nodechan

decentralized peer-to-peer anonymous messageboard client
git clone git://squid-tech.com/nodechan.git
Log | Files | Refs | README

commit 448e3f2e9c0a890137b6a357ddbcb5d5037bcb72
parent 52d45bf044ebcafc533141fa8aa7950a0fc14209
Author: Josh <jxm5210@g.rit.edu>
Date:   Fri,  9 Aug 2019 04:14:53 -0400

Create README.md
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diff --git a/README.md b/README.md @@ -0,0 +1,90 @@ +# NodeChan +NodeChan is a completely decentralized peer-to-peer anonymous messageboard client. There are no central servers, and it can never be censored, turned off, shut down, or anything like that. Threads and posts are passed through the network by the clients themselves, not by a vulnerable central server. + +This project is inspired by the peer-to-peer nature of Bittorrent, the decentralization of APRS on digital ham radio, and the anonymity of the *chan imageboards. + +## User Manual +### Installation +To install NodeChan, clone this repository and run the "build.sh" script, or otherwise compile the Java files in the "src" directory. Make sure to include "lib/*" in your classpath when compiling. + +Pre-compiled binaries will be available on my website in the future. + + +### Running +Run the "run.sh" script, or otherwise run the NodeChan.class file that was created as a result of compilation. Again, make sure to include the "lib/*" directory in your classpath. + +* Include the command-line argument "-nogui" to run NodeChan in console mode +* Include the command-line argument "-local" to run NodeChan in LAN mode (see section "LAN Mode") +* Include the command-line argument "-nohello" to not send 'hello-packets' (see format.txt) +* Include the command-line argument "-noinitpeer" to not connect to an initial peer from the tracker + + +### Operation +When NodeChan starts, the program will first attempt to enable UPnP port mapping. If your router does not support UPnP, you will need to manually forward port 13370 in order to receive content from the NodeChan network. Instructions on port forwarding for your router model can be readily found online. + +Next, if you are not in LAN mode, you will be prompted to enter a peer tracker URL. It is recommended to leave this as default, unless you are hosting your own peer tracker. See section "Peer Tracker" for more information. + +Finally, if you are not in LAN mode, NodeChan will attempt to retrieve an initial peer from the peer tracker. After that, you will be sent to the console interface or the GUI, depending on command-line options. + + +### Console Mode +In the main console, you can create threads, read threads, reply to threads, add peers, and perform other operations. Simply enter a command and enter necessary information when prompted. Type "help" to see a list of all commands and their functions. + +Threads are specified by their "TID", a random 8-character code that is generated when a thread is posted. A thread's TID can be observed when the "threadlist" command is entered. This is the value that you need to enter when you are prompted during the "reply" command. + +Thread titles are currently limited to 50 characters, and post texts are currently limited to 256 characters. This limit is planned to be increased in future releases. + + +### GUI Mode +There is currently no graphical interface for NodeChan, but this is a planned feature - coming soon! + + +### Peers +Peers are the most important aspect of NodeChan. They are the other network users that you have connected to. When you create a thread or post, your content will be sent to your peers, who will send it to all of their peers, and so on. In this way, posts are able to be propagated across the entire network without the use of a central server. + +The more peers a client has, the further and more thoroughly their posts will be able to propagate. However, having an excessive number of peers could lead to reduced local performace, as well as cluttered traffic on the NodeChan network. It is recommended to choose a reasonable number of peers that balances these considerations. + +Peers will time out and be removed from your peer list if they do not send you any data for a length of time. This prevents you from wasting resources sending content to peers that may have disconnected from the network. + +To add a peer with a known IP address, use the "addpeer" command. Use the "getpeer" command to retrieve a peer from the peer tracker. When you add a peer, they also automatically add you as a peer as well, unless you have specified the "-nohello" argument. + + +### Peer Tracker +The peer tracker is a PHP script that I am hosting on my website. When the script is loaded (and your IP is provided in the "?ip=" query string), the script returns the IP address of a random node that is also connected to the NodeChan network. Your IP is also added to the database, so other users can add you as a peer. When you run the "getpeer" command, the client automatically does all of this and then adds the retrieved peer to your peer list. + +IP addresses in the peer tracker time out after 10 minutes and are removed from the database. + +The peer tracker is the only part of the NodeChan system that could be considered somewhat "centralized", but it is also completely optional. Users could share their IP addresses and connect directly to one another, forming their own small networks without ever interacting with a traditional web server. + +Users could create their own peer trackers by hosting their own PHP scripts that behave similarly to the described behavior. Then simply provide the URL of your tracking script (including the query string "?ip=") when prompted by NodeChan. Maybe your tracker could have a whitelist and only let your friends in, or some other interesting properties. + + +### LAN Mode +If the argument "-local" is included when NodeChan is run, you will be able to connect to peers on your local network (192.168.1.*). UPnP port mapping will not be enabled, and you will not be able to retrieve any peers from the peer tracker. You will not be able to connect to any peers outside of your local network. + + +## Contributing +While NodeChan is already almost completely functional, it is not finished, nor is it particularly pretty or user-friendly. We are seeking contributors to help improve existing code and implement new features. + +A few planned features include: +* An intuitive GUI mode similar to other messageboard clients (important for user-friendliness) +* Security features, such as end-to-end encryption, etc. +* More social features, such as direct messaging thread participants +* IP blocking, in order to hide annoying or overly-abusive posts +* Longer messages than 256 characters +* Support for attaching images to posts + +If you would like to contribute, whether in terms of feature development, code refactoring, documentation, or otherwise, feel free to send a pull request! If there is a feature that you would like to see implemented, or a bug you would like to see fixed, create an issue! I will review all of these as quickly as possible. + + +## Problems +NodeChan is not perfect, and there are some issues that we will need to address as the project grows. + +### Security +There are a lot of security concerns. Messages are currently not encrypted, and peers are added based on IP address. As a result, it is recommended to route your connection to NodeChan through a proxy or VPN. + +### Propagation +The current post-propagation scheme could lead to situations where users become isolated from the network, and posts may not reach them. It will be important to implement more techniques ensuring that posts are propagated evenly and reliably across the network. + +### Abuse +There are no moderators on NodeChan. By its very nature, it would be impossible to centrally moderate. Therefore, procedures should be developed that enable users to self-moderate and hide content that they find overly abusive or annoying. IP block lists, personal word filters, and other techniques could be used to allow users to hide content they don't like.