The following instructions are for newbies running Frost/Freenet on MS Windows.
1. Installation and configuration
Make sure you are using the latest stable (or unstable if you dare) builds of Freenet and Frost. Freenet's Web Interface page (double-click the tray icon in Windows) will tell you the build you are using. Note that it will also tell you the build number of the latest version it sees on the network if a few hosts have it, however there are spoof nodes with false build numbers so this isn't 100% reliable. Freenet stable builds are rarely released more than once a week. See the "What's new" page ( http://www.freenetproject.org/index.php?page=whatsnew
) for release updates.
Read the help and faq documents included with Frost and Freenet. The Freenet README document is located in the Freenet/distrib folder. It is a UNIX formatted text document so use WordPad to read it, not Notepad.
You need to know exactly how your Internet connection is configured to set up Freenet effectively. Here are some installation and configuration tips:
If you are connecting to the Internet with a dial-up modem connection, then you probably have a direct WAN (Internet) connection through the network interface (modem), your PC is given a new dynamic (changing) WAN IP address by your ISP every time it connects, and probably does not have a separate firewall/router unless you are using an analog router/modem sharing device. You should be running a transient Freenet node with a 100-500MB datastore depending upon how often the PC is connected to the Internet with Freenet running.
If you are using broadband (Cable, DSL, Satellite, ISDN), then you probably have a dynamic (changing) IP address unless it's a business level contract which is usually static (permanent). Ts (T1, T3, etc.) are usually static. Check your contract or ask the provider to verify your address settings. You probably have a modem (not used with Ts) with a built-in or a separate firewall/NAT router. If you don't have a firewall, you should install one just for security. The modem/firewall/router (abbreviated M/F/R herein) probably gets its IP address from the ISP (static or dynamic) using the DHCP protocol unless it was set manually when installed. The M/F/R connects to your PC directly through a USB connection, is an internal card, or through an Ethernet cable (and to your LAN if you have one). If it is an Ethernet connection, it probably uses DHCP to assign your PC and other PCs on your LAN a dynamic Private IP address. You will probably have to set up port forwarding on the M/F/R to get the most out of Freenet. You should be running a permanent Freenet node with at least a 2GB (2048MB) datastore.
1b. IP address and ports
If you have a firewall/router, either stand-alone or built into a broadband modem, you will need to know both its LAN (internal network) and WAN (Internet) address. If you are using a dial-up modem, your PC will get a WAN IP address when it is connected to the Internet. You can find your PC's address by opening a DOS/console window and entering the command "ipconfig /all". You may see multiple adapters including Ethernet cards, modems, and virtual network connections. Generally, LAN (internal) IP addresses are assigned within the following ranges:
10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255 (mask 255.0.0.0) Private Class "A"
172.16.0.0 - 172.31.255.255 (mask 255.255.0.0) Private Class "B"
192.168.0.0 - 192.168.255.255 (mask 255.255.255.0) Private Class "C"
The following is never used by LAN/WAN but is used for local connections including Freenet's Web Interface:
127.0.0.0 - 127.255.255.255 (mask 255.0.0.0) Loopback/localhost
Any other IP address that is not in these reanges is probably an Internet (WAN) address. You will also see an IP address for the "Router" or "Default Gateway" which will either correspond to the M/F/R's LAN IP address or the that of the ISP's router/gateway.
Be sure you are connected to the Internet. Run Freenet and open the Freenet Web Interface by double-clicking the tray icon (or right-click it and select "Open Gateway"). On the side of the web page, in the Node Information box, click on the "Environment" link. Scroll down to the Transports section and note the current I Pv 4
address and port. If your WAN IP is listed, then your Freenet node is ready to use. If they are listed as "(NOT AVAILABLE)" then you probably are running a firewall/router and Freenet was not able to identify the WAN IP address.
If your Internet connection uses a static WAN IP address, then you can specify it in Freenet's configuration. Open the Freenet node properties window by right-clicking on the tray icon and selecting Configure. Go to the Serious Geeks Only panel and check the "Allow changes to Node Address, Port and Availability settings" option. Then go to the Normal Settings panel, enter the WAN IP address in the "Node Address" box and click the OK button.
