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Freenet's First Employee 154

An unnamed reader writes: "The Freenet project's first employee started work today. Oskar Sandberg, one of Freenet's core developers, will be working full-time on Freenet for the next two months, his living expenses being paid for by donations to the Freenet project. Freenet has come a long way in-terms of usability in the last few months, Oskar will initially be working on the next major release, 0.4, which will bring significant performance, security, and usability improvements to Freenet. The original announcement is here." (And here's where you can sweeten the pot, too.)
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Freenet's First Employee

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  • Why is this "News for Nerds, Stuff That Matters"?

    Freenet already had employees in the form of
    volunteers, so what's the big deal?

    Not waiting in anticipation because I know this will moderated downward.

    Thank you.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Assuming it is a good thing they have an employee, I have some practical concerns...

    • To whom will Oskar report? Himself? Isn't he likely to give himself large raises, promotions, and the like?
    • Will Oskar be the only one at the company picnic?
    • Does Oskar have to call himself if he's too sick to come to work?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2001 @09:42AM (#160176)
    Freenet isn't the type of thing that your favorite Big Above-The-Law International Corporation would want to invest in.

    The fact that donations can make this happen really demonstrates the desire for people to have, finally, a Free Net.
  • || (parallels)

    Um, do we get to throw Napster users to the lions?

    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • Firstly, this doesn't really address the same problem as Freenet, it is more akin to Mixmaster from what I can see (although Mixmaster has a better pedigree). Secondly, the fact that every message seems to be broadcasted to every peer, forcing them to periodically split the network, really isn't a very scalable approach at all.

    These guys would be well-served to investigate the "Dining Cryptographers" problem, which is a way that a group of peers can transmit information to each-other but remain anonymous (within the group) with mathematical certainty. Again, it isn't very scalable, and is subject to DOS attacks, but it does work.


  • The money has already been collected to last two months which is the agreed amount of time he will work.


  • I spoke to one of these guys a while ago, and according to him their problem was that they were not getting the support of the record industry.


  • I don't think that splitting the network in two is really a great way to achieve scalability, in fact, it is more accurately described as a way to deal with a lack of scalability.

    I would certainly be interested to hear why you think that it is more anonymous and more scalable than Freenet? Nothing I can see supports your claim.


  • Firstly - on a more general point, all of those "XXX for Dummies" books could be interpreted as being insulting, but most people recognise them for the tongue-in-cheek joke they are, which explains their incredible popularity.

    Having said that, the usage guide you point to isn't actually the usage guide at all, the actual usage guide you are thinking of is at [] and has been for months, and AFAIK there are no references to "fools" anywhere - so I really don't understand what you are talking about.


  • It was turned down by Ian because he thought it was a non-issue.
    This wasn't the main reason, the main reason is that Freenet thrives on making new connections, the architecture simply won't work if it can't do this. The 0.4 Freenet node will actually incorporate functionality which achieves the same thing, but without preventing the formation of new connections.


  • From your explanation, it sounds like messages are only broadcast within groups. What if you want to communicate with someone not in your group?


  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @11:41AM (#160185) Homepage Journal
    Oskar does live in Sweden, and his father is a diplomat.


  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @11:46AM (#160186) Homepage Journal
    Is there anyone who has ever achieved anything who you couldn't accuse of self-promotion? Perhaps you would prefer a world where nobody tried to make anything better lest they be accused of having an inflated ego.


  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @09:54AM (#160187) Homepage Journal
    This is a voluntary project paid for by donations. I don't know how much voluntary work you have done, but the general idea is that you are paid whatever you need to survive, and not much more. Oskar is willing to work for so little because he believes in the project, not because he wants to get rich.


  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:20AM (#160188) Homepage Journal
    There is an upcoming North Kentucky Law Journal article which closely examines potential legal attacks on various P2P architectures. The conclusion for Freenet was that it is certainly possible to curtail use of the system, perhaps by shutting down the Internet, but it is unlikely that it would be politically realistic.

    Also note that some ISPs, including Earthlink, are refusing to cave to pressure from these self-appointed IP police. In fact, many of these companies are going out of business.


  • 2k/month isn't bad - but he's getting paid 2.5k for 2 months - or $1250/month - that could get a bit harsh, depending on the cost-of-living in his area...

