Opened 3 years ago

Closed 2 years ago

Last modified 2 years ago

#20300 closed defect (worksforme)

Unable to launch stable Tor browser on OS X (could not connect to control port)

Reported by: grobin Owned by:
Priority: High Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Browser Version:
Severity: Major Keywords: tbb-usability
Cc: mcs, brade, gk Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:

Description

Since over a week, it's been impossible for me to launch the Tor Browser. Whenever I open the application, I get the error message "Tor Launcher: Could not connect to Tor control port." In the meantime, the progress bar on the Tor Status box that pops up when opening stays without progress.

I'm using Max OSX 10.11.6, I've deleted and reinstalled Tor to make sure am with the latest version (V6.0.5), and I've checked that I have no firewall active.

I've looked at some of the other similar issues but answers mentioned what looked like coding which doesn't seem right for this, surely it should just open when being launched...? I've been using Tor without problems for almost a year, so no idea why this started all of a sudden.

Can anyone help?

Many thanks

Child Tickets

Change History (18)

comment:1 Changed 3 years ago by gk

Cc: mcs brade added
Component: - Select a componentApplications/Tor Browser
Status: newneeds_information

Did you try by chance the 6.5a3 for OS X lately? Then that would explain your problem (see: comment:15:ticket:20210). If not, could you try saving your profile folder somewhere (for additional debugging/data recovery etc.) and delete it after you closed your Tor Browser? Then restarting should give you a fresh new start and chances are that it is working again.

Where your profile folder is depends on where you installed Tor Browser. If you have put it into /Applications then your user data should be in ~/Library/Application\ Support. Otherwise the TorBrowser-Data folder is stored side-by-side with your Tor Browser.

comment:2 Changed 3 years ago by grobin

Thanks for the feedback.

Definitely did not try to use one of the pilot versions so don't think this is it.

Reading the comments on the other ticket, I tried re-installing Tor on the desktop rather than in applications (where it was previously) and it worked fine, so I guess you're right and I just need to delete the profile folder!

Issue is, I'm not managing to find it... What file names or suffixes would be in it that I could just do a search in the user library for? When I go MacintoshHD/Library/Application Support/ I then can't find anything ToR related. Instead the folders I have are: Adobe, App Store, Apple, ApplePushService, Com.apple.tcc, CrashReporter, GarageBand, GPGTools, iLifeMediaBrowser, Logic, Macromedia, Microsoft, ProApps, ScriptEditor and Submit Diaginfo.

Any ideas? Cheers!

Last edited 3 years ago by grobin (previous) (diff)

comment:3 Changed 3 years ago by gk

It seems to me you are looking in the wrong directory (I am not an OSX user, though). There should be a TorBrowser-Data folder in your home folder (not in MacintoshHD) under Library/Application\ Support. I guess your home folder should be a clickable thing in your Finder. Otherwise if you are opening a terminal you should be there. :)

comment:4 Changed 3 years ago by gk

mcs/brade: FWIW: it seems to me we have more than one user reporting this kind of problem. I wonder what is going on given that we did not change anything control port related in the stable release...

comment:5 Changed 3 years ago by grobin

Thanks a lot for your help! Have tried looking in other places, done searches for this folder name in the whole computer but nothing comes up... No problem though, really, I'll just store the app somewhere else :)

Thanks again, cheers

comment:6 in reply to:  5 ; Changed 3 years ago by gk

Replying to grobin:

Thanks a lot for your help! Have tried looking in other places, done searches for this folder name in the whole computer but nothing comes up... No problem though, really, I'll just store the app somewhere else :)

Thanks again, cheers

Wait you mean looking for "TorBrowser-Data" on your whole computer shows nothing? But it should because otherwise you can't start the Tor Browser on your desktop either.

comment:7 in reply to:  4 ; Changed 3 years ago by mcs

Replying to gk:

mcs/brade: FWIW: it seems to me we have more than one user reporting this kind of problem. I wonder what is going on given that we did not change anything control port related in the stable release...

This problem occurs because once TB 6.5a3 is opened, the alpha versions of Torbutton and Tor Launcher are copied into the user's profile. If that same profile is used when they later switch back to TB 6.0.x, the extensions are not downgraded. This means that the alpha extensions are used with our stable release, which is not ideal.

If this is important to fix, we have a couple of options:

  1. Modify the browser code that copies extensions from the distribution directory into the user's profile to downgrade them.
  2. User a different profile path for alpha so that profiles are never shared.

However, my leaning right now is to just mention this is the alpha release notes. Maybe:

"On OSX, if you plan to use both browsers please do not install the alpha Tor Browser in the same location as the stable one (including in the Applications folder). Doing so will cause your browser profile and Tor data to be shared between stable and alpha, which is not a supported configuration."

comment:8 in reply to:  6 Changed 3 years ago by mcs

Replying to gk:

Wait you mean looking for "TorBrowser-Data" on your whole computer shows nothing? But it should because otherwise you can't start the Tor Browser on your desktop either.

