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The Tor BSD Diversity Project (TDP) is an initiative seeking to extend the use of the BSD Unix operating systems in the Tor public anonymity network.
BSD Unix is an open source operating system family noted for its security and stability. The primary BSD projects include FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and DragonFly BSD, with a number of tangential projects including pfSense, FreeNAS and PC-BSD. BSD software such as OpenSSH is the default communication tool for innumerable devices on the Internet. Firms such as Netflix, WhatsApp and Juniper rely on BSD systems and code to build and maintain resilient services and devices.
Originating at the University of California in the 1970’s, BSD software is renowned for its Internet infrastructure role since its earliest days.
The Tor Project plays a critical component for internet anonymity and privacy solutions. With increasing surveillance and censorship, Tor is a vital tool, and the project has grown by leaps-and-bounds since its creation at the US Naval Labs in the 1990’s. Millions rely on Tor’s operation in a world filled with internet surveillance and censorship.
While recognizing the Tor Project is a dynamic open source project with a vibrant community, we are also concerned with the overwhelming GNU/Linux monoculture that is an Achilles’ Heel. Monocultures in nature are dangerous, as vulnerabilities are held in common across a broad spectrum. In contrast, diversity means single vulnerabilities are less likely to harm the entire ecosystem. In a global anonymity network, monocultures are potentially disastrous. A single kernel vulnerability in GNU/Linux impacting Tor relays could be devastating. We want to see a stronger Tor network, and we believe one critical ingredient for that is operating system diversity.
There are three aspects of the TDP’s approach:
Increase the number of Tor relays running BSDs. We envision this happening by increasing the total number of relays, with more BSD users running relays;
Make the Tor Browser available under BSD operating systems using native packaging mechanisms with OpenBSD as the initial target;
Engage the broader BSD community about the Tor anonymity network and the place that BSD Unix should occupy in the privacy community at large.
Current TDP work includes:
Organizing various events for engaging BSD users about Tor, including presentations, birds-of-a-feather sessions and informal meetings;
Enlisting BSD-using entities to operate Tor relays;
Accumulating and maintaining a list of privacy-enhancing related ports and their statuses on the BSDs, in a project entitled Porting Targets for PETs;
Maintaining a set of reports entitled Diversity-Oriented Statistics which provide snapshots of public Tor relay diversity;
We look forward to inquiries about and involvement in TDP. Fork our code, submit patches, run a BSD relay and let us know if TDP documentation was useful.
Please see our contact page if you want to get in touch with us.
Updated on 2017–09–03
Copyright © 2015–2018 by The Tor BSD Diversity Project (TDP). All Rights Reserved.