Yes. I do apologize for the documentation being sparse. I'm developing the Tier 1 provisioning scripts, and documenting at the same time. Plus, unfortunately, I have a full-time life. But once I finish the Tier 1 stuff, I can delegate duties out to those with an interest :D
Yup. It's all run via SSH. The preferred server is Taylor UUCP, which is super flexible. I've sent an e-mail to the developer, Ian Taylor, to hopefully revive that project and breath some life into UUCP. It's a fantastically resilient protocol and will run over damned near anything. We've even had some talk of running UUCP over ham radio links!!!
All the Tier 1 hosts are mesh interconnected, so even if one goes down, it doesn't take huge swathes of the network with it. With how the Internet is shaping up to be, if Google goes down, it's taking a huge piece of the network with it. This is really intended to reawaken the DIY ethos the Internet was founded on. Mostly public nixes and tilde servers, but anyone with some dedication can be a Tier 1. We've kinda democratized it that way.
And no, you don't have to be the "right kind of freedom fighter". The Tier 1 operators have a gentleman's agreement to let anything pass through their node to the broader network unless it's something like CP or flagrantly against the law (or spam)
It's an exciting project! It really is a network for the modern nerd, and is ripe for all sorts of projects!
Please join us on IRC @ irc.tilde.chat or subscribe to the project mailing list at firstname.lastname@example.org
See ya on the network! :D
There is no reason to use SSH, as it expose the IP address of the participants.
Setting up UUCP for mail and news on localhost is not so easy anyway (meaning you must setup an MTA +NNTP daemon unless you do old school QWK), so you might as well ask the person to spend 5 minute to configure an onion address.
Like the previous author, I also strongly suggest you change the design to make it a cool and useful project instead of just a nostalgia fueled hobby (SGI servers??)
But I may show up on IRC because I'm the reason perl5's network transparent method call model Object::Remote sends 'Ssyshere' when it finishes bootstrapping.
For more nostalgia, enjoy the UUCP maps: http://olduse.net/blog/current_usenet_map/
I did use UUCP a few years ago over some HF radios. It still has some uses, but the usability of it is horrid.
In 91 they replaced the dialup UUCP link with a 9600kbps leased line. Only universities had access. We got our first commercial ISP in 1993.
Interesting 'doc' from the Internet Society on the effort from a few years ago on Internet exchange points (IXPs):
Used UUCP a lot back in the day to push software updates out to customer machines over dial up.
Sometimes I had to uuencode the x86 binaries and send them via cu when uucp wouldn't work (chat scripts were often tricky to get right).
UUCP was handy because you could push files and run remote commands on a batch schedule without a lot of scripting. We did have some clients that had more complicated setups where we would have to resort to SLIP (serial line IP) and more traditional scripts/rsh/etc. All terribly insecure, with plain text passwords in files...or worse, ".rhosts" files.
All the code was written as a combination of Microfocus COBOL and hairy shell-scripts. I recall we had a lot of random SSH-tunnels being held open via keep-alive-pings, and SLIP was definitely something I had to use.
Meh. Guess it'll take another 7 years until crypto & libre take off.
Throw in Monero to pay for services and you've got a great technological stack possible right now, while something like that at the time of the cryptonomicon was just a dream.
It could be a cool project if it took advantages of all the pieces of technology we now have that they didn't have back then - PGP was a late addition, replicable builds not a concern, tor and cryptocurrencies yet to be invented.
Speaking of Monero & paying for services:
GNUnet has the GNU Taler project. While not applicable to the same use cases to which Monero applies, it fits into a related niche very much in need of filling.