    Here's my budget (if anyone cares ;P )




    Rent: $825/month (I live in the city, and have no car, so living within walking distance of work means high rent - but the savings of not having a car makes it a bit easier)

    'Net Access: $100/month (Cable sucks here, so DSL is the way to go - but again, the expense is partially offset by the fact I can host my own domains, and not have to pay for hosting)

    Cable: $50/month (digital)

    Utils: $150/month (gas, electric, water, phone, etc...)

    Food: $300/month (feeds both my fiancee and I quite well)

    Total expenses: $1325/month

    "Extra" money leftover at the end of the month: $1475

    More than enough to upgrade the computers every once in a while, support our anime habit, and save for things like a car, and a vacation later this year.

    I can see how someone *could* live comfortably off of $1250/month - dialup ISP, lower rent area, less food, no cable, etc... but it would still be pretty tight (I've been there - 2 people supported on less than $800/month - it wasn't pretty - but we managed).

    There's a lot to be said for getting paid *anything* to do what you love to do, however - that alone could be worth the tightening of the belt and skimping on extras.

  • Are there any? I see a lot of talk about freedom of speech, but when you look at what the software actually does, it looks like it's really just designed to help people trade warez anonymously. And no, this isn't flamebait. I want to know what genuinely legitimate uses Freenet has.
  • I sent in my $10, just hoping others will do the same...

    If everyone posts an "I donated $xx" amount message, we can raise money for them at the same time as we break the previous Slashdot postings record. :)
  • by Sethb ( 9355 ) <> on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:44AM (#160192)
    Wow, I can't believe the amount of cynicism already appearing in this story. I just chipped in $10 towards the project because I'd like to see it be developed further.

    That's what separates the people who use Linux because it's free (as in beer) from the people who believe in free (as in speech) software, and are willing to fund further development of it.

    Sure, ten bucks isn't a lot, it's about two lunches for me, but hopefully if more Slashdotters contribute a few bucks, they can come out with better FreeNet servers & clients.
  • A quibble: they're not really self-appointed, they're getting paid by the RIAA, MPAA, etc. Apparently not enough, though, if they're going out of business. It's not like there aren't enough IP violations out there to keep them going :)

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • Huh, I stand corrected. I wonder on what basis they're going after people if they don't have the backing of the original copyright holder? I mean, it's not like I could just start suing people for trading mp3s, could I?

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • Yeah, but it's one thing to code in your free time and not get paid much, or even not at all. But when you're taking it as a full time job? I mean, this puts him below the poverty limit, at least in the U.S. I don't see a whole lot of incentive in taking a full-time job that will still leave me eligible for welfare.


  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @09:41AM (#160196)

    They're only paying him $2500 total for two months full-time work? That's just sad. Doesn't exactly make me want to sign up for a open source project anytime soon.


  • Read it again... I just finished reading the whole thing and it does appear scaleable. They split it only when it reaches a certain limit. Mixmaster thing is a minor part IMHO (I'm no expert on either though). They seem to be handling DOS attack stuff by removing the maliscious nodes (I saw that near the end).
  • Well.. you're *the* expert on Freenet so I shall not even try to contest your claims on Freenet :)

    From what I've understoon about Cryptobox, I think that it is extremely scalable since the bulk of message passing occurs in small groups. The rest of the messages are 'administartive' and they are exchanged with other clusters. Since it doesn't really matter what the degree of the nodes inside a cluster is (due to the optimizations) they can afford more bandwidth. Also, since they keep cells fairly small (60 nodes in each?) it doesn't really matter how big the whole network is (it can be hundreds of millions of nodes). Finding nodes with Janus is smart.. I never thought of that.

    More anonymous since it is totally immune to MITM attack - beyond suspicion (from my memory, Freenet is not). An observer would need millenia to figure out which messages are real and which are fake and can't even figure out whether a node is sending anything useful since it is sending messages all the time anyway.

    Anyway, I'm a PhD candidate in crypto and I'm not an expert on networking.

    PS: They do mention dining cryptographers but decided against it... my guess is because they have a way to statistically thwart correlation.. I don't know for sure but I will definitely mail them and see whether they will tell me how they do it.
  • They're only broadcasting within a certain radius; just like Gnutella does searches, for example. When you don't have routing (and no addressing/labeling for that matter!).... this is the only choice.

    You can't compare USENET/Internet with anonymous nets (that's why they are anon in the first place)... it's a whole other ballgame.
  • First interview should also be on that list... maybe even first VC offer.
  • I checked's [] queue this morning and this news story [] is extremely interesting. Check the sourceforge page here [].

