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The Almighty Buck

Freenet Project Taking Donations 106

We've had word from a number of readers that the Freenet Project has setup an area to accept donations. These folks are doing wonderful work - using a GPL project, non-profit, dedicated to a decentralized free speech network. I highly recommend donating.
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Freenet Project Taking Submissions

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  • People massively distributing illegal stuff will meet the same fate as Napster. Deny it all you want if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Have you ever tried to use telnet to browse the
    web? Using the current Freenet client is like that.

    Although Freenet is not ready, it does provide
    infrastructure for higher level tools to be
    created (browsers or whatever).

    Right now, you're probably blaming the
    protocol testing tools.
  • This is the internet!! People should have a right to be annonymous. People should have the right to be anarchist. The internet was made by people like us, we should decide how we want to use it, not some congress person. Saying you think people should be held accountable for what they say is saying you support censorship, and if you support censorship you dont support free speech.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Uh, freenet's not about peddling your thoughts and speeches. It's about peddling kiddie porn and MP3s.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you knew what freenet was, you'd know that a temporary copy of a requested file is made on each node between the client and server. If you knew what TCP was, you'd know that theres a source address there and besides you couldn't connect to freenet without one. If you knew what the law was, you'd know that explaining to a jury that you are innocent even though your node/server/whatever held and served up a copy of some illegal stuffs to an investigator just isn't going to cut it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    a distributed on-demand data storage system that actually works. Because Freenet sure as hell needs one. It's the .NET of the Free Software community: utter bollocksware.
  • Yes, this is why I'm working on apt-get over Freenet (see Think of the effect of thousands of Debian users getting stuff off Freenet instead of a Debian mirror. It's good for Freenet, and it's good for Debian (since mirrors no longer have to be maintained and will significantly drop in load). The only disadvantage to apt-get over Freenet is that unpopular packages fall out, so there will still need to be a few mirrors around.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you give money to these people, you will be promoting anarchy. "Free speech" is not the same thing as "anonmymous speech," and people shouldn't expect rights given of the former to be granting of the latter. Free speech is founded not only on the protection of individual freedom, but also on accountability; you must take responsibility for what you say. Freenet promises to make free speech completely anonymous. Therefore, they take away accountability and incite a lack of responsibility for what one will say.

    Once this post is modded "Troll," it will be self-evident that the leaders of the Slashdot community are borderline anarchist liberals. Perhaps you'll recongnize the irony that I've posted this as an Anonymous Coward and therefore am not available for a rebuttal. See how it can be? Have a nice day.

  • Posted by damiam:

    Would it be possible to modity a Freenet client so that it would refuse to accept and host certain files (filter file names for "rape", "porn", "fuck", "sex", etc.)?
  • Unfortunately, that conversation was just a buildup to the inane "ESR Is My Bitch" bullshit that is the hallmark of all streetlawyer posts. Hit 'em with some factual, yet annoying flamebaity, stuff, bitch 'n moan about being oppressed by the groupthink, post a story making the person look good, then post total crap. Claim the last post was voted down due to groupthink. Repeat.
  • by Enahs ( 1606 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @09:07PM (#356903) Journal
    Unfortunately, there are clueless bureaucrats that think just like you...

    I'd suggest a reading of the docs on the site to understand what sort of information is available on a node, and how it gets there.

  • but paypal rejected my credit card. How odd.
  • I'd like to encourage through donation specifically the development of a non-Java version. There doesn't appear to be much progress on alternative implementations (I read somewhere that that was in part due to constantly shifting specs and lack of a fixed API -- sounds like a nightmare for everyone off the main branch), so perhaps donations would help.

    On the other hand, without a fixed API, this ain't going anyware.
  • The fact is that even when you have free speech granted, the society we live in is such that you sometime have interest to use your right in an anonymous manner. This is because you may speak against some people's opinion. These people, regardless of your right, may do their best to find you and "remove" you ability to speak. ("what the point of a phone call if you are unable to speak?" ;)
    Freenet is important in that respect in that it let you exerce your right in an anonymous way.
    Despite the belief of many people, being on the Internet will become less and less anonymous. In some country (eg: Belgium), ISPs HAVE TO keep record of who used which IP address when for as long as 12 months... This may question the legality of using Freenet in these countries.
    One should not see freenet as an iceland when you can exerce free speech, as unlike in the physical world, the internet can be available "everywhere".
    Well, the more I write, the more it seems simplistic view, but anyway, freenet looks like the best project toward its goals today.
  • by seichert ( 8292 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @04:31PM (#356907) Homepage
    I just donated $20 with paypal and the process took less than 1 minute. Compare that to the time to write out a check, print out an envelope, put on a stamp. I think that it should be easier for various non-profits and for-profits to increase their donations in this manner as the cost in time to the donor goes down substantially.
    Stuart Eichert
  • And Napster is used to share ANY music, not just illegally distributed music...
  • The basketball games on right now suck, I'm not going to watch WaterWorld, and I think He Hate Me is out with an injury. Please say yes.


  • He was talking about donating money. If he wants to go back and revise what he said, that's fine — it's his business and his money — but I'm just going on what he said.


  • You're not just going to tell other people to donate, are you? Seriously.

    One other quick question, which I still haven't seen answered. When Slashdot was bought, and the parent company(ies) were going to have IPOs, I believe that you and CmdrTaco would be donating some of the income to Free Software or other projects you supported. Have you done so yet, and to which causes? Thanks.


  • by UM_Maverick ( 16890 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @05:08PM (#356912) Homepage
    You may just brush off that comment, but trust's good advice

    I'm graduating from college this May, and I recently received a copy of my credit report, to make sure I'd be ok for a mortgage. I've used one credit card since freshman year, but my entire wardrobe is made up of t-shirts from pretend-applications. I opened my report, and it had me listed as having FOUR other cards that I didn't know about. It also had 9 names for me, and 7 addresses. It was a MESS.

