Freenet for Debian
The recent development of the situation in China or Iran reminds me of the importance AND the fragility of the freedom of speech on the Net. As the influence by the Net on the general public grows, attempts by governments to control and tame the Net will be aggravated, in a more sophisticated, crowd-pleasing way (for example, by claiming a need for Internet Driver's Licenses). How can we deal with this?
Freenet can be a key to solve this problem. After almost 10 years of continuous development, it seems that it finally became an usable product(I don't say it's perfect -- there are still a lot of things to be done, especially around its UI). Freenet has its own dark side and I don't expect that it will become the standard way of the communication over the Net, but we always need the last resort to enjoy our everyday life.
Unfortunately, most of Freenet-related information on the Net, especially about the installation method on GNU/Linux, are severely outdated. Freenet is a Free Software(GPL'd), and Debian did have a .deb package for Freenet long long ago, but it's basically gone and defunct. Since the pace of current development is quite fast and sometimes the backward compatibility is broken, it's not really a good idea to ITP and upload Freenet to the main Debian archive for now. Thus, I cooked up up-to-date .deb packages of the modern Freenet and publish them by myself on people.debian.org. I tried to follow the Debian packaging convention as much as possible, so at least they can be installed & uninstalled cleanly ;-) Also, Build-Deps are carefully set, so you may rebuild it without much hassle if you need.
Add the following to your /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://people.debian.org/~mhatta/debian/freenet ./
deb-src http://people.debian.org/~mhatta/debian/freenet ./
Then run "apt-get update" and install "fred" package. This is basically all you need(you might also want jSite or FMS). Then take a look at /usr/share/doc/fred/README.Debian. You might need to copy seednodes.fref into /var/lib/fred if you want to use Freenet's Opennet mode for the first time. After that, access http://localhost:8888 and follow the instructions.
Recommended readings on the modern Freenet:
- The Wikipedia entry for Freenet is surprisingly rich and informative(and not so obsoleted).
- The dark side of the internet, a recent featured story on Freenet from The Guardian. As the title indicates, it inclines to emphasisize the negative side of Freenet, but it's a good read anyway.
- The Gurdian writes about Freenet, a quite well-balanced response to The Gurdian article by Ian Clarke, the originator of Freenet.