P2P? Why and how.

LIT Life is Tetris Public Seen by 87

A recent proposal over P2P adoption instead of hosted services triggered a need to flesh the motivations for it. That proposal summarized it thus:

P2P protocols give user more anonymity, freedom & control over their data than any existing alternatives.

Our Requirements:

  • Cross Platform (mobile & desktop)

  • Group chat

  • file sharing

  • Voice / video calls


Life is Tetris Sun 1 May 2022 8:02AM

Why P2P?

Anonymity: makes sense for commerce, not for community.

Freedom: what kind of freedom? You are limited by what kind of traffic your Internet provider allows.

Control over data: granted, this is highly relevant in the age of data silos and identity silos. But P2P doesn't address that.


Life is Tetris Sun 1 May 2022 8:09AM

How to P2P?

Assuming even a little of the impact of P2P is worth the effort, how does it work in practice for various applications?

Group chat: with no server, who keeps history? Probably all clients, which means Matrix-Synapse level of resource usage on all clients

File sharing: solved by bittorrent, so sharing bittorrent links on chat should suffice

Voice/video chat: this would blow up the network traffic the same way it does for chat, except it is unsustainable for a/v - it is the reason Jitsi has jitsi-video-bridge.


Life is Tetris Sun 1 May 2022 9:20AM

What does P2P imply?

Calling devices peers may be an echo of an original motivation behind the Internet, but current applications with default persistent histories imply a pretty beefy "peer" and lots of duplication and energy overuse. Additionally, "peer" conflates network logistics and identity.

Do all of data control, network anonymity and identity need to be clubbed together at all?


Life is Tetris Sun 1 May 2022 11:11AM

What to P2P?

Only comms and files? OK with servers for codema, wiki, etc.? OK with member codema content not being available client-side?


Life is Tetris Mon 2 May 2022 7:19PM

Also need to worry about sustainability. P2P networks seem to need DHTs for routing, and the adequacy of those might need a hi-tech discussion - might also explain why some P2P solutions seem to go further and use blockchains.

Case in point, re: Jami, from the libreserver a.k.a freedombone dev.

> ...

> Support for Jami has been deprecated. This is because it's usernames require the use of Etherium. When Etherium no longer uses proof-of-work then this change could be reversed, but until that time I don't consider it to be a good idea to promote systems which deliberately waste electricity.

> ...


Karthik Fri 6 May 2022 9:43AM

@Life is Tetris valid points, I have explored existing p2p protocols, I am not satisfied so far. I am optimistic about the future.


Life is Tetris Sun 8 May 2022 6:12PM

GNUnet? P2P infrastructure libraries first, then all network applications on top of it.


Karthik Tue 10 May 2022 11:59AM any idea on pre-built binaries?


Akshay Sat 7 May 2022 5:10AM

I have long believed that p2p becomes trivial when we all switch to IPv6.


Karthik Sat 7 May 2022 5:40AM

curious about this, can you elaborate? I got to know that airtel broadband does not give true IPv6 address, It;s NATed :(

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