    Took me about 3 days to sort was really annoying
  • There's a big difference. When the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence, they did it because England was denying them their free speech. But free speech is not restricted on the internet as a whole (it might be in some small areas however). Imagine if one of those Thirteen Colonies had seceeded in 1786 on the basis that they wanted to create a free speech haven. It would have been absurd because they already had it!

    I don't have to go to freenet to peddle my thoughts and speeches. I can already do that without fear of reprisal.
  • I don't see how freenet could have avoided the abuses in the DeCSS or CPHACK cases. Jon could have released DeCSS anonymously with the services of freenet, but he could also have done it anonymously *without* freenet. He got in trouble because he chose to place his name and his license on his code.

    Freenet isn't a free speech haven. It's a speakeasy.
  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @06:54PM (#356915) Homepage Journal
    Never having to answer the question "Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?": Priceless.

    A strange thing happened to free speech a few decades ago. The majority of people took free speech for granted, and a small minority tried to take advantage of that. Then some college kids said enough is enough, and tried to fix things. But being college kids, their brains were the consistancy of tapioca. They meant well but they screwed up big time...

    You see, they had this very strange notion that free speech needed an official place to be excercised. So they designated official "free speech areas". If you wanted to protest the war in Vietnam, you went to a designated free speech area and said your piece. Apparently they didn't believe that free speech was allowed on the street corners. The result of that movement is today's political correctness, and the heart of political correctness is UC Berkeley, home of the free speech movement.

    Freenet is going down that same path. They're designating an official place to practice free speech. Apparently, they to do not understand that free speech on the internet is for everyone everywhere. If free speech is ever fully taken away from us, it will be in part the fault of freenet and their unfree notion that freedom needs to be corraled inside a fence instead of being excercised anywhere and everywhere.
  • > THe tough part is going to be tracking anything down in Freenet - stuff is encrypted - you have no idea where it comes from, etc

    What happens when you use it for whistle blowing, and then a reveal-all bug is discovered the next day? Ooops.
    "Oh, hi there, Mr. Crime Lord. That stuff I posted on Freenet yesterday was just an editorial, OK? Nothing you were supposed to take personal or anything, ya know."

  • by toofast ( 20646 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @04:14PM (#356917)

    "Freenet is a large-scale peer-to-peer network which pools the power of member computers around the world to create a massive virtual information store open to anyone to freely publish or view information of all kinds."

    I didn't know what it was, so I looked it up. I'm also gonna be donating.

  • I should have mentioned... the quote "Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?" is from Mike Godwin of the EFF. It's part of the title quote on the Freenet home page [].

    Personally, I would have left out the "of the press" bit, but that's just me. I mean, we're not talking about the freedom of just the press, but the freedom of speech in general.

  • by gregbaker ( 22648 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @05:49PM (#356919) Homepage

    Paypal membership: free

    Donation to Freenet: $20

    Never having to answer the question "Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?": Priceless.

    [I know, it's been done, but I couldn't resist :-) ]

  • Well gee I wonder why free speech was included in the constitution and not aids or red cross?
  • No, but all those free MasterCard t-shirts you signed up for in college might.
  • Downloaded Freenet. OK. Went to Espra. The betatesting signup asks, "tell us your amazingly convincing reason to be on the espra betatest team". Truth be told, my lack of even a convincing reason caused me to kill the page. Such is life.
  • If you knew what Freenet was, you'd know that it doesn't let you know what server host what, and even the server admin himself cannot know what he is hosting...
  • Except even when you snoop the TCP connection it is encrypted, both the content and the search request. Basically they have no way of knowing what infos you are looking for, what results you get and what you download, and who had the info in the first place (other nodes are just cache, and the admin can't even know what is cached).
  • tcpdump won't tell you which server hosted the data, as each Freenet node is a proxy to other nodes. You can know which was the final node the data went thru, but not the originating server.

    And even if you could trace back datas to the first server who hosted them, you couldn't delete them. You couldn't either find the guy who made them available, nor sue the node manager as per DMCA he is not responsible as long as he removes the content from his server upon request.

    Frankly I fail to see how tcpdump can do anything else than finding that "A asked a freenet node B some information, and got something in return". That's pretty weak evidences to put someone into jail...
  • If it was free speech you would be able to post it on your web page and the government would leave you alone.

    DeCSS, MP3, the OT III documents, MS source code publishing, etc... they are all censorship done by corporations or "religions". The biggest enemy of free speech is not the governement (although they are not very fond of it) but private entities. Why do you Americans need to accuse your governement of all problems when most them are actually caused by a lack of governement, which lets corporations do whatever they want without any limits ??? I just don't get it...
  • Read their webpage. They plan to use layers of indirection to disguise who is sending what.
  • by vectro ( 54263 )
    This is a good thing. Great mission statement.

    I especially like the idea of using this money to fund lawsuits, since I suspect the Freenet people are very likely to be sued by MPAA/RIAA et al. Probably next year they will have Congress pass a law making Freenet-like services illegal.
  • I don't have to go to freenet to peddle my thoughts and speeches. I can already do that without fear of reprisal.
    True enough. Unlike some other young Americans, I understand and appreciate the amount of freedom I have relative to a lot of others in the world. However, it's a cliche but the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Did Jon Johansen (bad example, I know, he's Norwegian) or 2600 have free speech with DeCSS? What about the creators of CPHACK, who only wanted to show the world what Mattel was doing wrong? If UCITA passes in most states, open discussion of software could be seriously endangered. When that happens, I'll be grateful to Freenet.
    "Here to discuss how the AOL merger will affect consumers is the CEO of AOL."
  • By creating a place where free speech can't be abridged, they're hurting the cause of free speech in the rest of the United States? It doesn't work like that. Freedom isn't a zero-sum game.

    By declaring the thirteen colonies independent of the United Kingdom (or whatever it was called in 1776), and then declaring them free-speech areas, did that set back the cause of freedom in, say, Canada or England? Hardly. It set a good example.

