[OTR-users] Bug with auto-connection logic

Ian Goldberg ian at cypherpunks.ca
Tue Dec 14 08:02:01 EST 2010

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 11:10:08AM -0500, Byrd, Brendan wrote:
> The logic for sending and receiving encrypted and unencrypted messages
> isn't automatic in all cases.  For example, the "The following message
> received from XXXX was not encrypted" messages from the system don't
> spawn a private connection.  The biggest issue with these messages is
> that they are considered system messages, not chat messages, so the
> window doesn't blink or alert you in any way.  Therefore, entire
> conversations get missed because OTR isn't doing the job of establishing
> the connection right away. 
> Here's the behavior of OTR in all of the scenarios (first person is the
> sender):
> E-E - Both parties are encrypted, so there is no problem
> U-E - This gives out the "not encrypted" message described above and
> does NOT auto connect

I see; in this case, the "not encrypted" message is considered a system
message, but *includes* the text of the unencrypted message, so you
don't get your popup notification.  Is that right?  The tricky bit is
that such messages need to be clearly different from "normal"
(encrypted) messages, lest the user believe she received the message
encrypted.  I suppose there could be one system message like "The
following message was NOT ENCRYPTED:" and then the normal chat message,
but I'm worried about race conditions in situations where multiple
conversations are going on in the same window.  Right now, pidgin
doesn't spawn a thread per IM connection (I think), but it might in the
> Furthermore, the reason why these problems happen also has to do with
> actions that don't trigger OTR automatically, even with the
> "Automatically initiate private conversations" option turned on.
> Certain actions don't do anything automatically, like:
> Open new chat window - Does NOT auto connect (it may say Private, but
> does NOT tell the other side)
> Close chat window - Does auto disconnect (naturally), but does NOT tell
> the other side

Chat windows opening and closing aren't meant to correspond to
conversations starting and stopping.  Lots of people close their
windows in the middle of the conversation, and let them pop up again
when new messages arrive.

> Remote side logs off - Does NOT auto disconnects
> Remote side logs on - Does NOT auto connect

Losing your network connection also shouldn't automatically lose your
OTR state.  You might close your laptop for a bit, then open it again,
and want to resume your conversation.

   - Ian

More information about the OTR-users mailing list