Enter The Freenetrix
The Freenet Help Site
Enter The Freenetrix
Licences used on this wiki
Welcome admin to Freenet WikiServer
Edit Page - Diff - Revisions - Title Search - Preferences - Bottom
Fred 0.5.x

"It's kind of a mix of Usenet, the Web, and a RAID disk system, all fudged
up into a super-crypto wet dream" - The PigDog Journal

1. Blame

1.1 People

Many people have contributed to the current codebase and it is
impossible to list all of them, but those most likely to complain if
they aren't included here are:

  • Ian Clarke - Project Founder, Coordinator, and Egomaniac
  • Tavin Cole - Core Developer and Probable NSA Mole
  • Gianni Johansson - Core Developer and Womanizer
  • Scott Miller - Crypto Guru and Alcohol Lightweight
  • Matthew Toseland - 'Toad'; Core Developer and Project Amphibian
  • Oskar Sandberg - Core Developer and Project Grouch
  • Niklas Bergh - developer and I dunno for the rest
  • Conrad Sabatier - freenet coder/documenter, support scripts contributor
Of the non-coders, the most likely to complain are:

  • Newsbyte; webmaintainer, pseudo-haiku-master and professional begger
  • dolphin - index site maintainer (DFI) and a coder, too, actually :-)
  • Bux - imaginary, self-proclaimed mascot of Freenet. Hangs out with Tux.
1.2 Copyright

(c) Copyright 1999-2002 The Freenet Project Inc
Released under the GNU Public License Version 2.

2. Introduction

Fred (FREenet Daemon) is the reference Java implementation of the Freenet
Protocol. Freenet is an architecture designed to permit true freedom of
communication over the Internet. The system is designed to be used in
conjunction with one or more Freenet clients, and depending on the client,
can look like the World Wide Web, a Usenet server, or a file-sharing
application. FProxy, a web interface to Freenet, is included. See
http://freenetproject.org/ for more information (and source code if you
don't have it already).

This software was brought to you by the letter P, and several randomly
chosen large prime numbers.

3. Running Freenet

3.1 Requirements

Freenet requires a Java Runtime Environment to be installed prior to use.
Due to bugs in the current release version of Kaffe, and IBM's Java Runtime
Environment, we strongly suggest that you use the latest version of Sun's
Java Runtime Environment for your platform (see http://java.sun.com/). If
you want to use fproxy, we STRONGLY recommend you use a web browser that
doesn't ignore MIME types... Mozilla and Konqueror are OK, Internet
Explorer can seriously jeopardize your anonymity. Freenet also requires
that your system clock is within a few minutes of the actual time.

3.1.1 Dealing with firewalls

For a Freenet node to work correctly, other Freenet nodes must be able
to open connections to it, and normally NATs or Firewalls will prevent

If you are behind a NAT or firewall you must do several things:

  1. When Freenet asks you for your computer's IP address (ie. the ipAddress setting in the freenet.conf file), you should give the external address of your NAT or firewall. This will be under "expert" because freenet can now auto-detect the IP address of most non-firewalled nodes.
  2. After you have completed the steps in section 3.2, you should check the listenPort setting in your freenet.conf file.
  3. Configure your NAT or firewall to forward incoming TCP connections on this port to your computer (see your NAT or firewall's manual for instructions on how to do this)
3.2 Starting Freenet

On *NIX Type:
sh start-freenet.sh

To run Freenet. The first time you run it it will ask you some questions
to create a configuration file (freenet.conf). You can edit this
manually later if you need to, but generally you shouldn't change
anything unless you know what you are doing.

3.3 Accessing Freenet via FProxy

You can look at some websites in Freenet by visiting http://localhost:8888/
in your web browser. You can also find interesting information about what
your node is doing there. Please read the SECURITY CAUTIONS below
BEFORE using a Web Browser with Freenet


---Mozilla and Gecko Based Browsers(ie. Netscape):
Many browsers limit the number of simultaneous connections to something far
too low for efficiently browsing Freenet (since Freenet pages often have
much higher latency than web pages). This can usually be reconfigured. For
example, for Mozilla post-1.3, go to about:config, and change the following

network.http.max-connections 200
network.http.max-connections-per-server 100
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server 10
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy 50

For Mozilla prior to 1.3: create a file with the following contents called
user.js in the directory with prefs.js, or append to an existing user.js:

user_pref("network.http.max-connections", 200);
user_pref("network.http.max-connections-per-server", 100);
user_pref("network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server", 10);
user_pref("network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy", 50);

Note that these settings will cause mozilla to use more connections for
all your browsing, which may not be desirable from a network congestion
point of view; volunteers to make mozilla allow this sort of settings to
be set per host would be welcome...

