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Freenet 0.5.1 Released, P2P Network Stabilizing 659

mids writes "With version 0.5.1, Freenet isn't only the most secure & anonymous P2P network, but also getting pretty fast! Reliable downloading of files as large as 700MB from Freenet at average download rates as high as 100k/sec on a broadband internet connection are sighted (which compares quite favorably to more conventional P2P applications)."
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Freenet 0.5.1 Released, P2P Network Stabilizing

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  • Terrorism (Score:5, Funny)

    by sokkelih ( 632304 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:34AM (#5536160)
    This allows fast and anonymous terrorism! ;) (Check out that Microsoft Says piracy is Terrorism -thingie.)
    • Re:Terrorism (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well if we use the new Napster [slashdot.org] we can make sure to give the music industry what they need: money to make bombs [gortbusters.org]. So maybe in some twisted business relation that download really does indirectly support terrorism by reducing money to the war machine! ... Though, we have yet to see proof that music sales are really hurt.

      It's just one massive web of headache.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This allows fast and anonymous terrorism! ;) (Check out that Microsoft Says piracy is Terrorism -thingie.)


      Jokes that require footnotes aren't funny (1)

      (1) we treat the parenthesised portion of the parent as a footnote, though technically it's an aside (2).

      (2) labouring the point isn't funny either.
    • I know the post was meant as a joke... but really... does it? I know all the great things freenet accomplishes. Freedom of information, letting people access it, stuff like that. But what about when it does get used for "bad" things. Are there any moral (or even legal!) consequences to running a node that this information is served off of? Does just because you don't know what is served off your node, make it ok?
      • Re:Terrorism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by peterjhill2002 ( 578023 ) <peterjhill@ c m u.edu> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:23AM (#5536503) Journal
        Who else finds this a disturbing arguement:
        " I don't want my node to be used to harbor kiddie porn, offensive content or terrorism. What can I do?
        The true test of someone who claims to believe in Freedom of Speech is whether they tolerate speech which they disagree with, or even find disgusting. If this is not acceptable to you, you should not run a Freenet node."

        From the freenet.org documentation page. I find it hard to believe that "the true test" of Freedom of Speech means tolerating child porn. You can be sure as hell that I will take their advice and not run a Freenet node.
        • Child Pornography (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @02:31PM (#5538606) Journal
          I find it hard to believe that "the true test" of Freedom of Speech means tolerating child porn.

          I think it's pretty reasonable. They take an absolute position of freedom of speech, including allowing things like libel to be placed on Freenet.

          And it's technically silly to even care. The point of Freenet is that it treats all data the same, and only cares about popularity. Is chunk of data id # af325a15b7791fc13b really popular? Then regardless of the content, it's going to spread around. Freenet tries to reduce network load, and ignores artifical attempts to prevent it from doing so.

          In essence, it enforces the much-talked-about common carrier status on everyone. No one knows what's passing through their computer, because it just doesn't matter. It's data, someone wants it, and caching it gets it to them more efficiently.

          I find it vaguely odd that you, a network engineer, are unable to isolate the transmission of data from attempts to censor it. Do you believe that the networks you build aren't used for things that you would consider immoral?

          Freenet, by virtue of some features of it and its popularity, provide some services that are unavailable elsewhere. There are few other places that you can get really truly anonymous email that you can *trust* to be anonymous.

          Actually, I find Freenet a good example of the simple impracticality of attempting to censor data today, with the ease of transmission and storage available. I'll be amazed if any broad class of data can be censored.

          Finally, a comment on your morality complaint. You find child pornography distasteful, and want to choose not to serve it. That's fine. However, the common condemnation of child pornography is based more upon attempts to prevent violation of a particular social code than out of interest for children's welfare (contrast this with actual sex with children, which certainly does have potentially severe negative physical effects). There are some tribes in New Zealand and Africa that do not wear clothing (well, aside from some ornamentation). If a photographer went there and took pictures (ignoring for a moment whether the tribals would have any issues with the picture-taking itself), these people wouldn't really think anything of being seen in the nude. The photographer may well have been producing material designed to "incite lust", which would make said material pornography. However, to argue that there is any form of damage being caused to the subject is ludicrous. Now, in the United States and much of the world, Victorian ethics have had an enormous impact. There's a general nudity taboo, and the concept of child pornography is generally unaccepted. However, that is very much a product of the society, an artifact of religious and social pressures, not an obviously beneficial thing.

          Actually, while I'm complaining about common views of child pornography, how well do your views on it approximate the actual, legally enforced definition used in the United States? People very frequently claim that they find child pornography utterly repulsive. And yet, legally, "child pornography" includes people that most would hardly consider children. Would a nude seventeen year old be repulsive, whereas suddenly an eighteen year old not be?

