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Alex Schroeder 🐝 @kensanata

«In 1993, John Gilmore famously said that "The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." That was technically true when he said it but only because the routing structure of the Internet was so distributed. As centralization increases, the Internet loses that robustness, and censorship by governments and companies becomes easier.»

@kensanata And it's never been the Internet as infrastructure that did that; it's always been somewhat fragile and far too beholden to the US government. It just happened that the US government of the time saw itself as the protectors of freedom against "evil" foreign regimes. Now it's just another censor, just acting on behalf of different stakeholders.

@kensanata I'm unable to see a reference to Gilmore these days without noting that last year he put someone up to sexually harass and assault Isis Lovecruft in retaliation for speaking out against his buddy Jake Applebaum.

@KevinCarson1 I had heard of Applebaum but not about Gilmore. A little duckducking led me to this Twitter thread: Ouch! (Indirectly about Gilmore.)

@kensanata which is why we need to build p2p, trustless, zero knowledge infrastructure on top of the Internet.

@profoundlynerdy Maybe. I’m also not opposed to smaller networks of people who trust each other – communities. We have thousands of years of experience in how to build those communities. It’s mostly the centralisation that I bemoan.

@kensanata Fair enough. If you want small communities then Mastodon and Diaspora are probably perfect fits.

@profoundlynerdy I guess I fear that a «p2p, trustless, zero knowledge infrastructure» is going to be a dark and lonely place. Perhaps that’s because things are in their infancy. If getting connected with all these services is as easy as buying a phone one day, then perhaps it won’t make a difference.

@kensanata I'm with you. Security is hard. Security that works transparently or intuitively that also protects the [quite possibly stupid] user from himself is *much* harder.

I do think it will get easier over time as various technologies mature. I also think it will take a series of "killer apps" that just happen to run over anonymity networks or the like.

> only because the routing structure of the Internet
At that time, the Internet was Usenet, a multicast system with distributed routing mechanism builtin. Now it's the World Wide Web, a unicast system with no distribution, not even Mastodon. It's the time for a distributed infrastructure to take control the Internet again.

@niconiconi @kensanata I’m going to say it.

No, I won’t. I won’t say.

Oh, alright...

What we need is... blockchain!

(Ducks from flying objects.)

@niconiconi @kensanata Your lil anime girl looks very happy to hear this.

The Ethereum debacle a while back taught me what I needed to know about the “blockchain revolution”... poor EOS. I’ll stick with Linux.

@Shufei @niconiconi you definitely need to duck! 😂
But regarding resilience of the network: I really like the Cold War idea of the Internet. It can take blows. You connect to friendly nodes you trust. You disconnect misbehaving nodes. Nodes are small and postmasters are real people that help run the system.

@kensanata @niconiconi It’s still the only foundation level model which makes sense. And yet, vetting that web of trust is one of the key weaknesses which needs a real fresh look.

And soon. It looks like we may need a Fidonet reboot just to do anything we used to outside the corporate state panopticon.

@Shufei @kensanata

> Fidonet reboot
many people want to literally revive the old protocols and networks beyond retrocomputing purpose, e.g Gopher, NNTP, but none of them supports things like global hash identifier, public key cryptography, onion routing, P2P/Mesh net, <joke>blockchain</joke> or any modern inventions at the protocol layer.

IMHO, old protocols are dead, and we should leave it alone, what should be revived is __the philosophy__ of the old protocols, in our new systems.

@niconiconi @kensanata That was my intimation, natch.

But don’t dare knock Gopher! Gopher is the future, I just know it! (Gopher is love.) I’m going to come out with an IPO for a gopher and FTP over IPX network. Then Google shall fall and you’ll be sorry! 👸🏽

@niconiconi @Shufei Actually gopher over Tor works, @tomasino does it; and gopher over TLS also works, I do it; but yeah, other things don’t work like that. And securing emails is super cumbersome and people rarely do it. And I don’t even know about people trying to revive nntp. I agree about the philosophy of the old Internet.

@kensanata @niconiconi @Shufei gopher is compatible with mesh networks as well. What gopher does not have on it's own is smart support for secure two way data transfer. I think that's okay. That's not what it's for.