    Oppose the DMCA, the CDA, and whatever other laws try to take away your freedom of speech. But don't attack those who are trying to circumvent the laws, because they are not the problem.
    "Here to discuss how the AOL merger will affect consumers is the CEO of AOL."

  • I have heard Clarke talk about this thing for a year + and I have yet to see it do anything. Can someone who has used it for anything give us an update?
  • by KurtP ( 64223 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @04:30PM (#356933)
    This strikes me as a bit odd. One of Freenet's core ideas is a total lack of centralized control, even of centralized bottlenecks where opponents can monitor traffic. Taking donations, however, seems to be deliberately creating just such a target. It's like painting a big 'Ground Zero' sign out in the desert somewhere and hoping to attract missiles. I can just see the dialog now:

    Oppressor #1 [Pointy haired boss amongst the oppressors]: Look! We've finally found those dastardly pirate lovers home base. Let's strike a blow against child pornographers, music pirates, and vicious terrorists everywhere! Fire the missiles!
    Oppressor #2 [a uniformed flunky, who presses the button labeled 'Attack Lawyer']: Missiles away, sir. Tracking... tracking... direct hit sir, they're sucking their funding dry. Operation complete sir.
    Oppressor #1: Heh. That'll show them.
    Oppressor #1 [yells]: All your donations are belong to us!
    Oppressor #1 [to #2]: Let's go tell the secret masters at RIAA about our victory. [They leave.]

    [Meanwhile, our heros are snickering up their sleeves while they paint a big sign labelled 'Freenet Pyrate and Pedophile HQ' in big red letters on the side of Oppressor #1's house...]
  • He is talking about just using tcpdump--netstat would do the job--to see what server transfers illegal data. The encryption is irrelevant.
  • Frankly I fail to see how tcpdump can do anything else than finding that "A asked a freenet node B some information, and got something in return". That's pretty weak evidences to put someone into jail...

    Actually, this is what I was talking about. You would know who the direct contact was. They could get him as an accomplice. You only need to make a few "examples" to put fear into people.
  • I think you're failing the undestand the *actual* goals of the project. Before I continue, here's a brief excerpt:

    "Freenet is designed to make censorship impossible. While most people agree that excessive censorship is bad, some stop short of saying that censorship should be abolished altogether. My personal belief is that censorship of any form is fundamentally flawed."

    Freenet Philosphy page []

    I happen to agree whole heartedly with that. While it's true that Freenet *could* be used for illegal purposes, that is clearly not its intent.

    You may argue that Freenet facilitates software piracy, but then, so do computers. Computers make the use and the "theft" of software possible. Maybe you think that's an outlandish statement, well then how about the fact that people can (and probably do) use PGP and annoymous remailers to pass other people's credit card numbers around. Should projects like GNU Privacy Guard and annonymous remailer software not be supported because of this? I certainly don't think so.

    Freenet is about privacy NOT piracy, and for me, anything that enables ordinary people to have some degree of electronic *privacy* is worthy of everyone's support.

  • Taco released slashcode to the open-source community. He also helps to run a popular news site for geeks. Do either of those count as a donation or at least contribution?
  • Let's keep this in perspective here. If we're talking about a totalitarian world government that restricts political speech and forbids all individual thought, then I agree. If we're talking about an anonymous, encrypted network of MP3s and kiddie porn... um, no.
  • Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?

    Well, dear, I can't remember. Last I remember was 2001, when the Internet had freedom of the press -- major democractic governments didn't stop legitimate political or journalistic speech, and totalitarian governments continued exactly as they always had (if the Internet threatened, they could just throw you in jail for using a particular piece of software, e.g. Freenet). After that, things are kind of a blur. You see, Freenet was released, and I devoted my life to the cause -- that is, I spent my days with warez 'n' kiddie porn. (They actually believed that freedom crap!)

  • I'm just guessing you live in the US, here... Yet we don't hold gun-makers accountable.

    Well, I don't live in the US, and I happen to believe that while gunmakers shouldn't be held accountable -- it's not as if they lied about what guns were for, and they were legally allowed to make guns -- they should not be allowed to make guns. But that's irrelevant here; the analogy doesn't hold. The parallel of the gunmaker would be Ian Clarke, the programmer of Freenet, and we're not discussing him. The parallel of Freenet, however, would be a gun that, uncontrollably by the owner, fires random shots. (OK, not a perfect parallel, but analogies are rarely perfect.)

    As to the DNS-and-paper argument, it's missing what these arguments tend to miss: common sense. Here's one of the more obvious rebuttals to it. Paper is a medium, it can be used to hold anything. As is Freenet. Again, I happen to think Freenet is a Bad Thing, but I don't believe that it itself is necessarily illegal. But just as using photographic paper to make a print of said eight-year-old is illegal, so is using Freenet to distribute (wittingly or unwittingly) such content. And considering that Freenet works on a popularity model, where nodes give priority to storing the most popular files, I have no doubt that 99% of all nodes will contain some illegal content.

  • At worst, it would not be illegal to run a Freenet node, but it would be illegal to share (unwittingly) illegal material.

    Right. I agree. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. But considering that Freenet nodes give priority to the most popular content, I have no doubt that 99% of nodes would (do?) contain illegal content.

    I doubt any other countries would follow suit.

    Here I disagree. I can't think of any industrialized country which doesn't have strong control over distribution of either forbidden or copyright content. The US, from what I know (not American) has fairly lax laws on forbidden content. Many nations forbid, for instance, hate speech. France and Germany have prosecuted foreign Internet sites for selling Nazi items. I think they'd be just as quick to go after users of Freenet as the US. The countries that wouldn't care too much, I think, would be the poorer countries.

  • by fougasse ( 79656 ) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @02:07AM (#356942)

    One of the most-repeated things here is that, as Freenet is decentralized, it's impregnable. Now, it's true that because of the decentralization, there'll always be a few people running nodes. But I don't think that the assumption that individuals running nodes will never be gone after is true in this case.