          I really shouldn't have to put this disclaimer here, but child pornography is so commonly disliked that it's necessary to be taken seriously. I don't find child pornography appealing, though I don't have this ridiculously overblown hatred of it and the people involved in its production that many people culture. There's also a not unreasonable chance that I'd find a nude seventeen-year-old to be attractive, so I'd enjoy some of the material that the US has made illegal.

          Essentially, I'd say that someone taking nude pictures of an American child is doing about the same thing as feeding beef to a Hindu child or pork to a Jewish child. They're violating social norms, and probably piss off some people, but I don't see a
          • by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @04:45PM (#5539708) Homepage Journal
            I think your argument has many merits, but your definition of what constitutes "child pornography" is flawed.

            As far as I'm aware, and I speak as merely a member of the human race here, and not a lawyer (are the two mutually exclusive?... I don't know) a photograph of a naked child is not "child pornography," "kiddie porn" or whatever.
            If that were true, then there would be parents who've taken photographs of their children in the bath, naked on the beach or running around in the garden who were by that definition child pronographers.

            H&M, an old (now defunct?) naturist magazine regularly showed pictures of persons under the age of 18 in a state of undress, and was on sale, legally, in British newsagents up and down the country, for many years.
            If this was seen by the law as KP (as I believe it is sometimes quaintly known) then you can bet there would have been dawn raids on every newspaper shop in the UK. This didn't happen.

            Also artists such as Balthus, would have found themselves in court, for creating works that could perhaps, at least, be called "child erotica" (there is no actual sexual activity in his paintings, but frequently "suggestive" poses, and allusions to sexuality.)

            Child Pornography involves children engaging in sexual activity with other children or adults, which is then recorded. It's not just a 3 year old runing up the garden, naked as the day he was born, to his mother's camera, grinning like a maniac, on a summer's day.

            Real Child pornography is not about a social norm being transgressed, although some hard-liners like the people in Kidscape, I believe, define child abuse as having sex with someone under the age of 16, here in the UK; a declaration that certain countries and cultures on the continent and elsewhere throughout the world, are populated by child abusers because of their lower ages of consent.
            Of course such a position is somewhat fanatical and isn't worth much of a second thought.

            Real child abuse involves events that are traumatic and have an immense impact on people's lives. It always involves the abuse of power, the taking advantage of and manipulation of someone who is less informed, and less able to understand that they are not acting in their own interests.
            These people are called children.
            This is why there are laws concerning the age of consent, both in sexual activity, and appearing in pornography: to protect the vulnerable.

            That in The Netherlands, a 16 year old can be shown involved in a gangband with a dozen men, and the same is illegal in the US, is not the issue.

            That a four year old is shown being raped in it's anus, is. I do not believe that this is a cultural issue; it is a humanitarian one.
          • There are some tribes in New Zealand...

            Look,

            I know this isn't central to your argument, but I feel the need to point out that you don't know what you're talking about. New Zealand is a developed, western nation with a top-20 spot on the OECD and quite clear laws regarding public nudity.

            The "tribes" you refer to are known here as "iwi", and are also technologically advanced and largely western in lifestyle. The Maori (native New Zealand) people do not live in mud huts and run around in grass skirts - t
  • by Attackman ( 95672 )
    I don't have to wait four days for Tom Jones' Greatest Hits to download.

    • by russx2 ( 572301 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:38AM (#5536203)
      ... but of course you'll still have to listen to I assume. So it's not all win-win.
    • Have you heard him singing "burning down the house" with that "love fool" singer. GREAT!!!

      A man walks into the shrinks office and says "Doctor, you have to help me! All I can think about all day is Tom Jones! Isn't that bizarre?!" Shrink says, "Nah, it's not unusual."
  • 700 MB of (Score:3, Funny)

    by _PimpDaddy7_ ( 415866 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:34AM (#5536162)
    That new Jenna Jameson movie, no doubt...
  • by ketamine-bp ( 586203 ) <calvin@k.eta[ ]ne.nu ['.mi' in gap]> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:35AM (#5536172)
    The problem is whether the users can use it as easily as other comparable software. i.e. if you want to get more users, you have to have more files in your network, if you want more files, you need to get more simple-minded users, and if you want to get more simple-minded users, keep the interface easy and clean.

    my 0.02
    • Insightful... it all comes down to the user interface, unless you're monopolistic.

      Remember the good ole days of editting config.sys and autoexec.bat, tweaking every line to get DOOM or Wolf3d to work on your old 286, 386, or 486? We didn't care about easy interface, it was the only game in town so we did whatever it took.

      Today... if anything comes with less than 1 click install shield (on windows), I'm pretty pissed. Even Linux, if anything comes with more than a 1 rpm click, 1 red-carpet click, or what
    • by HanzoSan ( 251665 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:39AM (#5536624) Homepage Journal


      Freenet is finally becoming mature and stable, this is very very good news.

      Now its time for people like us to go to freenet and put linux sites, slashdot type sites, and maybe some hacker/geek culture to freenet.

