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[liberationtech] [Freedombox-discuss] Tahoe-LAFS is like a Bittorrent with which you can upload as well as download

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn zooko at zooko.com
Thu Jun 7 03:07:52 PDT 2012


Hi FreedomBox Folks:

In my ongoing attempt to explain what Tahoe-LAFS is and how it is not
exactly like a "filesystem", I hit upon this metaphor:

Tahoe-LAFS is an application, like BitTorrent, that you can use to
download files. Unlike BitTorrent, you can also use it to upload
files.

:-)

Here are much more details in the thread where I came up with that:

https://tahoe-lafs.org/pipermail/tahoe-dev/2012-May/007365.html

I can think of two good deployment scenarios for Tahoe-LAFS on FreedomBox:

Deployment scenario 1: Friend-Grid

Me and my friends -- two or ten or twenty of them -- share our hard
drives (e.g. USB attached hard drives dangling from FreedomBoxes).
When you upload with Tahoe-LAFS, the file gets encrypted and then
spread out over multiple of those hard drives. By default the files
are not visible to any of your friends, but you can always share a URL
to a specific file or directory with specific friends, which enables
them to decrypt that file or directory.

This is a well-trodden path. There are always improvements that are
needed, of course, around usability, but this can definitely work.
Lots of people use Tahoe-LAFS like this nowadays.

Deployment scenario 2: Global-Grid

Every FreedomBox comes configured to share some of its hard drive
space (if any) with the Global FreedomBox Tahoe-LAFS Grid.

This is a fun idea, but I'll bet it will tend to result in unreliable
storage. At least until we develop some new features for Tahoe-LAFS
such as Ostrom features ¹ or Accounting ².

Still, it could be fun to try it. FreedomBox could possibly come with
both styles -- some fraction of hard drive space could be allocated
for the experimental global grid, plus a different slice of the hard
drive could be configurable for the use of your specific friends.

Regards,

Zooko

¹ https://tahoe-lafs.org/trac/tahoe-lafs/wiki/Ostrom
² https://tahoe-lafs.org/pipermail/tahoe-dev/2011-October/006706.html

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