[PP-main] Freenet

Dan Helfman witten at torsion.org
Thu Mar 9 11:39:49 CET 2000

On Wed, Mar 08, 2000 at 10:50:23PM -0800, Raph Levien wrote:
> For what it's worth, here are my thoughts on peerpress. I'm afraid
> this is going to be a long post. I'm really busy now, so have to
> schedule these things in bursts.


> Centralized vs distributed
> --------------------------
> I personally have a strong bias in favor of distributed systems
> without single points of vulnerability. But this is largely due to the
> fact that my PhD research topic has to do with a distributed PKI
> system.
> I can see advantages to both approaches. A centralized system is much
> easier to implement and deploy. However, I have some concerns. The
> centralized server will require high-quality administration, a lot of
> bandwidth, and probably some HA stuff. The HA stuff is difficult, and
> the rest is expensive.
> I think there is still a role for a central system, for example to
> maintain the list of all members of the network, their names and their
> locations. Managing a namespace (of names of services) centrally makes
> it a _lot_ easier to avoid collisions. However, I think the system
> should be designed so that if the central server is down, people can
> still read their news.
> It seems to me that this system gives us a global namespace without
> too much difficulty. The toplevel servers are globally and centrally
> maintained, while all content within a service is managed locally by
> that service.
> This is not a recommendation for syntax, but I can easily imagine a
> name in this namespace resembling 'Advogato: /article/28'. or
> 'Advogato: /user/raph'.


I don't know if this has been discussed yet, but it seems that the Freenet
project (http://freenet.sourceforge.net) is a possible candidate for the
basis of a distributed Peer Press system (if you do go the distributed
route). Basically, you feed a key, such as "Advogato: /article/28", to a
node, and it spits back the associated data if it has it stored locally.
Otherwise, it asks a nearby node for the data. It's sort of like a massively
distributed hash cache. The key and the data can be in any format: ASCII,
XML, HTML, whatever.

Anyway, you've probably heard of Freenet already, as it was posted on
kuro5hin.org and probably slashdot too.. so I won't rehash the details here.
I just wanted to point out that it seems a good fit for what is trying to be
done with Peer Press.

> Raph

Dan Helfman
UCLA Linux Users Group: http://www.linux.ucla.edu
My GnuPG key: http://torsion.org/witten/public-key.txt

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