Deal with Tor Launcher being integrated into Tor Browser 9.0 and Firefox 68esr possibly removing support for XUL/XPCOM extensions
For Tor Browser 9.0, based on Firefox 68esr, the plan is to integrate Tor Launcher into Tor Browser, while still allowing us to disable it at runtime, and to run it as a XUL/XPCOM extension. It's not 100% clear to me if this implies we can still run it as a XUL app as we've been doing so far. This work "is planned for 9.0a1 which likely will ship in April".
And once Tor Browser is ported to Firefox 68esr, we probably won't be able to run it as a XUL app, since XUL/XPCOM extensions won't be supported by Firefox anymore. See the dedicated ticket: #16448.
https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/org/meetings/2018MexicoCity/Notes/TBBMeetingDays explains a bit the challenges & goals.
I don't understand the technicalities but it seems like they still want to make it possible to run it as a XUL app:
I don't understand the technicalities but it seems like they still want to make it possible to run it as a XUL app
Indeed. I've just reviewed this proposal and replied. At first glance the plan looks good for us, not too hard to implement on our side, and given this will be short-lived (until #16048), we don't need to bother on creating the perfect implementation.
I'll handle the communication with Tor Browser folks for now (it's not clear yet who'll take care of #16337 and I'm the only one of us who subscribed to the upstream ticket).
Note that they don't mention "XUL app" and I don't know if "XUL/XPCOM extension" implies we can run it as a XUL app. I don't see why not (for 60esr) but as soon as the corresponding changes are ready in a Tor Browser alpha + Tor Launcher Git, we should test this.
- Description updated (diff)
- Target version changed from Tails_3.13 to Tails_3.14
- Type of work changed from Communicate to Test
So this work upstream is now targeted at Tor Browser 9.0 (Firefox 68). So next steps are:
First, verify my assumption that we won't be able to run Tor Launcher as a XUL app in Firefox 68 (it still works in Firefox 65). We can test this as soon as Firefox 68 is out (July 9). But we could check Mozilla's plans right now if we wanted. I don't plan to do this but I'll do the bare minimum, i.e. test with Firefox 66 and 67 once they're out.
- If indeed we won't be able to run Tor Launcher at all, then this ticket becomes: replace Tor Launcher with something else.
- Else, if we can still run Tor Launcher, then this ticket remains about adjusting our stuff to Tor Launcher integration changes.
- Assignee changed from intrigeri to anonym
Even if we won't be able to run the new Tor Launcher as a XUL app we might be able to run it in a "full" browser dedicated to only Tor Launcher. We might have to put in some amount of work upstream for our "configure then quit" use case (e.g. a "Save settings and quit" button).
Whatever we end up with, let's make sure it works in Wayland!
GeKo pinged me on IRC resulting in an impromptu discussion about Tails vs the integrated Tor Launcher.
So the integration is done by making Tor Launcher into a system add-on (like pdfjs). It's unclear whether we can run that as a XUL standalone application. If we cannot the approach from comment #28 should work: we run a "full" browser with a dedicated profile where this system add-on enabled, and disable it in all other profiles. To achieve that we might have to add a "disable" pref to the add-on that makes it do nothing when set, because it seems difficult to disable such add-ons on a per-profile basis (according to GeKo, I don't know the details).
Finally, like mentioned above, we probably will have to do some work to get our "configure then quit" use case covered, e.g. add a pref that only Tails should set which adds a "Save and quit" button that kills the browser.
In short, it doesn't seem like this will be very scary work, so we can relax until 9.0a1 is out and we can see how it looks in practice.
@anonym ACK, thanks for the update! Note that we may have to disable Torbutton in that dedicated browser, which might be tricky due to #16357 (see ongoing discussion on https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/10760 for details, feel free to add you to the CC list and take the lead there).
- Subject changed from Deal with Tor Launcher being integrated into Tor Browser 9.0 and Firefox 68esr removing support for XUL/XPCOM extensions to Deal with Tor Launcher being integrated into Tor Browser 9.0 and Firefox 68esr possibly removing support for XUL/XPCOM extensions
1) Tor Launcher is getting tighter integrated into the browser as a preparation step for the switch to Firefox 68 ESR. That results in it not showing up anymore on the about:addons page while still being available (and we don't need to make a code-signing exception for it either anymore, which is nice). See the underyling proposal for this descision for full details. […]  https://gitweb.torproject.org/tor-browser-spec.git/tree/proposals/102-integrate-tor-launcher-into-tor-browser.txt
So we could now test how this works for us, in particular wrt. how we use Tor Launcher, how it impacts Tor Browser, and how things go wrt. the Unsafe Browser.