    With something like Napster, there was never a question of going after all -- or even some -- users. Millions of people were using it, and the only group who would really WANT to prosecute people, the RIAA, couldn't risk the loss popularity. But Freenet's a different story. Here's what I see happening.

    In the public mind, one of the most reprehensible forms of "information" possible is kiddie porn, so I'll use that as an example.

    Someone -- police? concerned citizen? -- intentionally downloads a picture of, say, a terrified eight-year-old with bleeding cuts all over her body being violently raped. They get the IP of the node that sent it to them and sue the ISP and, in turn, whoever was running the node.

    There is a court case. The prosecution argues, straightforwardly, that both possession and distribution of such material are crimes. The defense argues that, as the operator of the node wasn't aware of what his computer was storing or distributing, he/she couldn't be held responsible. Now, I'm no lawyer, but this seems to me to be an update of the old grade-school trick of closing your eyes, swinging your fists toward someone, and saying I'm just exercising my right to swing my arms, and if you happen to be in the way it's your fault. In other words, though the owner may not have known exactly what their node was distributing, they did know that it was likely that they would be distributing illegal content, and they installed Freenet anyway.

    Running Freenet, then, would very likely be illegal. And unlike in cases like Napster, there would be a large army of publically-supported people interested in finding and going after Freenet users. Why? Remember what we're talking about here -- beaten, raped eight-year-olds. Does anyone believe that a majority of any large country would be in favour of distributing pictures of beaten, raped eight-year-olds? So popularity ceases to be an issue. And once a significant percentage of Freenet users have been prosecuted, many remaining users would no doubt be afraid to run it, leaving only a few true believers and residents of small/developing countries.

    I may not be a prophet, but if a system as destructive to accepted notions of what's decent and where freedom and anarchy separate ever becomes popular, there's gonna be trouble. And plenty of it.

  • I'm not a lawyer so I don't know how this would be seen but let's make a real world analogy. Say that I run a "service" that would allow users anonymously to leave contents at my firm, wrapped so I wouldn't know what it was (perhaps pictures of said 8-year-old) where others could pick this up, again anonymously.

    Would that be illegal?

    Then I could extend the service a bit more and start a few more offices and transfer packages between them if the customer wanted to. Perhaps even distribute this package to end users.

    Somehow it feels like someone has had this idea before....
  • by krmt ( 91422 ) <therefrmhere&yahoo,com> on Saturday March 17, 2001 @07:57PM (#356944) Homepage
    Well, while I agree that "free speech areas" are pretty absurd, the idea that Freenet is contributing to this is just wrong. The Internet is not composed of "places" but of mediums. Whether your medium is an mp3, a gif, HTML file, or whatever, that's what makes up the internet. The method that you choose to share that medium is relatively inconsequential, and using a method like freenet helps to protect your speech via whatever medium you want to use, in ways that it isn't protected in a browser. The same item on freenet can be accessed from any computer on the internet with the right program, no different than having something available only via ftp.

    And because of things like freenet, there are people in countries outside the US who don't have the benefit of the First Amendment, who now have a tool in their fight to say what they need to say. These people need a tool like freenet simply because the other options are totally inadequate in promoting the freedoms that they should have.

    Remember, Freenet's goal isn't to limit the freedoms of other protocols, but to provide a safe haven on the internet for people who need it. Just because there is free speech on freenet does not mean that there can't be free speech on the web. Mutual exclusivism isn't a rule of the game.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • Either this is mental masturbation, or a troll. However, it is also painfully correct, painfully wrong and raises important questions.

    Our freedom of speech is constantly being taken away from us. Bit by bit, not-so-huge chunks fly by us, almost unnoticed by the general population. The Internet was invented to technologically improve communications on this globe, but it also lay the grounds of a new and wild territory not yet tamed. 10 years ago, noone cared what you put up on your page. Not because alot of illegal material wasn't put up on the WWW, but because everyone present at that time was tolerant and such behaviour was expected. Now with the mainstream and corporations the Internet is no longer wild and untamed. Now you should expect to get sued if you ever register a domain name or publish a homepage. With the mainstream, sensible solutions doesn't work anymore (because we're so damn diverse!).

    However, you can't blame the geeks or anyone of us for stepping back at the violence. We aren't perfect, and we aren't meant to fix anyone's problems. Neither can we hold the general population at bay. What we can do however, is to create new technological wonders. That's what we are good for.

    These wonders can and will provide examples and means for people to learn what truly free speech is about. What hypocricy and vote-buying crap political correctness really is.

    In the end, events are just that. They are what they are. You can't really blame anyone for being who they are and doing what they do. Blame someone, and you might as well include yourself too. The only _positive_ reaction is to do what you can about it.

    - Steeltoe
  • Have you done so yet, and to which causes?

    Without a doubt the only causes Taco has donated to is his anime DVD fund.

  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @05:48PM (#356947) Homepage Journal
    One other quick question, which I still haven't seen answered. When Slashdot was bought, and the parent company(ies) were going to have IPOs, I believe that you and CmdrTaco would be donating some of the income to Free Software or other projects you supported. Have you done so yet, and to which causes?

    We just had a discussion on kuro5hin [] about how unlike Larry Augustin (VA Linux CEO) and the other suits at VA Linux, ESR and CmdrTaco didn't sell VA Linux stock when they had the chance. With VA Linux currently trading at around $3 [] there isn't much money to be made from the stock especially after taxes.

  • Freenet is trying out some pretty challenging new ideas in caching material, in high availability of material, and in making it easier to bring together different material that's likely to appeal to the same people. Those innovations are what makes it most fascinating to me. The idea that a content provider doesn't have to buy the space to make material widely available--instead, that people who like the material will automatically distribute it and provide redundant availability--that in itself would make it worth supporting.