      Freenet shouldnt be just about porn and warez because it will be very easy to outlaw it, what we need to do is fill freenet up with useful content for the masses, maybe put WikiPedia type stuff in freenet.

      Its time to make some sites, specifically its time to bring back the hacker/geek culture that was lost, I'd like to see some hacker sites return, some chatrooms, etc etc
    • by Drakonian ( 518722 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:48AM (#5536695) Homepage
      I'm not sure about that. If you make it plainly obvious how to avoid sharing your own files, people will quickly turn that off and you'll get a bunch of leeches. If you obfuscate it somewhat like most current P2P programs do, and make it scan your hard drive on first install then your average user just forgets about it. I'm not saying it's good or right, but I think that's probably the way it is.
  • by Judebert ( 147131 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:35AM (#5536174) Homepage
    Wouldn't combining Project Gutenberg's freely available texts with Freenet's distributed storage be a great enhancement for both projects? Especially now that Freenet is stable enough to be considered viable for Gutenberg's purposes...
    • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:41AM (#5536221)
      Agreed. Furthermore, I think now is the time for Freenet to gain a reputation as an "online repository useful for the distribution out of print books and/or books in the public domain" before it gains a stigma for "anonymous sharing of pirated software and child porn."
      • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:10AM (#5536429) Homepage Journal
        That reputation will only be built by latching onto a highly visible project in more than just name. It would be interesting, for example to have a client built around a project like Gutenberg that somehow restricts the content shared to legitimate project material. That way people and organizations could adopt Freenet without worrying about the content...
        • "that somehow restricts the content shared to legitimate project material" - that is precisely what freenet is set up *against*. It is a necessary condition of its usefulness that it be able to store information that is illegal in at least some jurisdictions. Critiques of repressive governments and child pornography are both illegal in some areas of the world and legal in others. It would be good if I could decide which of those I host on my machine - here in the US, possession of child porn is a crime, a
    • by warpSpeed ( 67927 ) <slashdot@fredcom.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:44AM (#5536247) Homepage Journal
      That is a nice idea, as long as you have some one willing to put forth the resources for continious reinserts of the data.

      Freenets model is that data is transient. If some data is not used frequently, or used widely, it gets dropped eventualy. To insure avaiablilty you would need to constantly reinsert the data. Running a freenet node and inserting large quantities of data are two different things.

      I run a node, because I can, and there is little effort involved in keeping it up and running. The quality of the software has improved dramaticaly. For a while it was a pain to run due to the java VMs sucking up all avaiable ram and frequent crashes. Now I check that is is running once every few days or so.

      If more people start to setup nodes, and the software is idiot proof, this thing could take off.

  • Ask yourself: Is yet another P2P solution really what we need as a society?


    Without being merely flame bait, Is this something that we need? How about development of teaching software for our children?
    • Note: IAHFU (I Am a Happy Freenet User) As it is fundamentally web based, freenet represents the a system where being able to publish is not dependedent on being able to buy server space. This represents a very real democratisation of the net ($10 a month is a lot more in Asia), and the totally anonimous nature of the ntwork allows for much freer political speech. It is also worth noting that it automatically spreads frequently requested data across the network, meaning no more slashdot effect. This also
    • Re:Is this needed? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Deth_Master ( 598324 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:47AM (#5536275) Homepage Journal
      But this is a secure P2P unlike most p2p apps which are completely open. The transmissions on this net are encrypted. Also it doesn't seem to function like most p2p apps, which let you share only what you want and get whatever you want, the only cost being bandwidth. Freenet takes part of your storage and donates it to the network, that's the way it works, you have to donate some. I couldn't find out how to share things on the network though, and I'm not sure I like the idea of keeping the most popular items on the harddrives of multiple people and letting unpopular things just dissappear...

      More flamebait...

      Why do we need software to teach our children?
      Wouldn't teaching them in person be better, or are we all too busy?
      • The thing needed in P2P is not encryption, but anonymity. I am working on a version of P2P that utilises UDP, and spoofs the source addresses. You never know who is sending you the file you asked for.

        ACKs, and things are tricky though. ;)
    • Re:Is this needed? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by karlm ( 158591 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @02:57PM (#5538784) Homepage
      Ah yes, the equivalency of workers myth. I can design good secure network protocols and code up crypto algorithms. If I wrote educational software for your kids in thier spare time, they'd be looking at ascii art images of data flow diagrams. Do you really want your kids using educational software that I write? I suppose I could write up an ascii art app of a puppet teaching kids to count, but that would only teach your kids to hate counting. On the other hand, crypto is great, but if your 4-year old can perform differential cryptanalysis on STEA, then your kid gets classified as a weapon of mass destruction and put in a bunker in Oklahoma with VX warheads, and I don't want that kind of bad karma. I can write good crypto education software for your 4-year old or I can write crappy story reading software for your 5-year old or I can write a 2048/256-bit encrypted asynchronous message passing P2P freamework. Nobody wants me writing educational software. Besides, it's my free time. I don't complain about your Bedoin chant porn habbit, so why do you complain about the software I write in my spare time?

