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mare liberum

Adding TOR browser to the applications launcher in Ubuntu

04 Jan 2015

TOR browser icon in Unity launcher

The TOR browser bundle is an easy-to-use way to anonymize your online activities. Unfortunately, the installation instructions from the TOR website are somewhat confusing and only allow the browser to be executed from a command line. Here's what I did to install TOR browser as an application that can be executed with a single mouseclick from the Unity applications launcher in Ubuntu 14.04:

Download TOR browser from the TOR website. I chose the Linux 64-bit version.

Double-click on the downloaded .tar.xz file and extract its contents to your Downloads folder.

Create a new directory called .torbrowser in your home folder:

$ mkdir ~/.torbrowser

Move the extracted tor-browser_en-US directory from Downloads to ~/.torbrowser:

$ mv ~/Downloads/tor-browser_en-US/ ~/.torbrowser/

Make the contents executable:

$ chmod -R ug=rwx,o=rx ~/.torbrowser/

You can now run the TOR browser from a command line, but this is not what we want. To get a launcher icon that allows you to start TOR from the Unity launcher with a single mouseclick, create a .desktop file with the nano text editor (or the text editor of your choice):

$ nano Torbrowser.desktop

Paste the following contents to the .desktop file, changing <username> to your own username:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Surf anonymously

(Note: If you used the nano editor, pasting is done with ctrl + shift + v, and saving the file is done by hitting ctrl + x and confirming with y.)

Move the .desktop file to /usr/share/applications:

$ sudo mv Torbrowser.desktop /usr/share/applications

Make root the owner of the .desktop file (this step may be skipped):

$ sudo chown -R root:root /usr/share/applications/Torbrowser.desktop

Make the desktop file executable:

$ sudo chmod ug=rwx,o=rx /usr/share/applications/Torbrowser.desktop

You will now find a TOR browser icon in your applications launcher. Enjoy private, anonymous browsing!