Folks, I am working since more than 20 years in the semiconductor industry. (Large leading USA company). We used for more then 4 years very intensive Groove. (www.groove.net
) which brings you to microsoft. The founder of Groove on the MIT, did also create Lotus Notes, a very successfull internationally linked database. I used all of them with a group of 100 people. And know all the good stuff and the weak points. And the learning curve never ends. Since Groove is with Microsoft, the acceptance rate dropped to zero. (wonder why?). I looked also into alternatives, since I see the tremendous demand of such a P2P system in a group of business people.
Groove's users suffered, because not only it got aquired by Microsoft. Main weak points have been:
- A download happened mainly from the person who started to share the file. (e.g.: 15MB * 100 = 1.5GByte)
- No search capability (a major mistake. Since computers are very good in searching something. Googles whole business is based on that!)
So, I am telling this, to make aware of the nice potential Retroshare has.
- A download is distributed and happening simultaneously from other members
- Has search
Of course there are minor differences, and many things are still missing.
Therefore I would highlight a few top things.
Someone in a community or group of people in business recommends something. e.g.: I recommend Retroshare to 100 people. If something does not work well, those guys come back to me with questions. Therfore: As long as a simple setup creates troubles, there is no way to continue to spread the spirit or the software.
Main issues I see and understand from what I read throughout the forum:
1.1. Connection problems.
A person (=User) who installs that software, is THE USER. A user has no idea what's going on behind. And does not want to know it. Therefore, connection to others must be at least as reliable as Skype delivers it. Currently the connection to other users does not even work when not behind a firewall. A simple NAT and router prevents a connection.
Nobody in the industry touches the firewall and wants to change it. Unless you are Mr. Microsoft and talk to the CEO of an organisation. Connections have to run through a firewall without changing them. Current situation is: I did not get it to work behind a firewall. No DHT connection behind a firewall. (and our firewall is not so strict like others. At least skype works, Groove did work behind the firewall)
The DHT server is 90% of time not reachable in retroshare. I did not set port forwarding in the router. And not connected behind the firewall.
1.4. Port Forwarding
For those who are not behind a firewall (I talk about company firewalls), port forwarding is required to see DHT servers. That's a very unacceptable thing in industry. Nobody touches a router and turns on port forwarding. Some smaller companies might do it. But those who are beyond 20 people, no way.
So, all above things are killer phrases for retroshare. And those are in my eyes the top priority issues.
However, I just like to highlight those to allow you for further judging what to do next.
I have more then 20 other important things in mind, to make Retroshare a usefull software with real good worldwide usage. But that can be done only by time, and small improvements. Most of the points are of minor issue.
2. Other improvements - just a few ideas. (2 out of many)
File sharing and messaging.
Picture this: In an organisation and the todays complex world, document sharing is top important. e.g. a Word document to generate a documentation about xyz product.
If Retroshare has an option to turn on "AUTOSHARING" that would be Phantastic!! If for example a person places a new file into a folder which is already shared, that file should get transmitted to the FRIENDS automatically. People are lazy and have too many things to do. Autosharing helps, in carrying the information in a laptop without the need to download it explicitly.
When Friend1 asks Friend2: "I am looking for document abc.doc, do you have such?" Friend2 can send a message then. And in the message drag-dops the "LINK" of the Shared file. So the receiver gets a message with a virtual file attachment. That attachment is just the link to the file he already has downloaded (if Autoshare exists)
That way people get nearly "Instantly" what they are looking for. And this way you give an organisation the power to help and drive their business.
So, the final question is here: What sort of users is your target? Private or Industrial, or both?
If you have industrial usage as one of your goals, please bare in mind to fix above points (1.- 1.4.) first. Then you will earn participants who carry this tool to other people, groups and organisations.
I do not want to be offensive, that was not in my mind. What you did, is very good, and comes close to what already existed. Keep the GPL model. Otherwise you see what happens to good tools (Groove == Microsoft).
A good sharing and communication tool seeds the evolution and technology
With kind regards