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[Freedombox-discuss] Introductions + failsafe e-mail

On 09/03/2010 06:29 PM, paxcoder wrote:
> On 09/02/2010 05:44 PM, ian at churchkey.org wrote:
>> Maybe the way to do email in a social network uses something like
>> distributed storage /instead/ of SMTP.
> The internal e-mail is not a problem, the problem is bringing in the
> rest of the world on this.

That's interesting, we see the problem exactly reversed.  The way I  see 
it, the problem we have with email is trying to make sure we can get our 
messages directly to both kinds of contacts without relaying them 
through a third party, even though we're not sure what kind of up 
time/network reliability to expect from our individual freedom box nodes.

If we can't make sure that our outgoing server is up at the same time as 
the receiving server, and we're not interested in relaying our mail 
through other servers, then we'll end up in a situation where messages 
that you've "sent" just sit on your machine for an unknown period of 
time before actually being delivered.

Delivering email to people in the wider world is basically a solved 
problem, because everyone else is @gmail or some other large, redundant 
failover, central email server. The odds of those servers being down are 
so low it doesn't seem worth worrying about.

If, however, we're dealing with two potentially unreachable servers, 
like our two freedom nodes, then it becomes more difficult to ensure 
delivery unless we use something like that TahoeLAFS sharing where we 
can rely on our friends peering messages in the encrypted filesystem 
without having to worry about them seeing that there is traffic between
two people or what the traffic contains.

If we're worried about the central servers, like gmail, that our friends 
use, we don't have many options. Those friends are actively giving their 
data to a third party and no architectural choices we make will change 
that. We can set all of our outgoing mail servers to use SMTPs by 
default, which will do a lot to make it harder for /other/ people on the 
network at at our ISPs to see the contents of our mail, which is at 
least progress.


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