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posted by cmn32480 on Sunday July 05 2015, @08:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the i-wonder-if-they-run-rehash dept.

Stumbled upon this (disclaimer, I'm not affiliated and don't hold any special interest):

Aether is an app you install to your computer to connect to Aether network. This network is made of different boards (forums) where people post and discuss things. On the surface, it's fairly similar to Slashdot, Metafilter, Reddit, or any other community site on the Internet.

The different thing about Aether is that it doesn't have a server somewhere. The only thing the app does is that it finds and connects to other people using Aether. In other words, it's a distributed, peer-to-peer network.

This makes it impossible to censor, and renders its users anonymous. It's useful for people concerned about privacy, or pretty much anyone who doesn't want to be watched and catalogued for every word they write on the Internet (so, pretty much everybody).

It's also temporary. Whatever you post disappears after six months. It's designed to be an ephemeral space, and it's focused on now, rather than the past. Other people can still keep copies of what you wrote, but it won't last forever in the network itself. They also won't know who you are.

Community moderated, distributed and anonymous. Almost to good to be true, but... how do you know it is actually _gewg that's posting?


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by stormwyrm on Sunday July 05 2015, @11:33PM

    by stormwyrm (717) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 05 2015, @11:33PM (#205406) Journal

    A billion users posting a message a day? I don't believe that there has never existed any online forum that is so large and so active. And even if you had a billion users, chances are that less than 1% of those will be so active as to post even one message a day. While I do read SN every day, I probably post closer to once every three or four days.

    So just now a thought just occurred to me: in what way is Aether better than and different from Usenet? From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: "One notable difference between a BBS or web forum and Usenet is the absence of a central server and dedicated administrator. Usenet is distributed among a large, constantly changing conglomeration of servers that store and forward messages to one another in so-called news feeds. Individual users may read messages from and post messages to a local server operated by a commercial usenet provider, their Internet service provider, university, employer, or their own server."

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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday July 06 2015, @12:19PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 06 2015, @12:19PM (#205585)

    in what way is Aether better than and different from

    Or fidonet or frost on freenet or zillions of similar ideas over the decades...

    This helps with estimates. My guess is it'll be less popular that fidonet was at its highest peak, yet lower barrier to entry than frost on freenet, so hundreds of thousands of active users is realistic. Then the math is less than a million posts a day, less than a thousand days a year, and a K per post would seem to imply less than a terabyte per year.

    Of course looking at or reading a post from a year ago seems unlikely-ish unless a really unusual user culture develops, so you really only need a couple gigs to hold a couple days. In a very usenet-ish manner you can set your expire to match your disk space, more or less.

    Also if its anything like usenet, people only literate in Chinese will have very little conversation with people only literate in English, so some sharding strategy based on language would help traffic and storage quite a bit.

    I haven't bothered digging into the dead github to see how it works, but its possible the network design will melt down before storage issues crop up, anyway. Hope they aren't doing something dumb like a mesh, or something that somehow scales O(x**4) or O(something ** x)

  • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday July 06 2015, @01:40PM

    by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Monday July 06 2015, @01:40PM (#205617) Homepage Journal

    USENET isn't completely decentralized. The technical term for it is store-and-forward. News has to be stored on a central server, and then fed to other servers, it's not like P2P where shit goes from user to user directly. If you want a local USENET feed, you need to either suck it down from an upstream server, or get a peering agreement from another. The best way to think of it is as a massive mirroring system.

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    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 06 2015, @03:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 06 2015, @03:01PM (#205649)

      What is the difference between a locally installed server that can peer with other servers (including other locally installed servers), and a locally installed client that does the same? Apart from the word used to describe it, I'd say nothing.