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GNUnet logo.svg
Developer(s) GNUnet developers
Initial release November 6, 2001
Stable release 0.8.1 / 2009-12-29; 17 days ago
Written in C
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Anonymous P2P, Friend-to-friend
License GNU General Public License

GNUnet is a free software framework for decentralized, peer-to-peer networking. The framework offers link encryption, peer discovery and resource allocation.

The primary codebase is written in C, but with Freeway there is an effort to produce a compatible version written in Java. GNUnet currently runs on Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, Solaris and Windows.

It is an official part of the GNU project.


Services running on GNUnet


File sharing

The primary application at this point is anonymous, censorship-resistant file-sharing, allowing users to anonymously publish or retrieve information of all kinds.

The file sharing service uses GNUnet's anonymity protocol for routing queries and replies. Forwarded query messages are used to search for content and blocks of data. Depending on load of the forwarding node, messages are forwarded to 0 or more nodes. When a node is under stress it drops requests from its neighbor nodes having lower internal trust value.

GNUnet offers a "F2F topology" option for restricting connections to only your trusted friends. Then your friends' own friends (and so on) can indirectly exchange files with your computer, never using your IP address.


GNUnet uses Uniform Resource Identifiers (not approved by IANA). The URI notation has changed along with new GNUnet versions. The following notation is used since version 0.7.0.

The GNUnet URIs consist of two major parts: the module and the module specific identifier. A GNUnet URI is of form gnunet://module/identifier where module is the module name and identifier is a module specific string.

The ECRS module

Files shared with GNUnet are ECRS (An Encoding for Censorship-Resistant Sharing) coded. The ecrs module identifier consists of either chk, sks, ksk or loc followed by a slash and a category specific value.

  • chk identifies files, typically: gnunet://ecrs/chk/[file hash, using 0-9A-V].[query hash, using 0-9A-V].[file size in bytes]
  • sks identifies files within namespaces, typically: gnunet://ecrs/sks/NAMESPACE/IDENTIFIER
  • ksk identifies search queries, typically: gnunet://ecrs/ksk/KEYWORD[+KEYWORD]*
  • loc identifies a datum on a specific machine, typically: gnunet://ecrs/loc/PEER/QUERY.TYPE.KEY.SIZE


A type of GNUnet filesharing URI pointing to a specific copy of GNU GPL license text:


Another type of GNUnet filesharing URI, pointing to the search results of a search with keyword "gpl":



A trivial chat module has been implemented more as a test than as a serious application, but it is usable.

See also

External links


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