The Launcher paradox

Currently to get on the SAFE network you need to download and install the launcher. At the moment, this install must be hosted on the current web.

My concern is what if some region or regulatory body decides that the launcher and the SAFE Network are illicit/illegal software and restrict its use/hosting/download…this could severely cripple the user participation of the network.

My first thought was to have the launcher stored on the network, but in that case, you would already need the launcher to access the launcher. Is there any other way this could be implemented, such as integrating the launcher within an app or doing some sort of other work around for the method of initial entry into SAFE Network?

If the launcher or apps hooking up with SAFE get blackballed from app stores or “clear” web hosting, what other options might we have?..


I don’t see this as an issue.

Banning something is the best way to give it publicity, and if that happened, there are plenty of ways for people to obtain the launcher. Can you think of any examples where governments have succeeded in banning software, or even websites?

The extremes are places like China and North Korea, and in such cases government might well make things difficult, but I don’t believe they could stop this - software is so easy to copy and distribute offline even if online was totally blocked.

Outside of those two, it could be tricky in Russia too, where they have just mandated backdoors in messaging apps. Elsewhere not so much.

It will be interesting to see what totalitarian governments try, and how citizens and SAFEnetwork respond. But SAFEnetwork can’t stop governments from persecuting citizens, unfortunately.


A related issue perhaps is ensuring that what is suggested as being a launcher is the real deal and not also plus some additional code that compromises it. Declaring sha256sum perhaps would help… but then how to know it’s correct. Is visiting a https:// sufficient to be confident you’re seeing the right value?

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I agree this isn’t a problem with the “launcher” as itself, but rather with the distribution. However, once we have a stable version, also distributing it with torrents can circumvent a lot of firewalls already.

A highly exciting thing I see for later is have a website, which uses webtorrents to quickly download the proxy part itself (which is rust) and allows you to start it right in the browser via WebAssembly (which rust could compile to) and maybe a firefox/chrome/edge addon to allow you to browse SAFENet on any browser from that point on – super exciting!

But all that is still future thinking. I think we need to provide a reliable network first. But yeah, the thoughts are already going there :wink: .


Can’t stop it but will help offer a SAFE way to expose it!


A good example is with VPN apps. These give Chinese the ability to bypass their countries web blocking. What the government does is to attempt to block the VPN download sites. But in my experience, as someone who has often visited China, VPN services are very nimble and keep moving around, making it hard for the Chinese authorities to know where the next download site will pop up.

The end result is that the Chinese government is unable to block its citizens from using the web like the rest of us, and any motivated individual can access a VPN and happily go wherever they like.

I imagine it will be the same for the Safe Launcher :slight_smile:


There certainly are solutions, but if I am Joe Six Pack, and I have the option to download the FB app from an app store or spend an hour using VPNs to try and find a quasi-legal launcher to use to then install a social media app that is only listed on SAFE, I am certainly going to give up and crack another beer…I’m just afraid it is going to be a huge barrier to entry for the network and suppress the user base numbers…maybe I am overthinking it though…

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Joe and Jane will do what they do now and use an appliance that has the functionality built-in, and was obtained from a large, trusted party - in practice, at present, that is companies such as Apple and Samsung.

While “any motivated Individual can access a VPN” I think @mvanzyl makes a fair point:

we still should make it as easy and as reliable as possible. I think a major problem of GPG, GIT and Tor is that they are all like: here is the technology, “any motivated individual can learn and use it”. Which in reality boils down to only a very small community (super nerdy people and journalists in danger with super nerdy friends) is actually using them. So while the statement might be factually correct, it still ignores the bigger picture of real world circumstances (like we geeks have always done).

Well, Apple at their latest convention showed a lot of progress towards more on-device-privacy – but I doubt they’d accept a SAFE Launcher on the App Store.

I do think that statement goes a little to far though. Trusted party: yes. Large: not necessarily. The trust can be there without it being large – take a look at WhatsApp and Telegram. Why did people install them: because they friends asked them to and their sons helped them install it. Those were the trusted parties: friends and family. I certainly have done that for friends and family, they didn’t know what I did, but trusted me and started using it – then they started asking questions and learnt what it actually was about.

So, if we make it really easy to install the SAFELauncher and have a killer feature built in (like Instant Messaging), we need to make it super easy for those trusted people to install it on the friends and family and give them material to explain to their circles why they should and want to use it and even advocate to others …


The Launcher Paradox.

If there is ever a book and a movie about the history of MaidSafe/the Safe Network, I think this would make a great title. Just saying.

Forgive me for derailing, but I just had to say hi and congrats to @mvanzyl for a well chosen topic title. :wink:

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There’s already Linux (secure drive or something like that) on a jump drive I’d just load the launcher on that.

I would do the same, as would most on this forum, but my concern is people like the 40 million following Kim Kardashian on Twitter or the 100 million using Snapchat…people whos last thought of the day is how a technology works.

The ironic thing is that people who would benefit the most from SAFE would probably be the last to use it if they cant just go to an app, download it and be on their way…

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Well yes, the SAFE Network won’t become the #1 internet for everyone on earth overnight.

…It will take at least 2-3 days :smiley:


Not quite. The patterns of usage will be the same, but translated to SAFEness. What I mean by that is that some people will be hands-on and only use FOSS, some will use some proprietary software but will be mindful of security, and most will simply use whatever walled-gardens are provided by tech firms.

There is no such thing as a way for people who don’t understand a system to safely break the laws around that system.

You can’t safely break traffic laws if you don’t understand how traffic works. You can’t safely break drug laws if you don’t understand drugs. You can’t safely break your company’s networking policies if you don’t understand networking. You can’t safely download illegal content on the internet if you don’t understand a good bit about encryption and networking and malware / system security.

If Apple or Google Play or any other “trusted” software distributor ever started offering illegal software downloads, they would immediately become an un-trusted software distributor.

Lucky for me, at least, that’s not a likely scenario where I live. For people who live in oppressive countries, it’s probably more important to support human rights efforts, using technology and expertise appropriate to their needs, than anything else.

I wasn’t referring to them with the term “tech firms.” I was referring to whatever comes after, once SAFEnet is a large, commonplace platform, like the Internet.

I dont see this as an issue either.

Look at Utorrent, Open Bazaar etc.