Modifying Thingamablog For Freenet 0.5

When I started my first blog, I was using thingamablog to do it with.  I’ve long since converted to WordPress but I remember it well.  It was actually a decent program.

Then on the latest edition of the flog “My Two Cents Worth(freenet link*)” there’s talk of a version that’s been modified so that it’s possible to use it for freenet.  I’ve known about this version since it was created and I even knew that the original developer of the freenet mod hasn’t worked on it in a long time and has, in fact lost their source code in a hard drive crash.  What I hadn’t realized however was that in all this time, nobody else has taken up the project.

So, I took a look at the test flog (freenet link*) and the flog (a ‘flog’ is a Freenet Blog) of the guy who did the mod (freenet link*) and it’s all very familiar Thingamablog style blog, though the only known executable: Thingamablog-1.0.5.freenet.jar

has got a few bugs that need to be worked out.  Apparently it’s not quite the version used to insert /jaff/15// (freenet link*) and the original project was never completed.

Since the modified source is not available, I got the source for Thingamablog 1.16b from Sourceforge and tried to recreate what had been done on 1.0.5 Here’s the source code for what I’ve managed so far: Source code for freenet version of thingamablog1.16b

So far, I’ve managed to do the part described in /jaff/12// (freenet link*), so it’ will accept
#$#ps.key;/#$#e:ps.ednum;// as a base URL which FiW can then parse into the correct freesite key for insertion, but there still remains the part described in /jaff/13// (freenet link*).

I’ve not been able to figure out where in the source the thing puts together the URLs for categories, archive pages, or individual article permalinks

The problem is that while I’ve varying degrees of skill in Basic, C, html, php, tcl and a bit of javascript I haven’t done much with Java at all.  This makes figuring out somebody elses code a lot more difficult.

Back in January I tried asking on the Thingamablog forum on Sourceforge and haven’t yet seen a reply.

If somebody would be willing to take a look at this source and give me a clue or six I’d love to see this project completed and working.  Especially if it could achieve Jafo’s original goal of adding functionality to TAMB that would let it handle the inserts as well as the blog management duties.

This would make creating and maintaining a flog so easy that it could well bring more *current* freesites into existence.

Besides, as was pointed out on /mytwocents/61//(freenet link*), 0.7 has taken this idea and run with it.  THEY have a thingamablog that is tailored to talk directly to the 0.7 node.

http://downloads.freenetproject.org/alpha/thingamablog/thingamablog.zip

I don’t know about anybody else but this idea originated on 0.5 and I’d like to see 0.5 benefit from an easy to use, self contained, Flog publishing system that this could turn into.

===

* Note: links marked with “(freenet link*)” will only work if you have freenet 0.5 running on 127.0.0.1:8888

Technorati Tags: Anonymity, anonymous+blogging, anonymous+publishing, Blogging, blogs, flog, Freenet, freenet+blog, freenet+publishing, java, Open+source, Programming, publishing, sourceforge, thingamablog

Freenet 0.7.0 release candidate 1 released

First, I’ll quote the “official” announcement that appeared on the Freenet support list this morning:

Freenet is a global peer-to-peer network designed to allow users to publish and consume information without fear of censorship.  To use it, you must download the Freenet software, available for Windows, Mac, Linux and other operating systems.  Once you install and run Freenet, your computer will join a global, decentralized P2P network. You will be able to publish and consume information anonymously, either through your web browser, or through a
variety of third party applications.

Freenet 0.7 is a ground-up rewrite of Freenet.  The key user-facing feature in Freenet 0.7 is the ability to operate Freenet in a “darknet” mode, where your Freenet node will only talk to other Freenet users that you trust.  This makes it much more difficult for an adversary to discover that you are using Freenet, let alone what you are doing with it. 0.7 also includes significant improvements to both security and performance.

Freenet 0.7 RC1 can be downloaded from:

http://freenetproject.org/download.html

There’s been a lot of work done on 0.7 since it was split off from 0.5 back in Dec 2005 and yes, 0.7 is faster … for small files and Frost messages.  I understand that large files can still take two to three times longer to retrieve or insert on 0.7 as the same files will take on 0.5

However, 0.7 is worth checking out and looking around.  It will probably take a while for people new to freenet to become familiarized with how things work and get a feel for best practices.  However, with either version there are some basics:

1), For best results, your node should run 24/7 or as much of the time as possible.

