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Subject: Re: [Tech] Freenet on routers
Date: Friday 04 Sep 2009
To: Matthew Toseland <t...@amphibian.dyndns.org>

Hello Matthew,

over the last year, I ran freenet on a simple self-made IP-cop based
firewall with an Alix board (http://www.alix-board.de is the german
distributor). It cost only around 100euro, I added a 8GB flash card
and chose the board with 256 MB RAM. It´s based on AMD geode.

This article (language is in german) describes setting it up, and also
contains some images of the board and the ipcop UI:


The nice thing was that I still have all the IPcop firewall
functionality, but with freenet on top. ip-cop has a nice frontend
and allows you to do all kinds of things.

I think running on routers is a great chance for freenet. my alix box
is up 24/7. I do not know what the performance of inserts is, as I only
requested some data from time to time.

I adapted the setting in the config files in a way so that could use
my windows box from within the firewalled net to connect to freenet
on the router.
If I downloaded files, I connected via winSCP to the alix box and
copied them.

There are pre-built ip-cop flash images for the alix boards, and it
worked quite well.

IPcop is -as far as I know- based on linux from scratch; I just
added the java runtime vm and patched the script so I could run
it as root, to simplify things.

I asked myself if we couldn´t set up some "freenet box", a
pre-configured router, and what the *lowest* price would be for a
reasonable configuration. The alix box is around 100€ plus CF card
plus power supply, so maybe people could "sponsor" a freenet router
for around 120 EUR.

And somebody could sell it as something which gives a real add-on
benefit, which is the nice and relatively user friendly and well
documented IPcop firewall.

It should be easy to set-up, so maybe somebody who is a journalist can
plug it in and get it up and running, say, within a day. It should
work transparently as a firewall router and simply reserve some
bandwidth for freenet.

maybewe could put the "downloads" directory into a crypto container,
which sits on a USB stick. so downloaded files on the one hand, remain
encrypted, if the stick is removed, but on the other hand, can be
simply be accessed by sticking it back to the user´s PC and mounting
the container. So maybe something like a truecrypt container might be
easy to manage. When the freenet box is seized it should offer the
required protection.

besides that, the config files or part of them might also be placed on
the USB stick. using ssh/ scp might be too complex for people like
journalists, who manage to do basic windows administration tasks, but
do not know anything about unix shells.

so switching on your freenet box simply should require putting in a
USB stick, which was prepared before, and which tells freenet from
where it should allow FCP access from the internal net, how much
bandwith to dedicate to freenet, and so on. all other tasks could be
managed from within the internal net via the FCP client.

Maybe, this would allow a uniform and single CF image with no
user-specific config data on it.

I strongly believe that giving freenet a piece of hardware helps to
promote it, especially in our 24/7 scenario.

> Some discussion on #freenet about freenet on routers. This would
> solve the 24x7 problem (people tend to turn their PCs off!).

> Right now Freenet can run in 80MB if you limit it to 10 peers and
> don't use the client layer. But really with a big store and bloom
> filter sharing and a load of downloads you (will) need something
> approaching 512MB. So current routers won't cut it. Reprogrammed
> consoles and PVRs might be an option. The PS3 would be enough prior
> to bloom filter sharing (256MB, tons of processing power), but it is
> way too power hungry for 24x7. The wii doesn't have enough memory at
> 64MB. Ideally a future router with support for storage and more
> memory. Router makers are unlikely to bundle filesharing, but they
> could provide a package format and let users do one-click installs;
> it is unlikely anyone would be able to clobber them legally for making a 
> generic platform!

> Specs would need to be in the range of:
> - A storage port. IMHO this is likely in the medium term as
> routers, home servers and possibly PVRs converge. It could be used
> for transparent proxy for a start, and media storage, both obvious
> out-of-the-box applications, but with third party apps it really becomes 
> interesting.
> - At least 512MB of RAM. This is probably a cost issue at the moment but not 
> for much longer.
> - A reasonable CPU, say 700MHz.
> - The ability to install third party apps, ideally out of the box.
> Cracks and flashes are okay, but for wide adoption you need
> something *easy*, where they can just click install, first on the
> stuff on the official app list, and then on stuff they've googled.

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