[Tahoe-dev] GNUnet

zooko zooko at zooko.com
Thu Jul 26 17:05:37 UTC 2007


Folks:

I had lunch with Christian Grothoff yesterday -- he's the scientist  
behind GNUnet [1].  I met him at a Privacy Enhancing Technology  
Workshop in Toronto in 2004, and now he is a professor at the  
University of Denver.

GNUnet is an anonymous file-sharing network, which attempts to  
facilitate sharing of files with anonymous strangers.  This isn't one  
of the use cases [2] for Tahoe, so some of the crazy hacks that   
GNUnet does are things that Tahoe doesn't need.  However, there are  
also many areas of overlapping needs, so it was a long and  
fascinating conversation.

One interesting fact about GNUnet is that it currently includes a  
Distributed Hash Table, based on Kademlia, which attempts to route  
around non-transitivity (i.e. "restricted routing", i.e. "a non-fully- 
connected underlay network").  It can succeed at this only  
probabilistically.

Another interesting fact is that someone recently wrote a FUSE plugin  
for GNUnet.  It probably uses the "impedance mismatch" approach  
implemeting a write by downloading the entire file, changing it, and  
then re-uploading the new file.  This is obviously extremely  
inefficient, and both GNUnet and Tahoe could in theory support fine- 
grained writes more efficiently.  I will be watching the progress of  
the GNUnet FUSE plugin to see if the inefficient, mismatched, write  
is good enough for people to actually use for anything.

There was a lot more.  Too much, in fact, and Christian's interesting  
ideas overloaded my brain and now I can't remember all of them.  He  
suggested that once school is in sesson again, he might invite me to  
give a presentation about Tahoe at the University of Denver.

Regards,

Zooko

[1] http://gnunet.org
[2] http://allmydata.org/trac/tahoe/wiki/UseCases




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