2), The larger your node’s data store, the better.  I’d recommend at least 1GB and preferably more. My 0.5 node has 25GB of store and my 0.7 node is set to use 10GB for now.

3), When a new node first starts up, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or so to get sufficiently integrated into the network for freesites and files to start loading at a decent pace.

4), On 0.7, you’re better off to exchange darknet refs with ~ 10 to 15 other nodes and disable “promiscuous mode” (opennet)

I personally intend to stay with 0.5 as my primary freenet experience.  Especially since development work has re-started on it a few months ago.

I will also continue to maintain my own “unofficial freenet alternative download” page with installers for several recent builds of freenet, a seednodes.ref file and a little bit of help getting it installed and started.  I’ve just started some update work on this page and will be adding several more pages to cover several freenet utilities as time permits.

Technorati Tags: anonymous+p2p, anonymous+file+sharing, 0.7+release, alternative+download, alternative+freenet+download, download, Freenet, freenet+0.5, freenet+0.7, freenet+download, freenet+help, freenet+utilities, node+reference, seednodes, unofficial+freenet

Japan to Cut Internet Access for Winny Users

Japan’s four main Internet provider organizations have gotten together and worked out an arrangement where they’re going to be cutting Internet access to people using the “WinNy” P2P file sharing program.

Their big reason for this is the big battle against piracy.  They’re claiming that most of the files being traded by the 1.75 million or so WinNy users in Japan are illegal copies of:

3.55 million examples of illegally copied gaming software, worth about 9.5 billion yen at regular software prices, and 610,000 examples of illegally copied music files, worth 440 million yen,

I have to say that it’s interesting that they claim there is so much more trading of games than there is of music which, as far as I know, is totally backwards from claims made elsewhere about what’s being shared.

They haven’t gone into any details of course as to HOW they’re deciding that a particular WinNy user is sharing “illegal copies” of programs and music, which is particularly interesting because while I understand that WinNy message forums aren’t anonymous, the file transfer system itself *IS* anonymous.  Given that, there’s no real way to be sure that any one user has, in fact, uploaded or downloaded any given file (at least, without searching their hard drives and even then if the user in question maintains good security practices, that will also prove fruitless.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that WinNy is and has been used for trading a lot of “illegal copies” of stuff, but it also serves as an anonymous means of sharing information and as such is valuable in spite of any illegal use.

The thing is though, that it apparently can be detected and therefore blocked and it’s also possible to identify users by tracing the non-anonymous forum part of it’s network to identify the IP addresses of users.

I’m thinking that this is a situation in which the people using WinNy would do well to consider switching to Freenet.  Freenet has a distinct advantage in that ALL of it’s traffic is 100% anonymous and encrypted.  Content being distributed over freenet cannot be identified by an observer, nor is it possible to determine who is inserting or requesting any particular file.

Freenet also has a messaging system that keeps all of the message exchanges within the same encrypted, anonymous transport layer that is used to store and move files.  I believet that it’s also been reported that Freenet nodes can often communicate even in situations where other networks have been blocked.

There are currently two main branches of freenet in use:

Freenet 0.5, which is considered by many to be the “stable” version, has been around for quite a while and is once again under active development.

Freenet 0.7, which is the new version that’s currently in “alpha” state of development where a lot of new code is being developed and tested.

Because of the anonymous nature of Freenet it is not possible to know exactly but it’s estimated that both versions have several thousand users with that number growing all the time on both versions of the network (note: Freenet 0.5 and Freenet 0.7 are separate networks and do not [currently, I think that may change someday] communicate with each other directly.

I think that both networks would benefit greatly by the increase in the number of nodes that’s possible if WinNy users switch to one or the other network.

Technorati Tags: Anonymity, anonymous+p2p, file+sharing, Freenet, internet+access, japan, japanese+isp, p2p, winny

Trusted Computing 2.0?

I realize that This was originally meant mostly to be funny, but I can’t
help but wonder how close to the truth this gets? Between DRM and both
governments and corporations wanting to control everything that even
might affect them….


—– Anonymous —– 2007.01.29 – 02:33:44GMT —–

Trusting Computing 2.0 has eliminated the analog hole by changing
the way the consumer
receives sensory input. At birth, children
now undergo minor surgical procedures to remove both the eyes and
ears. Digital
neural interfaces are implanted as
replacements to ensure that no
malicious or unauthorized input
reaches the brain. This newest advance allows the
government
and
corporations to safeguard their intellectual property in
all forms whether it be music, movies or ideas.

