"The Once and Future 'Net": D!99y Philes Volume 2, Issue 1

|                                                                             |
|                         The Once and Future 'Net                            |
|                                                                             |
|                               by D!99y Dud3                                 |
|                                                                             |

Gr33tz,  ya phun-lovin' phreaks,  and welcome to another  riveting issue of the
D!99y Philes! In this episode, we're gonna take a quick romp through the annals
of online history,  and then I'll get to my point, if it so happens that I come
up with one in the course of typing this here tome.

As some of you old pharts are probably distinctly aware, it started with dialup
text-based bulletin  bored systems, or BBSes, in the mid to late  1970s.  These
systems  eventually evolved into so-called online  services like CompuServe and
America Online  by the  late  1980s.  By  the  mid  1990s,  the  Internet,  and
particularly peer-to-peer networks like PowWow and WinMX, were all the rage, to
say nothing of Usenet and the World Wide Web.

In the past two  years or so,  a handful of large Silicon  Valley  corporations
such as Faecesbook and Goolag have  decided that the Web belongs to them rather
than to you and me.  Every day, we hear of yet another scandal involving one of
these slimy  companies.  One is selling  our  personal  information,  including
our  private  messages,  for a quick  buck.  Another  one  is  "de-monetizing,"
"de-platforming,"  or otherwise  selectively  defecating  on  users  for  their
political  or moral  beliefs.  Evidently  these  shitlords  believe that  their
dominant  position in the tech industry  gives them the right  to tell you what
you can and cannot say on your own phucking  taxpayer-created network.  It's so
bad out there now that  some of us are retreating to the  aforementioned dialup
BBSes (now on telnet), while others are encouraging everyone to build their own
websites instead of depending on Silly Valley for a "free" platform. Yet others
are writing free software to put old school tools in the hands of the masses.

There's a rising  sentiment  among 'Netizens that the World Wide Web  under the
domination  of  the globalist,  cultural  Marxist  technocracy  has  failed  to
deliver on its promise to liberate information and give everyone a voice.

Which  brings me to  what  I've been  up to since  our last  installment.  Last
spring, I set out to write a simple, no-frills text-based BBS in  PHP.  Due  to
unfortunate  circumstances,  I had to  shelve that  project and  never got back
around to working on it again.

More recently,  I've been chewing the fat with a shady character by the name of
MO Malone,  who runs a Web  forum.  Malone is a staunch  advocate  of the old
school Web,  which naturally entailed everyone  owning their own website.  Some
years ago, she ran a highly successful and well-known Web forum for  conspiracy
theorists.  That forum  still  exists  today,  but  appears  to be  in  decline
under  new management.  Nowadays,  Malone  operates her  own forum,  which  she
describes as  being  more or less a personal  sketchpad for  writing  down  her
thoughts for her  own  amusement.  She  told me her  ideas for an  ideal "dream
site."  Interestingly,  what she described  was rather like an HTML version  of
the desktop peer-to-peer applications  that were  ubiquitous around the turn of
the century.

I got to work on building MO's dream website software,  and came very near to
finishing it,  when I realized that my own  fondest  Internet memories revolved
around actual peer-to-peer  networks.  P2P certainly tied in  with my  original
goal of creating a non-Web-based, self-hosted platform that would be beyond the
reach of the tech giants' heavy-handed  censorship.  It also eliminates many of
the inherent limitations of HTTP, and circumvents home Web server port blocking
by ISPs.  So I switched tracks and  started  adapting all of the code  from the
first two projects  to that end.  The new project is  being written in PHP-GTK2
and occupies a middle ground between the  austere terminal-bound  BBS I started
out to build and the colorful dream website package that MO suggested.


  If this phile gripped you more than a muddy old river or  reclining Buddha,
  please re-upload it to as many BBSes as you can. Danke schoen! Oh, and tell
  them you stole it from one of these fine boreds:

    Agency BBS                        Borderline BBS
    Sysop: Avon                       Sysop: Balzabaar
    telnet://agency.bbs.nz            telnet://borderlinebbs.dyndns.org:6400

    Sysop: MO


I'm so damn inspired.

I was just reminiscing today about my beginnings with message boards specifically...

Circa 1998, I had a lot of good times in chatrooms.

When the 2000s came along, I discovered the magnificent world of forums...

And I fell in love more deeply than I have ever felt love before or since.
"I have a deeply romantic attraction to message boards"

Almost forgot...


The Once and Future 'Net
D!99y Philes Volume 2, Issue 1
January 26, 2019

(The OP filename is dd_02_01.asc)
The age-old dilemma of peer-to-peer networking: how to find peers to connect to if you don't know about them beforehand?

