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Dataforge UUCP (dataforge.tk)
172 points by stargrave 60 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 36 comments

Hello! I'm Wes (aka; praetor), the founder of the UUCP project ! I'm humbled my project reached the front page of HN and has generated some interest.

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 uucp@lists.tildeverse.org

See ya on the network! :D

I have posted link on HN to Dataforge UUCP because I have been interested in store-and-forward networks for a long years. All my email passing between notebook and my email servers used UUCP-over-SSH for years. But soon I create NNCP (http://www.nncpgo.org/) project and totally moved all my email/files store-and-forward networks to it. Possibly it could be interested to you.

To me, merely encrypting the transport layer via SSH is far from secure, especially when the network is used by "hackers" and "freedom fighters". Today, if a network wants to be immune from tracking by design, it should officially support to be accessed from anonymous networks. The UUCP protocol is perfect for relatively high-latency, low-bandwidth anonymous network, like Tor or i2p (Particularly, i2p by itself is a great project, the only issue is the latency of the network is too high for HTTP), it would be great if some Tier 1 hosts can be accessed from Tor/i2p via a raw TCP socket (without SSH, since it's unnecessary and increases overhead in these networks). Illegal content and spam can be a problem, only peering to reputation hosts can solve the problem at large.

Nothing says we can't run some nodes via i2p or Tor, and I suspect eventually someone will do it, which I like. I'd like to this to be a place where people with internet censorship can get the world out when Twitter fails. Hence the freedom fighter. We don't impose a transport. SSH is just a good trade off for easy and secure. The ol' UUCP books have to be dusted, so I want to keep the entry reasonably low. Once people are familiar (or re-familiar) with UUCP and feel confident enough to make contributions, I think we'll see this very thing. Like I said, it's ripe for tinkering.

Tor should be the only way to link nodes. The only reason for anyone to use batched mail and news in 2019 would be for the security - which means tor.

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??)

I geuss tilde servers means tilde.club style? 'nixes and tilde servers' was a bit opaque to me.

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.

If you have a dedicated host and reliable internet, you can be a Tier 1. We have a guy who is going to be hosting one at his house, and soon as I get some parts for an SGI Challenge server I have, dataforge's uucp server will be hosted here too. So feel free to join us in IRC!

Is there an issue with that IRC server? I can't connect to it for it me reason. Just times out.

LOL kids these days. I remember when we first got Internet access and didn't have to batch up a UUCP download late at night any more, what a great convenience! Also things like URLs are remarkably useful; finding a file via UUCP was quite a hassle. I mean as an art project goes, sure, why not? But it's hard to imagine UUCP offers any practical advantages unless you literally don't have an always-on Internet connection.

For more nostalgia, enjoy the UUCP maps: http://olduse.net/blog/current_usenet_map/

This is the way I felt too. I used to do lots of UUCP back in the late 80s, but that fell away as soon as I got "real IP" SLIP dialup.

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 South Africa where I grew up, we had the entire country's internet hanging off a single dialup UUCP gateway at Rhodes University in Grahamstown from 1988 until 1991.

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.

> [ZA] 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):

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFv-9iPwwLE

The first place I worked at out of college was on the cutting edge of technology when everyone, from the president to the janitor, got an email address. The 1200b UUCP connection for a staff of 30 sometimes caused some bottlenecks. I remember getting grief from the boss when whomever he was talking to on the phone wasn't getting his emails. Turns out the receptionist was receiving a 1MB (!) attachment at the same time

Cat pictures?

UUCP is one of those good things that many early ISP providers overlooked, You had companies with an e-mail server that would dial up to the internet to send and receive e-mail and would get a dynamic IP address. This would be no problem for UUCP, but since many newcomers to the internet didn't know it they would use some clunky dynamic DNS system instead. Also if the connection dropped there was no 'resume' feature if this happened during the sending or receiving of a large e-mail, so it would have to start sending or receiving that e-mail all over again.

I suspect this is #1 on HN because we are all very interested in ideas that enable decentralized publishing. The trouble with uucp is that it wont take long for a tier 1 node to disconnect a leaf for being the wrong kind of freedom fighter.

Interesting. I had no idea someone had layered SSH and certificate auth on top of UUCP.

Used UUCP a lot back in the day to push software updates out to customer machines over dial up.

Same here - I'd send compiled binaries out overnight via uucp over a WorldBlazer modem; for the non-x86 based systems I'd send out vi changes scripts via cu and apply the changes to the remote copy of the source code before compiling it.

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).

I'd love to read more about these stories. Do you blog?

I should, but no. It was a company that sold software to hospitals that would integrate software/servers from different departments via a protocol called HL7. Hospitals were not generally on the internet in the early 90's. So, we would do a week on site installing an AIX box and the software, do a few integrations, etc. Before we left, we'd install a 56k modem.

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.

Same here UUCP setup to trigger syncing of nightly billing runs on SCO(!) Unixware servers.

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.

Seems interesting, but unfortunately the leaf guide is empty.


Hey, I'm one of the Tier 1 nodes for the Dataforge UUCP project. It's currently a work-in-progress as the Tier 1 guide was only just recently completed. If you are interested in joining as a lead node, you can get help setting it up in #uucp on the tilde.chat network.

I remember uucpssh.org[1] which I had bookmarked for a while but didn't get around to setting up before it closed down. Now it resolves to a spam website. Sad!

[1] http://www.linuxfocus.org/English/March2004/article330.shtml

Interesting. I used to have a UUCP email and news feed back in the 90's, for the BBS I ran in high school.

I ran AmigaUUCP way back when. I feel tempted to set up UUCP again…

Somewhat in a similar vein (in that it provides an NNTP interface and provides for decentralized distribution of newsgroups/mailing lists) is public-inbox [0] which is used by kernel.org for mirroring LKML; it's quite straightforward to get running and has a great technical foundation on git.

[0] https://public-inbox.org

I used to run a leaf node in Hawaii with an AT&T 3B1 using its internal 1200 baud modem. My upstream was Pegasus Information Systems, run by by a guy named Richard Foulk.

What are "tilde networks"?

Tilde.club explains at http://tilde.club/~faq/.

Also worth checking the Dataforge UUCP site list.


These specific tilde servers are summarized by https://tildeverse.org as well

some examples of this in use would be good, the documentation looks a bit sparse.

I can haz UUCP+Briar using (in order of preference) GNUnet/i2p/Tor as the underlay with full end to end PGP encryption, Web & Chain of trust & custody attestation, via fully bootstrappable & replicable builds?


Meh. Guess it'll take another 7 years until crypto & libre take off.

This. You are downvoted but your technical critique is spot on.

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.

Thanks. I suspect the downvotes come about due to the rather tongue-in-cheek way I started my comment with, albeit I wanna avoid speculating about reasoning behind downvotes.

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.

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