev if necessary!

Thank you very much!

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Do you have any idea about the problem, @Patrick?

Unfortunately, not.

I can also ask about this in @tor-dev if necessary!

Yes, please!

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torrc.d feature will be implemented soon in anon-connection-wizard :wink:


review and merge anon-connection-wizard pull request by iry

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Priority high because the GSoC students needs feedback to not block progress.

Thank you for giving me so much attention! @Patrick @JasonJAyalaP

I just implemented the torrc.d feature and made a pull request:

New changes:

  • .tmp will not overwrite .torrc if no changes were made before canceling
  • remove “advance” button


  • hide the close button so that cancel button will have to be used when quit.
  • Another solution is trying to connect the close button to cancel_button_clicked()
  • instead of using cancel button, use quit button which is customized and always placed on the bottom left

New changes:

  • switched from /usr/lib/python3.4 to /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages
  • default settings will be adjusted according to .torrc
  • switch from self-made .tmp file to python tmpfile
  • better instructions and UI

Thanks to the new implementation, the following TODO is no longer needed:

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New paper on Tor launcher usability/recommendations in PETS 17


Hi HulaHoop!

Thank you very much for keeping me updated to the new UX research on Tor launcher.

Linda’s paper is inspiring. I have had several thoughts in my mind on how to improve the UX of the current anon-connection-wizard. I hope I can implement those thoughts as soon as possible so that anon-connection-wizard will not block the release of Whonix14. :wink:

Some thoughts:

  • I am thinking about switching the current torrc_page to the one shown in Linda’s paper (Fig4 g, which is on page 8).

  • I also kind of like the “process bar” in Linda’s paper indicating which page users are at and how many configuration have been or will be done. This will give a user a general feeling on how much work they have done/will do, which may reduce their uncertainty on how much options do they still have to choose and let them have a general impact on what anon-connection-wizard can help them do.

  • I also kind of like the idea shown in the paper that further options will show up in the same page right after a checkbox is clicked. However, this feature cost almost a redesign of anon-connection-wizard and may not improve the usability that much so let’s set the priority as low.

  • The instructions on description and options in anon-connection-wizard should also be improved. Small work but big improvement, so I will set the priority as high. :wink:

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