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

From: ng0
Subject: Re: [GNUnet-developers] Hello! (brief introduction and lots of questions)
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2019 12:17:55 +0000

Christian Grothoff transcribed 13K bytes:
> Hi Olie,
> Some answers inline below...
> On 6/12/19 9:01 PM, Olie Ayre wrote:
> > ### 1: How might I "serve" files?
> > 
> > At the moment, I have a little 1GB VPS on which I host a
> > personal website and a project website. What I'd like to know
> > is what the equivalent to this sort of thing would be with
> > GNUnet. I heard it mentioned in a few of the videos I've
> > watched that GNUnet isn't really supposed to be used with a
> > browser. Would it be a more "GNUnet way" thing to have my
> > "site" be a set of more traditional documents that are made
> > available using the file-publishing systems? How might I
> > collect them together into a coherent group and make them
> > accessible using a tidier and more memorable URL than some of
> > the gnunet://fs/* links I've seen with entire public keys?
> > Would it simply be done with GNS and some form of file path?
> Combining GNS and file-sharing is actually one key aspect on my agenda
> for the next iteration of file-sharing. But I don't predict I'll have
> time to work on that anytime soon. So for now, there are two choices:
> * create a TGZ or ZIP file of the Web page and publish that
>   (as gnunet://fs/)
> * share the directory, gnunet-publish can preserve file hierarchies
> > ### 2: How might I chat with friends?
> > 
> > I've read the document section on the "Conversations" program
> > that uses a phonecall-esque approach, and I've also read that
> > protocols like SMTP haven't been implemented "yet". In a
> > hypothetical GNUnet which is more developed and actively used
> > by a larger population, what would be "the" way of doing
> > Email-style communication, IM-style communication, and any of
> > those and voice in groups with multiple members? Would there
> > be additional protocols and components in GNUnet that would
> > manage these kinds of communication? How do/might they
> > look/work?
> The SecuShare folks have some gnunet-nim codebase they use for IM-style
> chatting. Maybe they can give you more detailed pointers on how to use it.
> gnunet-conversation is only for voice, text messaging is not yet
> implemented for it.
> > ### 3: How might I make use of my "ego"s and GNS zones from
> >        multiple machines?
> > 
> > I have a desktop at home, a laptop, a work computer, and my
> > VPS. If I were to connect all of them to GNUnet and had made
> > myself a couple of "ego"s for say personal use and public use
> > (with a pseudonym) and had a personal GNS zone, how might I be
> > able to act as any of these "ego"s from different devices? For
> > instance, I might be using "Ego1" on my desktop talking to a
> > friend and need to go somewhere. When I get to my destination
> > and take out my laptop, how might I be able to continue the
> > conversation still as "Ego1"? Or would having a separate ego
> > or group of egos for each device be how I'd do it?
> 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.
> > ### 4: How can I make sure data is still available when my
> >        machines are powered off?
> > 
> > If for instance I have files hosted on a machine or have my
> > GNS zone on my computer and I turn my computer off, would the
> > files and GNS records still be available to other machines?
> For some time, yes. GNS records are published in the DHT, and may be
> cached (IIRC for about a month). Of course, if your expiration times are
> set to 5 minutes, they may be lost much faster than that.
> > Can they still resolve my GNS records without my machine being
> > on? If I host a file rather than just indexing it, will it be
> > available via other peers at all?
> Other peers may cache the file or parts of it, but they may also drop it
> if they don't have excess storage. So there are no guarantees that the
> file will remain available.
> > 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.
> > ### 5: How are public keys linked to specific machines?
> > 
> > As a machine's address is given as its public key, how can one
> > machine look at a public key and know how to figure out what
> > exact computer that means? What's the logical process from a
> > computer being given a public key either directly or via GNS
> > to getting data to the specific machine that key refers to?
> > Would a better understanding of how "legacy" IP addresses
> > achieve the same task answer my question here?
> GNUnet has HELLO messages which bind network addresses to public keys
> identifying peers, which is indeed similar to the ARP mechanism that
> binds IP addresses to Ethernet addresses. It also creates similar
> privacy issues for mobile users which we still have to resolve properly.
> > ### 6: How might an organisation manage a presence on GNUnet?
> > 
> > Say there is some Company C that runs an online shop and that
> > company wants to make its service available over GNUnet. How
> > might that be done? Would the website be hosted in a similar
> > fashion to any other website just accessible over GNUnet and
> > with transactions managed using Taler? What might the key
> > differences be between such a site on GNUnet and on legacy
> > internet from a user/customer perspective?
> 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 ;-)).
> > ### 7: How might "local networks" work?
> > 
> > Or would they exist at all? The systems I work with in my job
> > might have a handful of internet-facing servers, but - like a
> > lot of environments - most of the servers live within LAN and
> > never exist outside. Would this be similar with GNUnet? Would
> > there be a different system for managing localised connections
> > and controlling access?
> As I see it, if you wanted to have services available only to a limited
> audience, you'd simply only post the (randomly generated, high-entropy)
> CADET port numbers in a GNS zone where that GNS zone's public key was
> only shared with the limited target audience. That should perfectly
> suffice to hide even the existence of those services from the rest of
> the world. There should be no need for any other kind of isolation /
> access control.
> > ### 8: If I setup my machines to use GNUnet, how can I have
> >        them try and use GNUnet for all traffic, but fall-back
> >        to legacy internet when the service I'm requesting
> >        isn't reachable over GNUnet?
> > 
> > Is this the kind of setup that might be considered "default"?
> For GNS, yes. If you setup the GNS resolver, all GNS-enabled zones would
> be resolved via GNS, and it'll fall back to DNS for the rest.  For most
> other Internet traffic (unless you use GNUnet-PT) deploying GNUnet
> wouldn't do anything in the first place.
> > The documentation described ways of using GNS to access the
> > legacy internet with Virtual Public Networks, and using
> > "Ascension" to convert legacy DNS tables to usable GNS tables.
> > How much of a cross-over is there between legacy internet and
> > GNUnet at the moment?
> You can also use GNUnet for IPv4-IPv6 protocol translation and/or
> tunneling. But GNS/DNS is indeed the main cross-over point today.
> > ### 9: What sorts of applications might I write for GNUnet
> >        considering what systems already exist?
> Whatever you're qualified to do and feel like. It's Free Software ;-).
> > If I want to write an application that uses GNUnet to
> > communicate with other users or access things like software
> > repositories for checking for updates and the like, what would
> > be the approach to this?
> The GNU Guix folks are interested in this, and did a bit of preliminary
> work on this. But to make this really work nicely, we'll have to finish
> the Transport Next Generation (TNG) work, and fix some fundamental
> design issues in file-sharing (for performance).