Some P2P programs come bundled with a list of peers known to have been online recently, known as the peer cache. The program adds new peers as it discovers them through connections with known peers, and deletes old ones that haven't been online in awhile.

But what if you haven't been online in a long time, and all of the known peers have gone offline (or their IP addresses have changed) since you were last on? Most networks solve this problem by having every peer register with a central server when it comes online. The server sends back a list of online peers that the new peer can then connect to. The server periodically checks all of the peers and discards any that have gone offline, ensuring that the list is always fresh. The only reason PowWow doesn't work today is that the central server went offline when Tribal Voice folded. Some fans built their own server and resurrected it for awhile, but I wasn't able to get online when I tried it recently. Maybe there's something else I need to do. WinMX still works because a fan wrote a patch for it.

Regardless of all of that, requiring a central server isn't exactly a decentralized solution, is it? If the server was controlled by a slimy SJW corporation, the company could refuse your connection attempts or refuse to register your peer, and you'd be in the same mess that social media users are in. If the server was run by a private individual, crusading SJWs could get the peer list from the server and harass or DDoS the peers.

You also have to consider that a guy like me writing a decentralized P2P network program probably isn't going to be inclined to operate a central server, as that would be self-contradictory. All I'm going to do is give you the option to use one, if one exists and you're inclined to use it.

Here's the program so far. Still a bit of work left to do before I open it up to beta testers. Since there will only be one node on the network at first, I'll provide the IP address and port number of that node to enter in the Bootstrap fields.

You'll need PHP-GTK2 and PsTools for this to work. PsTools is a collection of Windows add-on from Microsoft. It contains a program called PsExec that enables the host program to launch channel clients as separate programs. The Linux process control functions normally built into PHP are not available in the Windows version, so I had to bang out another way of handling process control using PsExec and various Windows commands.



You can unzip these wherever you want them to go (I put them in C:\Program Files), then add their respective folders to your Windows path environment variable.

Then you'll need to forward the TCP listening port for the host program in your router.

Once all of that is done, unzip the P2P program wherever you want it to go. Go to its folder in Windows Explorer, right-click in the window while holding down the shift key, and select "Open command window here". At the command line, type "php main.exe" and hit enter. The console will print a few lines about the program startup, then the main window will open with the Connect tab visible.

The following screen shots show how to open a new channel and post on the channel's bulletin board.


I'll bump this thread once the program is uploaded somewhere so folks can try it out.
It sounds confusing!

Are you going to be hosting a website using this software so people can get used to enjoying the format? Like a community, not just a demo site?

It'll have to be a community so people can see it in action and there can be a real example of viability as the standard in community platforms.
It's gotta be fun for people...

There need to be at least two relevant communities formed and run off the platform.
Of course it's going to take time. Years...


Best to get a start ASAP, just saying.

I know you have ideas for communities, you have a vision or you wouldn't have made it.
(02-09-2019, 01:00 AM)MO Wrote: Are you going to be hosting a website using this software so people can get used to enjoying the format? Like a community, not just a demo site?

You really ought to give WinMX a try to see how these programs work.

You can open and close a channel at the drop of a hat. No Web hosting needed. It's not a website. It's literally a chat and BBS server that you run on your own computer - the ultimate in not letting corporations control your online presence and content. These programs were immensely popular in the days before YouTube when the only way to get free music was to steal it.

You can be in more than one channel at once. For instance, you could open your channel and hang out in a busy channel while you're waiting for people to show up in yours. Once you get a reputation for being a great host, people will come in every time your channel is open.

I got the bulletin board working, BTW.


The setup is no big deal. There'll be a cheat sheet to get you started.
(02-09-2019, 01:01 AM)MO Wrote: It's gotta be fun for people...

There need to be at least two relevant communities formed and run off the platform.

Oh, P2P is loads of fun! I'm pretty sure you'd make a good channel host.

(02-09-2019, 01:02 AM)MO Wrote: Of course it's going to take time. Years...


Best to get a start ASAP, just saying.

I know you have ideas for communities, you have a vision or you wouldn't have made it.

This is almost ready. I'm sorting out a few remaining bugs now. Everything works well now, except the channel client disconnects if there's no activity in the channel for awhile. I'm going to fix that by having the server ping all of the clients every so often. That's how IRC keeps people online.

Honestly, all of that jargon on the Connect tab is nothing to worry about. The program will go online and open a channel even if it's the only copy online. You could make a private network with only people you know being able to access it if you wanted to.
These are the operating instructions. Are they reasonably clear, or do I need to explain something in more detail?