IMPORTANT : Note that Freenet uses a random port to listen on, so you should *never* tell anyone on Frost what yours is or your anonymity may be lost!
If you want to change your listening port (:nolink"listenPort" in Freenet-speak) then consult the IANA port assignment list ( http://www.iana.org/assignments/port-numbers
)and pick a port that is in one of the "Unassigned" ranges. You can also use an assigned port as long as you don't run any apps that require it. Using a common one like 80 is a bad idea though because your ISP may block it, it will get portscanned by worms a lot and so on.
If your Internet connection is using a dynamic IP address, then you will need to use a Dynamic DNS (DDNS) service. There are many free DDNS services, e.g. try DynDNS.org ( http://www.dyndns.org
). Once you register for a DNS name, you will need to set up a DDNS client. The DDNS client connects to the DDNS service and identifies your connection so that the service can update your DNS name with your current WAN IP address. Some M/F/Rs have a built-in DDNS client. If yours does not, then you can install a software DDNS client. Your DDNS service should have a list of clients that are compatible with their service. Dyn DNS.org has a large list ( http://www.dyndns.org/support/clients.html
)of free and commercial apps. I have found that Kana Solution Dyn DNS Updater ( http://www.kana.homeip.net/index.php?doc=dyndns&page=features
) works well and is freeware. Configure Freenet to use the URL for the Node Address, using the same procedure as for a setting static IP address above. When you connect to the Internet, the DDNS client must first contact the DDNS service and update your DNS name with your IP address. There is a delay of 5-10 minutes for the update to take effect across the DNS servers. Then you can start Freenet. After Freenet is running, then you can start Frost. To make this easier (especially on dial-up), you can use a connection manager with app launching capability like Black Castle Software Net Launch ( http://www.blackcastlesoft.com/netlaunch/default.asp
) and set a start-up delay between apps.
Now that your Freenet node knows what your WAN IP address is, you still have to configure your M/F/R to send incoming connections to your node. This is called "port forwarding" or "static routes". What you will be doing is specifying a rule that the M/F/R is to take any incoming data for a specific WAN port, 25643 by default, and route it to the same port on your PC.
First, you will need to determine if your PC is using a dynamic LAN IP address (assigned by the M/F/R using DHCP). Look at the output from the ipconfig command (section 1b, above) and see if there is a "Lease Obtained" and "Lease Expires" value specified for the network adapter responsible for your Internet connection. If there is, then you have a dynamic LAN IP. Some M/F/Rs can set up port forwarding/static route to a PC using a dynamic IP but many can't. See your M/F/R's manual. If it can't or if you are not sure, change your PC's TCP/IP settings to use a static IP address. If you have multiple PCs on a LAN connected to the M/F/R, to prevent address conflicts you will have to pick an IP address that is not within the DHCP range (scope) that the M/F/R is using to assign addresses or configure the M/F/R to skip your PC's address. Again, read the M/F/R's manual or contact the manufacturer's technical support department. To set a static TCP/IP address, note your PC's current IP Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, DNS Servers, and Host Name settings. Go to the Network section of the Windows Control Panel. Look for the Internet Protocol TCP/IP entry. Check it's properties. You should find that it is set to obtain an IP address automatically. Write down the existing settings in case you have problems. Change the address option to manual setting. Enter the data from the ipconfig command, changing the IP address if you need to avoid conflicts with the M/F/R DCHP service. Click OK or Close and reboot if necessary. Test your Internet and LAN connection to make sure it's working. Run ipconfig again and verify the changes.
To set up port forwarding/static routing, see your M/F/R's manual. For some Netgear routers, you may have to go to the "Add Service" page (using the router's built-in cofiguration web server) and create a service for Freenet using TCP on a port range of 25643-25643. Then go to the "Ports" page and select the Freenet service, specify your PC's LAN IP address in the the Local Server Address fields, and allow any WAN user access. For Linksys, you need to define a "Customized Application" the same way.
When it's all working, you should be able to see Inbound connections in the Freenet Web Interface on the "Open Connections" page.