    After reading the overview of that project, it looks much safer and more anonymous than Freenet (it probably even scales better too).
  • I am not 100% sure but they do give a lot of hints. If you take a look at overview they have a reference to Janus engine and also to probabilistic connection algorithms. In FAQ they also say that they cache connection info with minimal information.

    My guess is (and it's pretty obvious to me at least) that when you wish to communicate with a certain node, you have to find it first by querying various cluster leaders and that is done by checking leaders' cache of names of cluster members. They should be able to tell, with certain probability, whether a member they are looking for is in the cluster. If they chose an algo that I have in mind, they should be able to find a node that they are looking for within a short period of time by sensing direction.

    PS: I e-mailed the author and I can forward you his mail when he replies if you wish.
  • How is this much different from the web? How do you find something? Someone *tells* you where it is (in the form of a link). In freenet's place, it would be a key.
  • It's easy to walk around the web because of HTML. NOT because of http/web servers/etc.

    That's the point. Freenet is a storage/server medium, not the user interface element.
  • I don't worry about the ease-of-use issue that much. Look at the net, look at linux... it will happen.
  • Upload some free stuff you'd like to share. Do you have anything interesting on your web pages? Upload it!
  • Cost of living isn't horrible in Canada?!?!?!
    Maybe if you don't add up all of the taxes paid.
  • When I was talking about this with Ian back in 1998 (it was still his senior project then), he emphasized how, by dynamically redistributing files so that they would end up *physically* closer to their users, the Net would become more efficient. To give a nonsensical example, say a person in Russia put up a web-page, and a lot of people in Florida found it interesting. The file itself would eventually migrate to a server in Florida, because that's where most of the people were accessing it from.

    Of course he also pointed out the untraceability of where the file originated, but the dynamic and ever-fluid nature of exactly where the physical file might be was what captured my imagination at the time.

    Thus it seems that applications with geographic overtones might be conceived as the truly legitimate ones. For example, if Derrick May and Juan Atkins could have posted MP3s to Freenet, they would have quickly seen techno take off in Europe; that's where they would have headed to do their live shows. (Of course they did that anyway, but by tracking record sales, a somewhat slower process.)

    Similarly, any kind of culture-based phenomenon could exploit this: an author in Maine finds that Samoans can't get enough of his stuff; Romania goes gaga over a tricky Brazilian beat; people in West Germany start a political party based on ideas that first popped up in New Zealand -- you get the idea.....

  • Actually, depends on where you live, but I could get by on 2k/month. Hell, I'm making less than that during school. See, it's called budgeting. You don't spend more than what you bring in.


    $250/month rent (with roomate)
    $150/month utils (including cable modem, again, split with roomate)
    $50/month car insurance (pay ever 6 months)
    $200/month groceries

    That's $650 a month in "necessary expenditures". I bring home roughly $1400/month (I work part time at night, go fuck yourself). That leaves $750 to do what I please with, per month. Generally, it's sticking about $200 in a savings account (the car is paid for, but I have my doubts as to how long it will last), the rest I use to pay off credit cards (evil, vile things).

    What I'm getting at is that if you can't live on $2k/month, you're doing it to yourself. In some areas of the country, rent is high. I know this. Get a roomate or move to a less "exclusive" neighborhood. There are literally millions of people living BELOW that level, in every city of the US, so don't kid yourself. It can be done with a little planning and foresight.

    Personally, I can't wait to graduate so I can get a real job. Sure, I can live on $2k/month, but I'd rather not...

  • There is nothing in Objectivism that says "the-ends-justify-the-means," and in any instance that you might could point to in the works of Ayn Rand will most likely be an out-of-context paraphrase. In fact, Ayn Rand took great pains to try and explain the difference between Hedonism and Rational Self Interest, but most people gloss over this fact, mainly because people would rather slander someone who isn't even around to defend themselves than try and figure out the truth. But, whatever, this is Slashdot, where people don't even read the articles.

  • Alright! Let's go 3rd grade here!

    it's been awhile, so gimme a sec..


    Make me.

    My mother can whip your daddy's ass.

    Feel better?
  • Now, shouting 'FIRE!' when there IS a fire sounds to me like a Pretty Good Idea. =) Shouting 'FIRE!' just to panic people is... well, just what is it?

