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FreenetProject.org: The Free Network Project - Vapourware?

Dec 31, 2000, 22:01 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Clarke)

"I have noticed that increasingly in the press Freenet is being criticized for not being as easy to install and use as systems like Napster and Gnutella. While this is somewhat understandable given the normal length of time between hearing about an Open Source project and having something easy to use, Freenet is not a normal project by any means. In fact, when you consider the complexity of the Freenet project, and how ambitious our goals actually are, it is quite impressive how far we have come in such a short time."

"Consider that work started on Linux about 10 years ago, and it has only really been in the last 2-3 years that it has reached a point where it has become journalist-compliant (i.e., the average tech journalist can install it before their patience expires). Then consider that, while an impressive undertaking, Linux was essentially a re-implementation of a rather well-understood type of software, namely a Unix-style operating system. Contrast that with Freenet - we are creating a piece of software that attempts things that have never been attempted before (distribution of information in a decentralized system while providing relative anonymity to both producers and consumers of information AND while addressing many of the inefficiencies of systems like Usenet and the WWW). Active development has only been happening for about 18 months now (much of it in the last 12 months after people like Oskar Sandberg and Scott Miller joined the development effort), and yet we have a working system, with a relatively straight-forward installation procedure which is getting easier by the day."

"It is somewhat frustrating when people criticize Freenet's ease of use while failing to take advantage of Freenet's primary means of tech-support, namely the volunteers subscribed to the support mailing list who will frequently reply within minutes with the solution to most problems. Ironically, of all of the journalists who have criticized Freenet's ease of use, none that I am aware of have actually asked for any help. Recall that these are people who only a year ago were raving about the advantages of an Open Source development model. Criticizing an Open Source project for their level of progress is akin to criticizing someone else for not giving enough to charity, while giving none yourself. If someone thinks that Freenet is lacking in some areas, they should either join the development effort and fix it, or at least outline the problem and post it to the development lists so that the developers can address it."

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