      Besides, if I wrote crypto education software for children, the Chinese would just say "screw CPUs, in 10 years we can have a beowurf cruster of crypto cracking kids". They draft 2 million 5-year olds and in 10 years they have more crypto theorems than they know what to do with. Falungong and the democracy movement can't keep any communications secret and the world is a worse place.

      You know what? By your logic, everyone in the world should drop what they're doing and go work on a cure for cancer. Let's see. I've got some Windex. I'll start out testing Windex on oncomice! No? What's wrong? I'm an MIT student and most people think I'm pretty smart, but very few people want me doing cancer/ebola/HIV/SARS research.

      What about those guys that keep writing yet another Sawfish theme? Do you think they should be helping Apache run faster instead? I don't think so. They have graphics talent and enjoy the work. To get them to work where they have little talent or interest would make crappy sftware and sad programmers. I say even if not one person uses their next Sawfish theme, they've still made the world a better place by making themselves happy with honest endevours.

  • by gregwbrooks ( 512319 ) <gregb@@@west-third...com> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:36AM (#5536180)
    I've watched Freenet from afar but not participated in it - any thoughts from users or the developers on the network's life expectancy (at least, as a legal entity) given the current legislative climate in the U.S.?

    Seems to me that a secure, distributed, encrypted P2P system could be used by (insert dramatic music) terrorists!

  • Joke all you want (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:37AM (#5536191) Homepage Journal
    People can joke all they want about downloading their porn or grabbing music and videos anonymously. The biggest boon of Freenet, not to mention other efforts an anonymous P2P, is for people in countries with oppressive regimes. Information may want to be free, but so do people. What's more important, downloading the latest pop music in MP3 format, or free (as in 'I won't get shot for this') speech?
    • Re:Joke all you want (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There is a slight benefit under oppressive governments, but in all likelihood the government would just ban the use of encryption in private communications and they'd still be screwed. The power of Freenet is that a)they don't know what traffic is being sent and b)even if they did know what was being sent, they don't know who requested it. A government that didn't care about trying to save face in free speech could just ban Freenet outright. They can always tell if you are using it, just not what you are us
    • "or free (as in 'I won't get shot for this') speech?"

      So now you will just be shot for using freenet.
    • by praedor ( 218403 )

      That's funny. So why can't China or Your-favorite-regime simply block/ban downloading freenet itself? It could also simply block the appropriate ports. Or track who is using the thing in-country and assume they are guilty of something and just take em down.

      Though freenet COULD be a boon as you say in THEORY, in fact it is a particular boon to child pornographers and pedophiles but you have to break a few eggs eh? What's a few dozen/hundred/thousand child molesters when you could have a hundred or so p



      • You cant really block it, anyone with a java compiler can compile the code.

        Look I'n not even caring about China, I care about USA, what about our freedom of speech? who gives a fuck about China, This protects our freedom of speech just as much.

        Its debateable but sharing music, porn, or warez is a form of speech because you are sharing 1s and 0s.

        Its debateable or questionable censored speech but its speech, talking about DCESS or whatever, and releasing exploits to the masses is speech, but you go to jai
        • by praedor ( 218403 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:03AM (#5536808) Homepage

          It has NEVER EVER been the case, nor the INTENDED case with the US Constitution and Bill of Rights that ALL speech be protected. Freedom of Speech comes from the start with restrictions. It has never been, nor ever will, nor ever should be OK to yell "Fire" in a crowded movie house, etc. Child porn is NOT protected speech nor should it EVER be, under no banner about Rights is it legitimate. Advocating murder is not protected speech, inciting riots with "speech" is also not protected (nor has it ever been).


          Me thinks what you want is anarchy, which cannot work and doesn't work. It is a state that people as a whole will not tolerate for long. Free speech is great until you get into black areas (advocating murder, inciting riots/violence, inducing panic vis a vis "Fire!" in a movie theater, etc). Then it is rightly punishable and not protected in any way, shape, or form. Never has been, never will be.

          • These are all good examples of speech that might be considered harmful. Now let's talk about speech that is in serious danger from your government.

            Strong encryption: people were able to be arrested as terrorists for publishing encryption algorithms or moving through customs with one printed on their t-shirts. Fucking terrorists - how dare they comprehend mathmatics!

            Apple computers - weapons because their CPUs are too fast.

            CSS - don't put that on your site or even link to a site with it on - those seven lines of Perl come direct from Satan

            Adobe e-books - don't even think about talking to your neighboor about how weak the encryption is because you are in serious danger of revealing the algorithm to him without even thinking about it. Prison for you - you evil terrorist!

            Reverse Engineering - DMCA says you can't talk about it, can't do it, can't even buy the results of it. Certainly don't try and do anything to that Playstation you *bought* because it's not your machine. Prison for you.