    It's a fire practice :)
  • Oskar was at the O'Reilly P2P conference in San Fran this year. If you went you couldn't have missed him

    > pets

    A dog I think

    > cars

    I shouldn't think so

    > current contents of his refrigerator

    Rumored to be a good cook

    > Do they have him hooked up to record vital statistics?


  • I've offered them something else that's yellow...

  • All property laws are unnatural. For that matter, all laws are unnatural.


    This is a .sig.
    Now there are two of them.
  • by akb ( 39826 )

    Freenet coordinator Ian Clarke's side venture Uprizer says different. He scored
    $4mil [] in April.

    Uprizer looks like its trying to compete in the CDN realm. The idea is a good one, Freenet has a number of unknowns in it, ie content expiration, that wouldn't make it suitable for certain business applications. It probably trades off some of Freenet's anonymity requirements for certainity. Similar to the idea of businesses not using the Internet for applications that need guarenteed data rates, they don't use the commodity Internet they buy a dedicated circuit.
  • Well, Oskar took the deal. He probably would have done the work for free, but this arrangement keeps someone from snatching him up before 0.4 comes out.

    Frankly, I wouldn't work for $2500 either. But then again, I'm not anywhere near as nutso as Oskar is.
  • Well, a Freenet node is really a client that happens to be kind of generous with disk space and bandwidth to other clients.

    It doesn't really act like, say, a Web server.

  • Hey, when Freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will have Freedom. And if that's the case, make me an outlaw, man!

    Seriously, it knocks me out when people say stuff like this. If free speech and freedom of the press can be outlawed, then don't we have ALL THE MORE NEED for an alternative publishing system? If you're this concerned, then you need to get Freenet going DAMN QUICK, man.

    As to the illegality: there are a number of ways to make Freenet run "under the radar," such as using steganography to camouflage Freenet protocol messages as, say, mail messages, or HTTP pr0n downloads, or anything else.

    That's not on the Freenet development roadmap for a while, but it's definitely something that's been suggested.

  • by MisterBad ( 40316 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:55AM (#160220) Homepage
    So, I'm not going to say that that's not a plausible scenario. But doesn't that mean that people who are sympathetic with information freedom should be INSTALLING and USING Freenet right now?

    Freenet has become a fine platform for Web publishing, for example. If you've got a Web site (ANY Website -- even pictures of your cat) you should REALLY REALLY read the Website publishing HOWTO []. It gives step-by-step instructions on how to put your site into Freenet.

    Remember, back in the day, the World Wide Web and other Internet services had the same outlaw reputation that peer-to-peer systems like Freenet have right now. It was only because many "ordinary" people put their "ordinary" content on the Web that it became an acceptable, in fact indispensible, computing platform.

    We can do that with Freenet, if we work at it. But it takes thousands of individual efforts to make it happen. If you think there's a potential for a bad future for Freenet, you need to start helping, rather than resigning yourself to Yet More Totalitarian Bullshit.

  • by MisterBad ( 40316 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @11:08AM (#160221) Homepage
    So, "Freenet for Fools" was written by a Windows user. I think it was originally "Freenet for D*mmies," but because of trademark issues the name was changed.
  • by MisterBad ( 40316 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:24AM (#160222) Homepage
    So, as a member of the Freenet development group and a Freenet publisher (check out Pigdog Journal on Freenet, eh? get my keys propagated!), I have to say that I really applaud this move.

    I don't know if the future of Free Software projects is really in donation-based organizations like Freenet, but it seems like it gives a nice "push" to projects that are in high-velocity development phases.

    I especially think that the hiring of an employee at non-profit wages is a great way to spend the donation money. We all want a better, faster, stronger, more anonymous, less attackable Freenet, and I think this will really help. Not to mention that Oskar is a pretty OK programmer, despite being an irascible grouch. B-)

    As per the low wages: I think the wages are just right, actually. They're enough that we keep Oskar on a leash for a few months, but they're not enough that the rest of the developers get jealous and slack off from working.

    One more thing: people interested in anonymity should check out EOF [], a collection of applications like mail, news, apt (!!), etc. that work over Freenet. Good shit.