You no longer need to change any settings based on whether your node is on 24/7 (permanent) or only sporadically. You may see a "%transient=false" entry in your freenet.ini, which in the past had to be changed to "transient=true" for transient connections, however this no longer does anything. (It used to affect whether you could recieve incoming connections, but since the network was multiplexed all nodes can do so.)
To get your node up and running initially or when it's not been on for a while, you can turn on node announcements. In the Freenet configuration windows, go to the Advanced Settings panel and check "Announce to Other Nodes". This may cause unwanted attention from other nodes, resulting in more load, if your node is working and permanent so you may want to turn it off in this case.
There is not much to installing Frost. Download the latest version from http://jtcfrost.sourceforge.net/download.html
. Then, once the zip file has been fully downloaded, create a directory where you want Frost to reside, and uncompress the zip file in there. To execute Frost, just double click on the file called frost.jar, or execute the file called frost.bat (if you are on Windows) or frost.sh (if you are on *nix). You can find those files in the directory you uncompressed the zip file into.
If you are on Windows and you want to create a shorcut to Frost on the start menu, just drag the file called frost.jar to any place in the start menu. Alternatively, you can drag the file called frost.bat if you prefer so (the effect will be the same). Afterwards, if you want to change the icon of that shortcut, you will be able to do so by clicking on it with the right mouse button, selecting properties and doing it from there (there is an icon file called jtc.ico in the Frost directory that you can use).
When you first run it, Frost will ask for the name of your new virtual identity (choose anyone you want) and it will create a key signature for it.
2. Creating a name
Start by posting a new message. To test your setup, try posting to the test board. Select the "News" tab then click on the "test" board in the tree. Click on the envelope and pencil icon to create a new message. Make up a name for your identity and type it in the From field. Then check the Sign checkbox to add your digital signature. Then click the envelope and arrow icon to send it. Frost will remember the settings.
3. Creating a signature (personal footnote)
Options > Preferences > News (1) > Signature - type in anything you want.
4. Spam filtering
News(2) > Block messages with the subject/body containing... = checked. In the boxes, enter some key words of messages you want to filter, like the name of a certain female talk-show host (this months spam). Don't make it too general or you won't see many posts.
Hide unsigned message = checked. You will not see unsigned messages at all.
Search > Hide files... = checked. This blocks false file postings.
5. Searching (Search panel)
To show all files, select "all boards" and click the binoculars icon without any search terms. Click the column headings to sort the list. The age of the file is the best indicator of retrievability. To download a file from the list select it then right-click and choose "Download selected keys". The file will be added to the Downloads panel list.
6. Downloading (Downloads panel)
To add a file to the list, enter the key and click the arrow button. The download directory is set in Options > Preferences > Downloads > Download directory.
7. Uploading (Uploads panel)
To insert a file into the Freenet data cloud and announce it on a Frost board, select the board on the tree, then click the folder icon and choose the file(s) to insert. Then select the files, right-click, and choose "Upload selected files". Post it to the most appropriate board, not to multiple boards which makes a mess. Due to the way Freenet works, the file name doesn't matter. You can't insert the same file more than once even if the name is changed.
To look for new posts, right-click on a board and select "Refresh board". To automatically refesh all boards, select News > Automatic board update. The more boards you have in your tree, the slower the update frequency because Frost only refreshes a few at a time.
In addition to the default boards, Frost automatically detects new boards attached to messages, etc. To see the list of all boards Frost knows about, open the List of known boards by clicking the world button on the toolbar. Select the ones you want to add to your tree then right-click and choose "Add board". New boards are also announced in the "boards" board usually with more information than the board list window provides.
You can post to any board that is unsigned (default icon) or that you have the private key for (keys icon). Boards that have a public key but not a private key are read-only (lock icon). Signed boards should be a little more resistant to spam then unsigned ones.
I release this document into the public domain so you can use it for your own work, reference, quoting, mis-quoting, spam, whatever. The usual disclaimers apply - as is, no warranty, use with caution, may be fatal if printed and swallowed, etc.