|Initial release||20 April 2012|
|Stable release||4.0.8 (February 15, 2018) [±]|
|Written in||Python, C, Perl, C#|
|Platform||Android, iOS, Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows|
|Available in||English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese|
|Type||Internet censorship circumvention|
Shadowsocks is an open-source encrypted proxy project, widely used in mainland China to circumvent Internet censorship. It was created in 2012 by a Chinese programmer named "clowwindy", and multiple implementations of the protocol have been made available since. Typically, the client software will open a socks5 proxy on the machine it is run, which internet traffic can then be directed towards, similarly to an SSH tunnel. Unlike an SSH tunnel, shadowsocks can also proxy UDP traffic.
On 22 August 2015, "clowwindy" announced in a GitHub thread that they had been contacted by the police and could no longer maintain the project. The code of the project was subsequently branched with a removal notice. Three days later on 25 August, another proxy application, GoAgent, also had its GitHub repository removed. The removal of the projects was met with media attention, with news outlets speculating about the possible connection between the takedowns and a DDoS targeting GitHub which happened several days later. Danny O'Brien, from Electronic Frontier Foundation, published a statement on the matter.
Despite the takedown, collaborators of the project have continued with the development of the project.
The original Python implementation can still be installed with Pip (package manager), but the contents of its GitHub repository have been removed. Other server implementations include one in Go, C using the libev event loop library, C++ with a Qt GUI, and Perl. The Go and Perl implementations are not updated regularly and may be abandoned.
All of the server implementations listed above also support operating in client mode. There are also client-only implementations available for Windows (shadowsocks-win), macOS (ShadowsocksX-NG), Android (shadowsocks-android), and iOS (Wingy). Many clients, including shadowsocks-win and shadowsocks-android, support redirecting all system traffic over Shadowsocks, not just applications that have been explicitly configured to do so, allowing Shadowsocks to be used similarly to a VPN.
ShadowsocksR is a fork of the original project, claimed to be superior in terms of security and stability. Upon release, it was found to violate the General Public License by not having the source code of the C# client available. It was also criticized for its solution to the alleged security issues in the source project. Both projects are currently under development.
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Two days ago the police came to me and wanted me to stop working on this. Today they asked me to delete all the code from GitHub. I have no choice but to obey. I hope one day I'll live in a country where I have freedom to write any code I like without fearing.
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