OFS

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I. Introduction[Bearbeiten]

About[Bearbeiten]

OFS ('Our File System') is a forums and file sharing client.

<!> The design of OFS is very different from usual P2P file sharing softwares (with iMule you share whole folders, with BitTorrent you share files and folders in so called torrents). It is focused on users groups, these are kind of forums containing messages that can have attached file(s).

Features :

  • Forums (read, write, create)
  • Forums can be public or private (the forum admin can grant membership)
  • File sharing (by attaching file(s) to a message posted into a forum)
  • Private messages between users
  • Programmed in Java, so it can run on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
  • Compatible with the networks I2P and Tor (not simultaneously)

To understand easier, read the section 'Comparison between 2000's file sharing softwares and WOT forums softwares' on the page WOT forums.

{i} You can not test OFS for some minutes, you will get nothing of it. This software is designed to run on a long time basis (several hours, or better: days). By default, a lot of datas are refreshed every 8 hours. Words from the OFS author (may 25th 2014): You cannot "try" OFS within an hour. *Press search buttons often*.

Because the datas of the groups are replicated on the computers of the users that have subscribed to (those groups), it is not necessary to run OFS 24H/24, but suggested.

Initial release: 2012.

Screenshot[Bearbeiten]

Screenshot of the tab "Group posts" (v0.8.5), this is where you can read the content of the groups you have subscribed to.

Datei:OFS group posts.png

Comparisons between OFS, Aktie, and others[Bearbeiten]

Read the page WOT forums, this will help you to understand faster what OFS is.

II. Quick start guide[Bearbeiten]

Setup the anonymous network[Bearbeiten]

I2P[Bearbeiten]

Note: in 2013, Echelon wrote this short howto (for versions < 0.8).

Enable 'SAM application bridge' in your I2P router[Bearbeiten]

This software use the 'SAM application bridge' to talk with I2P (like iMule does), so you must enable it:

Tor[Bearbeiten]

See the file 'README.TXT' however since 2014 'Vidalia Control Panel' is depreciated, and Tor Browser does not allow to replace it for working with OFS. You will have to install the Tor software (it is something different of Tor Browser).

How to get OFS[Bearbeiten]

I2P[Bearbeiten]

Download the latest version from the official eepsite: http://ofs.i2p (online-status).

If it is down:

  • Mirror: http://echelon.i2p/ofs/
  • iMule-Nachtblitz: link to the file v0.8.5  ed2k://|file|ofs_v0.8.5.zip|10120818|45B58970F06C423F1E570403272F343A|h=YLKOEQN7X5YAZLIYOQ3XQYBJG6AMH2AN|th=Cm-9zCjQS1WKwT1vVQl9T9EhDNTPllYa|/ 

Tor[Bearbeiten]

Write me !

Clearnet[Bearbeiten]

See the URL(s) at the bottom of this page.

Run OFS[Bearbeiten]

Extract the ZIP file, then to run it:

  • On Windows, you can start it by double-clicking "run_gui.bat".
  • On Linux, you can start it by double-clicking "run_gui.sh". For the first time you must select 'launch in terminal' because OFS will ask you some settings (user name ...).

{i} For more details read the file 'README.txt' inside OFS folder.

Connect to some others peers nodes[Bearbeiten]

Click the tab 'Connections' then wait (30 minutes) in order that OFS tries to connects to other peers.

OFS will try to connect to the list of known peers build into the package, and will try to connect to some dedicated OFS seed nodes to get recent peers addresses.

If your OFS peer does not get connected with any other peer :

  • I2P: As of 2015-12-21, the number of OFS users is 0, and Echelon's OFS seednode is up. In case all seednodes are down, the only way to try OFS is to exchange your OFS peer ID with some one else running OFS (read "How to connect 2 (or more) OFS peers on the clearnet or a LAN"), for example on IRC2P (chatroom: #torrents).
  • Read the section 'Comparison of the file names containing the nodes lists used by different softwares' on the page WOT forums.

How to set the software to your language[Bearbeiten]

Currently (v0.8.5) OFS is only available in english.

Important information about the GUI[Bearbeiten]

{i} Currently (v0.8.5), to display the content of the tabs (empty by default) you must refresh them by clicking 'Search' button.

The author of OFS wrote (january 2014): Future releases may dynamically update the lists, but for now you have to press the search buttons.

How to find peers[Bearbeiten]

If your are a new user and none of seed peers is online, you may get peers friends by talking in the forum 'Public Messages' if you have at least one friend using OFS.

Or you can exchange the file containing nodes list with other OFS users (read the section "How to connect 2 (or more) OFS peers on the clearnet or a LAN"), for example on IRC2P (chatroom: #torrents).

