Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Reptile: P2P Content Syndication 61

Let me just quote, because I can't pack the buzzwords that tightly: "The OpenPrivacy project would like the announce the creation and initial release (0.0.1) of Reptile. Reptile is an Open Source/Free Software, Peer-to-Peer, content syndication engine (think RSS/OCS), which is driven by Java/XML and is privacy protection/Reputation enabled. Reptile nodes can publish to each other (everything is driven by XML based subscriptions) and provides a decentralized authentication model based on public/private key crypto (and Reputation)." Interesting stuff.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Reptile: P2P Content Syndication

Comments Filter:
  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @04:20AM (#2186921) Homepage
    The OpenPrivacy project would like the announce the creation and initial release (0.0.1) of Reptile . Reptile is an Open Source/Free Software, Peer-to-Peer, content syndication engine (think RSS/OCS), which is driven by Java/XML and is privacy protection/Reputation enabled. Reptile nodes can publish to each other (everything is driven by XML based subscriptions) and provides a decentralized authentication model based on public/private key crypto (and Reputation).

    To paraphrase a classic line:

    "Your Honour, that sentence should be taken out and shot."

  • looks like the perfect way to get all your things together :)

    I want that for my Palm....
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Could someone please write in plain English 1) what this thing is, 2) what it does for me, 3) why I should use it, 4) what the benefits of it are in general. Thanks.

  • So good for them. All I'm really seeing with their demo is web surfing at less than half the speed (encryption, right?).
    This and Peekabooty and Freenet all suffer from the same problem: they're trying to surreptitiously allow end users in ideologically restricted areas (the US and decryption, China, the Middle East, etc.) but while they're not surfing for restricted material in plaintext, constantly sending obviously encrypted packets back and forth is likely just the red flag that authorities need to look for to black bag a computer and find out what you're up to.
    If someone puts their thinking cap on and converts Spam Mimic [spammimic.com] to a distributed system and somehow manages to graft on a keyed infrastructure, then people with artificially restricted access to the Internet really will be able to get at information that The Man doesn't want them to see without the Stormtroopers Of Death kicking their door in. Well, at least until The Man gets hip to having to kick in the door of every single person who gets spam...
    Easy does it!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 28, 2001 @04:57AM (#2186925)
    so basically they have completed the name...which will probably be changed in 0.0.2

  • Well, I guess that's fitting since when it comes to sharing...most P2P users are pretty damn cold blooded.


    - JoeShmoe
  • And I was hoping it would make me a cup of coffee too. I guess it doesn't really do all that much, although I've heard it rumored that it includes a kitchen sink.
  • I read a number of posts in the "Petreley on Ximian and Mono" article, and the fears that people have on Microsoft's Passport service.

    This is exactly the initiative that is needed, a Peer-to-Peer authentication service that no major company has exclusive rights on. I applaud the initiative and hope it turns out well.
  • by qwaszx ( 8209 ) <`moc.xoblaerym' `ta' `kovim'> on Saturday July 28, 2001 @05:13AM (#2186929) Homepage
    With descriptions like that, I'm still not quite sure what this is..
    as far as I can see, it appears to be merely a glorified version of slashboxes, with an index that updates itself.
    I'm sure theres something else (the really nifty bit) that I'm missing.. just dont know what it is :/
  • I noticed on the Reptile features page that they want to integrate reptile with P2P networks like freenet, what I was wondering is what's this going to do for the speed of reptile let alone freenet. I've not tried reptile yet but I've sure as hell tried freenet and given up (for the moment) on it, due to the snails pace it crawls along at.
    I like the idea of it working as a webserver. nice!

  • A possible solution would be to break the stream of encrypted data into packets that meet the statistical profile of plaintext. As a basic example, if you're doing traffic analysis on a stream of plaintext, and you follow it with the same text ROT13ed, you will find that they look the same. Obviously if someone is actually reading the material that is coming through then there is trouble, but how likely is that? Of course there are always other methods of data-hiding but each of them is problematic in it's own way, at least when dealing with streaming data.
  • I had to click on the screenshots just to get an idea of what the hell it was.

    OSS projects sometimes need a section called "What this is -- Explanation for a 4-year old".