    And you can be sure lots of companies are trying out similar ideas; probably some of them got the idea from Freenet. The experiments will probably continue and be funded by VCs in other companies, but Freenet has enough interesting properties to deserve support from people who just want to see what new solutions can be found for old Internet problems.

  • "Saying you think people should be held accountable for what they say is saying you support censorship, and if you support censorship you dont support free speech."

    I think you misunderstand me. (I started this thread as an Anonymous Coward for effect). I am saying that anonyminity is not guaranteed by the right to speak freely. Were someone to say that they were planning to kill the president, and if they were saying it in an open forum with anonyminity, then there would be nothing law enforcement could do to squash their anarchist consipracy. (And consider that my use of the words "kill" and "president" will probably be found by Carnivore or something similar. But I'm ok with that. It's their job to keep things lawful.)

    I honestly have no fucking clue how you went from talking about accountability to talking about censorship... must be some /. thing to label everything undesireable as censorship or invasion of privacy.

  • (I started this thread Anonymously)

    I agree with you, and I am by no means conservative or liberal. What I should have said in my original post was "borderline-anarchist liberals" instead of "borderline anarchist liberals" to clarify that as far as political philosophies go, when either of them is taken to the extreme, it smacks of anarchy and disorder. I really dispise what the Christian conservatives are doing in the United States with censorship. I blame most of it on the Baptists, a sect of Christianity which, in the United States, participates in wholesale censorship lobbying, degredation of women's roles in the world, etc. (Check out Landover Baptist [] and their Role of Women Bible Quiz [] to get an idea of how Baptists' extreme literal interpretation of Bibical verse is used to make the world a worser place.)

  • "Like I said before, free speech means nothing if you're dead."

    To which I say "Life means nothing if you can't speak freely."

  • Rip is bad, but it law isn't so bad that it requires software developers using encryption to build in backdoors. It does require ISPs to build in monitoring and can force users to reveal their keys (but only if they new them).

  • Well gee I wonder why free speech was included in the constitution and not aids or red cross?

    Wow. I mean, wow! I've seen moronic trolls with no real perspective outside of a slavish devotion to the first 4 or 5 items in the bill of rights before. I've seen /.ers so wrapped up in their right to swap music that they elevate it to the same level as political dissidents in china or the founding fathers. But you really take the cake.

    Tell me you were trying for some sort of irony. tell me you're not really this stupid. please.

    Kahuna Burger

  • And if you go to a movie and don't like it, I guess you can't criticize it unless you make a better one.

    Sadly, there are a lot of people who really think like this. Just go back and look at the discussions about the D&D movie. Personaly, I don't get the additude. Like, I can't sing. At all. Really, aweful, no pitch, I got tossed from 7th grade chorus if you can believe that. But my high school had a kick ass musical department, and I stage crewed for the musicals and went to the concerts, and damn it, I know what good singing sounds like and what bad singing sounds like. And I don't care if I'm watching a multimillion dollar star, if I say "her voice was a little off tonight, I hope she gets a rest" I don't need to be able to "do better" to make that judgement.

    I don't doubt that there are stuations where an outsider doesn't have the right to say "they should have done that better/different/my way", but telling people they don't have the right to comment unless they can do better gets old real fast when zealots use it against any criticism of something they like.

    Kahuna Burger

  • How much would research have stagnated by now if everything became government IP?

    you mean as opposed to the government funding the research then the results becoming corportate IP? Its a pretty good tossup, IMHO on whether removing the corporate or the government imputus to research would have worse effects. But AFAIK, research is nowhere near "stagnating" at universities where the major funding is government grants. And we'd be even better off if the results of those studies didn't end up lining corporate pockets when they put in a minority of the cash.

    The corporate sector may build a better mousetrap, but the government destroyed smallpox. Don't let your love of the "free market" blind you to the real tradeoffs. The kind of free speach that medical research needs is in no danger, and the freenet model of unverified data, trust by voting and anyone can vote and "be an informed consumer of information" would be a hell of a lot more destructive to medical research than anything the givernment could impose.

    Perspective, guys, persective.

    Kahuna Burger

  • if a reference to the content creator was included with a file -- where you could give money to the content creators

    Then use the format's tagging facility. For tarballs, use a text file named README. For MP3 audio, use ID3v2.

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • You make an excellent argument, and had I not already commented on this article, I'd mod you up. :-) I do not have too much beef with drug laws and such, but I do believe that our government and society stretch them a bit more than necessary. I am an individualist, if such a thing is to exist. I believe in the individual's rights to choose for him/her-self. Of course, there are other underlying notions with that... such as that individual requiring a certain amount of education on things before running out and deciding on it. Eh, I guess if I were to write a book about my social beliefs, I could cover all the back doors and flaws that /. could come up with. :-)
  • I apologize. I merely worded it wrong. I meant to say that networks pay the teams to broadcast their games, just like the RIAA should be paying Napster to "broadcast" it's music. I merely said it backwards. I apologize.
  • What I find interesting here is that hundreds of faithful slashdot followers will likely make some kind of donation to this project just because slashdot told them to do so. I am somewhat hesitant to make any movement one way or the other, however. Part of me holds back because of this argument [], while another part of me tells me to stand up for what I believe is right [].

    *begin offtopic mode - moderators ignore*

    As far as "going the way of Napster" is concerned, I see this as all but dependent upon Napster's fate. If Napster is shut down, that will be a huge blow to portals every where. Napster has done absolutely nothing wrong - it is merely the portal. It makes downloading music easier, but downloading music is not officially a crime. Sure, there are intellectual property laws and ... blah blah blah ... I think that is a load of crap. No one cared when I copied my friends' CDs over to cassette a decade ago. I see a double standard.

    So I will make two quick comparisons, and then I will shut up about Napster.