How to get groups (subscribe to them)[Bearbeiten]

In the column 'Your authorization' you can have:

  • Public: these are groups that anyone can join without being explicitly granted access by others. You can subscribe to the group simply by a mouse right click > 'Subscribe'.
  • Not Authorized: you can not subscribe to this group, even if 'Subscribe' is visible (v0.8.5). You can write a message to the group creator (mouse right click > 'Send private message') to ask access authorization (write the name of the group because v0.8.5 does not indicate it).
  • Super Authorized: you are the creator of this group, or the creator granted you his own rights.

III. User guide[Bearbeiten]

How to read a (subscribed) group[Bearbeiten]

  1. Tab 'Groups Authorizations', on the left side click the name of the group (example 'Party'), at the top of the window you now can read 'Selected group: Party (ExAMpLe)', this confirm your selection. Note: the window allow to know the people that subscribed to that group (sort by clicking the column 'Subscribed').
  2. At the top right of the window, click buttons 'Update Auths' and 'Update Subscriptions', to force refresh. Of course if among the peers connected, none have subscribed to this/those groups, your OFS client will fetch none content.
  3. Tab 'Groups Posts'. On the left side, select the group that you want to read (or post into). Click buttons <Update Posts> and <Update Subscriptions>. Wait several dozen of minutes. Click the button 'Search' to display the messages contained into.

How to download files[Bearbeiten]

Same as for reading messages (because files must be attached to messages).

Click the button <Search>. In the large area of the window will appear a list of messages with the (possible) attached files. You can right click a message then select 'Download', or open a message then click the button <Download>.

By default files are downloaded into the folder: /ofs/ofsdata/download/

{i} Once the files are downloaded, please let them in this folder as long as possible because you will help the network: your OFS will upload those files if these are required by other users.

Private messages[Bearbeiten]

OFS have a internal email system: you can write private messages to other users, and they can reply to you in private.

However this feature does not check nor display automatically the incoming emails (as of v0.8.5).

To check if you have new emails: tab 'Private Messages' > 'Update Messages' > 'Search'.

How to share your files[Bearbeiten]

You can offer files for other users too :

  • You can post messages with attached files to existing groups.
  • You can create a new group, where you will post messages with attached files. See next section.

<!> Be careful : DO NOT SHARE your private folders nor files !. However the risk of mistake is lower than with usual P2P file sharing software (such as iMule) because you can not share a whole folder.

{i} Words from the OFS author (may 29th 2014): It can take a few days for data to propagate. If you create a group, keep your node on until others have had a chance to subscribe!.
Anytime you download a file with OFS, you automatically "seed" it assuming you don't move or delete the file.
If you post a new file, it will take some time to digest the new file and "post" it. Once you do, you cannot delete or move the file from your local filesystem or OFS won't be able to find it. It doesn't copy it or "push" it into the network. It just makes it available for others via OFS. Once others have downloaded the file however, it will be available from their node.
After the file is digested and the post is created all existing downloads should continue.

How to create a group[Bearbeiten]

<!> Creating several groups is not a good idea as this divide the number of users.

Open the tab 'Groups' > button 'Create New Group'.

{i} Words from the OFS author (may 25th 2014): If you create a group, you must keep your node on until others subscribe. If you don't, when other subscribe, they won't be able to do anything, because they won't be able to get the post template from your node. Once a few folks have subscribed, data should be more resiliant.

/!\ As of v0.8.5 when a group is created as 'Public' or not (= private), it seems that it is not possible to change that state later.

How to grant access to your group (to a user)[Bearbeiten]

If you have created a group, here is how to grant authorization access to a user:

  1. Click the tab 'Groups'.
  2. Select your group > mouse right click > choose 'Select Group'.
  3. Click the tab 'Peers'.
  4. Select the user you want to authorize > mouse right click > select 'Grant Group Authorization'.

If you do not follow these stages you will get the following error message: 'Not authorized. A private group must be selected. Use the Group tab. <OK>'

A window appear where you have to select one those 3 choices:

  • Allow access (No signing authority) - is a basic membership to the group. Peers with this authority have full access to posts and files within the group, but they cannot grant other peers access to the group.
  • Grant signing authority - permits peers to grant other peers No Signing authority for a group. That is, they may grant other peers access to the group, but they in turn will not be able to grant others access.
  • Grant super authority (Can grant signing authority) - is the highest level of authority for a group, and it's the authority the creator of a group has by default. A peer with this authority can grant another peer any of the other 3 authorities for a group, including Can Give Signing authority.

Wait several minutes to let the authorization be transfered over the network.

