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I wanted to install Tor on my new Ubuntu (14.04) install. I followed all the instructions and tried to start tor.

It starts correctly if I navigate to Tor's directory and run:

./start-tor-browser.desktop

It also starts correctly if I navigate the GUI and click on the Tor Browser icon. Now you may ask what is the problem?

The problem started with me wanting to create a single word alias to start tor browser whenever I opened the terminal. While researching on this at the Internet I saw there was a tor command available (though I m not sure what it does yet). But when I try to run that command tor doesnt start, it get stack at 100% after bootstrapping:

~$ tor
Jan 28 21:41:45.095 [notice] Tor v0.2.7.6 (git-605ae665009853bd) running on Linux with Libevent 2.0.21-stable, OpenSSL 1.0.1f and Zlib 1.2.8.
Jan 28 21:41:45.095 [notice] Tor can't help you if you use it wrong! Learn how to be safe at https://www.torproject.org/download/download#warning
Jan 28 21:41:45.095 [notice] Read configuration file "/etc/tor/torrc".
Jan 28 21:41:45.098 [notice] Opening Socks listener on 127.0.0.1:9050
Jan 28 21:41:45.000 [notice] Parsing GEOIP IPv4 file /usr/share/tor/geoip.
Jan 28 21:41:45.000 [notice] Parsing GEOIP IPv6 file /usr/share/tor/geoip6.
Jan 28 21:41:45.000 [notice] Bootstrapped 0%: Starting
Jan 28 21:41:45.000 [notice] Bootstrapped 80%: Connecting to the Tor network
Jan 28 21:41:46.000 [notice] Bootstrapped 85%: Finishing handshake with first hop
Jan 28 21:41:46.000 [notice] Bootstrapped 90%: Establishing a Tor circuit
Jan 28 21:41:46.000 [notice] Tor has successfully opened a circuit. Looks like client functionality is working.
Jan 28 21:41:46.000 [notice] Bootstrapped 100%: Done

I am aware of this question that looks very similar but I want something different because Tor is working for me (through the two options available above). I am asking about this because I want to learn more about how Linux (Ubuntu) works.

Is tor a command that should start tor and pop out the relevant Tor window like the other two methods are? If so what's going wrong?

If I Ctrl+C on the terminal after it's stuck and try the other two options then Tor starts normally. So I believe that my installation is complete.

If tor command is not supposed to fully start the Tor browser then what does it do?

Thanks for your help, Karsus

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The Tor Browser bundle and the Tor Daemon are different beasts, and there's some confusion what does what. The fact that 'tor' isn't familiar to you means you should probably be looking into what different commands do before trying to alias things together. (For example, tor is an actual program - using that to call the Tor Browser is not the correct approach)


Tor Browser

Tor Browser is a software bundle which comes with its own Tor daemon that is launched by the "Start Tor Browser" script. This software bundle includes a fork of Firefox which is bundled with plugins that are specific to Tor Browser, to make it function effectively on the Tor network.

Tor Browser is only run usually with the ./start-tor-browser.desktop launcher, or the ./start-tor-browser shell script/function which executes everything that needs to run for Tor Browser to work.

This is its own software bundle, and is different than the standalone Tor daemon (which is tor).


tor aka "The Tor Daemon"

The Tor daemon can be launched and run on a system to connect it to the Tor network. It in turn operates on a SOCKS proxy over which you can send application traffic through to send over the Tor network. It is designed to run transparently and silently on the system, and does not execute any type of other programs - it only runs the daemon and the corresponding proxy which can be used to send data through.

It does not launch the Tor Browser as it is designed to run separately as its own daemon, and not to launch the Tor browser.

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  • Thanks for the answer. I m still learning, have a long way to go. – Karsus Jan 29 '16 at 13:21

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