Roger's HAR2009 talk on Tor performance

by arma | August 19, 2009

Jake, Mike, Karsten, Sebastian, and I attended Hacking at Random last week in The Netherlands. I did a talk on Tor performance challenges — basically walking through the key pieces of the "Why Tor is Slow" document that we wrote in March.

As usual with European hacking cons, they produced a really well-done video just days after my talk. So if you want to get the highlights on what we're doing to speed up Tor and what roadblocks remain, take a look at the video and also the slides that come with it.


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August 19, 2009


When you talk, in the paper, about increasing support and such for people hosting relays, I think it would be of great benefit if you provided feedback on how well their relays are performing, with advice on how to improve them in cases of "misbehaving" relays. There are a lot of people out there supporting TOR who are practically computer noobs, and so won't know if their relay is set up correctly or not.

These are good points. Most "misbehaving" relays have turned out to be misconfiguration; sometimes in obvious ways.

We're creating a relay operator-only mailing list to provide a relay operator to relay operator support channel. Many relay ops ask us questions directly vs on our other mailing lists because they are publicly archived, and can have a low signal to noise ratio.

Another tool we're working on is called Tor Weather. It's a tool designed to email the contact when the relay goes down for a period of time, or if you're determined to be a bad exit through user feedback or automated scanning.

These two steps should help many of the new relays. Another option is to email a new relay operator and offer a few links about how to find support and address common questions.

May 16, 2010


The torrent for the video does not work. The video doesn't work either when you download it by itself. I have quicktime updated to the most recent version. It says something about an error in the video file. When you play it in the most recent version of Divx, there is video, but no sound.