Peer-to-Peer Application Installation Instructions


Download the PHP-GTK binaries package from this page:


The program has been tested against the PHP 5.5 beta version of PHP-GTK, which
is the first option shown on that page at the time of writing.

Download PsTools from this page:


Unzip both packages and move their folders to a convenient place, such as
"C:\Program Files".

Locate php.exe in the PHP folder, and add its folder path to your Windows path
environment variable. This is done by adding a semicolon to the end of the
existing path, then adding the PHP folder path after that. Check here for help:


Locate PsExec.exe in the PsTools folder and add its path as described above.

Move the P2P program folder to a convenient place, such as

If your computer is behind a router, you'll need to forward TCP port 6699 to
your computer in the router's control panel. The procedure will vary depending
on the brand and model of router. Consult your router's owner manual for
instructions. If your computer is directly connected to the Internet, skip this

Navigate to the folder containing main.exe in the P2P program folder.

Hold down the Shift key and right-click in the window to bring up a context
menu. Select "Open command window here". Optionally, you can right-click on
main.php itself to bring up the menu, then select "Send to ->" and
"Desktop (create shortcut)" to place a program icon on your Windows desktop.

In the command window, type "php main.php" and press Enter. Or simply
double-click the new icon on your desktop, if you created one.

You may see a Windows Security Alert window that says "Windows Firewall has
blocked some features of this program." The message is asking you if you want
the program to act as a server and allow other users to access it. Check both
of the boxes and click "Allow Access".

The program will print a few lines in the command window that look something
like this:

 Starting server...
 The server is running.

Then the main program window will appear.

The program is now online and awaiting incoming connections, but nobody else
knows about your node yet, so there won't be any connections. You'll need to
announce your node to other nodes on the network as follows.

Enter a username on the Connect tab in the main window. You can leave the port
set to 6699, or you can change it. If you change it, remember to forward the
new port to your computer in your router.

If you know the IP address and port number of a friend who is also running this
program, and you know the friend is currently online, enter that information in
the "Bootstrap" section of the Connect tab. This will probably be the only way
to join a network at first, since your peer cache will initially be empty, and
no peer registry exists as yet.

Click the Connect button. The program will print a few lines in the command
window. If it prints a line that looks like this, and it doesn't say 0 peers,
then other nodes are able to see your node:

 Announcing to 5 peer(s)...

You can now host a channel or join another user's channel if any are running.
Click the Channels tab to see a list of channels that are online. Click "Open
Channel" to start your own channel.

Contact the program developer at therealdiggydude@gmail.com if you need any
further help. Enjoy!
It seems incredibly well explained in my opinion.

You are good man!

Ah... it's all so inspiring isn't it??

It's got this feel of newness to it, even though it's principally been around since the beginning.

The ebb and flow, the cycles upon cycles of existence, exhibited from micro to macro in the reality matrix.
(02-10-2019, 03:36 PM)MO Wrote: You are good man!

Thank you, sweety. Heart

(02-10-2019, 03:36 PM)MO Wrote: Ah... it's all so inspiring isn't it??

It's got this feel of newness to it, even though it's principally been around since the beginning.

I, for one, am giddy with anticipation at the prospect of bringing back the golden age of the Internet!

Here's a little trivia for you. Tribal Voice, the company that created PowWow, was founded by none other than John McAfee, who also created the first commercial antivirus program.
Damn that guy's been in the game a LOOONG time, he's an internet mack daddy but...

He's a lil odd, just sayin'.
Geniuses can be excused for their eccentricity.

I'm dubious about that whole Belize ruckus. Why would he have his neighbor killed? He doesn't seem like the type.
Definitely not.
Added the following bit because you just know someone will hose their system and blame moi.

The path will now look something like this:

 WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\Program Files\PHP-GTK2;C:\PSTools

Do not simply copy and paste the above line into your path variable, and do not
delete or alter any existing part of the path. It will be different depending
on which version of Windows you have, whether other programs have added their
paths to the path variable, where you placed the PHP-GTK and PsTools folders,
and the names of those folders. Editing the path incorrectly could cause other
programs, including Windows itself, to stop working. If you're not confident in
your ability to perform this step, get your friendly neighborhood computer guru
to do it for you. I will not be able to help you fix your system if you mess it
Well, I've encountered a slight snag in testing. The modem apparently has a router built into it, and the roommate has a second router connected to that because he likes the WiFi on the second router. Explains why I wasn't able to get a channel list or host a channel on WinMX using a primary connection before, and why I can't connect to my program via the external IP address now. Given his lack of knowledge about networking stuff, I'm frankly amazed that anything works. I'm going to try it at my parents' house this weekend. Their setup is more like a typical residential setup of one modem and one router.

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