            Slander - don't even think of calling the US president a stupid rascist monkey faced war mongering butcher or you might be getting a visit from lawyers or the FBI.

            You had freedom over there once, and even still have a reasonable amount compared to some countries, but watch out, it's all moving away from the common man and into the hands of your government and big business. Be vigilant - your freedom is disappearing a thread at a time.



    • Its not about porn or music, I want to see hacker sites return. Remember all the hacking sites which people tried to ban, I want to see them come back, I want to see culture return to the internet besides corperate culture.

      We need to take advantage of freenet to make lots and lots of websites, we have unlimited storage space, if it becomes fast enough speed wont be a problem, we can put chatrooms in freenet too, this can really work.

      We just need to make sites, and not just porn and warez sites, but all k
  • by DarklordJonnyDigital ( 522978 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:37AM (#5536193) Homepage Journal
    File sharing clients don't get Slashdotted... they just give an error saying "More download sources required".
  • by Geekbot ( 641878 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:38AM (#5536204)
    I think there are really only 3 pivotal factors for any P2P.
    1)Speed: If you have a gazillion files but it take 4 hours to get an mp3, no one will use it.
    2)Content: I can go to kazaa and find music, software, video's, pictures, basically, everything. If a user has to use 3 different P2P engines to get what they want, it wont last.
    3)Searchable: If it's a pain to find the files you are looking for then you wont use it, and so fewer files will be available, and more people will end up dropping it due to content.

    Speeds seem to be terrible on all of the services I've used. Kazaa (Kazaalite) has the ability to download from multiple users, making up for that a little bit. I'm curious what speeds freenet can pull down from individual users. I've been thinking that those terrible speeds might just be from restrictive caps that ISP's might be placing on the P2P popular ports.
  • by NoDoZ ( 232151 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:41AM (#5536226)
    I know I see 300k/sec downloads on emule, and I find just about anything I'm looking for on it.

    Why is freenet better than edonkey?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because on freenet you can find things or post things yourself 100% free from censorship. This probably doesn't seem like a big deal when you just want to grow your music and video collection, but in countries where basic news services are banned, and freedom of speech is limited (ie: everywhere) then Freenet provides a safe forum to exchange views.


      • Try posting the source code to microsoft windows on the regular internet, see what happens. Hell just post an exploit for Microsoft windows and see what happens.

        News? our news is limited, we cant talk about certain questionable subjects without being labaled communist, socialist, liberal, or something, you cant talk about hacking anymore, when I was growing up on the net, I remember hacker sites were everywhere, we had chatrooms and everything, a whole culture, and now its gone.

    • by Manwe's Herald ( 586313 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:05AM (#5536402)
      If you are looking to just another filesharing network like edonkey/kazaa/gnutella, freenet is not for you.

      Freenet is different.

      For content to be available on freenet someone must upload it to the network. The advantage is that once something is on the network nobody can delete it and it don't matter if the original owner is online or not, but "publisher have to make an effort if they want content to be available. Freenet is not really like other P2P filesharing, it's more like a distributed anonymous storage.
  • Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by brejc8 ( 223089 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:44AM (#5536242) Homepage Journal
    Distruibuted Mirror [man.ac.uk] Project
  • Freenet (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There are copies of every Enterprise episode released on Freenet as well as sites about magic.

    I have left it running for weeks and never notice the hits on it from other users. As for downloading files, it is very efficient as long as you have a large upstream. Remember that you are sending data out while downloading because the overhead with communications is very high.

    Page insertions are the biggest problems now. Frost has taken care of this problem, but it is still slow to get anything on the networ
  • The problem is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by benjiboo ( 640195 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:45AM (#5536257)
    Even though there are many legitimite uses of file sharing apps, P2P will be forever linked with copyright infringement and misuse. If the holy grail of a fast, anonymous, reliable and completely distributed P2P apps was ever reached, it would inevitably attract the mp3 sharing masses.

    The bandwagon rolls on though. The only way to stop P2P IMO is go after the ISP's. I'm no sysadmin, but I'm sure it would be possible for block certain ports, report heavy downloaders etc. At the moment nobody dare do this for fear of a mass exodus of customers, but if the law made sure that all of these ISP's had to comply, I'm sure they alone would be able to stop the spread. How feasible is it for the ISP's to put barriers in place?

    • Freenet uses a randomly selected port number. Try filtering that! :)
    • Re:The problem is... (Score:5, Informative)

      by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:02AM (#5536378)
      FreeNet isn't really a P2P network as you are probably thinking - for instance, it doesn't have built in searching (or didn't last time I checked). It's not like Kazaa where you type in the files you want and get it, it's more like the web, where you have to find those files and locate them.

      Plus, it's not a sharing model, it's a publish model. You have to upload files to the network, a process that used to be a total PITA anyway, if you wanted it to propogate enough to be useful.

