V13.0.1 Locked Settings and Startup Homepage

Hi everyone,

Having just upgraded from v12.5.x to v13.0.1, two issues immediately come up which are proving detrimental to my usage and enjoyment of this browser:

  1. Some settings in about:config are now locked, and hence I can’t change them to suit my needs and preferences (such as privacy.resistFingerprinting).

I’m all for you people setting what you think is best as the default options in the browser, but locking down options is a slap in the face of your user base, and is simply not good policy in any software. Forcing add-ons such as NoScript in recent versions, making users have to go around searching for workarounds and manually deleting stuff if they simply don’t want to use that add-on, would be another example. We’ve been enduring this kind of crap from Microsoft and from Mozilla for years, and we don’t need it in a browser which is meant for users who know what they need and what they want. So I’ll tell you the same I’ve been telling Microsoft and Mozilla for years:

Choices: GOOD ; No choice: BAD.

TL,DR: How do I access/unlock about:config locked settings in Tor Browser ? Thank you very much.

  1. A homepage asking for donations now comes up EVERY time I start Tor Browser, and trying to change the homepage in settings to either “blank page” or manual → “about:blank” doesn’t get rid of it. It Keeps coming up EVERY time!

I’m all for free software asking for donations from their users in a fair and reasonable way. I would call such, displaying the above screen one time when first starting the newly installed version of Tor Browser, or until the user changes the homepage in settings; I can’t call it reasonable with the present behavior, since it touches the margin of nag-ware.

TL,DR: How do I get rid of the donation homepage and start the browser with a blank page, in v13.0.1 ? Thank you very much.

  • OS: Windows 7 and 10 (tested on both)
  • Tor Browser: Desktop v13.0.1
  • Security Level: Standard

It will disappear soon after the funding campaign is over. That’s what I read anyway.

I was going to post this reply in the thread below but here goes.
Who do you help when you support the Tor Project?

Let’s get serious. You enjoy this for “FREE”. Nothing is free.

I’m not a heavy Tor user; very light in fact. I donated last year and will do so again (when I decide to) because it’s an important project. I still get the popup to donate anyway. I would be worried if they did not show it because they knew I donated.

Read that thread. They don’t ask for your fortune; just anything. One (maybe two) less mocha latté capucinno frappé at $6.50 for this month. Most of us can afford it. Yes there are people who cannot. It’s not a good cause. A good cause is donating for something you do not use. A way to relieve your conscious. This is something you use every day. Kinda like a way to make sure it stays around.

One click is a small price to pay if you decide that you cannot donate.

Try TB Alpha 13.5a1, there’s clear home ; )

Thanks for the input, guys. About those locked settings in about:config, is there a way to change/unlock them ? Some file I can manually edit, or any other working method ?

Specifically, I’d like to turn off privacy.resistFingerprinting since that preference doesn’t suit my needs, but it’d be good to be able to unlock whatever I may require in about:config (since it shouldn’t be locked in the first place).

Thank you very much.

We lock preferences because we want to avoid users to flip them possibly without realizing the consequences.
I once read of someone suggesting to disable RFP to be able to login to Mozilla sync.

I agree that locked preferences should not be used, unless extremely motivated.
If I could lock only one preference, I’d choose to lock RFP.
Disabling RFP will basically destroy your application layer protection.
RFP should be considered a core part of Tor Browser.

For example, almost all protection for hardware-based fingerprinting is gated on RFP.
The exceptions are very rare, e.g., audio devices. Mozilla found that the majority of calls to navigator.mediaDevices.getUserMedia() were not for legit purposes, and added media.devices.enumerate.legacy.enabled.
They did it only recently, but RFP has protected against this for years.

Also, when we upstream our patches to Mozilla, we often gate them behind RFP.
Disabling RFP is like saying that you don’t want some patches that used to be Tor Browser.

We’re aware that RFP introduces accessibility problems, and we’re going to work on that.
But for now, RFP is going to stay locked in release (it isn’t in alpha and nightly, where users know that they’re possibly more exposed to problems).

As for the donation requests, 13.0.4 (scheduled around next Tuesday) will keep it closed for the rest of the session, see tor-browser!843.
If you’re referring to new identity, it was a response to possibly attacks and it was suggested by a code audit we had a few months ago, see tor-browser#41765.
We have heard the requests, and opened tor-browser#42236.


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