  • You mean, like freegle []?
  • by jazman_777 ( 44742 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @09:40AM (#160224) Homepage
    I want to see this guy working on The Revolution. Is there a bio for him? Do they have a "current life status" describing his computer hardware at home, any pets, cars, friends, and the current contents of his refrigerator? Do they have him hooked up to record vital statistics? I hope they make some pretty charts out of them.
  • But when you're taking it as a full time job? I mean, this puts him below the poverty limit, at least in the U.S. I don't see a whole lot of incentive in taking a full-time job that will still leave me eligible for welfare.
    I don't know what the cost of living's like in his area, but here a single person could live on that much quite happily. It would be trickier if you had to support a family; but I presume that's not his situation.
  • From the Freenet devl mailing list this morning- I would just like to note that my schoolterm has ended now, so I am starting my fulltime work on Freenet as of today. I plan to work pretty much non-stop until the fall term begins, which is on the 27th of August, making my employment a convenient 2½ months. I would just like to assure everybody that I am taking this opportunity very seriously, and I will work absolutely as hard as I would under ordinary employment conditions (harder actually, since I don't believe in stuff like sleep and weekends when hacking on Freenet). My first priority will be getting back in the loop with Tavin's work on the experimental branch, and getting the remaining necessary features (basically announcement) in and working as soon as possible. After that I will try to balance my time between enhancing and debugging the 0.4 for code for public usability together with the other 0.4 coders and experimenting on the routing and caching modifications that have been discussed here lately. Plans, like always, are subject to revision though. -- 'DeCSS would be fine. Where is it?' 'Here,' Montag touched his head. 'Ah,' Granger smiled and nodded. Oskar Sandberg

    This message brought to you by Colin Davis
  • Oh, you mean like http does?
  • you mean like those crazy guys over at gnutella?
  • In Australia the national telephone company Telstra planned to detect data calls and charge outragous per minute rates. This would have effectively cripled fidonet. Thankfully someone managed to talk them out of it.
  • $6.25 x 8 hours a day x 5 days a week x 8 weeks = $2000.. he's gettin' more than minimum wages (and that more than most people get because most people are part time and dont even get 40 hours work a week).
  • > Wearable computing for example needs an interface for information retrieval that can be acessed by multiple means. A voice request "compute my portfolio value if I invest $5000 in IBM in 1 hour" would need a complex search algorithm designed to weave multiple threads of information.

    Shit, I don't care if it's voice-based or not, if I can know the value of $5000 worth of IBM stock an hour from now, I want it.

    (Hell, even if it costs a million bucks, all I have to do is use it often enough and it'll pay for itself ;-)

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @02:27PM (#160232)
    > I would like to entreat the guiding hands behind Freenet, however, to consider the greater audience out there.

    As would I.

    Check out this example [] of what I see as a Bad Idea.

    If the goal is to bring anonymous publication into the mainstream, example filenames like "Britney Spears Felch.jpg" are... well, unhelpful.

    Funny as hell? Yes, to the author, and speaking as one with a sick sense of humor, I thought it was pretty damn funny too.

    But is it the first thing you'd want your Congresscritter to see when he decides to find out "what this free net thing is all about?" after the local Fundie-sponsored lobby group complains that FreeNet has to be banned for the sake of the chilllldrun?

    C'mon, folks, let's get real here.

    milosevic-evidence.jpg - good
    95_theses.txt - even better
    britfelch.jpg - not bloody likely

  • by Louis Savain ( 65843 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:04AM (#160233) Homepage
    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.

    That would really be cool if they can pull it off. Every Slashdot user and anonymous coward should immediately write a check to those people. May the RIAA and other freedom destroyers tremble in fear! May they have horrible visions of empty bank accounts and past due legal bills! May their power to restrict the freedom of others dwindle exponentially! Go Freenet!

    IP laws are unnatural. They can only be enforced with the use of powerful police states. Demand liberty! Nothing less!
  • Here is a non-obvious use for Freenet that is completely legitamate and in fact uses the Freenet technology as an integral piece for its use:

    Distributed File Server - Place a group of files into a "directory" that is shared across the network via Freenet nodes. Of particular note, this "file system" would be OS independent, but to share stuff in a peer workgroup situation (I'm thinking a LAN-only freenet here) you wouldn't even have to worry most of the time if your co-worker's computer is on or not.

    ** Yes, this is being done with other software, but you asked for a legitamate use.

    Another very beneficial use:

    Http over Freenet: (the implementation has already been done... go to the Freenet site to check it out)

    Putting web content on freenet. This has the advantage that the person who wants to "host" a website doesn't actually need a physical server (or server farm). Additional benefits are that a "freenet-web site" can't be slashdotted... this just spreads the information further into more nodes, and in fact makes the data more accessable.