---Opera Browser
Go to File/Preferences/Network
- set 'Max connections to a server' to 20, 32 or 64, if you find you are getting
'could not connect to server' warnings adjust your setting one step down
- set Max total connections' to one setting higher than max connections,
this will allow Freenet to use all connections available to it without interfering
with web browsing ie. if Max to server is 32 then Max total should be 64

Note that these settings will cause Opera to use more connections for
all your browsing, which may not be desirable from a network congestion
point of view


---Older Versions of Mozilla and other Gecko based browsers (ie. Netscape):
The following may be important:
For Mozilla prior to 1.3: create a file with the following contents called
user.js in the directory with prefs.js, or append to an existing user.js:

user_pref("browser.goBrowsing.enabled", false);

This disables early Mozilla's default behaviour of feeding timed out
queries into Google, thus DESTROYING YOUR ANONYMITY. This does not seem to
be an issue any more on Mozilla >1.0.

---Microsoft Internet Explorer:
Internet Explorer (all versions, we think) has a totally different
ANONYMITY-DESTROYING BEHAVIOUR (not respecting MIME types), and also some
problems with auto-detecting UTF16 even when we tell it in the headers to use
some other charset). Internet Explorer is NOT recommended for
anonymous browsing

---Opera Browser:
Opera's default behaviour is similar to Internet Explorer's and can compromise
anonymity. Opera users MUST change the following setting to change this

Go to File/Preferences/File types
- Click on 'Determine action by MIME type

---All Browsers:
It is possible that the anonymity filter can be circumvented by other means, so
if you care about your anonymity while browsing :Freenet
a) Don't use Internet Explorer and setup Opera properly, see above.
b) Turn off javascript, java, active scripting, and any other scripting your
browser supports.
c) Set your browser to only load images, frames, etc from the server that
originated the web page
d) Be extra paranoid! Keep your browser up to date etc. Extreme measures include
browser proxies that block everything except localhost:8888 HTTP, encrypted disk
partitions or virtual disks, and so on.
e) Set in your config file:
f) Consider using your operating system's security features to sandbox your
Freenet browsing. For example, on Linux, you can (after setting
httpInserts=false and fcpInserts=false in your freenet.conf) create a user
specifically for browsing freenet, only use that user to browse freenet, and
type the following lines to prevent that user from accessing the regular
internet (assuming the safe user, which must not be the user running the node,
is called "freenet"):

  1. Accept TCP packets destined for local ports 8888 and 8481.
iptables -A OUTPUT -d localhost -p tcp --dport 8888 -m owner --uid-owner freenet -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -d localhost -p tcp --dport 8481 -m owner --uid-owner freenet -j ACCEPT

  1. Drop everything else.
iptables -A OUTPUT -m owner --uid-owner freenet -j DROP

Your kernel must be configured with these options:


Verify that the filter rules have been added:

$ iptables -L OUTPUT
Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target prot opt source destination
ACCEPT tcp -- anywhere localhost OWNER UID match freenet tcp dpt:8888
ACCEPT tcp -- anywhere localhost OWNER UID match freenet tcp dpt:8481
DROP all -- anywhere anywhere OWNER UID match freenet

g) If you are accessing files that will get you into serious trouble, consider
using something simpler than a web browser to access Freenet... or better yet,
DON'T DO IT! This is still beta software, it probably has more bugs. Having
said that, millions of people access questionable content through much less
secure systems than Freenet. Use your common sense. You can't conceal the fact
that you are running a freenet node from a determined attacker, because of the
way Freenet works (path shortening - for more details visit our web site).
However short of compromizing your computer, other expensive forms of
surveillance, you doing something stupid, or more bugs, it should be very
difficult for them to find out _what_ you browse (or publish) on Freenet.

What you want to prevent (in parts a,b,c) is freesites accessing the Real
Internet, and giving away the combination of your IP address along and the
fact that you visited a given freesite or downloaded (or uploaded) a specific
file. This is called a Web Bug, and the simplest form is an image in a
freesite loaded from somewhere on the real web - this gives away your IP
address, and the page you are browsing (if the attacker is clever, or you have
Referer: turned on), to the server the image is downloaded from. Fproxy
(freenet's web interface) contains code ("the anonymity filter") to try to
warn about or remove such things, but there could always be bugs in freenet or
in your web browser that would let something through. You can of course reduce
the likelihood of this by turning off images support in your browser.