      So FreeNet isn't useful for pirates. Which is cool. What it is useful for is things like load balancing - if you've ever been slashdotted, or ever found it hard to pay the bandwidth bills, freenet offers a way out. They were even playing with streaming radio over it a while ago, though I think really IPv6 multicast is a better solution there.

      So freenet is about freedom of speech, load balancing, cool P2P experiments, lots of things - but not MP3 swapping.

    • by RLiegh ( 247921 )
      Let me adjust my tinfoil hat before I answer. ;)

      The way that I see it, ISP's are heading the way of cable companies. In the future you will have one state covered by, say, AOL and a local teleco ISP; another state covered by MSN and a local teleco.

      Once matters reach that point, it will be fairly trivial for them to block whatever ports are being used by freenet, etc (or maybe block all ports but port 80), and users who don't like it are SOL.
    • Re:The problem is... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by praedor ( 218403 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:20AM (#5536490) Homepage

      Does this mean that if I am downloading the latest distro release from (distro) that I get screwed because I was downloading a whole lot of "stuff" and thus must be "pirating"?


      Heavy downloading cannot be the switch that cuts off a user or set of users. Also, what if you are in on a collaborative project of some kind? Into multimedia development? You could end up with lots of back-and-forth file swapping.


      Any flag setoff for cutting off a user at the ISP had better be pretty robust so that it doesn't nail innocent net users (who are using the net for its INTENDED PURPOSE afterall). How do you do that? Ban mp3 downloads/transfers? What if they are MY mp3s? Or MY videos? Maybe I'm an amateur film maker or in a garage band.


      P2P cannot be killed without gutting one of the primary reasons for the internet's very existence. It was NOT designed just to distribute commercial products properly paid for. That is a tack-on that came well AFTER file sharing/data sharing.

    • Re:The problem is... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zornorph ( 63846 )
      There is a very easy way to at least slow down the amount of leeching that occurs on P2P... charge people for the amount of bandwidth they use. Here in North America, we can download many gigabytes of data on cable/dsl before our ISP's will say anything, so we will happily download everything in sight. However, if we had to pay for the amount of traffic that we downloaded, I'm sure little Johnny would be put in his place by his dad after the first month's ISP bill arrived.

      This of course does not address
  • Here it is (Score:3, Informative)

    by OrangeHairMan ( 560161 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:48AM (#5536282)
    You can jump straight to the fast SourceForge download site here: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group _id=978&release_id=147101 [sourceforge.net]

    Orange
  • Perfect timing. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Limburgher ( 523006 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:58AM (#5536344) Homepage Journal
    Freenet is the perfect medium for journalism, because it is anonymous and cannot be taken down by any governmental entity.

    Class, can anyone think of why this might be helpful RIGHT NOW?

    Also, check out Freeweb [freeweb.org]. Easy Freenet Web publishing. Servereless. Beautiful. Windoze-only, but nice for daily news sites. Used to run one back in Freenet 0.3.9.

  • Java (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @09:59AM (#5536353) Homepage Journal
    The reason I haven't tried it yet is that it's written fully in Java. Nothing wrong with that, of course, except I can't afford to overload my Pentium II 333 Mhz box anymore. Already running a webserver on it. But I'll be sure to give it a go when I get more hardware.
    • Re:Java (Score:3, Insightful)

      by warpSpeed ( 67927 )
      Dude, you don't need flashy hardware to run Freenet... Here are the specs on a a simple system I have running freenet

      [freenet@freenet freenet]$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
      processor : 0
      vendor_id : GenuineIntel
      cpu family : 5 model : 4
      model name : Pentium MMX
      stepping : 4
      cpu MHz : 200.456
      ...

      This is an old system that I had lying around doing nothing. All I contribute is the power to run it and a little BW. The lack of power of the processor self throttles the ba

  • by Orasis ( 23315 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:09AM (#5536424)
    Since proper attribution is usually appreciated, people should know that the Forward Error Correction (FEC) library comes from Onion Networks' [onionnetworks.com] FEC library that they developed for Swarmcast [sf.net].


    The most up to date version of the Java FEC library can be found here [onionnetworks.com].

  • Child Porn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I wonder if anyone has done a survey to see how much child porn is on freenet? I am not game to, because AFAIK you can be thrown in jail just for possesing child porn!

    But freenet is not alone. I know that there is some child porn on KaZaA. Heh, don't you love porn that will not allow previews(.avi files), you have to wait until the entire file is downloaded, that turn out to be child porn. Quick view and then delete is their fate.

    • Re:Child Porn (Score:4, Interesting)

      by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:22AM (#5536497) Journal
      You can be arrested and charged for posessing child porn. I knew a guy online who was in the military, and ran a ftp server from his home. People would basically come and go trading files, mostly porn pics.

      Someone stuck a bunch of kiddie porn on the site, and the short story is he's serving 5 years in military prison, and the fact that he had no idea that it was there didn't make a difference.