    In terms of free speech, this is already a critical piece for the China Daily News (an independent Chinese-language news web page that is currently being censored by the People's Republic of China. In fact, China is currently blocking most attempts to even obtain Freenet.)

    Another very beneficial use would be for the IPN (Inter-planetary Internet). Freenet out of the box (as in using just the current implementation... more or less... there may have to be some tweaks to get it working right) can be used to cache and forward data files in a manner that FTP couldn't even dream.

    The fact is that Freenet is already rattling some cages, and reading the mailing lists is enough to get paranoid about every conspiracy group you can think of... Bavarian Illuminati, Counsel of 500, UFOs, New World Order, ect. The fact is this software is designed from the fundimental foundation as a means to send data without censorship of any sort. If this means that warz or mp3s can be sent when other people don't want them tranfered, together with political speech, that is the price of freedom.
  • Amen. I just gave too. It's funny, I've been a user/supporter of Freenet for a while, but it took this whole "herd mentality" to actually get me to give some money. Nice to know others are doing it too.
  • Nobody could prosecute you for having curtains on your windows, just as I doubt that anyone could prosecute you simply for running Freenet.

    Obviously, though, you could be prosecuted for having a meth lab. Just as you could be prosecuted for keeping all the equipment for a meth lab in your house and deliberately letting others use this equipment. That's exactly what Freenet's doing: you're opening up your computer for others to use to transmit data. In other words, you become an accessory to crime.

    Put differently, you won't be prosecuted for running Freenet. You'll be prosecuted when your Freenet transmits illegal data, as is inevitable given Freenet's design.
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @11:39AM (#160237)
    Stuff like this is why I love PayPal. A few bucks here and there, takes about ten seconds to actually do the transaction. Very cool. Hopefully more Open Source/Free Software projects can use such a model to fund full time developers.
  • The moral of the story is: Have an understanding ISP. I've had experience with a few. Not too many tho.

    One wasn't understanding, and he lopped my account real fast.

    My current one seems to have a bit of a clue and knows a little of what I get up to, so I can trust they won't be unplugging anything too soon.

    Try and be like jelly: They squash you here, you appear there. If FreeNet does gain critical mass ahead of the dodgy dealers influx, then we may have a case for our survival. So don't trade those MP3z just yet.

  • I worked with some folks from Romania a while back. $1000 a month there is about five times the national average salary there and if you pay them in dollars it goes a lot farther since inflation runs in the 20+% range. In a global economy, you can stretch you dollar a lot farther.
  • Have you used freenet? If not, get a client and fire it up - it's not terribly difficult to do. During the two or three days I played around with it, I found:

    • Weblogs a-plenty. Lots of folks put 'blogs up like personal homepages.
    • Personal homepages. People put things up on Freenet just to do so.
    • Music. It wasn't music I had heard of, so it's possible it's even legal music. (Of course, I haven't heard everything :)
    • Pornography. Nothing illegal either, just generic porn.
    • Keylists. These are essentially compilations of links to other freenet pages.

    The client that comes with the freenet package that I got works as a mini-webserver: that is, you can connect to your box on port 8081 through your browser of choice. From then on, it's just like using the web.

    Try it out - it's like having your own private, anonymous internet. So if you're asking about legitimate uses, it's like asking about legitimate uses to the ordinary web. Sure, you could use the web to trade warez, but you could also put up a personal home page.

  • but there paying him 2500... at least there optimistic they will get 500 more. I plan to donate.
  • All i can tell from looking at their site is that it is a webpage for publishing specific political writings and sensational quasi-journalism like Peter (Spycatcher) Wright's and David Shayler's revelations about MI5 that hopes to one day have their own browser.
  • worldwide information exchange was possible before the internet boom. Let's go back to a fidonet or uucp-based scheme. This can't be stopped, short of banning modems everywhere :)
  • Is being worked on, i havent tried it but its at
  • Just like the ol' white west, ain't it? IP-Bounty hunters. I'd laugh my head off, if it weren't serious.

    - Steeltoe
  • Because you can publish anonymously
  • So that's why you work for Loki? ;)
  • I suppose all those people using PGP (or GnuPG) must have "bad" things in them. I suppose any sort of encryption must be used for "bad" things now that you mention it.

