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I can start and kill tor via command line, but I want to control it with Vidalia. The browser bundle works, but I'd rather not use it. This is the message log in vidalia:

Sep 25 19:29:13.696 [Notice] Tor v0.2.3.22-rc (git-4a0c70a817797420) running on Linux.
Sep 25 19:29:13.696 [Notice] Tor can't help you if you use it wrong! Learn how to be safe at
Sep 25 19:29:13.696 [Notice] Read configuration file "/home/brian/.vidalia/torrc".
Sep 25 19:29:13.697 [Notice] Initialized libevent version 2.0.16-stable using method epoll (with changelist). Good.
Sep 25 19:29:13.697 [Notice] Opening Socks listener on
Sep 25 19:29:13.697 [Warning] /var/run/tor is not owned by this user (brian, 1000) but by debian-tor (114). Perhaps you are running Tor as the wrong user?
Sep 25 19:29:13.697 [Warning] Before Tor can create a control socket in "/var/run/tor/control", the directory "/var/run/tor" needs to exist, and to be accessible only by the user account that is running Tor.  (On some Unix systems, anybody who can list a socket can connect to it, so Tor is being careful.)
Sep 25 19:29:13.698 [Notice] Closing partially-constructed Socks listener on
Sep 25 19:29:13.698 [Warning] Failed to parse/validate config: Failed to bind one of the listener ports.
Sep 25 19:29:13.698 [Error] Reading config failed--see warnings above.
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Its permission issue. Have you tried running vidalia with su. gksu vidalia ? –  sagarchalise Sep 26 '12 at 2:46
the currently packaged version of tor works fine. i suspect you used a binary installer or compiled from source. –  hbdgaf Sep 26 '12 at 2:47
@sagarchalise: Don't run tor as root! That would compromise your computer if a remote exploit is found in Tor. –  Mechanical snail Sep 26 '12 at 4:20

2 Answers 2

@Mechanical snail: To start tor manually in Debian (or ubuntu I guess) I would recommend using: sudo service tor start or if you are in a graphical environment like Gnome or KDE you can use gksudo service tor start and even make a shortcut for that in the applications menu. That way you are independent of any changes in the internals of the tor package, e.g. a change in the user name or so. And you can stop tor from within Vidalia as a normal user.

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Notice the line

Sep 25 19:29:13.697 [Warning] /var/run/tor is not owned by this user (brian, 1000) but by debian-tor (114). Perhaps you are running Tor as the wrong user?

You're running it as the wrong user. The Tor package for Ubuntu (from; see is supposed to be run as the debian-tor user (for security reasons, by separating the Tor process from your user's files and programs).

Since the control socket is owned by debian-tor rather than your user, your tor process fails to bind to it, hence the error. When Tor startup fails, Vidalia gives the "exited unexpectedly" error message.

If you want to start Tor manually, try sudo -u debian-tor tor.

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