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Re: [GNUnet-developers] Hello! (brief introduction and lots of questions

From: Olie Ayre
Subject: Re: [GNUnet-developers] Hello! (brief introduction and lots of questions)
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2019 10:49:00 +0000

Hi Christian,

Thanks so much for the clear (and quick) answers! They were very helpful. If I
may, I have a couple of extra things to ask based on these answers.

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 12:45 AM, Christian Grothoff wrote:
> > ### 3: How might I make use of my "ego"s and GNS zones from
> >        multiple machines?
> We don't have a convenient way to do this, but if you are a competent
> sysadmin you can just copy the files from
> $HOME/.local/share/gnunet/identity/egos/ from one system to the other
> (that's where the private keys are) and restart the peer to have the
> identity subsystem rescan the directory.

That makes sense, so to do that I'd probably be writing some form of simple sync
script to automatically sync between the machines when reachable. Is some means
of using an ego across multiple peers a planned feature to come up in the 
Or is the idea of having a different ego or set of egos for each device the
intended usage? If it is, then what's the intended/planned means of having
coherency between different devices?

> > If not, then would it be
> > reasonable to run most if not all of my GNUnet content from my
> > VPS which will be on all the time?
> Yes, indeed. Same for the GNS zones.

Right! I understand that better now. So if I store my content and GNS records
(and maybe also egos) on my VPS, would I need to be copying it to the devices 
be using to directly interact with GNUnet (as with above)? Or would it be
possible to have GNS zones on each device that I can directly delegate to my 
GNS? I think what I'm trying to understand here is - from a user perspective -
what the intended way of using GNUnet is for a user that has multiple devices 
- at least with a legacy internet mindset (for now) - is after some form of
coherence between these devices, as it's very rare that someone with multiple
devices uses each only for very specific and distinct tasks where having 
GNS and egos for each would be fine.

You asked about suggestions for the documentation, I think having some
explanation of the relation between peers, GNS zones, and egos could be very
useful - in particular explaining what depends on what, what things can be moved
between others, and especially in the more usage-oriented sections, what the
expected approach is. Describing an ideal mindset towards GNUnet would make it
much easier to be approaching it in a way where the user isn't trying to
"translate" the legacy internet into the GNUnet. For example, a section named
"Publishing public content" could describe the best approach for people that
would want to do the equivalent of host a personal website or closest analogue 
that. Another section might be titled "Managing multiple peers" and could 
the specific purpose of egos and GNS zones from a user's perspective and what 
intended approach is for a user with multiple devices, such as pointing out the
specific directories to copy between machines but also what usability
implications that might have and how best to work with egos across multiple
devices. I think there are already very good sections that cover actually using
GNUnet - the ones for using the GTK programs for instance made things much
clearer for me to understand - so having more of such sections to cover more
aspects of using GNUnet would be incredibly helpful.

> > ### 6: How might an organisation manage a presence on GNUnet?
> While GNS's "VPN" records in combination with our IP-over-GNUnet
> subsystem allow this, this kind of client-server deployment is more of a
> backwards-compatibility thing. We have started very early work on a
> secure multiparty auction protocol (ebay-like), and I would imagine we
> might similarly eventually have something like a decentralized shopping
> protocol, where you effectively would specify the product you are
> looking for and get offers from all shops offering the particular
> product. So at that point, someone running an online shop would post the
> catalog of their products with prices, and wouldn't have to bother with
> JS/CSS and styling & marketing. But YMMV, that's at this point just my
> totally crazy and very, very long-term vision (which I have no plans to
> work on this decade, much more pressing issues out there first ;-)).

I don't have any follow-up questions to this, I just wanted to say that when 
clicked in my head it was very satisfying. I think it's a truly brilliant system
because it just benefits everyone massively. Very excited to see such a system 
action when it eventually happens.

> Great, you're welcome. And concrete suggestions for improving our
> documentation to make these questions obsolete for the next person would
> be particularly welcome ;-)

As I mentioned before, I think the most helpful additions for me and people like
me would be sections describing a variety of use-cases and how they'd be 
using GNUnet. Making the ideal mindset clear and going over the most common
things people do on the legacy internet, explaining how they're different/not
needed with GNUnet, and explaining how to achieve the fundamental goal of that
activity using GNUnet would mean that I and others can very quickly get 
and start actively participating in GNUnet, publishing content for others to
read, doing research and browsing entertainment content (maybe more so later 
now with the current scale of GNUnet), communicating with friends and family, 
shopping (again, more so later than now). Some of this is already covered of
course. I'd be thinking what would almost amount to a "GNUnet for dummies".

To be more sure of what I think would be most useful, I'll need to get GNUnet
installed and running on one of my machines, which I'm planning on doing today 
see how far I can get.

Thanks again for all the wonderful explanations!

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