Freenet 1406 is out.

Freenet has always been interesting to me. A distributed filesystem on the internet. Top notch encryption. Strong anonymity.

While Freenet 7.5 has been out for a while, today’s build 1406 is notable for one major reason. It is the first release by someone other than Toad (at least from recollection). While this typically wouldn’t be considered a major change for any other OSS project, it likely indicates that the speed at which Freenet plugins and supporting applications will increase. Some of the changes in 1406 appear to be directly related to facilitating plugins.

For those of you that have never heard of Freenet, it’s a distributed, encrypted, resilient, and anonymous filesystem that is able to serve as an opennet (everyone can connect) or a darknet (only connect to trusted nodes). The network supports plugins which facilitate chat clients, web sites, message boards, and insertion/retrieval of binary files.

The Good:
*Anonymous (nobody can tell that you’re running Freenet)
*Encrypted (nobody can tell what you’re sending/receiving on Freenet, even if they access your HDD)
*Open source.
*Relatively hard to attack (statistical attacks exist).

The Bad:
*It’s slow. I typically see 1mbit with 3mbit peaks.
*It’s slow. High latency when you click a link, in excess of 10 seconds.
*It’s completely uncensored. While this also fits into the “Good” category, it’s inevitable that you will eventually be directed to a flog, post, or Freesite that you wish you had not happened upon. It is also troubling to some to know that parts of the objectionable content may reside, in encrypted form, in your nodes datastore regardless of whether or not you have browsed to the objectionable content.
*It is difficult to set up a number of the add-on applications (Frost, for example, requires the Oracle JRE, which is no longer a single-click installation in most linux distributions)

I’m honestly looking forward to seeing where Freenet goes in the next few years.

I would be interested in hearing the counterpoints and opinions of other forum members.