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[Freedombox-discuss] Introductions + failsafe e-mail

On 09/04/2010 09:27 PM, Ian Sullivan wrote:
> 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.

I don't understand, how is that a reversal of my view of the problem?

> 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.

In the ugly case scenario I've given you, with only two trusted friends 
anyone who's sending you mail (within or outside the boxes network) is 
at most going to wait for half an hour for his mail to be delivered (avg 
down time a day). In reality, the down time (wait time) is negligible.

> 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.

I didn't say it wasn't. The problem is communicating securely with them, 
and having them send us e-mail using simple SMTP that will reach us. For 
internal delivery, the thing is very simple: Any SMTP 
backwards-incompatible thing that we can build to guarantee us the 
aforementioned will presumably soonafter be used on all Freedom Boxes - 
be it a system involving TahoeLAFS or something else. It's the outside 
e-mail reaching us, and securely, that is hard (if possible) to do. 
That's what I've been trying to say.

> 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.

I was thinking about someone using his own SMTP server (not on FB), also 
organizations, companys or universitys. But even on G-mail you can 
encrypt your mail locally, and then send it via their systems. That 
problem is solved by exchanging PGP keys. It is guaranteed delivery that 
worries me.

Hope I'm making sense this time.
--Luka Mar?eti?

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