Thursday, July 28, 2016

Using Vidalia to control Tor on Slackware 14.2

I like to use Tor from time to time when I am away from home.  I like to maintain my privacy and security as best I can.  Slackware does not provide Tor in the official package tree and it can be a bit tricky to set up correctly.  Keep in mind that this tutorial is not meant to replace the Tor browser bundle or the Tails live CD.  Tails and the TBB correct a number of issues that cannot be easily fixed in a standard web browser or Slackware system.  There are, however, a number of applications that can benefit from from this tutorial.  You should use the Tails live CD if you require a high level of anonymity and privacy.

I like to be able to browse the Tor network map, create a new Tor identity, and have a kill switch for Tor as well.  Vidalia may be out dated but it can still be used to do what it was originally intended to do.  I am mostly writing this to document the process for myself and to share the information.  I am writing this tutorial for Slackware 14.2.  It may also apply to Slackware 14.1 and Slackware-current.

Installing Tor requires access to the repository.  To more easily make use of this site, you should install the sbopkg package manager.  Sbopkg 0.38.0 is the most recent version available at the time of writing this article.  Download it and install it as root.

The next step is to synchronize sbopkg with

Following that you should use sqg to generate a queue file for Tor, Vidalia, GeoIP, and install them.

Update: Vidalia has been removed from the Slackware 14.2 repository. You should instead use the Slackware 14.1 repository to download the Vidalia SlackBuild. It can be found here and should be manually installed on your Slackware 14.2 system.  If for some reason the source code for Vidalia becomes unavailable, I created a GitHub repository containing the unmodified source.  That can be found here.  Be sure to install GeoIP and Tor before (dependencies) manually building Vidalia on your system.

Note:  This tutorial should work "as is" on Slackware 14.1.

Everything should be installed now. If you ran into an error, please visit and read section #2 of the FAQ.

Here is the configuration file I like to use for Tor (/etc/tor/torrc):

Next you need to generate a hash for the control port. The control port is used by Vidalia to connect to the Tor daemon on your system. It is used to control the Tor process. Generate it with this next command, while replacing the place holder I added with a strong password for security reasons.

Be sure to read all the files in /usr/share/doc/vidalia-$VERSION for guidance on how to configure Vidalia. The relevant file I am referring to is the README.SBo provided by the maintainer. One configuration setting I like to add to Vidalia, enables Geo location for Tor nodes.

All that is left to do is make the tor init script executable, start the tor daemon, and launch Vidalia on a limited user account. If you followed along, did not make any mistakes, then you will be connected to the tor network. I am not going to walk through how to configure applications to use Tor because the list is endless. Please refer to the Torify page on the Tor Wiki.

I also encourage you to install Privoxy from and configure your system to use it with Tor. Without Privoxy, you are prone to protocol leaks if you are using Tor for HTTP/HTTPS. Another application that is useful with Tor and Privoxy is proxychains.

Relevant Links: