UPDATE: It turns out that our IndieGogo campaign isn't attracting as much interest as we'd hoped. It didn't help that Google censored our viral marketing strategy. That's okay, we still believe in what we are doing. But the open source work we proposed below now seems less likely to happen. So this page will disappear when our campaign ends. Instead we are going to focus our efforts on the more limited roadmap that we have outlined. On the off chance that our IndieGogo campaign picks up steam in the next 30 days or so, we will absolutely re-commit to carrying out this development.
Project managing a software project with open source elements can be an expensive business. Mozilla's revenue for 2012 was $311 million. Being a lean and bootstrapped project, our proposed budget is substantially lower than that - somewhere around <(1/100th). They seem pretty progressive, so maybe they will show us a little love too. Here is some information geared toward a technical audience that gives specific details of objectives we plan to deliver at each goal level if our IndieGogo campaign is successful.
An Intel based computer running our software optimised for high performance wireless networking with open source drivers. Featuring a full featured Linux distribution, it is being designed to for various programming language communities to write non GPS, indoor proximity-based distributed web apps, for end user consumption by QR code, short url, or via the UPLINK Browser. This is useful because the majority of computers out there ship with a wireless chipset that lack open source drivers, and hence are not fully featured enough to support our kernel based routing software. All software on the router will be released as open source, this is important because as recent disclosures about security breaches in the news media suggest, you probably want to be able to fully trust the software that runs on your home or office router.
An interesting property of IPv6 is that a 128 bit number (IPv6 address) is a sufficient size to encode a latitude, longitude, altitude and still have more than >32 bits (larger than the size of the entire current internet) reserved to differentiate between devices that are very close to each other in physical proximity. We think this is significant because it provides the opportunity for a routing protocol optimisations that exploit the physical topology of the earth's surface to maximize flow throughout the network. If this goal is achieved, it will give us the opportunity to build an implementation of this feature that builds on some existing work that we have did in this area.
Part of the project's ethos is that non conformity is a virtue, because it brings interesting new ideas into the world. Ever since Benjamin Franklin anonymously published the famous Silence Dogood letters, the ability to communicate anonymously has been recognized as a cherished right of free people. For example, if people would like to discuss women's rights in a country where it is deemed blasphemous to do so, they should be able to do so anonymously. Or if a politician lied in his testimony to the people's congress, you should feel comfortable expressing your disapproval of his actions and/or advocating for his removal from office. Today that might not happen because people may fear reprisals, like hassles in the airport when you travel to other places. We have some ideas that while they may fall short of full homomorphic encryption, would still be practically useful. If we reach this goal, we will publish end user software that leverages the Upliink network platform to let people publish on the web anonymously, simply and easily.
We think the way to fix this is to to publish an implementation of open cryptographic protocols so that anyone can participate in an anonymous and auditable market for computation. This is necessary because, although Tor is great, an undesirable characteristic of it's design is that it requires a network of well meaning volunteers for the network to operate. Therefore a virtue of our project would be that node operators are more likely to acquire financial incentives to participate in the network, and where computation flows to where it's (energy usage/processing) costs are cheapest. Think of it as AirBNB for your UPLINK Aero device.
Is there room for another open browser project? I guess we'll find out. Among other things, if we reach this goal, we plan to release a native JVM in our browser. We also plan to publish this software with an open source license for other browser vendors to use. We expect this code to be useful for any chromium based browsers (eg. Chrome, Opera). We have completed some initial experimentation to use an NPAPI interface to do this, however the chrome team just announced they will be removing this API from future builds. This means we will either port to Chrome's (P)NaCL/Pepper API, submit a patchset to the upstream chromium tree or publish an open source browser fork with this feature.