everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### ssh-over-tor *originally posted:* jun 2021 ### Introduction More than ever before there is a need for autonomy in the movement for software and computing freedom. One particular place where we really need freedom is freedom in our infrastructure. This short paper outlines a method to connect computers directly to one another using SSH and Tor. Technical details are not gone over in depth, as there are adequate references which already exist. It's not that hard to grab hold of something like an old laptop to convert it into a sort of communication node or a node to self-host some other software like a version-control system. ### Setup One excellent reference to set up SSH over Tor is the following: => https://www.maths.tcd.ie/~fionn/misc/ssh_hidden_service/ A few things to keep in mind: * Make sure you understand the contents of the "torrc" file. * Get familiar with the tor(1) manual pages. * If you are new to system administration, don't be afraid to use the package manager to install tor(1) and ssh(1) on your system. The important thing here is to get autonomy of your infrastructure. With experience, you will eventually be able to customise configuration that suits your needs better. It's important to be able to hit the ground running and have a functional setup. * Make full use of tor(1) logging functionality. The different debugging levels in "torrc" should be fully leveraged to help troubleshooting. * Most package managers on UNIX-like systems will configure tor(1) with its own user and group. These are usually sane defaults, so try not to mess with them, unless you really know what you're doing. * Note that for some operating systems, support for tor(1) can be a bit sketchy; particularly when it comes to creating directories for stuff like logging which may not be supported out-of-the-box. The following link is a good example of such an issue: => https://tor.stackexchange.com/a/17276 ### Context Now we get on to the really important points. Why bother? Our autonomy is essential to our freedom. Being chained to infrastructure we don't control means that we are at the whims of interests that are not our own. This combination of SHH over Tor means that we even sidestep the need to have access to a router to forward ports. Not everyone has this luxury. UNIX-like systems are inherently multi-user operating systems. Setting up operator accounts on such systems is the natural thing to do. It needs to become commonplace for people to communicate and coordinate over their own infrastructure - infrastructure that they can touch, control, and customise to fit their own needs and the needs of their own projects. This combination of SSH and Tor, combined with affordable machines (which are easy to get a hold of these days), allows us to immediately make huge gains in autonomy. Most projects only consist of a few people and these people can easily pool resources to acquire something like an old laptop and configure SSH and Tor and some other lightweight software to do their collaborative work. There's also the fact that management of SSH keys is a decentralised issue. You are not under the tyranny of centralised certificate authorities. You can use and generate SSH keys to your heart's desire and won't get ridiculous errors for not bending over backwards to the interests of organisations that create artificial changes that are only meant to give them more artificial reasons for their existence. These ideas are not new. But these ideas need to be put into practice. It is my hope that this short paper furthers your autonomy. Chief GNEWsance => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org