    The fact is that the internet was not designed for privacy and it is only natural that people will want their privacy. I don't have curtins on my windows because I have methlab or something, I just don't want people to be able to look in my house all the time. FreeNet and other encrypted/private communication mechanisms are just a natural extension of the internet: people want to communicate instantly and have instant access to information, but sometimes they want it to be private.
  • when most isp's/cable/dsl providers prohibit you from running servers?
  • The difference is that its easy to walk the web and it's quick and painless.

    Walking Freenet is not quick and painless. It can be an agonisingly slow wait for a document to arrive, and the actual act of pulling the document affects how the document is cached. That's why searching should be a protocol. At the very least it should be possible to pull a document without raising it's importance.

  • I donated a while back when they first setup the donation system for Freenet. Look guys, donating $10 to $20 costs you as much as one of those bargin-bin video games, but it gives you so much more: hope for a free network. I wonder what Carnivore (or whatever that packet sniffer that the feds are using is called) thinks of Freenet.
  • Yup. A nice white t-shirt with the unofficial Freenet logo emblazed on it: concentric circles radiating out from the middle.

    Synonyms: see bullseye.

    It makes it so much easier for the MPAA / RIAA goons to target, er, identify you....

  • If you're going to make a donation, pay by check if possible. Paypal charges a fee [] for receiving money via credit card. Those few dollars here and there add up when you're operating on a shoe-string budget.

    Of course, it's much better to donate by credit card, than to not donate at all. :>

    Also, please note that your contributions are tax-deductible (at least in the USA).

    -- Agthorr

  • Oskar was working on Freenet long before he started getting paid to do it. One shouldn't be getting involved in Free Software development because there might be money in it; it should be because you like to do it.


  • He was doing for free a long time before he started getting paid for it. So it used to be his leisure time, and most likely will be again once the summer is up.


  • I kinda hate to break this to you, but Oskar isn't exactly going to be doing grunt work. He's been in Freenet development, IIRC, for about two years and has always done the Ugly Innards of Freenet. He wrote documentation once "when I was young and stupid" (so he says). There's no way he's going to be doing grunt work. From what I've read on the Freenet mailing lists, he'll be working on getting the next version of Freenet in working order, particularly a new system of node announcement which will do away with Freenet's last centralization (inform.php).


  • by Skuto ( 171945 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:53AM (#160271) Homepage
    >when most isp's/cable/dsl providers prohibit you
    >from running servers?

    Good point. There was serious discussion some time
    ago on the mailinglist about techniques to allow
    setting a node to only accept connections from
    trusted nodes. That way it would be impossible
    for someone to detect that you were running a
    freenet node from the outside, while you still
    had full access to the network and your node
    could be used for storage.

    It was turned down by Ian because he thought it
    was a non-issue.

    The argument used was that once Freenet becomes
    popular enough there is no reason why running
    a Freenet node means that you are doing something
    suspicious. And Freenet grows easier with fully
    operative nodes than with those 'stealth' nodes.
    (at least that's what I remember from the discussion)

    The problem of course is, that Freenet will never
    become popular if ISP's start shutting the servers

    Ian's reply to this was:

    'It is my experience that when users demand
    P2P and Freenet access all ISP's will bend
    over backwards to give it to them'

    And I think he may be right about that. My own
    ISP interpreted the 'server' clause in a way
    that you were free to use napster as long as
    you set the number of allowed incoming connections
    to zero (effectively disabling the server). That
    way people cannot upload from you, which is what
    was actually illegal about Napster (downloading
    is fine as you might own the CD yourself)

    The ISP WANTS to offer Napster to people. They
    offer broanband services so Napster is a good
    reason to switch over from PPP. So they make
    sure the customer CAN have Napster.

  • by Caraig ( 186934 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:19AM (#160279)

    Freenet is a darn good thing, and something we should all support in whatever ways we can. We MUST preserve free speech (not neccessarilly free-as-in-'FIRE!' speech, of course) on the net, if nothing else, and Freenet garauntees it.

    I would like to entreat the guiding hands behind Freenet, however, to consider the greater audience out there. Yes, the project is working with Open Source tools, and that's a good thing! However, it must be accessable to everyone. They can't afford to alienate any potential users of Freenet. For that reason, calling the directory that the Windows usage guide [] in, 'Freenet for Fools,' could be considered insulting to Windows users.

