Posted by CANbike on Mon, 17 Mar 2014

[Precise Puppy 5.5] Tor Browser: Run as Root

Installing the Tor Browser in Precise Puppy 5.5 was simple but there were two minor issues.

  • By default, start-tor-browser could not run as root
  • Tor would unexpectedly exit

Install Tor Browser

  1. Start the web browser and visit
  2. Click Download Tor
  3. Click Download Tor Browser Bundle 32-bit for GNU/Linux
  4. Open it with pupzip (default) and extract the contents

The browser can be launched from the command line by going to the installed directory and running the script start-tor-browser.

Tor Browser Should Not be Run as Root

When launched, start-tor-browser will display the warning message:

The Tor Browser should not be run as root.    Exiting.

A simple alteration to the script fixed this issue.

  • Edit the file start-tor-browser using a text editor like geany.
  • Search for “root” will find the conditional statement
if [ "`id -u`" -eq 0 ]; then
	complain "The Tor Browser Bundle should not be run as root.  Exiting."
	exit 1

  • Comment out or delete the line exit 1

The script would now continue running without exiting at this stage.

Tor Unexpectedly Exited

Launching start-tor-browser would then display the “Tor unexpectedly exited” error messages:

Tor Launcher: Tor Unexpectedly Exited
Tor Network Settings: Tor Unexpectedly Exited

Okay. Not much info. Looking at the terminal window showed the following messages:

Terminal: Tor Unexpectedly Exited

Specifically, the line

[warn] /root/tor/tor-browser_en-US/Data/Tor is not owned by this user (root, 0) but by ftp (1000). Perhaps you are running Tor as the wrong user? 

indicated the issue.

  • From the terminal, cd into tor-browser_en-US and execute

    chown -R root
    to recursively change ownership from ftp to root.
  • The Tor Browser will now run without issue.
    Tor Browser