    (1) Baseball. Baseball games are broadcast on television, often nationally. This makes it easier for the fans to see the games without paying all that money to buy tickets, travel to the game, pay for parking, food, etc. etc. etc. Television is a portal that prevents baseball teams from receiving higher attendance revenue - but wait - these teams pay for television to broadcast their games! Why? Because this increases support for the game of baseball. And look at what Napster has done for music. While the RIAA does everything in its power to state the opposite, Napster and online mp3 distribution through other media has increased CD sales, even with the RIAA raising the average price of a full-length CD! It seems to me that the RIAA should be a little more appreciative of Napster and mp3 distribution, and that artists like Metallica should shut the hell up.

    (2) Drugs/weapons dealers. The view that the anti-Napster community will likely take is that Napster is similar to a drug dealer in that it is making it easier for anyone and everyone to commit a crime, that crime being the infringment on someone's copyright, the trespassing on someone's intellectual property. As you could guess, I see nothing logical about this argument, and I am against it. Go figure.

    Sorry for such a long, semi-off-topic post. It isn't completely off-topic - it does relate to the issue at hand. But... I guess you guys can be the judge of that.

  • Are there any good clients out there?
  • You're one of those basterds who have been getting request failures for "*brittiny spears*" for the past few months, aren't you?


  • old grade-school trick of closing your eyes, swinging your fists toward someone, and saying I'm just exercising my right to swing my arms, and if you happen to be in the way it's your fault

    Except that there is really no "non-infringing use" for swinging your arms around. OTOH, running a Freenet node definately does.


  • Criminy, this is what counts as being good work? Oh come on now, besides the fact at it uses popularity to determine file storage (err, most of would go kerplunk, I know that most of their files are rarely accessed, but well appreicated when they are) the fact is that it is NOT ANONYMOUS!!

    Most people seem to miss this, but over the internets current structure (TCP/IP) every computer has an address. Any other alternative system STILL REQUIRES AN ADDRESS. Your address is passed along to the server that you are downloading the file from, obviously, or else the server wouldn't know where to send the file.

    Now then, with freenet the files are distributed over multiple sources. Which is perfectly nice, for making it hard to track who is DISTRIBUTING the files. But for who is retrieving them, hell, that is easy. Any half asses packet sniffer, or hell, if you are on dialup, a packet capture device hooked to your phone line that only activiates when you connect to the internet, could easily keep track of the requests you make and the files you download.

    Err, now, wait, freenets FAQ states that it is not encryped safely! In fact, they say that they are less secure then remailers. What is more, you would have to go through a remailer style message delay to get true security.

    You know how friggin ANNOYING a packet delay system would be if it was connected to a file transfer system?? Yet, this is the ONLY way that freenet will ever be secure. Well, that and high encryption levels combinded together with it.

    Doh, seems to me that all of a sudden getting those MP3's could be a major pain in the ass.

    Not to mention that you without such systems, you would not be truly anon, and would be open to any smart ass with some tracerouting.

    Heya, but wait, where then you ask IS there a truly anon system with file transfer and delayed sends and encryption and an already established user base and a complex and meaningfull layout of subjects?? Want that tech to be proven too? Plateform support???

    Try usenet. Turns out that freenet (by there own admission, try sec4.1) would have to use remailers anyways, so why the hell not just build up a decent kill file and pay $9.95 for the worlds largest uncencorable source of, well, everything!

  • To quote from the freenet FAQ:

    "Freenet does not offer true anonymity in the way that the Mixmaster and cypherpunk remailers do. Most of the non-trivial attacks (advanced traffic analysis, compromising any given majority of the nodes, etc.) that these were designed to counter would probably be successful in identifying someone making requests on Freenet."

    Someone making requests on freenet can indeed be identified. If I put a packet snifffer/analyzer on your connection I would be able to tell what you where asking for, and then mabye what you where recieving (since asking for something illigitimat not neccisarily illegial, but actualy getting it often times is).

  • Your point is fair enough. If 'free speech' means not only the freedom to speak, however, but also the freedom to hear others speak, then freenet can still be quite valuable on the free speech front.

    You don't *have to* hide things on freenet. That's merely optional. You can post them and announce them. On freenet, they cannot be removed. (until they disappear eventually from lack of interest.)

    *You* can decide how much freedom/security/anonymity/accountability you need, but *your speech* (as it is embodied on freenet) will remain free.
  • But free speech is not restricted on the internet as a whole (it might be in some small areas however).

    If you want to call China a small area, okay. But remember that China is a large, influential country that does not have freedom of speech. Chinese people are not allowed to criticize their government, have mandatory internet censorship (the details of which are unknown to me), etc. Also, I remember reading somewhere that the UK was the dominant country in the 1800s, the US was dominant in the 1900s, and China is expected to be dominant in the 2000s.

    The internet has free speech now, but don't take it for granted.

    Check in...OK! Check out...OK!
  • I believe that the best way for Freenet to garantue it's survival is to put it into use for as many "non-suspicious" purposes as possible, e.g.:

    • WWW (could easily use it, just use a new URL scheme and/or build proxies),
    • Usenet (could use gateways, i.e. newservers that don't use NNTP to exchange postings with other newsservers but Freenet), or
    • E-Mail (could switch to something like IM 2000 [], which could also utilize Freenet).

    If Freenet is only used by those who require the freedom, then it is easy to claim that "Freenet is only used by criminals" and to "outlaw the use of technologies such as those utilized by Freenet" - with the obvious result that Freenet will not be available for legal - but "suspicious" - purposes.

  • You know, I'm sick of long-winded answers always getting modded up. Style of substance, I guess---nerds are gullible, too. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about. As the last user pointed out, networks pay out the ying-yang for the rights to carry sports.
  • It's great to see voluntary payments/donations really taking off and being adopted by both users and organizations.

    Thanks especially to all who supported the Offshore Napster Server Fund []. There's been an out pouring of not only money but hardware, services, and support. I hope the same happens for Freenet.


  • The people who create the programs and support the infrastructure aren't the pirates.

