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@node Preface
@chapter Preface

@c FIXME: Do we have to mention that this is Free Software?
@c FIXME: where did 'Free Software' in this sentence fit before
@c FIXME: we changed it?
This collection of manuals describes GNUnet, a framework
for secure peer-to-peer networking with the high-level goal to provide
a strong foundation 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::
* 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 previous documentation of GNUnet.
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.

Previously the documentation was contained in Drupal books, on the
old website. This format was considered unmaintainable for the future, so
Texinfo was chosen. You might find old and very old sections in
here in addition to more recent content. It took a long time to
finish the move to Texinfo (from Drupal to LaTeX to wrong Texinfo
output dump to good Texinfo) and only recently (late 2018, early
2019) content checking started. We apologize to the reader for
any inconvenience and hope you apply logic where bad advice from
10 years ago can be found (pipe to sudo to install software is
one example). Patches (contributions) to this documentation are more
than welcome!

The first chapter (``Preface'') as well as the second chapter
(``Philosophy'') give an introduction to GNUnet as a project, what
GNUnet tries to achieve. ``Key Concepts'' explains the key concepts
in GNUnet.
These three chapters are the most complete in the documentation.
They are followed by chapters which explain specific parts of
GNUnet (and need more work):
``Installing GNUnet'', ``GNUnet Contributors Handbook'' and
``GNUnet Developer Handbook''.

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

@c FIXME: There's a good amount of repetition here, we should
@c FIXME: fix this.
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 one of our old websites.
In the end it was considered to be impractical to read by
those who required the information.
With the conversion to Texinfo --- the version you are reading
right now --- 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 to 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

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
service (ARM: Automatic Restart Manager)
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 XXX: It is not correct to refer to pEp as pEp stylistic,
@c XXX: but the correct version would lead to problems with
@c XXX: some of our outputs and/or older versions of texinfo
@c XXX: and devices that display versions on consoles etc.
@c XXX: This is why we keep the pEp until proven that p(tripple bar)p
@c XXX: does not create broken outputs.
@uref{https://pep.foundation/, pretty Easy privacy} (pEp) 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
developers.  Still, in practice neither has happened in the last 20
years for GNUnet, and we hope to keep it that way.

The current maintainers of GNUnet are:

@itemize @bullet

@item @uref{Christian Grothoff, https://grothoff.org/christian/}
@item @uref{Martin Schanzenbach, https://schanzen.eu}

@end itemize

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 as
well as choose to adjust the license of the
software (with the constraint that it has to remain free software).
In 2018 we switched from GPL3 to AGPL3, in practice these changes do
not happen very often.


@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?