Okay, I visited Protonet at the Betahaus Hamburg last thursday and took home a node installed on my old MacBook sporting an untouched fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04. The node is running at home, right now.
“What is the Protonet?”, you might ask.
Here’s the answer from their blog:
If I got it right so far, Protonet is a distributed (“decentralized”) Network, where everybody will be able set up their own node with the push of a button.
So here are five bullets, also from the blog, that should be enough to get your undevided attention for a moment. Because it is already built. It’s a matter of months, until you can start using it. Free and for free, anywhere, for any purpose:
- we want citizens to have an infrastructure they own themselves
- we want citizens to be the ones responsible for it, to maintain and to cultivate it
- we believe in responsibility, and we believe that only with taking responsibility freedom is possible
- we believe that building such an infrastructure needs to be as simple as pushing a button
- and most important of all: we believe that, for it to work, it needs to be awesomely fun to do it
“Most important of all.” Not the features. Not the speed, or the low price (“free”). It has to be fun to use it. “Press one button and it’s up and running.”
And that’s exactly what they built. I copied two lines of shell code and pasted them in the terminal. Script was running for about an hour, downloading tons of stuff and compiling on the fly. And then it was up and running. I created a user, uploaded the avatar, typed “hello world” and voila.
At home I logged in with a MacBook, a Windows XP netbook and an iPhone. It’s there. It is up and running.
If you’re interested in some background-thoughts on what this all means, have a look at the so-called “Protonet Primer” online on SlideShare, or download the PDF (1.7 MB).
So, now what?
Just let it sink in a little and spend some time daydreaming on what you could possibly use your own private network for - one that is connected to all other private networks. Don’t worry about any technical stuff - it will probably run with the push of a button. Just go wild.
We will explore some use cases here in the next post, where you will be welcome to share your own ideas in the comments (as you are here, of course). Or write your own post and link it here or on the Protonet-blog.
There are also lots of social (as in “society”) and even political implications to think about, too: this is pure, digital, global Anarchy. And the “Nazis-and-paedophiles”-police is probably waiting already.
If you have any questions, direct them to the guys at Protonet. It says “Ask us anything!” in bold, so go and do so. Subscribe to their blog and stay on track on twitter.
You know, just do something.
See you soon.