GNUnet

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GNUnet is a framework for secure peer-to-peer networking that does not use any centralized or otherwise trusted services. Currently, the service implemented on the framework serves to perform censorship-resistant file-sharing.

See also Wikipedia:GNUnet.

Installation

GNUnet can be installed with the gnunet package. If you also want to use the graphical interface, install gnunet-gtk.

Configuration

Start and possibly enable the gnunet service.

To start the peer immediately in a terminal:

# gnunet-arm -s

See also How to start and stop a GNUnet peer.

Usage

Downloading

To use gnunet-gtk to download a file, just search for the file in the Filesystem tab. When you see the file you want, just download it as you would with any other P2P file-sharing program. Start it with:

# gnunet-fs-gtk

Uploading

Uploading files to the gnunet network is more complicated. GNUnet differentiates between indexing a file and inserting a file. The details can be read at the framework's website. The following steps explain how to share data with the network, and are a shortened form of the instructions found on this page.

The following steps may have to be done manually. A module, called gnunet-fuse, is being developed to make this process easier for a user. However, as of December 2008, there is little documentation for it and it is not even in AUR yet.

To index a file/directory

gnunet-insert [-n] [-k keword1] [-k keyword 2] [-m TYPE:VALUE] filename

It is not required to add keywords, but it is recommended. This is because GNUnet does not allow searching by filename, but by keywords. Libextractor, which is a dependency of gnunet, will extract keywords from the file, but you may wish to enter keywords of your own. The -m option is for meta-data. This is data (about the file) that other users of gnunet will see when your files show up during their searches. For further details, see the gnunet.org online documentation. The -n option is used to insert a file/directory into the gnunet MySQL/sqlite database, instead of just indexing it.

To unindex a file/directory

gnunet-unindex

Suppose you have forgotten which files you indexed, you can look up the pointers in the directory /var/lib/gnunet/data/shared, where GNUNET_HOME=/var/lib/gnunet (set by gnunet-setup -d).

Warning: Do not edit this directory yourself, use gnunet-insert and gnunet-unindex to make changes. This is because gnunet uses a database to store file information, and deleting (or modifying) the contents of the directory will not remove the entries in the gnunet database.

Modifying and removing indexed files

  • When you modify a file, the URI of the file changes. Therefore, GNUnet considers this to be a completely different file. Therefore, make sure that the original file is unindexed (using the gnunet-unindex command), modify the file, and then index the new file to make it accessible through the network.
  • If you want to move/remove a file from your system, then you should unindex it first.