  • by DeepDarkSky ( 111382 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @05:56AM (#2186933)
    Quite an oxymoron
  • by bricriu ( 184334 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @06:03AM (#2186934) Homepage
    This got modded up? That's like me saying "Regular expression? What the hell's that? I'm not a Perl h4X0r...." Ugh. Anyway:

    • Content comes from where it always comes from: people writing it in XML, or writing it in Word docs & having it converted to XML
    • Where does it get stored? Any ol' file system will do.
    • Where does the presentation come from? It's XML -- who cares? XSL, or the Xerxes Java parser on top of some HTML templates (as in Dynamo)... the Tomcat Struts engine handles XML nicely [apache.org]. It's XML. Just content. No presentation. That's the point.
    • Where does that get stored? In your html docs directory. (these are all based on my experiences with teh ATG Dynamo engine... anyone who's worked with WebSphere or something else may have a diff't answer)
    As to where the engine gets stored, i'm not sure I can say... probabaly a personal preference thing. Yes, I can understand if buzzwords get you down, but don't go asking questions that anyone who's had experience working with XML-based content can answer as if they were mysteries that had puzzled the sages.
  • Hate to break this to you Michael, but as you reported [slashdot.org] the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is closed. It's a shame really, because that quote's a shoe-in for the science-fiction category.

    The sentence could be improved with the following, however:

    ... ", these features allow the users the freedom to innovate with a fresh lemon, or other user-configurable, scent."
  • by strredwolf ( 532 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @06:21AM (#2186936) Homepage Journal
    The name "Reptile" is taken by Sausage Software for it's web page background graphic generation software. I was wondering what was going on when I saw that by another company.

    WolfSkunks for a better Linux Kernel
  • I clicked the screenshots and I still don't have any idea what the hell this is. The picutures show Reptile as some kinda of wrapper for websites. I see Wired along side Slashdot and so forth. Then everything has a rating...so is this some kind of karma system for whole websites?

    Is this actually publishing or just pushing ratings? Because if it is publishing, what's to stop some idiot from posting crap and killing the system (like most P2P) and if it's just ratings how does that help privacy since the source is still the single point of failure?

    On the surface, it seems closest to MojoNation in design and implementation (complete with running everything off a local webserver). Speaking of which, whatever became of that?

    - JoeShmoe
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think we should postpone or even cancel the execution :) Actually this sentence makes a lot of sense for a lot of people familiar with the terminology put forth in the announcement. Just as in the scientific disciplines one needs to use the most appropriate terminology to discuss certain fields of interest. My understanding of this announcement is that Reptile will ease the distribution of news between news producers (the online press) and news distributors (such as Slashdot). This is done by providing a uniform format (defined using XML) for content such as news and providing the cryptographic support to provide content authentication so users can be sure that the content/news they are reading is in fact authentic and has not been tampered with by a third party. Reptile has many more uses but this is perhaps the most important aspect if it, at least to begin with. Regards, Buzz PS. Why are there so many buzzwords in mathematics :) Definition of a graceful graph: A graph is said to be graceful if you can number the n vertices with the integers from 1 to n and then label each edge with the difference between the numbers at the vertices, in such a way that each edge receives a different label.
  • This got modded up?

    Several comments in this discussion were modded up when they probably shouldn't have been. Meanwhile others, like yours, have not been modded up because the moderators have wasted their points modding the wrong material.

    Now onto my question. ... Are you sure material is stored in a webserver? It looks to me that this is a p2p network (like gnutella), meaning that data can be stored anywhere, and also that presentation would be nothing but a filename on a client program.

  • Once Passport has a foothold, Microsoft can update Passport and the .NET run-time environment to break all those e-commerce applications built with Mono.

    Ah yes, the ol' "you can't reproduce Office because Microsoft will just change the format" argument. Simple, easy to understand -- and wrong.

    The fatal flaw in his argument is that people don't upgrade instantaneously. Microsoft can't arbitrarily change the communications format because they would break their own software unless customers upgrade.

    In fact, to the contrary, it was much easier for Microsoft to change things like Office because they could make deals with closed-environments like a big company where everybody gets upgraded at once. When we are deal with something like this, even Microsoft can't get the whole Internet to upgrade at once.

    Once Microsoft sets the standard, they will be hamstrung into supporting it forever.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    > The OpenPrivacy project

    Our latest oxymoronic plan...

    > would like the announce the creation and initial release (0.0.1) of Reptile.

    is starting something new.