    Pirates are the end users who use the programs and infrastructure to do things that are antiquated laws have deemed to be 'illegal'.

    Should the RIAA be suing the creators of FTP or IRC because they can be used to share copyright material?

    ..But of course fans should be sending money to the creators and that's why there is Fairtunes [].


  • Despite Slashdot claims otherwise, there are more important things than free speech. Like life.

    I'd prefer to donate my money for cancer and AIDS research, the Red Cross, etc.

  • You could have a communist government sheltering all AIDS information from activists, yet they could still use money to fight it.

    How much research could be accomplished if everyone were dead?

  • Because your right to live should never have to be stated on a piece of old parchment.

    We're not talking about an attack on the Constitution itself. We're talking about FreeNet which, let's be honest here, is probably going to become a haven to swap MP3's and Warez, not make any real kind of statement. If it's a choice between giving money to the doctors, scientists and researchers at the American Cancer Society, and the hackers at FreeNet, I'm choosing the Cancer Society.

    Like I said before, free speech means nothing if you're dead.

  • I agree that AIDS, cancer, and the Red Cross are important. How effective would they be without free speech? How much would research have stagnated by now if everything became government IP?
  • I couldn't get to the the paypal site. Slashdotted already. Ironic isn't it? A scalable, secure, information exchange system that I can't donate to because of the overwhelming number of requests....
  • tee hee

    Before we resort to calling each other names here is an excerpt from Freenets web site:

    Freenet itself merely provides the infrastructure for storing and retrieving information, it does not provide an easy-to-use interface for the user. To address this issue we encourage the creation of Freenet clients.

    To restate what they've said, they know there isn't an cool looking front end right now because they're been working on the infrastructure. But they encourage all those willing to help to create a client.

    We should, of course, come to an informed decision first before donating instead of blindly throwing our money at something. I would even suggest, those leery of donating your money, try donating some time and help the cause.

    Assuming, of course, you agree with the philosophy of Freenet. Otherwise donate your time and/or money to another worthy cause.

  • Wait! We can keep this on-topic yet!

    Unlike Napster et al., Freenet is designed such that no matter where Mir leaves a crater, there will be very little or no loss of data from the Freenet network. Obviously "highly survivable" [] is a very important feature.


  • Ah! The moderators have a sense of humor.
  • You make a valid point until you drag the whole liberal versus conservative thing into the debate. Being a non-religious moderate, I say plague on both of your houses, but since you took up for the conservatives against the liberals I'll do a a little conservative bashing of my own to balance things out. Conservatives are a bunch of control freak blow-hards who wish to strangle free speech and truly free markets by advocating freedom and liberty for themselves at the expense of the less wealthy and unlike minded to their religious or economic beliefs. A conservative's idea of freedom is having the legal right to shut up and repress people of different religions and ideals while monopolizing resources in the name of laissez-faire capitalism and creating an aristocracy of wealth.

    Oh, and I don't need Freenet to anonymously bash anyone. However, it does come in handy if I have something to say about a major corporation or wealthy individual with deep enough pockets to legally harass me into financial ruin, whether what I said was true, or I was legally and constitutionally entitled to say it.

  • What I find interesting is that in a supposedly free country, a consensual activity like drug use is illegal. Same thing goes for prostitution or any other individual activity that society wrongly chooses to make it's business. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot, we have to "protect the children". Silly me, and here I am selfishly wanting personal liberties and freedom.
  • As scary as the notion might seem I think that we are better off taking individualism much further. I believe that an individual has the right to harm themselves up to and including their own death. An individual also has the right to make foolish or uninformed decisions. If you would like a more eloquent and clearer view on the matter of individualism try or I disagree that you could cover all of the back doors and flaws in your views that the Slashdot community would find. If you could,I want your secret and the formula for bottling it:0) That is why I frequently read here and less frequently post. The diversity of opinions and articulation of ideas make Slashdot a great stone for sharpening your intellectual knife and honing your own opinions to a finer point. Still, the education that you gain in the writing of such a book as you suggest will benefit you personaly, and may benefit society by decreasing someone elses ignorance. Oh, and thanks for your support on my last post, though I don't seek out people of like mind it is nice to know that I am not alone in my views.
  • Wow! I expected you to flame me big time if you were going to respond at all. It pleases me that you took my reply in the spirit it was intended without taking personal offense. Thanks for the links, having watched the 700 Club on occasion I shudder to think at what I will find at these Baptist sites. The ignorance of your average person, American or otherwise, is breathtaking in it's scope and depth. The ignorance of others has a profound effect on my personal freedoms and liberties, and the ignorance of the zealously religious scares me because there is no room for my beliefs or philosophies according to their beliefs and worldview. Two more things. One: at least for me, your point would have been more clear had you said "borderline - anarchist, liberal, and conservative philosophies." or something to that affect. Semantics is a tough thing sometimes... Two: I'll do you a "Christian" thing of good in exchange for evil and give you two urls that lead to uplifting sites rather than the depressing drivel I am likely to read at the links in your reply:O) and though I think that you will likely be depressed or angered by some of what you find at either site, at least they display a glimmer of hope for those of us who care about individual freedom. "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." --Bertrand Russel
  • Okay I just made a small donation (so far this month I have made four such small donations to various orgs, paypal is just so darn handy).

    But remember kids, it ain't free speech if you have to hide it in freenet. If it was free speech you would be able to post it on your web page and the government would leave you alone.

  • Hmm, just thought of something, PayPal knows a shitload of personal information about me, and they also know my copious eBay buying and selling habits, and what subversive internet projects I donate to, and what online erotica sites are which I donate to, etc., etc. Kinda like a credit card company but without the pesky consumer protection laws. Could this cause me trouble someday?

  • ...surprisingly, there are many people in this world who don't understand the concept of civil disobedience, ie., nonviolently disobeying unjust laws. If Freenet were outlawed, yes, it would still be hard to stop. But it would be mostly stopped.

