[foaf-dev] Yet another idea on a free social network

Melvin Carvalho melvincarvalho at gmail.com
Thu Jun 10 01:24:42 CEST 2010

2010/4/22 Max <petersonmaxx at googlemail.com>

> alreay given: http://retroshare.sf.net  web of trust messenger
> serverless network

Just installed retroshare,

Very nice UX.  It found my gpg key from gnome keyring, and does some WOT
features + NAT busting

Could be a very nice front end to combine with FOAF+SSL and unify with GPG?

> On Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 3:43 PM, Lucas Stadler <mi.au at papill0n.org> wrote:
> > Firstly, I would like to say hello to all the nice people here
> > as I did not write anything up until now.
> > In consequence I am not sure if a similar or even identical
> > idea has been on the list previously and if there was a
> > discussion about it. If so, please point me somewhere to
> > read it.
> >
> > I only have _some_ experience with programming and software
> > design in particular. But nonetheless, I am quite interested
> > in both of it and additionally, free social networks are something
> > I have been thinking about a lot.
> >
> > My idea is a decentralized, distributed *and* free social network.
> > There are no servers, no central 'places' and nothing that can be
> > controlled by people having nothing to do with it.
> > Basically it is just a collection of XML documents, which are sent
> > around between users. The good thing about it is, that RDF is used
> > to provide metadata about all exchanged data, in particular
> > foaf for identification of users. Another special thing about this
> > is, that one provided public key is used for both user identification
> > and data encryption, but later more on this.
> > As different types of information have several things in common
> > there must be a XML container element to hold both the RDF metadata
> > and (after it) the actual piece of information. I will call this
> > thing - I do not know why - a 'piece'. Any exchanged information
> > except requests encapsulated in those pieces.
> > The second basic 'type' is something like a request. It maintains
> > everything concerned with communication between clients such as
> > connection establishing, pieces exchange and request for
> > particular pieces. Again, this request is simply a XML element
> > containing metadata about the 'subject'. The two obviously required
> > things are the user id (i.e. the public key or the finger print)
> > and the type of request.
> > The last basic data type is also the most important. It contains
> > the definition of the information about a particular persons. I
> > call this an 'identity'. The minimal information that is required
> > to be part of the idea, is a foaf:Person definition with a public
> > key defined in it (WOT - Web of Trust). As I thought that a user
> > should only make availlable what he/she wants, one can also decide
> > to encrypt part of the identity and therefor restrict access to
> > a group. (Again, more on this (the groups) later.)
> > I will sum up what we have onto this point. We have inter-client
> > data exchange, and a type for the actual data. If requested by
> > the user some of the data can be encrypted for a particular person
> > or perhaps even a group of persons. The data can be of any type,
> > including XML based languages such as HTML. However, I recommend
> > to include type of request that explicitely requests the pure text
> > form of the data. Finally we have a user which is identified by
> > just a public key and what he/she wants to publish.
> >
> > The next part is the connection and data storage part. I am not quite
> > sure how to think about this, but I think a lot is to be learned
> > from the p2p projects (BitTorrent, Freenet, ...). I want to mention
> > EOF[1], which is a 'secure, peer-to-peer (p2), decentralised
> > anonymous chat network'. It is rather low-level, but I think that it
> > could serve as one of the protocols that have to be supported by a
> > client. I forgot to mention DHTs (Distributed Hash Tables) in the
> > first place. As far as I know, they could be used to discover other
> > nodes that are online or availlable aswell.
> > The next is the storage of 'common' information. One might also call
> > them 'shared', as they are not owned by a particulary person, but a
> > group of persons. This also some rather complex topic I do not know
> > much about. But I think that there are smart people out there, that
> > could help with that. (The current pre-draft state idea is expected
> > to evolve anyway.)
> > Another thing, is the mirroring of information. I think that it is
> > a good thing to save all the retrieved information locally. This way,
> > information would never get lost if it is interesting to others.
> > Another possibility is to store information (always encrypted) somewhere
> > else e.g. on a trusted persons computer. This provides additional
> > security by not giving sensitive data to unknown parties.
> > I think that data stored on a clients computer can be stored in any
> > way. It just has to be exchanged in a standard (XML and RDF) way.
> > Another recommondation is to encrypt data even on the machine one is
> > working on (with oneselfs public key).
> >
> > As this idea shares several concepts and ideas with other projects,
> > there are similar but somehow insufficient projects:
> >  - any proprietary social network (shoudl be obvious)
> >  - XMPP (central servers, need to be registered on one)
> >  - ...
> > These projects are also a source of inspiration.
> > I have to emphasize that this is more a collection of existing ideas
> > and technologies into one new project rather than a revolutionary
> > new bunch of protocols and languages.
> >
> > Finally just one last list of 'features' and requirements:
> >  - distribution
> >  - multiple clients
> >  - ONE exchange format
> >  - handwritable (as RDF can be expressed with n3)
> >  - any information (XML, others through something like XMPPs Jingle?)
> >  - security (public key encryption (+ connection encryption?))
> >  - privacy (public keys, publish what you want)
> >  - ...
> >
> > After having a short view on the ideas page of daisychain/GnuSocial it
> > seems to me that this idea and your wishes have quite a lot of parts in
> > common.
> >
> > I think thats basically all of it. I posted it as it is an important
> > thing to do things in a group and to get feedback and so on. This is
> > also my excuse for bad style, unclear or not too precise statements.
> > If there are any questions, feedback, suggestions and interest in
> > general, please simple answer to this thread.
> > (Again I want to say that this a prior-to-be-readable conclusion of my
> >  ideas. I post it as I am eager to get some feedback and of course to
> >  soon have a p2p and fun free social network running somewhere out
> >  there :)
> >
> > Thank you for reading (if you got through it...).
> >
> > [1] http://www.nico.schottelius.org/software/ceofhack
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> > http://lists.foaf-project.org/mailman/listinfo/foaf-dev
> >
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