Opened 5 years ago

Last modified 4 months ago

#9675 assigned defect

Provide feedback mechanism for clock-skew and other bad problems

Reported by: lunar Owned by: brade
Priority: High Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Launcher Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: tbb-3.0, extdev-interview, tbb-helpdesk-frequent, tbb-usability, AffectsTails
Cc: mcs, Sherief, whonix-devel@…, arthuredelstein, gk, catalyst, dmr Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:

Description

TBB 3.0 currently has a button to copy Tor logs to the clipboard. It's good enough to enable support by knowledgeable people, but it is also good to enable at least a minimal level of self-support.

One misconfiguration that can prevent Tor from working is clock-skew. Vidalia made a bright red message out of it. Having some feedback mechanism in TBB 3.0 for similar critical issues would be good.

Child Tickets

TicketStatusOwnerSummaryComponent
#10059newnickmcapture tor log messages before control connection is openedCore Tor/Tor
#17728newUse NETINFO handshake rather than date header to check time with authoritiesCore Tor/Tor
#17739closedRefactor clock skew warning code to avoid duplicationCore Tor/Tor

Change History (23)

comment:1 Changed 5 years ago by brade

Cc: mcs added
Status: newassigned

Do you know if clock-skew is reported as a bootstrap warning by tor? How does Vidalia detect critical issues?

Tor Launcher currently displays an error alert when it receives a WARN BOOTSTRAP event from tor with RECOMMENDATION=warn.

comment:2 Changed 5 years ago by lunar

Just tried on TBB 3.0a3, setting time to more than 24h in the past. The message appear on the terminal, categorized as “warn”, but Tor Launcher gets stuck saying “Loading authority key certs”.

comment:3 Changed 5 years ago by bastik

I still think showing the log in the browser (or an add-on window) is something nice to have. (#9516)
(I did not know that one can copy the log to the clipboard)

The second part of #9516 (which was an alternative) is most likely what this ticket is heading towards to.

comment:4 Changed 5 years ago by brade

We modified Tor Launcher to highlight the fact that tor generated a warning or error message. A caution / warning icon is added to the "Open Settings" button within the progress dialog. The same icon is also added to the "Copy Tor Log To Clipboard" button within the Network Settings dialog / wizard.

https://gitweb.torproject.org/tor-launcher.git/commit/8a64ec3b07e2bfe82ab47401993f52f4ec5b0163

However, the solution is not perfect because the warning about clock skew is sometimes output by tor before Tor Launcher has opened a control port connection (which is how Tor Launcher receives the log messages from tor). I think we will need some advice from the tor developers to find a way to capture all of the log messages.

comment:5 Changed 5 years ago by mcs

Parent ID: #10059

comment:6 Changed 5 years ago by mcs

Parent ID: #10059

comment:7 Changed 5 years ago by mikeperry

Keywords: extdev-interview added

comment:8 Changed 4 years ago by Sherief

Keywords: tbb-helpdesk-frequent tbb-usability added

comment:9 Changed 4 years ago by Sherief

Cc: Sherief added

comment:10 Changed 3 years ago by proper

Cc: whonix-devel@… added

comment:11 Changed 2 years ago by cypherpunks

Keywords: AffectsTails added
Severity: Blocker

It's not a blocker, somehow, this was added and I can't seem to be able to remove it...

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

comment:12 Changed 2 years ago by fem

Severity: BlockerNormal

related: #3652

comment:13 Changed 2 years ago by arthuredelstein

Cc: arthuredelstein added

comment:14 Changed 2 years ago by mcs

During the weekly Tor Browser dev meeting on IRC today, it was suggested that Tor Launcher might be able to detect clock skew by listening for CLOCK_SKEW events.

comment:15 Changed 2 years ago by mcs

For reference, here is the Vidalia code that handles CLOCK_SKEW events (the user-visible messages used are worth looking at if nothing else):

TorEvents::handleGeneralStatusEvent():
https://gitweb.torproject.org/vidalia.git/tree/src/torcontrol/TorEvents.cpp#n319

StatusEventWidget::clockSkewed():
https://gitweb.torproject.org/vidalia.git/tree/src/vidalia/log/StatusEventWidget.cpp#n355

comment:16 Changed 22 months ago by arma

I would say this is the #1 usability problem in terms of user support mails that arrive to execdir@.

comment:17 in reply to:  16 Changed 22 months ago by mcs

Replying to arma:

I would say this is the #1 usability problem in terms of user support mails that arrive to execdir@.

I guess that is not too surprising.
Kathy and I looked at adding support for CLOCK_SKEW events a couple of months ago but then got interrupted with other work. But if I remember correctly, we found that Tor Launcher misses the CLOCK_SKEW event that happens early during tor startup for the same reason Tor Launcher misses other things: it is not connected to the control port yet. That means our best hope at the moment for fixing this problem is #21542 (which would allow Tor Launcher to capture log messages via stderr).

comment:18 Changed 22 months ago by gk

Cc: gk added

comment:19 Changed 22 months ago by arma

In the user support mails, they are sending us the output of "copy logs to clipboard". Those logs come from events, right?

I think for many of the users, Tor is stuck in a loop where it tries to fetch a directory object, gets upset about its clock and aborts that try, and then does it again a little while later. So even if Tor Launcher misses the first few iterations of that loop, there are plenty more iterations after that.

comment:20 in reply to:  19 Changed 22 months ago by teor

Replying to arma:

In the user support mails, they are sending us the output of "copy logs to clipboard". Those logs come from events, right?

I think for many of the users, Tor is stuck in a loop where it tries to fetch a directory object, gets upset about its clock and aborts that try, and then does it again a little while later. So even if Tor Launcher misses the first few iterations of that loop, there are plenty more iterations after that.

About 7 tries in the first 30 seconds, and then it gives up for a while.

comment:21 Changed 15 months ago by catalyst

Cc: catalyst added

I think "capture early logs before Tor Launcher connects to control port" isn't as important as somehow reporting the clock skew in a way Tor Launcher can easily detect as a serious error.

comment:22 Changed 8 months ago by mcs

Priority: MediumHigh

Increased priority to "High" due to user impact.

comment:23 Changed 4 months ago by dmr

Cc: dmr added
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