Zeropaid Interview: Ian Clarke

Hey I had some time to check up with founder of Freenet and Uprizer, Ian Clarke. Read how Ian is defending our privacy and helping P2P development.

Zeropaid – Freenet has great potential but many complain of user friendliness, will this be resolved with the release of version 0.5?

Ian – We have made great strides in user-friendliness over the past few weeks and months, the Windows installer in-particular has improved dramatically. One of the problems we encounter is that some people download Freenet with the expectation that it works in the same way as software such as Napster, Kazaa, or Morpheus, yet Freenet’s user interface is not designed to make it easy to share mp3s, as this isn’t our goal. Rather, people should view Freenet as an alternative to the WWW, which is slower, but where information can be published and consumed without fear of censorship.

Zeropaid – When can we expect version 0.5?

Ian – When its ready 😉

But seriously, we are releasing a new version of Freenet every day now, and have made it very easy for people to upgrade to the latest Freenet version (Windows users can do it from their Start menu, and there is a simple script for Linux users). Because of this, the need for a new major release isn’t as great as if we only made major releases available to the public.

Zeropaid – Is Freenet the future of filesharing?

Ian – I don’t think Freenet is the future of filesharing, it isn’t as good at some of the things that other file sharing applications do, nor is it designed to be. At a more theoretical level, Freenet’s level of decentralization, adaptiveness, and scalability are still unique among deployed P2P software.

Zeropaid – What is Uprizer?

Ian – Uprizer is a for-profit corporation I co-founded to explore commercial applications for some of the ideas behind the Freenet architecture. More information is available from

Zeropaid – The development of Uprizer seems more “corporate” than the Freenet project, if intentional why the change?

Ian – Well, being a corporation, it is unsurprising that Uprizer is more “corporate” 🙂 Uprizer is a separate project to Freenet, the only links between the projects are that I am involved in both, and both projects use some of the ideas in my 1999 thesis “A Distributed Decentralized Information Storage and Retrieval System”. Freenet’s goal is to ensure freedom of communication on the Internet, Uprizer’s goal is to pay my (and the other shareholder’s) rent. Ideologically speaking, the two projects are orthogonal.

Zeropaid – Will the Uprizer have any effects of Freenet development?

Ian – My hope is that both projects will indirectly benefit each-other, but there are no formal ties between them.

Zeropaid – Other than Freenet what is your community of choice?

Ian – I have been hanging out on Slashdot since the early days, although I am finding it less interesting than I used to. I occasionally post a story to too (often under a pseudonym), although the K5 crowd can be very quick to criticize, which often leads to bland navel-gazing stories that are beyond any intelligent criticism other than that they say nothing interesting whatsoever. I have some friends who are into LiveJournal, but have never felt the personal need to share the boring details of my life with the rest of the Internet.

Zeropaid – What about kiddie porn, offensive content or terrorism on Freenet?

Ian – If you want the right to speak freely, then you must grant that right to others, irrespective of how much you disagree with what they are saying.

Zeropaid – What is your take on other “secure” networks such as FileTopia, how do they compare to Freenet?

Ian – I am unfamiliar with FileTopia, but more generally, I have been surprised that even after two years, Freenet is still largely unique in-terms of its goals and how it achieves them.

Zeropaid – Do you have anything to say to Zeropaid users?

Ian – Not beyond what I have already said.

Check out Freenet Project here.