Update to Tahoe-LAFS, a private filesystem for the cloud

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn of the Tahoe-LAFS project (which aims to make "cloud computing" storage more secure and private) writes:
Tahoe-LAFS is a secure distributed storage system. All of the files that you store in Tahoe-LAFS are automatically encrypted so that nobody--not even the people who control the computers that store the data--can read or alter your files without your consent. Remarkably, the encryption doesn't get in the way when you want to share specific files or specific directories with specific other people.

Therefore, Tahoe-LAFS is good for backing up your personal files, accessing them over the Internet, and sharing them. All of the source code is Free-as-in-Freedom.

We just released v1.8 of Tahoe-LAFS. What is new is that downloads are faster and more fault-tolerant, and it supports non-ASCII characters on Windows, and it works on Win64. You should care because you want to retain control over your own data, but you're already storing a lot of your data on remote servers, and you're going to continue doing that more and more in the future.

ANNOUNCING Tahoe, the Least-Authority File System, v1.8.0 (Thanks, Zooko!)

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  1. A great way for encrypted cloud storage on a Mac is to create an encrypted sparse bundle disk image from the included Disk Utility app and keep that in a Dropbox account. You can make the image as large as you want, but the physical size of the image only grows as you add files to it. To use it, just mount the image and any files you put in it are automatically encrypted.

    1. That’s a sweet idea. I imagine I can do the same thing with TrueCrypt volumes on Linux (and Windows too, if you’re into that sort of thing). I wish I could use it from my Android phone, tho.

      1. That sounds like a good idea for encrypted backup, but it is inconvenient for sharing, right? Your choices are then to share all of your files or none of them. If you were using Tahoe-LAFS for encrypted backup, then you would also have the option of sharing just some of your files with just some other people.

    2. It would be great if there were a Linux program which could handle the sparse bundles and the resulting encryption. That’d be my one-stop shop for a secure mini FS.

    1. It’s gotten easier over the years. You should try again and if you run into specific problems all the tahoe-lafs people on the mailing list and IRC are very helpful.

  2. On Ubuntu 10.04.1:

    distutils.errors.DistutilsError: Setup script exited with error: command ‘gcc’ failed with exit status 1

    Hm.

    1. Could you tell me more about that error message? I suppose it means you don’t have the “python-dev” package installed and it is trying to compile some library. I wonder which library. Also, what CPU architecture?

      (In any case the easy way on Ubuntu is “sudo apt-get install tahoe-lafs”. But don’t let the existence of the easy way stop you from giving me information about that problem. Thanks!)

  3. “Supports non-ASCII characters on Windows”

    Hang on, you mean that wasn’t supported from day 1? Seriously people, this is 2010 – support for non-ASCII character sets shouldn’t be an afterthought…

    1. > “Supports non-ASCII characters on Windows”
      > Hang on, you mean that wasn’t supported from day 1? Seriously people, this is 2010 – support for non-ASCII character sets shouldn’t be an afterthought…

      It was tricky on Windows in particular, because the Unicode support was blocked on working around bugs in Windows, Python, and setuptools (a Python-based packaging system).

      The Tahoe-LAFS protocols did support encoding names as Unicode from day 1. What we didn’t support before v1.7 (for Unix) or v1.8 (for Windows), was manipulating files having those names from the command-line interface, which involves bunch of complicated encoding and normalization issues.

      — David-Sarah Hopwood

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