Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking back on 2011

Dear readers,

So the year 2011 is coming to an end and I have eventually failed my secret goal of having more articles than last year. The main reason being that I did not  post much in the last three months. And the explanation is just a single word : Tamias. Tamias is a pet name, a kind of chipmunk (although some folks complained that our logo looks like a mutated rat or something, hi Ed!). It could have been the name of a pet-project, but it really is the pet-name of a project we have here, at the office.

I can't really explain it all in one post, so let's say a few very basic things to keep it short and interesting.

  1. Tamias is based on Tahoe-LAFS, which makes it awesome from the start
  2. Tamias allows users sharing a mutual interest to gather together and create their own cloudish storage system by providing storage space to the distributed storage "cloud". Sorry for the buzz word, you can really replace cloud by network, p2p network, overlay network, whatever.
  3. Users from a same network exchange identity information between each others (essentially public keys) and can share files privately and securely. Privately means that someone learning the access information (what is called a capability here, think of it as a self-certifying URL) from someone else can not use it. Securely means that file blocks are stored with encryption and thus not readable by the storage node (this is granted by Tahoe-LAFS).
  4. The first beta version of Tamias was released on December 25th here.
This version works, but it is not very user-friendly, so we only expect the most computer savvy users to try it out and report errors, problems, bugs and so on. In the future, we will provide a (much much much) better UI of course, and new features like user self-introduction, user search, sharing delegation, networks federation, etc...

The Tamias website is at https://tamias.iijlab.net and has a few tutorials about compiling the software or setting up a node. As it is based on Tahoe-LAFS, it includes Tahoe-LAFS and builds upon it. However, you can not use your existing Tahoe-LAFS grid without modifications, because we added a couple of features on the storage server side, that were needed for privacy extensions.

Short post for a long story, but here's a scoop for you all : the next release will be much better and is planned for next spring...

Happy year-end holidays to you all !

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