More On Freenet

A few of my ideas around Freenet and how to use it nicely.
First of all, Freenet is really slow. It's always going to be slower than the normal Internet. However, brief experiences with the lastest build would indicate that it's considerably better than the default download. Also, having a decent sized datastore seems to help.

Upgrading the build isn't necessarily obviously documented, but it's really easy. In Windows there's an "update" feature (which I haven't tried). In Linux, there's an script which does it all for you. I don't know if it's obligatory, but I stopped Freenet while doing the update (a habit I've picked up from playing with Apache). I guess you're going to have to restart Freenet when the update is complete anyway. (Incidentally, you can see if an update is available in the Web Interface's "home page").

I've started a permanent, announced node on my home server. It's currently got a 1GB data store, and a smallish amount of my ADSL's bandwidth. So far, it seems to be co-operating nicely with the other things happening on the machine and network. I may expand the data store, since I've got a bit of spare disk space available (the data store isn't even full yet, even though it's been running all weekend, so I'm in no hurry!).

At home, by server is behind a firewall, so I've opened up the FCP port to my home network. That means I can point my PC at the server and use Frost and the like without having to have Freenet running on my PC. Incidentally, some clients refuse to connect to any machine except "localhost" - for these you can use rinetd, which you can run on port 8481 and point it to your actual Freenet machine (rinetd is a port redirector, very easy to compile, configure and use).

For more remote activities, I've set up an SSL virtual web server (with access control), which proxies requests to localhost:8888 (ie. the Freenet web interface). My thinking here is that I can connect remotely via SSL (so maintain privacy between me and my server), my server then connects to Freenet, which does it's thing as if I was on the server itself. I know the Freenet proxy does a bit of caching (and I know the data store is a cache too!), but I've also added Apache caching to the mix. I'm hoping that Apache will serve up some stuff, saving the Freenet proxy the job (my thinking being that Apache can dish out objects faster than Freenet).

I'm not sure if this set up is really all that sensible. I know that an onlooker would be able to see me connect to my secure server, and so would know if/when I was doing something, and they might even be able to infer how much I was downloading, but they shouldn't be able to see what I'm doing. Of course, once the requests are on my home server, then they're anonymised by Freenet, so safe from there on. I guess all said and done, I'm probably at about my most controversial on the public Internet anyway, so my Freenet activities are really not much for Big Brother to worry about.

Submitted by coofercat on Mon, 2003-11-03 01:02