friend2friend proposal

We’re using PHP/Java/GPG/Mozilla/RDF/XBL/XUL/JS to write an XSLT1.0-scriptable decentralised XML-based F2F communication system.
We are contactable at robin2008 (AT) or tom (AT)

About the project
Robin, Tom and Martin have been working on a project called Friend2Friend (F2F) for the past few years. It could be described in a phrase as ‘a distributed operating system with secure peer to peer encrypted transport over a network defined by peers’ self-declared trust relationships ’.

The original motivation came from Robin’s ideas on Altruistic Economics ( as a means to an internet gift economy. The aim is a system where people can reward one another without the use of money. People work together within communities on a ‘gift’ basis. As well as recording the fact that labour has occurred, everyone is free to record how they personally feel about it, and the system reconciles these opinions in an analagous way to how Google reconciles hyperlinks, so leechers can be quickly identified and shunned, whilst altruists end up giving mainly to one another. We found no suitable platform for this, so we started to build one.

All the data that travels around the system is XML, transformed by XSL transforms using a core set of F2F extensions. These core services allow scripts to call one another, bubble messages within a tree of modules, GPG en/decrypt and send data between different F2F servers, read and write it to disk, and to add and delete modules from the system itself. As well as being a Friend2Friend server, it has a small client that runs inside Gecko web browser allowing for a mixture of XHTML, Javascript, XBL, XUL, RDF, SVG etc. and anything else the browser will render nested into a window manager controlled by the friend2friend server.

Implementation Details
The software is split into two main sections. The hardcode (PHP + Java) provides the processing environment and the core extensions to XSLT. This provides the the environment in which the (user-customisable) softcode (XSLT) is run. The current body of soft code is geared to storing users’ basic details and friends lists, demonstrating system functionality, testing its stability, providing a windowing environment and building the project documentation.

Current Status
The project is nearing alpha release stage and we hope to have that release ready by early July 2008. A public beta should be ready by September/October and version 1.0 by December 2008, depending how much interest from programmers we get on the alpha/beta versions.

F2F is an unfunded production of a group of friends committed to releasing it as a free, open standard programming platform, without proprietary restrictions on its use. We would be happy to collaborate with similarly spirited groups, especially those interested in using it to develop grassroots alternatives to professionally-managed centralised systems.

We are seeking…

  • developers with semantic web and/or XSLT experience to help us build up a collection of basic useful applications (such as gift economy) to distribute with the F2F platform itself.
  • coders to help us get the hardcode into a form that is easily downloaded and installed on a variety of platforms. The current target is PCs, but later we aim for cellphones and so on.
  • users to test and experiment with this communication system, reporting bugs, exploring the possibilities, and generally feeding back to developers.
  • activists interested in working with us to publicise and research different aspects (technical, cultural, social, psychological, political) of the emerging decentralised information systems.

this is related to the labor exchange tool we’ve thought about for crabgrass . i wonder if there is any overlap in terms of dev effort?