Tor Cloud Project killed-off by failure to fix software bugs

Tor calls time on Amazon EC2-based cloud project after inability to fix software bugs prevented users from accessing the internet

The closure of the Tor Cloud Project should be seized by users as an opportunity to find an alternative way to access the internet anonymously using the cloud, its operators have claimed.

The Tor Cloud Project was set up in November 2011 so users could deploy Tor bridges using Amazon EC2 instances and – in doing so – donate bandwidth for other members of the Tor network to use.

However, since hitting peak usage in mid-2013, the number of Tor Cloud bridges being deployed has steadily dropped off and now the operators of the pro-privacy internet network have called time on it completely.

“The main reason for discontinuing Tor Cloud is that software requires maintenance, and Tor Cloud is no exception,” the operator confirmed in a blog post.

“There is at least one major bug in the Tor Cloud image that makes it completely dysfunctional, and there are over a dozen other bugs, [and] at least one of them of highest priority.”

The “dysfunctional” bug, in particular, has big implications for the platform as it prevents users from accessing the internet, which defeats the overall purpose of Tor Cloud.

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The emergence of these bugs has been credited by the Tor network’s operators as the reason why so few Tor Cloud bridges are being deployed these days.

Attempts to find someone who can fix them have failed, the blog post continued, which is why it’s decided to end the project.

“There have been offers to send us patches, but we couldn’t find a Tor person to review and approve them,” it explained.

As a result, Tor is now calling on those who offered up their services not to give up on the project and to start finding ways to deploy their own cloud bridge project under another name.

“Tor Cloud is still a good idea, it just needs somebody to implement it,” the blog post said.

“Or maybe this is a good opportunity for the community to look further into other approaches for providing an easy-to-deploy bridge or relay.”

Either way, the blog post's author said there is still scope for users to lean on Amazon EC2 or other cloud computing platforms and manually install a Tor bridge that way.

“Discontinuing the Tor Cloud project has no effect on existing Tor Cloud instances. Whenever one of those instances was started, a template of the operating system and settings was copied, and removing the template has no effect on the copies,” it added.

News of Tor Cloud’s demise has been greeted with a fair degree of nonchalance by users, with some claiming Amazon EC2 isn’t a cost-effective support for Tor bridges that receive large amounts of traffic, while others complained about it being difficult to use.

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