Now the user, in tab 'Groups' column 'Your Authorization' should see 'Authorized' instead of 'Not Authorized' before.

The user can right click the group name to select 'Subscribe'.

This section is wrote for v0.8.5, and is last edited in august 2014.

The tab "Programs"[Bearbeiten]

This allows people to associate a file extension (*.mpg for example) with an application (ie: VLC). Then when they click on "Open", the program you have specified will be used to open the file. Note that the program must accept a comandline argument to open a file (ie: VLC blah.mpg).

The peer ranking feature[Bearbeiten]

The peer ranking feature is for the purposes of searching. For example, if you know peer A thinks like you do, you might give him a higher rank, and then filter your searches so that only his rank (or higher) is included in your searches. Or you might know peer B is unwanted and set his rank lower, so that you don't see his posts when you search.

Templates[Bearbeiten]

These are the search and post template features.

They allow people to add information about files that make it easier for others to search for and organize their files. They can create previews for files for example and link them to the main content. They can associate files as duplicates. They can rank files, which others can use to help their searches, etc...

IV. Misc[Bearbeiten]

Copy of the FAQ from the official eepsite[Bearbeiten]

Just in case the eepsite ofs.i2p is down (july 2014, for 0.8.5):

  • Can I back-up my files reliably with OFS?: No. Your files are only distributed if someone explicitly downloads them and keeps them.
  • Why do you call it a filesystem when it's not a filesystem?: It is a file system in the sense that it is a system for searching for files, opening files, and sharing files and information about files. It is not filesystem in the standard sense that it works with the operating system. We realize the name is bad, but it's what we have.
  • Why don't I see anything?: By default OFS only updates once every 8 hours. You can press update buttons in each tab to update public/private posts, groups, peers, and posts. After a few updates, press the "Search" buttons in the tabs to see any new data received. In the Posts tab be sure to select the group and template for which you want to see posts.
  • What are templates?: OFS allows for arbitrary data to be added in posts. Templates are a way of defining the data for posts. For example, you can define keywords or rating. Then when people select the template, they can specify which keywords they are looking for or the minimum rating for the file.

How to upgrade OFS[Bearbeiten]

  • Read the instructions in the file 'HOWTOUPGRADE.txt' of your OFS folder.
  • Faster way (not official way): the only files to keep from your old OFS version before to upgrade to a new version, are the files located inside the folder /ofs/ofsdata/ (copy the whole folder).

About the replication of the shared files in the OFS network[Bearbeiten]

Imagine the following scenario:

  1. You post something
  2. Bob downloads it
  3. You delete it

Question: would Alice be able to download it from Bob? or will it be inaccessible when the original poster deletes it?

Answer from the OFS author (may 13th 2014): Files are shared in place. Meaning when you attach a file to a post, OFS will share the file with others from the existing copy. It does not copy the file, it shares the exact file you linked. So if you move or delete the file OFS can no longer find it, and others won't be able to download.

Where is stored the file containing my OFS address ?[Bearbeiten]

/ofs/ofsdata/peer.dat

It is a text file. You can send it (ie: by email) to a friend and ask him to load it (button "Load Peers") in order to connect to your OFS peer if has no other peers online.

How to connect 2 (or more) OFS peers on the clearnet or a LAN[Bearbeiten]

Follow those stages:

On the peer #1

  • 'Hostname': enter the IP address (recommended) OR the local hostname (this can only work on a LAN).
  • 'Save Changes'
  • Quit then restart OFS (not sure if this is necessary)
  • 'Save Peer Data'
  • Give the file to the peer #2 (email, USB key, ...)

On the peer #2

  • Same as above.
  • 'Load Peer Data' of peer #1

On the peer #1

  • 'Load Peer Data' of peer #2

Open the tab 'Connections': after less than 5 minutes, the 2 peers should be connected (each one see each other).

Recommendation to organize your shared folders[Bearbeiten]

(!) A good practice would be to create on your hard disk a folder where you put all the files shareable. Then you can share files from this folder without fear to do a mistake (like sharing the wrong folder or sub folder), and without forget to share folders.

Example for Windows :

  • C:\Shared_P2P\
  • C:\Shared_P2P\eBooks\
  • C:\Shared_P2P\Incoming\
  • C:\Shared_P2P\Movies\
  • C:\Shared_P2P\Musics\
  • C:\Shared_P2P\Softwares\
  • C:\Shared_P2P\Torrents\

V. References[Bearbeiten]

<references />

VI. See also[Bearbeiten]

VII. External links[Bearbeiten]

Inside I2P network:

Downloadable peers data (nodes list):

Inside OFS network:

  • The public forum: tab 'Public Messages'

Inside the clearnet:

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