I do not think Apple's Spotlight search will find folders that are in ~/Library/Application Support. Here is a way to go there directly without using Terminal:

In Finder, choose Go | Go to folder... (or press Shift+Cmd+G). Then type ~/Library/Application Support/TorBrowser-Data when prompted. If the TorBrowser-Data folder exists, its contents will be displayed.

comment:9 in reply to:  7 ; Changed 3 years ago by gk

Replying to mcs:

Replying to gk:

mcs/brade: FWIW: it seems to me we have more than one user reporting this kind of problem. I wonder what is going on given that we did not change anything control port related in the stable release...

This problem occurs because once TB 6.5a3 is opened, the alpha versions of Torbutton and Tor Launcher are copied into the user's profile. If that same profile is used when they later switch back to TB 6.0.x, the extensions are not downgraded. This means that the alpha extensions are used with our stable release, which is not ideal.

But that's not what seems to have happened in this (and other) cases (see: comment:2):

Definitely did not try to use one of the pilot versions so don't think this is it.

comment:10 Changed 3 years ago by gk

grobin: could you try the things in comment:8 and help us tracking your issue down?

comment:11 in reply to:  9 Changed 3 years ago by mcs

Replying to gk:

But that's not what seems to have happened in this (and other) cases (see: comment:2):

Definitely did not try to use one of the pilot versions so don't think this is it.

Sorry; I missed that important detail.
I am not sure what is causing this problem for 6.0.5 users who have not opened 6.5a3.

Maybe someone who still has this situation would be willing to enable Tor Launcher debugging. This can be done by editing ~/Library/Application Support/TorBrowser-Data/*.default/prefs.js using a text editor and adding these two lines:

user_pref("extensions.torlauncher.loglevel", 0);
user_pref("extensions.torlauncher.logmethod", 0);

Then starting the browser from a shell like so:

/Applications/TorBrowser.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox

might provide some interesting TorLauncher INFO and TorLauncher DBUG output.

comment:12 Changed 3 years ago by gk

Resolution: worksforme
Status: needs_informationclosed

I guess this is fixed.

comment:13 Changed 3 years ago by gk

Cc: gk added
Keywords: tbb-usability added
Priority: MediumHigh
Resolution: worksforme
Severity: NormalMajor
Status: closedreopened
Summary: Unable to launch Tor browserUnable to launch stable Tor browser on OS X

comment:14 Changed 3 years ago by gk

We had a user two days ago on #tor with the same symptoms

comment:15 Changed 3 years ago by gk

Summary: Unable to launch stable Tor browser on OS XUnable to launch stable Tor browser on OS X (could not connect to control port)

comment:16 Changed 3 years ago by mcs

Is any info available from the #tor user?

comment:17 in reply to:  16 ; Changed 2 years ago by gk

Resolution: worksforme
Status: reopenedclosed

Replying to mcs:

Is any info available from the #tor user?

Unfortunately, not. Given that

1) Users affected by this did really not download and use an alpha.
2) Tor Launcher is not able to update itself

users must have got a "wrong" update. Now, how could that have happened in detail? First, they have been on the stable series. An update to the alpha series would have been a full update. But then they were on the alpha channel and the question would be how were they getting the stable tor (again)? Which is causing the problem in combination with unix domain socket support. I guess they could have got a full update back to the stable channel with a stable tor but Tor Launcher would not have been updated as it would have been a downgrade which gets prevented? Otherwise it is hard to see why they are stuck with the alpha Tor Launcher it seems.

It that makes any sense then we would have given wrong updates out twice at least. :/

Anyway, I guess this is now even harder to debug given that with the advent of tor-0.2.9.x in the stable series the issue in this ticket is gone.

Last edited 2 years ago by gk (previous) (diff)

comment:18 in reply to:  17 Changed 2 years ago by mcs

Replying to gk:

users must have got a "wrong" update. Now, how could that have happened in detail? First, they have been on the stable series. An update to the alpha series would have been a full update. But then they were on the alpha channel and the question would be how were they getting the stable tor (again)? Which is causing the problem in combination with unix domain socket support. I guess they could have got a full update back to the stable channel with a stable tor but Tor Launcher would not have been updated as it would have been a downgrade which gets prevented? Otherwise it is hard to see why they are stuck with the alpha Tor Launcher it seems.

Yes, that could have happened... but it is still difficult to explain how these users ever got the alpha version. Several people seem sure that they never downloaded an alpha, and we did not (as far as I know) ever publish bad/misconfigured update files on the TPO servers. But if a similar problem occurs again, we will investigate then.

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