This quote is from an anonymous message posted on a message board based
within freenet. Will we have to resort to technology like freenet to
preserve our ability to think for ourselves I think it’s likely.

How to get started with Freenet

[Edit 10-18-2011: I’m writing a new version of this post as this one is woefully out of date.  Until that new post is finished I’ve updated the urls in this one and removed a few outdated things] I’m working on an updated version of this post which will go into more detail.  When it’s ready I’ll add a link to it here: —Five Easy Steps To Installing Freenet Classic Opennet (FCon)—- please use those directions instead.

I’ve mentioned several times lately about mirroring MMS and Lastdays Watch in freenet and it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to write up a quick tutorial for anyone interested in getting started using freenet.

*Note* I’m talking about installing on Windows98 machines because that’s what I have experience with. Other flavors of windows should be at least similar and the sites I mention here all have Linux versions and directions.

According to the download page, freenet has these hardware requirements:

Minimum:
400MHz Pentium 2, with at least 192MB of RAM.
Recommended:
1GHz or more processor with 256MB RAM or more (especially if using Windows XP).

That said, I have actually managed to run freenet on a 200mhz Pentium with 64mb ram. It was slow and sluggish but it worked enough to view freesites or use FIW to insert new editions of freesites

To get freenet going is pretty easy. First You will need Java JRE 7, which you can get at this URL: http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp.

Then you need to download the freenet distribution zipfile

Once you’ve got the zipfile, follow the directions on the Freenet Classic Openet page.

The only real problem with that is that when it first gets started, freenet doesn’t know very much about the network. Learning about more nodes takes time and it’s really best if you leave freenet running as much as possible, especially at first. This makes trying to load freenet sites frustrating and slow.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to speed up the process of learning the network. “Frost” is a freenet text message client that is sort of similar to Usenet. You can think of it as a collection of message boards that exist entirely within freenet.

Frost is included in the freenet distribution archive.  Simply extract the frost archive and double click on the “frost.bat” file to start frost.  Once you have it started, it will begin searching freenet for messages.  This will go slowly at first, but will pick up fairly quickly.

As you use Frost and surf freesites, you will no doubt find files you will want to download. While Frost has the ability to handle this, many people find that it’s not the best tool for downloads. Fortunately there is a really great tool for downloading and inserting files: Freenet Utility for Queued Inserts and Downloads

Ironicaly enough, Fuqid’s main distribution page is a freesite.

http://127.0.0.1:8888/SSK@CKesZYUJWn2GMvoif1R4SDbujIgPAgM/fuqid/12//

Files can be downloaded from freesites via your web browser

To install Fuqid, simply extract the files from the zip where you want them. I put it in c:\program files\freenet\fuqid and then add a shortcut to it to my program menu or desktop.

On the "General" tab, set download threads to something like 32. A higher number of threads will speed up downloads, but put more load on the computer. A bit of trial and error with higher and higher numbers of threads will show you what works best for you. Set the insert threads to anything from 5 to 20. Again, you’ll have to work out what settings are best for you.

So as you surf through freenet, you run across a simple but interesting freesite:
http://127.0.0.1:8888/SSK@XKgPxdSUjAcZrV0oTUGeXmoAGfIPAgM,ZOJm89bQCLLZw7DJ23i4gw/mmsdev/6//, which happens to be the freenet distribution point for my Mixminion Message Sender program.

Now you could click on the download link on the freesite and download the file with your browser, or you could copy it’s key:

CHK@OwYc2ErFOhUpgSl~Pb7IZN~v0OcRAwI,hGOyAnIbhFCQNOzeXaiHsA/MMS1_2_4_beta_dist.rar and click "Add Key" on Fuqid’s download queue. Once you select the directory the file should be saved in, (freenet should already be running) click "Activate" and Fuqid will start requesting the file. When the download is done you will find it in the directory you selected.

Larger files take longer of course, and are broken up into blocks. Once Fuqid has recovered 2/3 of the blocks that make up the file, it can reconstruct it. It will also reconstruct the missing blocks and put a job in the insert queue to re-insert those missing blocks. This "healing" helps make sure others can have an easier time downloading the file in the future. In fact, if you’re having a hard time getting enough blocks of a file, you can post it’s key on the "unsucessful" board on Frost and ask someone to re-insert it for you.

I’ll cover creating and inserting freenet websites, known as freesites, in an upcoming post.

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