      The same thing would happen to you if you let some friend store a bunch of his boxes in your garage, and they were full of child porn.

      Now, since freenet distributes all of the "published" stuff across everyone elses machines basically, are you criminially responsible if someones kiddie porn is partially stored on your hard drive?

      The answer is probably yes, though IANAL.

      How can individual users claim that they have no responsiblity for what's being served by their machines?
    • by HanzoSan ( 251665 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:00AM (#5536788) Homepage Journal


      Theres always going to be child porn on freenet, at least the people arent profiting from it, you cant stop child porn being shared the only thing you can do is remove incentive to make the porn.

      Porn thats on freenet is porn thats not sold, which means the porn industry loses money and has less incentive to make it.

      I dont see how freenet is doing any harm, child porn was on the web making pedophiles and molestors millions of dollars, and now its on kazaa and freenet, they wont make a dime.

      By removing it from freenet and kazaa what you are doing is saving the child porn industry, this allows more kids to get hurt and abused for profit.
  • by anonymous cupboard ( 446159 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:19AM (#5536488)
    In a most unslashdot way, I actually d/led and tried it out before the article was posted here. Freenet is not the same as the other P2P programs, Freenet is about distributed anonymous storage with the ability to store different kinds of data with encrypted and anonymous access.

    What it is about is the ability to store anything, particularly items that may give the holder problems, like the film of a cop selling drugs to kids.

    It isn't eDonkey, it isnt Kazzaa. With both of these systems you know what you are sharing, with Freenet you don't. With traditional P2P, MPAA can go round logging who is sharing LOTR and send them DMCA cease and desist notices. If you are living in Farkistan, you can publish your videos of police executions without fear that the police can track you down. Once you have loaded a file on the net with freenet, you don't know where it is, and neither does anyone else until they are given a hash key.

    You just have some file storage assigned to the network which is browsable by a hash key through your local web browser. Freenet appears as localhost:8888 to your browser so you can access with a locked-down Mozilla or even IE (less wise because of the holes). People can know that you are running Freenet, but that is all (assuming you clear browser caches and so on).

    The downside is because you can share anything anonymously, people do. However, unless someone is prepared to publish a reference to young Britney and her dog, nobody is going to find it.

    The curious thing is that if you have a fairly static IP and are contributing space to the net, you have no idea what is stored on your machine. It could be human rights info, it could be copyright material, it could be very illegal pornography. You just don't know.

    Also it seems to take a long time to get into the network. It is painfully slow to start and until it starts caching information locally, a letter may be faster.

    • >> The curious thing is that if you have a fairly static IP and are contributing space to the net, you have no idea what is stored on your machine. It could be human rights info, it could be copyright material, it could be very illegal pornography. You just don't know

      And regardless of if you know or not, you're still responsible, legally and/or criminally.

      I personally wouldnt touch freenet with a 10 foot pole because of this. How would you like to have your home raided at 3 AM because NAMBLA is now
      • And regardless of if you know or not, you're still responsible, legally and/or criminally.

        If that is true, explain why every owner and operator of every ISP and phone company in the civilized world isn't already in jail? Their computers undeniably carry child porn on their usenet servers.
  • Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:24AM (#5536512)
    I think people are missing the point. AFAIK, Freenet is not supposed to be an alternative whizzy network for general use from which people should expect fast downloads and response times, and be able to download MP3s or warez or whatever. It's mostly to support free speech. I'm sure that activist in China is not just going to give up because it took them 10 seconds to upload instead of 1...when the alternative is not being able to speak at all.
    • Re:Uh... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stratjakt ( 596332 )
      And I'm sure the chinese will use it to discuss democracy and angles and kittens will trade muffin recipies over it.

      Or else the only people "hiding" their speech on it will be pedophiles and Ku Klux Klan members.

      I dont want a single electron in my PC devoted to storing or serving data for either of those groups.

      I wont be part of any 'network' that doesnt let me control what data is being stored and served from my machines, not just because I could be held liable, but because I find the stuff morally repu
  • too risky for me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by elohim ( 512193 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:28AM (#5536538)
    I'd like to use freenet, but I can't. I can't risk the possibility, however remote, of having child porn cached on my computer. I have too much to lose.
    • by Bloodshot ( 8999 )
      Well, I can understand your paranoia but I think the risks of you getting in trouble for having child porn stashed on your computer is very remote. From what I understand about Freenet, the anonymous nature of it makes it incredibly unlikely they could actually track individual files and find out who is hosting what.

      IANAL, but a good lawyer could probably successfully argue you have no way of knowing what's being stored on your computer as it is part of an anonymous network. It would be like a bank being
      • Re:too risky for me (Score:4, Informative)

        by automandc ( 196618 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @12:58PM (#5537826)
        Bloodshot's comments, while obviously well intentioned, are dead wrong.

        good lawyer could probably successfully argue you have no way of knowing what's being stored on your computer as it is part of an anonymous network.

