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@node Preface
@chapter Preface

@c introductionary words here
This collection of manuals describes how to use GNUnet, a framework
for secure peer-to-peer networking with the high-level goal to provide
a strong foundation Free Software for a global, distributed network
that provides security and privacy.  GNUnet in that sense aims to
replace the current Internet protocol stack.  Along with an
application for secure publication of files, it has grown to include
all kinds of basic applications for the foundation of a new Internet.

@menu
* About this book::
* Contributing to this book::
* Introduction::
* Project governance::
* General Terminology::
* Typography::
@end menu

@node About this book
@section About this book

The books (described as ``book'' or ``books'' in the following)
bundled as the ``GNUnet Reference Manual'' are based on the historic
work of all contributors to GNUnet's documentation.  It is our hope
that the content is described in a way that does not require any
academic background, although some concepts will require further
reading.

Our (long-term) goal with these books is to keep them self-contained. If
you see references to Wikipedia and other external sources (except for
our academic papers) it means that we are working on a solution to
describe the explanations found there which fits our use-case and licensing.

The first chapter (``Preface'') as well as the the second
chapter (``Philosophy'') give an introduction to GNUnet as a project,
what GNUnet tries to achieve.

@node Contributing to this book
@section Contributing to this book

The GNUnet Reference Manual is a collective work produced by various
people throughout the years. The version you are reading is derived
from many individual efforts hosted on our website. This was a failed
experiment, and with the conversion to Texinfo we hope to address this
in the longterm. Texinfo is the documentation language of the GNU project.
While it can be intimidating at first and look scary or complicated,
it is just another way to express text format instructions. We encourage
you to take this opportunity and learn about Texinfo, learn about GNUnet,
and one word at a time we will arrive at a book which explains GNUnet in
the least complicated way to you. Even when you don't want or can't learn
Texinfo, you can contribute. Send us an Email or join our IRC chat room
on freenode and talk with us about the documentation (the prefered way
to reach out is the mailinglist, since you can communicate with us
without waiting on someone in the chatroom). One way or another you
can help shape the understanding of GNUnet without the ability to read
and understand its sourcecode.

@node Introduction
@section Introduction

@c In less than 2 printed pages describe the history of GNUnet here,
@c what we have now and what's still missing (could be split into
@c subchapters).

GNUnet in its current version is the result of almost 20 years of work
from many contributors.  So far, most contributions were made by
volunteers or people paid to do fundamental research.  At this stage,
GNUnet remains an experimental system where
significant parts of the software lack a reasonable degree of
professionalism in its implementation.  Furthermore, we are aware of a
significant number of existing bugs and critical design flaws, as some
unfortunate early design decisions remain to be rectified.  There are
still known open problems; GNUnet remains an active research project.

The project was started in 2001 when some initial ideas for improving
Freenet's file-sharing turned out to be too radical to be easily
realized within the scope of the existing Freenet project.  We lost
our first contributor on 11.9.2001 as the contributor realized that
privacy may help terrorists.  The rest of the team concluded that it
was now even more important to fight for civil liberties.  The first
release was called ``GNet'' -- already with the name GNUnet in mind,
but without the blessing of GNU we did not dare to call it GNUnet
immediately.  A few months after the first release we contacted the
GNU project, happily agreed to their governance model and became an
official GNU package.

Within the first year, we created
@uref{https://gnu.org/s/libextractor, GNU libextractor}, a helper library
for meta data extraction which has been used by a few other projects
as well.  2003 saw the emergence of pluggable transports, the ability
for GNUnet to use different mechanisms for communication, starting
with TCP, UDP and SMTP (support for the latter was later dropped due
to a lack of maintenance).  In 2005, the project first started to
evolve beyond the original file-sharing application with a first
simple P2P chat.  In 2007, we created
@uref{https://gnu.org/s/libmicrohttpd, GNU libmicrohttpd}
to support a pluggable transport based on HTTP.  In 2009, the
architecture was radically modularized into the multi-process system
that exists today.  Coincidentally, the first version of the ARM@footnote{ARM: Automatic Restart Manager}
service was implemented a day before systemd was announced.  From 2009
to 2014 work progressed rapidly thanks to a significant research grant
from the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft.  This resulted in particular
in the creation of the R5N DHT, CADET, ATS and the GNU Name System.
In 2010, GNUnet was selected as the basis for the
@uref{https://secushare.org, secushare} online
social network, resulting in a significant growth of the core team.
In 2013, we launched @uref{https://taler.net, GNU Taler} to address
the challenge of convenient
and privacy-preserving online payments.  In 2015, the
@c TODO: Maybe even markup for the E if it renders in most outputs.
@uref{https://pep.foundation/, pEp}@footnote{pretty easy privacy} project
announced that they will use GNUnet as the technology for their
meta-data protection layer, ultimately resulting in GNUnet e.V.
entering into a formal long-term collaboration with the pEp
foundation.  In 2016, Taler Systems SA, a first startup using GNUnet
technology, was founded with support from the community.

GNUnet is not merely a technical project, but also a political
mission: like the GNU project as a whole, we are writing software to
achieve political goals with a focus on the human right of
informational self-determination.  Putting users in control of their
computing has been the core driver of the GNU project. With GNUnet we
are focusing on informational self-determination for collaborative
computing and communication over networks.

The Internet is shaped as much by code and protocols as it is by its
associated political processes (IETF, ICANN, IEEE, etc.).
Similarly its flaws are not limited to the protocol design.  Thus,
technical excellence by itself will not suffice to create a better
network. We also need to build a community that is wise, humble and
has a sense of humor to achieve our goal to create a technical
foundation for a society we would like to live in. 


@node Project governance
@section Project governance

GNUnet, like the GNU project and many other free software projects,
follows the governance model of a benevolent dictator.  This means
that ultimately, the GNU project appoints the GNU maintainer and can
overrule decisions made by the GNUnet maintainer. Similarly, the
GNUnet maintainer can overrule any decisions made by individual
@c TODO: Should we mention if this is just about GNUnet? Other projects
@c TODO: in GNU seem to have rare issues (GCC, the 2018 documentation
@c TODO: discussion.
developers.  Still, in practice neither has happened in the last 20
years, and we hope to keep it that way.

@c TODO: Actually we are a Swiss association, or just a German association
@c TODO: with Swiss bylaws/Satzung?
@c TODO: Rewrite one of the 'GNUnet eV may also' sentences.
The GNUnet project is supported by GNUnet e.V., a German association
where any developer can become a member.  GNUnet e.V. serves as a
legal entity to hold the copyrights to GNUnet.  GNUnet e.V. may also
choose to pay for project resources, and can collect donations.
GNUnet e.V. may also choose to adjust the license of the
software (with the constraint that it has to remain free software)@footnote{For example in 2018 we switched from GPL3 to AGPL3. In practice these changes do not happen very often.}


@node General Terminology
@section General Terminology

In the following manual we may use words that can not be found in the
Appendix. Since we want to keep the manual selfcontained, we will
explain words here.

@node Typography
@section Typography

When giving examples for commands, shell prompts are used to show if the
command should/can be issued as root, or if "normal" user privileges are
sufficient. We use a @code{#} for root's shell prompt, a
@code{%} for users' shell prompt, assuming they use the C-shell or tcsh
and a @code{$} for bourne shell and derivatives.
@c TODO: Really? Why the different prompts? Do we already have c-shell
@c TODO: examples?