- We are creating an anonymizing storage network – a network that resembles the World Wide Web, but is capable of allowing people to publish and retrieve information without fear of censorship or surveillance.
Please take the time to read the excerpt below from the Council of Europe’s recently declassified (in a democracy?) Convention on Cybercrime – which stands a good chance of being adopted worldwide.
We are developing this software for two main reasons:
We believe your right to privacy and free speech is inalienable – that is – you were born with it, and no government (or unaccountable and secretive international organization for that matter) has the right to take it away.
We believe that intellectual property law is being seriously abused by industrial interests and corrupt governments, to the detriment of all humanity.
- What does it do?
To use Grapevine, a user installs the Grapevine software, making them part of a global data storage network. The goals are:
You can publish anything for free (no matter how popular it gets).
You can publish anonymously.
You can surf anonymously.
It is difficult for any authority to censor the network.
It is difficult for any authority to shut the network down.
Files are retrieved reliably.
A balance is struck between anonymity and efficiency.
The network can scale to any size.
Hasn’t this been done?
Not really. This is a new technology. The idea has been around for about five years, but it has never been successfully executed. (Or, at least it has never been executed to our satisfaction.) This project brings a new approach, though it borrows from other attempts.
Is it the way of the future?
I’m glad you asked me that! The Web is based upon the “client-server” architecture, which has problems with scalability and robustness. The Grapevine is an inherently more efficient and reliable way to distribute information than the World Wide Web. Technology of this type will be the foundation for the Internet of the future.
And, we intend to be the leaders. We want to keep the control of this technology (and therefore the Internet itself) out of the hands of self-interested corporations.
What is the project status?
We have made our first software release, which provides us with a development platform.
Grapevine is a file storage network. How does this differ from file-sharing networks?
With a file-sharing network (such as the old Napster and Gnutella ), you store the file. The purpose of the network is to make this fact known to others. With The Grapevine, however, the nodes comprising the network collaborate to actually store the file. So, if you publish something then disconnect, the file stays published.
What other projects are related?
The Free Network Project has very similar goals, but our approach is different.
OceanStore is intended to be an efficient global data store.
The Free Haven Project is intended to achieve strong anonymous/secure publishing, but with less emphasis on efficiency.
What sort of user interface will it have?
It will have an HTTP interface so it looks like the web. You will be able to upload files using FTP, and probably a ‘share a directory’ method of publishing.
What will be the licence terms?
The GNU Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL)
Where is the technical detail?
Browse this website first, and when you’re ready, the detailed technical explanation is in grapevine.pdf (360K – 45 pages). This document is not completed yet.
What does “The Grapevine” mean?
If your first language is not English, you may not know that “I heard it through the grapevine” is an expression meaning “my friends told me”. The grapevine is your gossip network. There’s a song famously recorded by Marvin Gaye of this name. (It was written by … Barrett Strong & Norman Whitfield. Here is a picture of Barrett Strong.)
I want to help out! I have questions! What do I do?