I'm no longer (that much/at all) involved, but recent developments drifted 
towards IPFS
and IPFS having a good feedback in the guix community, at least those who voiced
their opinion publicly about it.
They seem to maintain a protocol independent approach, but I don't
think this is happening anytime soon.
Code exists, and amz3 worked on an update of it this year (gnunet-guile2),
and I do have a collection of notes with regards to this (guix in particular).
I have since then moved on to form my own thoughts and ideas about distributed 
package management.

Nix is also using IPFS for content distribution btw.
> > Or say I wanted to create a social
> > network, is the idea of GNUnet that everything work on the
> > protocols and systems that are part of GNUnet and really
> > integrate with it as a platform?
> Talk to the SecuShare(.org) folks, they're working on exactly that.
> Albeit a bit idle these days AFAIK as a key organizer went into art.
> > Or might an application use
> > its own protocol instead?
> Usually, applications build on existing layers --- but also add their
> own layers and protocols.
> > Also, with what systems are already
> > part of GNUnet and what logical additional systems I might
> > anticipate in the future, would there be much need to write
> > applications for it at all? The only exceptions being clients
> > to these existing systems?
> As we want to abandon the client-server world, most Internet
> applications will need to be redesigned and rewritten to work in a true
> peer-to-peer fashion.
> > ### 10: Where does my key come from?
> > 
> > Is it my existing GPG key pair that I use for emails? Or are
> > new keys created for every host, ego, and GNS zone?
> GNUnet never touches your GPG key pair (ok, you may yourself put it into
> a CERT record in GNS, but that's about it). GNUnet creates new,
> independent keys for every host and ego/GNS-zone (egos and GNS zones use
> the same keys).
> > ### 11: Last one. What chat rooms and systems can I start
> >         participating in right now?
> > 
> > Are there any? I think it would be amazing to see it working
> > and be talking to people with it and browsing content others
> > have already made? Is there anything doing a similar job of
> > the IRC channel but on GNUnet? If not, are there docs that
> > would allow me to - once I'm more familiar with how it all
> > works - to setup my own "room" that I can invite friends to
> > and chat in?
> The gnunet-nim / secushare folks run something, but I've not had the
> time to use it myself. I expect they'll indoctrinate me during the
> GNUnet Hacker meeting in 2 week ;-).

There have been regular succesful chats been spin up from what
I could observe via psyc (I wasn't involved in the tests).
> > I know that was a lot so I'm very grateful to anyone that took
> > the time to read through all of my rather naive and maybe
> > over-excited questions - and sorry if this isn't the best
> > place to be asking all these questions or if my wall of text
> > isn't really appropriate for this list. Again, from all that
> > I've seen so far, I think this is genuinely incredible and I
> > would really like to be able to contribute to this project in
> > the future.
> Great, you're welcome. And concrete suggestions for improving our
> documentation to make these questions obsolete for the next person would
> be particularly welcome ;-)

I think the questions on their own are already a good starting point.
> Happy hacking!
> Christian

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