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THESE ARE PRELIMINARY WORKS AT THE EARLY STAGE. ANONYMITY IS NOT A GAME, SO PLEASE DO NOT JUST ASSUME THESE GUIDES ARE FINE AS-IS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
TDP is creating two guides to building and configuring Tor relays for FreeBSD and OpenBSD.
There will be two versions of each.
The first one will be guides to getting a Tor relay up quickly.
The second will be some other ideas for configuration, covering more optional enhancements.
One issue to note is that we view various optimization attempts as a complex road.
It is not easy to measure the true effects of sysctl value changes and other kernel-level hacks, particularly with TCP traffic. Tor is a (more or less) randomized routing network. That lack of consistency inhibits comparisons in performance beyond the obvious. Tor relay traffic can vary wildly day-to-day and month-to-month, regardless of any system optimization. For a useful overview of the problems with testing, see Kode Vicious’ reply to “How Not Why” in ACM’s Queue magazine from February 2015. His emphasis on repeatability tends to undercut many assumptions that are made about testing a host on an anonymity network. It can quickly degenerate into being a blind, counter-productive endeavor.
Nonetheless, there are some system-level changes we do recommend. But do not expect long lists of sysctl values and graphs illustrating the effects.
TDP will look at optimizing Tor relay performance on high-bandwidth BSDs in the future, but we suspect that the default operating system installs (outside of some recommended changes) should be sufficient for most relay operators’ hardware and bandwidth. If Netflix can serve one-third of peak internet traffic in North America with a default FreeBSD install, it is likely sufficient for the vast majority of Tor relays without any changes to the operating system.
Contributions from other BSDs are welcomed.
Updated on 2017–09–03
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