    > Reptile is an Open Source/Free Software, Peer-to-Peer, content syndication engine (think RSS/OCS)

    Reptile makes RMS cream his pants and smells like Napster. Oh, and we don't know what a content syndication engine is, so think about some letters instead.

    > which is driven by Java/XML and is privacy protection/Reputation enabled.

    We don't like Microsoft, so we use Java and invented our own proper noun, Reputation.

    > Reptile nodes can publish to each other

    Data move around..

    > (everything is driven by XML based subscriptions)

    in some nebulous way..

    > and provides a decentralized authentication model based on public/private key crypto (and Reputation).

    but still relates to our project.

  • Last time you ran a Java application was in 1995, correct?
  • This is probably off-topic but here goes...

    I've been looking at the problems and opportunities posed by weblogs, content syndication, comment systems (like those here on Slashdot) and one thing occurs to me. Except for the ratings systems...


    Comments to the email above. Flames to /dev/null.

    --- Brent Rockwood, Development Lead

  • Yep, they'll most likely be changing it...

    RepTile [sausagetools.com] is a program by Sausage Software [sausagetools.com], producers of HotDog.

    While the functionality is totally different, I'm betting Sausage done went and trademarked the name Reptile for a piece of software...

    Legal problems involving software names can REALLY suck. *cough* *Adobe* *cough* ;-)
  • No, I write java applications for a living. I *like* java but it's such a pain making sure that the right run time environment is installed on client machine.

    "You mean I have to download and install 10Megabytes of stuff just to run *that*?"
    seems to be the common response.

    And it *is* really difficult to make java applications look and feel as good as native applications. Not impossible, just hard.

    This is not a critisim of java, just a comment on how the applications are perceived.
  • Maybe I'm wrong here, but if we're talking about Microsoft changing what happens on their servers, isn't everyone upgraded instantaneously? It seems to me that's the fatal flaw in your argument comparing .NET to Office.

    I could be wrong of course... if so please enlighten me.

  • This story posted only a day after "Congress Discovers Peer-to-Peer Porn". Coincidence? I think not :-)
  • Check again: the primary author is KEVIN Burton.
  • by mefus ( 34481 )
    I had to click on the screenshots just to get an idea of what the hell it was.
    They had to do that.

    That's the only way to compete against Microsoft.
  • This is exactly what I was going to say. When they're trying that hard to explain what the damn thing is good for, it's usually not good for much.
    Did you have to have hyperlinks explained to you with a bunch of acronyms and eight-syllable buzzwords?

  • Open source/free software projects need marketing communications, just as do commercial products.

    I hope the Open Source movement will soon get over the habit of giving unattractive names to its products. I hope Open Source projects will eventually have home pages that actually explain the project in a way someone who has not followed the project from the beginning can understand.
  • They will probably have to change thier name since Reptile [sausagetools.com] is a product of Sausage Software [sausagetools.com]. They've had the name since 1998.

    D/\ Gooberguy
  • I was particularly intrigued by this post on the Reptile project today, because I run and develop a similar project, fyuze [fyuze.com]. The idea behind fyuze is similar to the idea behind Reptile: automate the process of retrieving, organizing and sifting through data. This eliminates the need to hop from site to site to collect information, and provides a certain level of convenience. Add in features that make it possible to have the system automatically scan for content that matches a particular criteria, along with the ability to search arbitrarily, and you've got a great way to collect all the news you want, and quickly find all the latest reviews for, say, "Planet of the Apes."

    fyuze differs from Reptile significantly in that it is a web-based system, not a client P2P application, meaning there is no software to install, simply log on, create an account, and then re-logon from anywhere else. This means that (in the future) it will be possible to use fyuze via a cell phone, or PDA, or any other web enabled device, like the flat-screen mounted to your fridge.

    To simply list a couple of features, fyuze allows users to add content/feeds [fyuze.com] to the system, it supports RDF/RSS as well as plain old HTML, it has a skinnable [fyuze.com] interface via CSS, it allows for real-time content collection, and has an advanced (content can span multiple rows and columns) layout system.

    The real-time collection mechanism allows for fyuze to retrieve user specific information from a site. This means that a weblog could provide a user with not only the latest posts, but also information on recent replies to that user's comments, status of pending posts, karma, etc.

    fyuze, in its current form, is only about a month old, so you may find it's selection of content a little small, but many popular sites are available. Besides, users can add content, so if you run a site, add it!

