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I cannot get my head around a strange behaviour I observed on my Debian 6 system today. When I run tor, either via /etc/init.d/tor or directly via /sbin/tor, the new tor process drops its root privileges and sets its uid to the one of the debian-tor - user. Whilst this is a good thing, I fail to see why the application actually does so. My /etc/tor/torrc does not contain a corresponding User-configuration-entry. How does tor know to which uid it should fall back in the first place?

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debian-tor is hardcoded in the Tor executable by a Debian patch.

Run apt-get source tor and look in tor-0.2.1.30/debian/patches/06_add_compile_time_defaults.dpatch.

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