Moreover, I think dusting off old protocols and composing them with newer tech is a brilliant way to move forward. The old stuff is simple and easy grok. Layer on well tested systems like Tor and you get something pretty fantastic.

@tomasino @kensanata @niconiconi Is there a name for this sort of effect, when old tech becomes revitalized or at least fertilizes inspiration in a new context?

I’ve noticed it in ham radio, where the preservation of retro tech is often reputed as overly stodgy, yet allows for a lot of weird cross fertilization into novel ideas when people play with in new ways.

@Shufei @kensanata @niconiconi Hrm, something like upcycleing maybe? I wouldn't mind having a term for it if you find one. That would be convenient.

@tomasino @kensanata @niconiconi How about “retromixing” or “retrocycling”? Hmm...

@Shufei @kensanata @niconiconi retrocycling makes me think about penny-farthing races, and that's great

@tomasino @kensanata @niconiconi @Shufei a gopher mastodon gateway would be great or even twtxt but it doesn't get this much traffic :(

@m3tti @kensanata @niconiconi @Shufei I used to have a twtxt thing on my gopher hole, and there is a gateway to it around, but like you mentioned there isn't much content. It got confusing as to what went there vs mastodon or my phlog, so I got rid of it.

@m3tti @kensanata @niconiconi @Shufei Someone on here has a working gopher/mastodon bridge working too. I forget which one of my #gopher folks it was, though. You listening?

@saper @Shufei @niconiconi @kensanata @m3tti No, though there is great integration there too. Someone around here wrote a direct bridge so (s)he could browse her timelines and post through their gopher hole directly.

@ckeen Now I want to know how posting works!

@kensanata idk whether it supports posting, I still don't have an account on a pleroma instance. @lain ?

@tomasino I think @crc had a gopher read-only UI for Mastodon?

@tomasino @crc gopher://

@tomasino @kensanata This one is (currently) in Python, though l have an unreleased front end in Forth.

@kensanata @tomasino it allows both reading and posting. I'm planning a bunch of improvements, but all of my projects are on hold until my carpal tunnel issues improve.

@crc @kensanata I hope you get some relief soon. Dvorak + contact juggling helped me a lot

@tomasino @kensanata I'm 100% dvorak now. This, a switch back to more ergo split keyboards (Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic) and use of various braces throughout the day are helping. I'll look into contact juggling.

I think a big issue is that I'm spending 10+ hours a day on the computer at work. If I do projects or stuff for the side business, that goes up to 18-20. I'm hoping an upcoming break of 9 days at the start of July will help a lot.

@kensanata @Shufei @tomasino

> Actually gopher over Tor works, @tomasino does it; and gopher over TLS also works, I do it

I already expected this perspective, so in the original post I mentioned "protocol layer" to nullify it...

You are just replacing the transport layer. Yes it's a neat hack, and a good way to retrofit protocols on the modern Internet.

But does not really incorporate any new inventions to the protocols. If this protocol is going to be the next BBS, it is not enough IMHO.

@Shufei I’m sure there are some people who still keep it running, haha. I think one of the drawbacks was it’s hierarchical tree structure. There was no routing around damage, I think. But back then when I was active in the BBS world, I hardly understood Fidonet so who knows.

@kensanata Ok, interesting, that is news to me. So maybe it’s a poor metaphor. I recall that they did a similar bandwidth / uptime tiering as Tor, but not anything about rigid hierarchy.

I looked into Fidonet in depth relatively late. It was already on the out, and I was sorry for that. Store and forward asynchronous nodes have real practical DIY appeal, and not to mention network robustness, which is why they are still a thing with hams.

@kensanata Ok. What do you make of #APRS as a model for possible multicasting networks in an insecure or besieged DIY internet future? That is, a layer for formally routed, acked info backbone, and then an adhoc layer for mobile or other intermittent nodes to toss data to whoever in the network picks it up? How would trust work in that? (APRS keys are ridiculously insecure fig leafs.)

@Shufei I think this aprs stuff is way over my head. 😄

@kensanata Somehow I doubt it! But I probably expositted my question poorly.