    I know, this is /., where anyone who relies entirely on a Windows machine is a chump, and just SO needs flaming change to get on the clue bus, hurled at him at supercavitating speeds. Come on, let's think about this maturely. I hate Microsoft as much as any other person who's had to clean up after BSODs (sometimes I can see a blue residue on the screen after rebooting...) but MS machines are Out There, and people will be using them.

    Freenet essentially calling a fair amount of their user base 'fools' to their face will just turn those users away. "Oh, more elitist Linux users," they'll sigh. "If I join Freenet I'll just be exposed to more of that elitist crap. Screw it, I'm not putting up with that." And one more potential Freenet node disappears.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish? You miss the point of Freenet. Freenet is Free Speech without harrassment. Free Speech without fear of being taken down by a government. Free Speech without fear of being dragged into a court. (And believe me, there are some courts in this world where you won't even have the courtesy of being ordered to bend over a barrel; a bullet in the back of the head is far more likely.)

    Freenet should not involved in the OS warz. Maybe I'm blowing it out of proportion, but remember, this is coming from a grey-matta-flambe helpdesk drudge. That's all I have to say. =)

    Chief Technician, Helpdesk at the End of the World

  • Don't forget:

    • ipo
    • bankruptcy

  • We absolutely need that kind too. Sometimes there is a fire, and you need to warn people! By comparison, Freenet needs to support a very broad range of speech, even stuff that the powers that be (e.g. political speech in China) find "patently offensive."
  • Open source (excuse me, FREE SOFTWARE) programmers don't do it for the money. If you're in it for the money, apply to Microsoft and leave us alone. Free software is about the love of the art, and helping other people with your skills. That may sound cheesy, but it's true, and I think it's damn honorable.

  • I want to see this guy working on The Revolution. Is there a bio for him? Do they have a "current life status" [...]? Do they have him hooked up to record vital statistics?

    His name is Nasubi [http]. He seems like a likable if odd fellow.
  • by cbowland ( 205263 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @09:58AM (#160287)
    Other possible measures:
    • first lawsuit
    • first mention on slashdot
    • first time mom asks about it
    • first time RMS says the proper name is GNU/what-ever-the-project-name-is
    • first FUD attack by large proprietary vendor

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.

  • is another very good way to sweeten the pot.

    Then again, I think I'm talking about a differenct pot...;)
  • Is this the measure of critical mass for an OSS Project? When they hire their first employee, or is there some other more appropriate measure?


  • Did you read the announcement? He's making $2500 for a summer's worth of work. I made more than that the summer after I graduated from high school!

    Forgive me if I don't see a Ferarri in short term future.


  • Well, perhaps not - but given that many OSS developers code hours ad hours each day for free, anything is betetr than nothing. It is a start!

    Time to restart my Freenet node :)

  • This is really a great idea. Instead of the tradional model of buying products, we should donate to the programmers themselves as long as they're doing their job. In this way, if they get lazy and, say, delay a release or have a serious bug in a news version, we take away some of their money.

    Starving programmers! What a novel idea!
  • by geomcbay ( 263540 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:02AM (#160309)
    Don't forget ego and self-promotion. If you don't think those play a big part for many Open Source developers you are deluding yourself.
  • I was best friends with an Oskar Sandberg all through elementary school, before he went back to Sweden (his father's a diplomat).

    I've only seen him once since, on a trip to Scandinavia.

    Either a small world or a very common name (though switchboard comes up empty). Oscar: If "Red Diamond" means anything to you, email me!

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @10:14AM (#160315)
    There are recent news reports that the IP enforcers are going after individuals who host Gnutella servers by putting pressure on their ISPs to disconnect them.

    How long before they hire agents to do traffic analysis on the net looking for heavy Freenet usage. Even though they don't know what's being moved, it must be "bad", or they wouldn't be trying to hide it.

    They'll point this out to the users' ISPs, who would in turn threaten to disconnect them. A few well-publicized incidents could prevent Freenet from ever reaching critical mass. So much for the free information utopia.

  • All the trolls and the goat* bunch. Not to mention the other mysterious elements around here. Oh, and as soon as congress gets a whiff of this, it'll be a federal crime to run freenet software. And it will be fun to see what a U.S court will come up with when dealing with freenet. If nothing else, it'll be good for a slashdot story.
  • > > How long till his living expenses include a Ferarri? >

    You'll have to ask Phillip GreenspIn from ArsDigita...

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.