    For more info, it might be helpful to read the following k5 article: Quest for the Ultimate Homepage [kuro5hin.org]

  • If this could be made to work reliably, consider what it would do for sites like Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] or Something Awful [somethingawful.com]. Sites like these are expensive to run because of the cost of bandwidth. If you decentralize the distribution, you could spread the bandwidth cost between all the users. Since most users pay a flat rate for their internet connection, in most cases the distributed cost would be $0. And since he's no longer paying for hosting, Lowtax could afford a better haircut.
  • Ok, so what's the point with the application? I understand that you can describe anything with xml, but what does 'Content syndication' mean? In what way will this application enchance the world?
  • Reptile certainly sounds like usenet, with digital signatures and xml. Everyone posting in html (or xml) on usenet gets flamed...wonder how that will work on this system.

    Annoucing Reptile: the new flamewar generator!

  • by jbrw ( 520 )
    Just give me a minute while I send OpenPrivacy a letter informing them of this, and a bill for one meeeeeellion dollars.
  • Mod this up... I am the author.

    There are a number of issues here.

    - The version number. Yes. 0.0.1 actually does sound funny but we did not want to mislead anyone. Reptile will probably go through a few more iterations until 0.1.0 and then be released as 1.0. Note that the 0.0.1 version number does *not* reflect the level of progress we have made with Reptile. Reptile can be used *right now* if you want as most of the core features have been taken care of. Give us a month or two until 1.0.

    - The oxymoron name of OpenPrivacy. That is *exactly* the point. It is supposed to be an oxymoron. Our privacy protection model only works if you are completely open. More information is available on the website.

    - The stupid buzwords in the announcement. OK. We are Open Source so does anyone have another suggestion for an announcement that fits ALL of our technology into one sentence?

    I realize that we have a lot of buzzwords in the announcement but I really see know other way of describing Reptile in one sentence.

    Kevin (burton@openprivacy.org)
  • OK... maybe *you* should try to come up with a sentence which contains all of our technology in one sentence which can be absorbed by Slashdot! :)

    Kevin (burton@openprivacy.org)
  • We didn't find a conflicting name when we started the project. We may have to think about changing the name.

    Of course my opinion is that no matter HOW hard you try you conflict with a copyright SOMEWHERE!

    Kevin (burton@openprivacy.org)
  • You still didn't address exactly what it is. Why would I need security when browsing content? Why do I need 128 bit SSL with news headlines? What exactly is it that it does, besides be another web portal script?
  • Oh. I agree with the GUI criticism, but still not with your first generalization on Java. From the screenshots and API it appears that Reptile runs via Servlets - no GUI flicker hanky panky there. As for the 10 meg plugin, it's just a matter of bundling your software delivery properly.
  • Oh no; I could not aspire to the lofty heights of that sentence! It is magnificient in its enormity; sort of a linguistic Matterhorn.

    Just to clarify: I'm kidding - it's no worse (and probably a bit better) than any other blurbs you tend to see on sites like this.

  • Best I can figure...if you need portal software, Postnuke [postnuke.com] or PHPNuke [phpnuke.org] would work fine and can handle RSS and "Reputation" fine via slashdot like moderation. Either Nuke can receive or send RSS feeds, and it's much more robust than Reptile.

    If one wants to do java and XML, Cocoon [slashdot.org] from apache is greatly suited to that task. I haven't seen portal software written for it.

    Best I can figure from this project, they want to use some sort of decentralized authentication scheme and are calling it "Reputation." They are tied to some sort of goofy Sierra Reputation thing. [slashdot.org]

    Best I can tell, people are desperate for a competitor to .NET, this isn't it. Slashdot, your companion site Freshmeat is for 0.0.1 software. I don't think even the author has figured out what Reptile is for.
  • Troll.
  • Askemos [askemos.org] is a distributed operating system without a central authority...

    fun already

  • Exactly! I read all the pages on the website, and I can tell that it's Peer-to-Peer, Open Source, uses XML, private/public key crypto, and so on, but I still don't know what it does with all that.
  • Several comments in this discussion were modded up when they probably shouldn't have been. Meanwhile others, like yours, have not been modded up because the moderators have wasted their points modding the wrong material.