    The vast majority of people let their governments think for them. If the government says Freenet is the abode of perverts, terrorists, and hackers (a term that I expect will be even more vilified in the coming years), then the average person will see Freenet as a den of evil. Freenet users will be stigmatized and criminalized.

    What's more, there may well BE ways to attack and/or shut down Freenet nodes. Freenet isn't that old and hasn't had as much extensive field testing as other networking protocols like TCP/IP; we don't know all the vulnerabilities yet. Furthermore, while hiding the node contents from the server sysadmin would seem to grant him "deniability", that only works in a sane country. I fully expect that such logic will be incomprehensible to judges and politicians, to whom any Freenet user will be seen as a sicko terrorist trying to hide behind the Constitution.

    And remember kids, when sickos and terrorists hide behind the constitution, it's best to ignore the stupid thing so you can tell your constituents you're tough on crime! After all, who cares about some piece of paper written more than 200 years ago? Not us!

    I'm not saying people should stop copying and swapping mp3's. If the RIAA had been more (much more) reasonable about this, then yes, I would have been in favor of stopping the pirating. But after their recent actions, including their attempts to weasel out of paying royalties to the actual ARTISTS they claim to represent, screw them. I think the RIAA deserves to go down hard, so swap those mp3's folks. Just don't do it on Freenet until AFTER the RIAA's dead (should only take a few years).

    The thing we need to remember is that Freenet is MORE IMPORTANT than this. There are people in dictatorial nations (China etc) who should be able to speak freely. When we say that freedom of speech is an inalienable human right, we should mean what we say and extend it to ALL humans, no matter how evil a government they toil under. And personally, I see the U.S. becoming much more authoritarian, so don't be surprised when you see U.S. citizens turning to Freenet to protect their speech. Congress can't seem to get that "shall make NO LAW" part through their heads.

    This is a bigger issue than swapping mp3's, people. For the sake of the people that desperately need Freenet, we need to keep our eyes on the goal.

  • by Kasreyn ( 233624 ) on Saturday March 17, 2001 @06:15PM (#356986) Homepage
    ..politically, just to survive. Freenet has to, and I mean HAS to, distance itself from the mp3 issue. If it gets heralded as the new free mp3 swapping online site, it will not last half as long as Napster did. Freenet needs to make it VERY clear that its primary concern is providing a network for freedom of speech online.

    While this will be repugnant to many in power, if Freenet avoids being labelled "Napster II" by the mass media, the RIAA might not come down on it like a total ton of bricks. Or at least they might not throw enough money at it to buy any amount of judges and congresspersons. I'm not saying Freenet should lick the RIAA's boots, but it should definitely NOT come across with the "fuck you" attitude Napster had.

    But if Freenet IS seen as the "new Napster", and if 15 million 14 year olds hop onto it so they can download Dr. Dre, you can be sure that no judge or congressperson will be capable of seeing a difference between the two, especially with the RIAA lobbyists battering down their doors. Freenet, instead of going massively public, should go *mildly* public and try to avoid being seen as the new mp3 swap system. Let Gnutella take that rap.

    I'm as much against the RIAA as anyone here, but the more I learn about Freenet, the more I think it would be a tragedy to make this mistake and see Freenet ruined. This has real potential, and I'd hate to see it end prematurely because of the sympathy for the RIAA that arrogant Napsterites stirred in the government.

    Not a flamebait, but what I really think. Try responding rather than moderating, huh?


  • Freenet should survive because it could replace HTTP as a file-sharing protocol. Data is replicated throughout the network, which prevents the Slashdot effect. This will enable people to publish stuff without shelling out major bux for bandwidth.
  • submissions != donations.

    Like, I can donate as much money i want to a magazine but that doesn't mean they will take the article I just submitted.


  • I see your point. I don't understand why so many people here will feel jumpy on legal issue in this stage.

    Free speech is so important in US, and it's even vital to those countries which have governemnts nailed their citizens accessing forbidden information.

    I don't want to give examples as I don't want to see be banned for political reason in my country. Take a look at the article in Anonymizer [] for some clue, you'll understand why anonymous free speech is about life and death in other countries

    Note: too bad anonymizer has a single point of place to be banned. I wish Freenet and other anonymous free speech project could get around this(and that's their intention).

  • Good point, but if it isn't distributing illegal stuffs, just for free speech, then restricting its existance would be a federal issue in US.

    However, I'm not going to emphasis on US' laws. You may not realize how important anonymous channels of free speech is to other countries.

    There are couples of countries you can name that will jail its citizens for distributing or merely reading news that are not welcomed by their governments.

    People living in the demoncratic countries may not understand.

  • Hardly - Freenet is used to share ANY information. Not just MP3s - If something like Freenet were outlawed, you might as well outlaw NFS, WIndows SMB shares, etc.

    THe tough part is going to be tracking anything down in Freenet - stuff is encrypted - you have no idea where it comes from, etc.

    Great system


  • I'll tell you what Freenet needs to do politically, just to survive.

    Wait, it has to do something to survive? I don't think so - that's the whole point of Freenet! It doesn't matter what anyone does, as long as there are people who want to use Freenet, Freenet will be there. There are no centralized anythings in Freenet, so there's no point of attack. There's nothing anyone can do to shut it down short of hunting down every single person running a Freenet node and shutting them down.

    I don't see how becoming an MP3 swapping service would threaten Freenet in any way. Just the opposite in fact: Freenet needs users to survive, and what do users want? FREE MUSIC!!!

    There are some problems with using Freenet as an MP3 swapping service, though. The way it works doesn't exactly lend itself to easy music swapping. However, that hasn't stopped people from trying! Check out Espra, a free music swapping service using Freenet [], now in Beta. Not only does Espra let you download music, it also provides a method of letting you compensate the artists, with as much or as little money as you want. It looks pretty cool.

    [me@localhost]$ prolog
    | ?- god.
    ! Existence error in god/0

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI