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Similar impressions here. Freenet was an impressive vehicle for exploring some very important topics and ideas. Unfortunately, besides the problems you mention, the community around it was ... unpleasant. On a good day they could seem a bit overzealous. On a bad day they were downright crazy, and they were always hostile to any advice or criticism from others even in their own field. For example, Freenet isn't a permanent data store. It's more like a cache; if something isn't requested long enough it just ages out. That's actually fine considering the goals of the system, but any time anyone mentioned it Ian and others would go a bit ballistic. Not sad that Freenet and its promoters have faded into obscurity.



> That's actually fine considering the goals of the system, but any time anyone mentioned it Ian and others would go a bit ballistic.

The system did not and could not store information permanently, if it did it would fill up, which is a non-starter when it depends on people volunteering their hard disk space.

I don't know about going ballistic, but since this issue is addressed directly in their papers (section 3.4 of the linked paper) I can see us getting irritated by people re-asking questions that have already been answered.


I would think you should have long ago learned the lesson that if you don't have a FAQ page somewhere with huge titles and colorful answers, people will never read a paper.

Hell, most people don't read FAQs either.


Despite the fact that it was mentioned in the paper, developers continued to deny that it was a serious problem or claim that it had been solved since. Periodic re-insertion and date-based redirects were both touted as answers.

As for "can't" that's not accurate. You can certainly prevent old data from being pushed out, by returning an error on insertion of new data if there's no free space. That's how many other storage systems (e.g. every filesystem ever) work. While it's true that you can't fully protect against a reduction of capacity when nodes go offline, that's a very different issue. Freenet being cache-like rather than storage-like was a decision of convenience, not a technical necessity.


Filesystems don't rely on space voluntarily donated by others, and that's the critical difference here.

Freenet is designed for sharing information, not archiving it. You can't have both.


Other systems have also relied on space voluntarily donated by others, and still made the choice to behave as storage systems instead of messaging systems with some history. Or caches that just happen to turn over slowly because the system's too slow and unusable to create cache pressure. If Freenet ever had really taken off, you would have had to deal with these issues. Sharing information doesn't work when the information falls out before the recipient can get it.


In future we'll use <blink> tags ;)


"it’s like a cache" is what we’ve been saying as the default description for years. When did you last interact with the freenet community?


> When did you last interact with the freenet community?

When it was still relevant, i.e. a long time ago.


then you missed quite many changes




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