The following formats are known to be able to carry data that could compromize your
anonymity (but there are no doubt many more that can do this):

  • Real Player
  • Windows Media Player
  • MP3s (some id3 tags cause winamp to open web sites and thus compromize your anonymity)
  • HTML and CSS, of course, hence the filter.
Finally, you should disable your browser cache AND set the option mainport.params.servlet.1.params.noCache=true in your config file (to tell freenet to send no-cache directives to the browser).


Things to bear in mind when inserting HTML content/freesites:

  • The new filter is VERY fussy about quote marks. Something like:
 <img src="something.png" width="95" height="32" alt="grey cat" align="left" "hspace="5">
 <IMG SRC="../../../Blah/2//issue.png"" ALT="Issue 2" WIDTH=95 HEIGHT=32>
will confuse it... this is partly because the HTML 4.01 spec seems to imply that <>
characters are allowed in strings inside tags. This should not be a problem using GUI
tools; it is however a problem if you write the HTML directly.
  • Charsets. If you want to insert a file with a charset other than the default iso-8859-1,
 tell your insertion tool to use the new charset in the mime type, for example 
 "text/html;charset=UTF16". The META tag to set the mime type is NOT supported. Neither
 is the UTF16 byte order mark.
  • All unrecognized HTML tags are removed by fproxy, for security reasons.

There are issues with lots of JVMs.

  • Red Hat 9.0 and other distributions having Native Posix Threads are _very_ unstable.
 That's why the startup script has been modified to 
 disable NPTL on Redhat; if you are using different distribution and you 
 know or suspect that it is with NPTL, try seting LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5. 
 If this causes Freenet to fail to load with a library error, try 2.4.1, 
 but 2.4.1 will not work with the 1.4.2 JRE at the time of writing. 
 Hence, Gentoo requires the JRE to be Sun 1.4.1, not 1.4.2. :<

  • Beta versions of Sun 1.4 don't work. 1.4.1r01 seems to work OK; 1.4.0 won't work due to significant changes to NIO made between 1.4.0 and 1.4.1
  • Even under the Sun JVM, we have numerous reports of the -server VM causing wierd crashes. It has therefore been disabled in start-freenet.sh.
  • Sun-derived JDKs (Sun, Blackdown, IBM etc) prior to 1.4 do not work.
  • Kaffe 1.0.6 and prior do not work at all.
  • Kaffe 1.1 (possibly from CVS) will probably work, although it has a few issues:
  • Automatic detection of IP addresses is only done once at startup, so if your IP address changes often, you will need to restart your node often.
  • Mysteriously long delays acquiring locks and in other parts of the code that can make the node think it is overloaded.
  • If you use Kaffe to run it, and you are not just using the provided JARs, which _will_ work with Kaffe, you need a compiler. Jikes 1.14 works. Jikes 1.15 and 1.16 at least don't work. Recent Jikes 1.18 CVS seems to work.
  • If you run on MacOS/X, there is a default file descriptor limit of 256. So Freenet uses a default connection limit of 128 if OS/X is detected, as it uses fds for many things other than connections). You will probably be able to raise the limit with the command ulimit -n 1024, and then set maxNodeConnections=512 explicitly in the config file. Most other unix(tm) derived systems have a default limit of 1024, so they are ok (the default 512 connections should be plenty for most purposes).
  • Various People repeatedly reported Kernel Panics on Mac OS X with Java 1.4.2. Try to use an older Version, maybe 1.5 does not offer the same destructive behaviour...

1. How To Speed Up Large Splitfiles

You can speed up splitfiles (FEC encoded splitfiles, the default), by using
native compiled FEC libraries.

Details are at this URL:
(that is fecimpl/onion/README in the freenet Contrib CVS module),

The info on Native FEC support on the Nubile freesite (edition 11) is completly obsolete.

The zip file that the readme refers to is in CVS (in the Contrib module,
  • not* the main freenet module).
You can access it on the web here:

(Do a "Save link as..." on the "(download)" link from your browser)

I didn't deploy native FEC support by default because I didn't want to deal
with the per platform configuration issues. The instructions in the file
given above are geared toward people who already know about JNI libraries.

If someone out there wants to write per platform (*nix, Windows) end user
install doc, suitable for inclusion in the generic Freenet README, that would
be a valuable contribution to the project.

-- gj