        Actually, you can be held liable for it regardless of whether you "know" it is there or not. For instance, if you are driving a car, and your passenger puts their crack cocaine under the seat, you can be held liable for it even if you had no idea since you are in control of the car. Ignorance is not an excuse to allowing others to use your property to commit a crime.

        It would be like a bank being held liable for criminals stashing money from the drug trade in it.

        This is precisely why there are long and complex laws pertaining to money laundering. All financial institutions are required to implement strong procedural safeguards to prevent abuse. Failure to do so can result in prosecution of the bank for culpability in the depositor's crime. Another area this is becoming "hot" is in the market for expensive consumer and industrial goods. The latest scheme used by narcotics traffikers is to take their drug money in South America, and use it to purchase expensive goods (like appliences) from compaines like GE. GE recently sponsored a DOJ initiative to combat this, and many of the computer manufacturers (like Dell) were included. The anonymous nature of web commerce makes this method possible.

        In short, you are lible for what's on your computer, so make sure you know what people are sticking in there!

  • by elrond1999 ( 88166 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @10:44AM (#5536669)
    Subj: [Announce] Appeal for donations
    From: Ian Clarke

    Hi All,

    As most of you are probably aware, Matthew Toseland has been working
    full-time on the Freenet project for the past few months, and the
    benefits to the project have been dramatic. From the slaying of the
    crippling "datastore bug", to more recent work, Matthew's contribution
    has been invaluable. Just compare today's Freenet 0.5.1 release with
    the last 0.4 release to get a feel for how much difference he has made.

    Matthew is able to do this while the Freenet project can pay his living
    expenses, which amount to only $1,125/month (this is a fraction of what
    even the least expensive software developer makes in the UK). The
    project has paid this from donations made via Freenet's website.

    Unfortunately, at this time the project's funds are very low, and we are
    approaching the time when we need to renew Matthew's contract - without
    a significant amount of income over the next few days, it is unlikely
    that the project will be able to do this.

    It is for this reason that I am making an appeal to subscribes to our
    announcements mailing list, something we have never done before, and
    which will not be a regular event, I promise.

    If every subscriber to this list donated just $10, we could commit to
    funding Matthew for the next 8 months.

    If you are able to make a contribution, you can do-so by credit card via
    our donations page:
    http://freenetproject.org/tiki-index.php?page=Dona te

    We now also accept "E-Gold" for those who prefer not to use PayPal for
    whatever reason.

    Any contribution you can make would be greatly appreciated,

    Kind regards,

    Ian.
  • by CaptainAx ( 606247 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:11AM (#5536869)
    I'm getting 40 Mbit/sec to someone at 127.0.0.1...
  • by nutznboltz ( 473437 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:20AM (#5536970) Homepage Journal
    called GNUnet [ovmj.org]

  • Winny (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nstrom ( 152310 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:45AM (#5537215)
    The most popular P2P application in Japan is called Winny [geocities.co.jp] and is built around Freenet. There's some english information about it here [ayashii.com], as well as a translated client. The last time I tried, though, the translated client was an older version and I couldn't get it to connect, but the latest Japanese binary worked for me.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @11:52AM (#5537273) Homepage Journal
    Whlie the concept is great, and the true reasons behind freenet is good, its future is susepct.

    Its really easy just to block its usage by isps..

    IE: dont rely on it as your only outlet for speech.. use it to supplement only.
  • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @12:23PM (#5537519) Homepage
    It looks like freenet is coming along very nicely. One of the items high on my wishlist is the ability to run a node that is behind a firewall. Various p2p packages do this (e.g. kazaa, winmx). Perhaps the implementation of such would require the participation of a non-firewalled freenet node to route sessions, but that doesn't strike me as so bad. Having the ability to run from behind a firewall could dramatically increase the number of participating nodes.
  • I figured I may as well use that as the subject line, since that's all that's really being discussed.

    Freenet, according to their website, works somewhat like this. I want file XYZ. I search for file XYZ. Freenet brings all 68 parts of X from node 1, 13 parts of Y from node two, the other 13 parts of Y from node three, and the rest of the file comes from node four, five, six, seven, and twelve.

    The guilty party is the person that's got file XYZ. The guilty party is the person who *requested* file XYZ. You may or may not have had part of file Z, You don't know, the people up and down stream from you don't know, and the person requesting the file doesn't know.

    Child Pornongraphy is reprehensable. Duh. But using it as an argument against freenet is like using the "it's for the children" to ban guns and remove them from every house that owns one.

    Anonymity comes with a cost. So does freedom. The price of being able to write a letter to the editor about the 2000 election is seeing that the letter next to yours is from the Grand Wizard of the KKK. The price of seeing the Rodney King video on a cheesy fox special is the knowledge that someone, somewhere is being exploited and it's on video tape.

    1984 isn't worth fearing in this society. Farenheit 451 is.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither liberty not saftey." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

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