P2P Foundation

The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

With optical cables being cut in the Middle East impeding internet traffic in some geographical areas and a recent court action resulting in WikiLeaks being taken off line, it becomes clear that access to the net may not be as assured as we tend to think.

While the basic architecture of the net does protect to some degree against these dangers, I believe we might profit from developing a way to "back up the internet" so that, even if there are major disruptions, we still have a workable means of communication, data storage and exchange of ideas.

My dream is a p2p application that uses some of the free hard disk storage space on our personal computers to redundantly back up the net and allow work to continue more or less seamlessly in the event of a major catastrophe.

Would such a thing be doable? What do you think?

Is anyone already working on this?

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Sepp, I definately agree with you. The Internet should be a decentralized network, but clearly this is not quite the case. There a too few connections between nodes worldwide.

Why should it not be doable? I'm thinking that the current protocol may not be sufficient, because the idea of unique urls as the Internet is designed, maybe should be abandoned, or accompanied with some metadata.

I'm not an expert in networking, but I was thinking about this problem last week as well.

Cheers, Bas
Hi Bas,

I see that there are lots of transatlantic fibres from the graphic you posted. Much less overland - or perhaps the overland connections do not show as much as they weave a finely distributed net.

Now the idea of a backup is not only for the connections but also for the content.

Connections are normally pretty good, but the cable cuts in the Middle East show that this is not to be taken as always assured. If we had some catastrophic occurrence, many of those cables could be disrupted, and as eggy says in his post, there could also be a political decision to cut us off. So on the connection side, probably a combination of cables backed up by satellite or some other long range means of communication, plus mesh networks for strengthening the local connectivity would be desirable.

For the data side, I envision distributed storage of a backup of data that would be immediately accessible in case of an emergency, where even a severely hampered net could still reconstruct much of the data from local copies. Actually the internet should be a bit like a hologram with its information content distributed in a redundant way on our own computers. There is a lot of unutilized disk space in personal computers that could be used for storing at least some of that wealth of information.
I am no techno so this is just a comment.
I too have concerns, however perhaps a bit different.

The cables cut would be like the T lines necessary for "our" internet being destroyed. That is purely a maintenance project, we can not personally replace these lines ourselves. This is a physical problem.

But other dangers exist. With the present self made unitarian executive, the internet could be taken away by policy. The next president will have all the power the present unitarian comrade does. I fear this more than physical sabotages. We must establish our "People Power" of this Nation so the government is subservient to the people.

Of course back up your sites on to your personal computer or get an extra drive for backups.

Another necessary back up would be to keep alternative methods to contact key people, who would store alternate addresses for our groups. In this way we could remain in contact by postal mail, fax, telephone, cell phone, pony express etc. Presently, to find boohoo or makaface (alias) out in the real world would be impossible. Of course this information needs to be confidential, however the owners of a site already have this information, on site. If the owner has this information on their home computer as a back up for instance, (secured) they could conceivably contact everyone by alternative method. If these key people were connected by alternative communication we could restore our "network" even if the net were broken, stolen, or taken from us.

You can trust the government, just ask any Indian. History reveals that many governments over rule of the people. Indeed our US Constitution provides for the people to eliminate the government and make new because this danger was forseen. So please do not except the delusion presented by the powers that be that we are secure. We make our own security, lock our own doors.

So let us begin to network, without the net.

Peace and security
Bruce Eggum
Here's what we have in the wiki on the cloud/grid/virtualization issue:

- http://p2pfoundation.net/Cloud_Computing

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtualization

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_computing

- http://p2pfoundation.net/Grid_Computing

I believe that Gwendal Simon and Sam Rose may have insights on this issue as well. Check also the work of Bill St. Arnaud.

In our technology section, http://p2pfoundation.net/Category:Technology, we have some names of projects:

# For the most fully distributed Peer to Peer Computer Networks at present, please check out Tribler ;Peerple ; Wipeer
# Research into more fully distributed P2P systems for the future: Chord, CX Project, Farsite, Globe Project, Oceanstore, Pastry
# Decentralized P2P software programs are monitored and indexed here

My friend tav (a member on here) has been researching this stuff for quite some time (since 2001 at least).

He's not got very far with respect to implementation, but has done a lot of the necessary thinking and generally keeps up to date with the latest research in the area. I'll prod his to reply here, but have a look around his wiki too, eg. http://wiki.espians.com/plexnet
I checked out tav's espians.

As you say, Josef, there is little progress with respect to implementation. Also, I don't think that the idea of a distributed internet data backup has been touched upon in the ESP material.

Alas, we'll have to start from scratch, it seems.
paul hartzog has a working model for solving this problem, too. We should see if we can engage him in discussion here.

do you have a link where we could see what Paul is proposing?
Hi Sepp,

I'm sure it can be done. I'm sure it will be done. Sooner or later. It's just so obvious and natural to do. FYI, a couple of years ago I wrote up a conceptual protocol that exactly does what you mention: storing redundant copies of every bit of information fully distributed over the net. I called it the Wizard, Rabbit and Treasurer. The Wizard is the illusionist, serving you your information in a smart way so you have the perception that it's always there. Anytime, anywhere, any device. The Rabbit is the one locally serving the Wizard and other, remote, Rabbits. In fact, the Rabbits implement the peer-to-peer infrastructure for volatile data. The Rabbit uses a local Wizard to permanently store data on non-volatile media.

For the protocol proza, please see http://wiki.aardrock.com/Wizard_Rabbit_Treasurer

I also think that Sun's ZFS contains many pearls for implementing what you describe. Simply connect the storage devices through a network rather than through USB, SCSI or IDE. Must fix the timing (latency) issues of course.

Wonder if there are any projects going on in this area.

If the cables were cut or the internet disallowed by a dictator, the information would still be on computers, somewhere. Use snail mail, fax? How could we set up an Assembly of we the people to overcome the problem? Big problem is alternative ways to contact each other. Anonymous names are hard to look up in the phone book.
Great Martien,

I see you have done a lot of work on this. Much more than I ever imagined had been done. Need some time to study.

I hope others go see your Wizard, Rabbit and Treasurer pages, as well as the Armillaria Project.

Thanks so much.
Excellent Martien,
Now I ponder your work a bit. Your post illuminates the issue much.




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