    I am very skeptical of your claims that Slashdot moderators sometimes err in their decisions.
  • would like the announce the creation

    Please tell me thats a /. typo and not part of the release.

  • Eeek. I think I'm going to have this problem with Notes [sourceforge.net], since Lotus Notes is trademarked by IBM. Ouch, and I really can't change the name. It's a reimplementation of legacy software. *Sigh*. Maybe they won't notice.
  • ...that "hiding" encrypted data obviously means that The Man has no idea what you're looking at, but he knows what you're talking to.
    Which is to say: I think that Spam Mimic's definitely on the right track; if officials see garbage going to and fro between machines and they're on the lookout, you're in trouble. Of course, I'm taking the paranoid's view that Big Brother really is out there and really is constantly looking over your shoulder, in which case there's no "right solution" to the problem: at some point, this data's being read by at least one human being which means a plurality of humans with the means and motive can read it, too. So I'm thinking that steganography of some sort, be it plain text (like Spam Mimic) or perhaps embedded imagery (more obvious) or perhaps even a subchannel in an online game would work wonders: you're not doing anything that looks obviously or not so obviously subversive (receiving spam, playing a game, looking at pictures of doggies and kitties) is the way to go: information can be delivered without tipping off The Man that maybe you're someone that they should keep a closer eye on.
    Just food for thought or whatever, but what do I know?
    Easy does it!
  • Again, you're confusing Hailstorm with .NET and Passport. Hailstorm is where everything runs on MS servers.

  • it'll work, but it will look really ugly. what boggles my mind is that the same people who will download and recompile each new kernel release, refuse to get a browser that isn't 4 years old.
  • Spam Mimic is cool, isn't it? But, not opensource.

    I have written sporgebots before, but it tends to add a lot of bulk. (Like every 1 word adds 10 words to the letter... and up). It can still be filtered for. (I also was involved in the development of a sniffer in use in China).

    I think this is a good idea... using Spam Mimic or something similiar, and it should be understood that there is plenty of room for more projects such as these.

    As it is, SSL is still a very common encryption method. They have to sort through all legimate uses of SSL in order to raise red flags... or they have to restrict all usage of SSL. Which will hurt their economy, and we are totally prepared to deal with, anyway.

  • There has been some Reptile software out for a long time, already. Other than the really cool screensaver, there is the wallpaper maker, both programs by Sausage Software. What is it, not enough words in the English language, or what?
  • So, uh. Plaintext encryption (that is rampant on the Internet) raises red flags more than encyrpted transmissions how?
    Easy does it!
  • Some moderators, when given access, dont know what it is and oftentimes just click buttons and drop-down lists to their heart's content, hence leaving some very good posts unmodderated or modded down that should have been up, and other errs in moderating. This post, for example, could go either way. I'm either being a troll, flamebait, or insightful. Hopefully I'm being insightful for pointing out troubles with some moderators. But to the moderators that read this, they see an attack on themselves, leaving them to mark me as a trollin flamebaiter.
  • I was being rather facetious in my comment, as it's widely known that there are numerous significant problems with Slashdot moderation, and moderators often appear to take leave of their senses when using their powers (the "cracksmoking moderators" effect).
  • Think about it: if you want to build a distributed system (say, one that you can use on the Internet) in what organization or company do you want to place your most valuable personal profile information? Would you trust Microsoft's Hailstorm (subject, at the very least, to FBI probings)?

    Or how about an open source, cryptographically secure system that is regularly audited by the community using it?

    The latter is what OpenPrivacy is all about...


  • On the surface, it's an oxymoron (if you just took the meaning of the words literally), but in depth, yes, of course what you are saying would be ideal - except it's almost anti-capitalistic (vis-a-vis Microsoft, sort of like the Microsoft anti-open source sentiment). Which is to say, if nobody is making money off of it to move your hard earned money into their pockets, then someone will cry foul. Now, if you want another oxymoron, consider that Microsoft has something called Open License...
  • what you are saying would be ideal - except it's almost anti-capitalistic
    Ah, but once you can develop strong reputations (and associated reputation capital ) then whole new vistas of capitalism arise. Do not forget that true Capitalism is Anarchistic - just like the net! - in that there is no one in charge other than "The Market" (and what the market will bear).

    OpenPrivacy enables the Anonymous Digital Marketplace.


A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.