Yearly Archive for 2012

Project Byzantium is an Access Innovation Prize finalist!

Earlier this year, Project Byzantium submitted an entry for the 2012 Access Innovation Prize, an initiative to award five $20,000us grants to accelerate projects working in several problem spaces. These problem spaces are defined as making networks resilient to blackouts (including power and connectivity disruptions), making strong crypto easy to use by everyone, a bounty on a working fix for a vulnerability that affects software used by activists and/or defenders of human rights, a system for making Facebook an easier to use platform for the social good, and the Golden Jellybean Award for advancing communication technologies to promote and enable human rights.  Project Byzantium’s application was for the Blackout Resilience category.  We were recently notified that we are a finalist in this category, and have been invited to New York to attend the awards ceremony on 10 December 2012.  We are honored to have been selected as finalists, and will be in attendence.

Project Byzantium asked to assist in relief efforts.

Early last week, the Project Byzantium development team was contacted by the organizers of relief efforts in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.  We were asked to assist in the construction of a wireless mesh network to aid in relief efforts.  Toward that end, we spent the week assembling an even tinier version of Byzantium Linux which requires almost no user interaction (only to boot the machine) and full compatibility with the Commotion Wireless firmware.  If you would like to preview this functionality you can download the .xzm modules from here, insert them into a copy of Porteus Linux v1.2, and test it for yourself.

During our time in Red Hook we assisted in the installation of a 15 megabit satellite uplink to the global Net and helped grow a burgeoning community wireless network to help provide telecommunications necessary for ongoing relief efforts.

Ben the Pyrate wrote a brief summary of our time in New York City.  The Doctor posted his own writeup a short time later, followed by some photographs he’d taken while on site.

Project Byzantium has been invited to attend IS4CWN

Project Byzantium has been invited to attend and present at the Internation Summit for Community Wireless Networks in Barcelona, Spain (4-7 October 2012).  In addition to meeting with hackers and engineers constructing community networks around the world (from Montreal to Germany to the United States), the team’s proposal for a talk about moving toward interoperability (or at least identification of capabilities of detected networks) has been accepted.  The team will be presenting on Friday afternoon.

We hope to see you in Spain!

Project Byzantium at FOSScon 2012!

On Saturday, 11 August 2012 the Project Byzantium dev team will be presenting at FOSScon about the Project.  We’ll be on stage in Linode Hall at 1520 hours EST5EDT.  Earlier that day we’ll be giving away copies of Byzantium Linux v0.2a and running workshops on how to use it.

We can’t wait to meet you in Philadelphia!

Announcing the release of Byzantium Linux v0.2a (codename: Bath Salts)

Good news everybody!

We’re finially recovering from all the excitement and lack of sleep that was HOPE. So we know this announcment is a little late, since we already did this on stage on Saturday, but better late than never.

The whole team, as well as our very dedicated supporters, is proud to officially announce the public release of Byzantium Linux V0.2a. You can find the download links on our website (http://project-byzantium.org) as well as on several popular torrent trackers. We also have a few of the printed CDs left over (and more on the way) which are available upon request.

We have code-named this release “Bath Salts” as a reference to the drug which was originally reported to be responsible for several zombie-like cannibal attacks.

Please help us distribute this release announcment far and wide. The official text is included below.

Thank you all,
Ben the Pyrate

==

ANNOUNCING BYZANTIUM LINUX V0.2a (Bath Salts)
Approved for: GENERAL RELEASE, DISTRIBUTION UNLIMITED

Project Byzantium, a working group of HacDC (http://hacdc.org/) is proud to announce the release of v0.2 alpha of Byzantium Linux, a live distribution of Linux which makes it fast and easy to construct an ad-hoc wireless mesh network which can augment or replace the current telecommunications infrastructure in the event that it is knocked offline (for example, due to a natural disaster) or rendered untrustworthy (through widespread surveillance or disconnection by hostile entities).  Byzantium Linux is designed to run on any x86 computer with at least one 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless interface.  Byzantium can be burned to a CD- or DVD-ROM (the .iso image is around 460 megabytes in size), booted from an external hard drive, or can even be installed in parallel with an existing operating system without risk to the user’s data and software.  Byzantium Linux will act as a node of the mesh and will automatically connect to other mesh nodes and act as an access point for wifi-enabled mobile devices.

THIS IS AN ALPHA RELEASE!  Do NOT expect Byzantium to be perfect.  Some features are not ready yet, others need work.  Things are going to break in weird ways and we need to know what those ways are so we can fix them.  Please, for the love of LOLcats, do not deploy Byzantium in situations where lives are at stake.

FEATURES:
– – Binary compatible with Slackware-CURRENT.  Existing Slackware packages can be converted with a single command.
– – Can act as a gateway to the Internet if a link is available (via Ethernet or tethered smartphone).
– – Linux kernel v3.1.8
– – Drivers for dozens of wireless chipsets
– – KDE Trinity v3.5.12
– – LXDE (2010 release of all components)
– – Mplayer
– – GCC v4.5.2
– – Perl v5.12.3
– – Python v2.6.6
– – Firefox v4.0.1
– – X.org
– – Custom web-based control panel

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (to use)
– – Minimum of 1GB of RAM (512MB without copy2ram boot option)
– – i586 CPU or better
– – CD- or DVD-ROM drive
– – BIOS must boot removable media
– – At least one (1) 802.11 a/b/g/n interface

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (for persistent changes)
– – The above requirements to use Byzantium
– – 2+GB of free space on thumbdrive or harddrive

WHAT WE NEED:
– – Developers.
– – Developers!
– – DEVELOPERS!
– – No more Bill Ballmer impersonations.
– – People running Byzantium to find bugs.
– – People reporting bugs on our Github page (https://github.com/Byzantium/Byzantium/issues).  We can’t fix what we don’t know about!
– – Patches.
– – People booting Byzantium and setting up small meshes (2-5 clients) to tell us how well it works for you with your hardware.  We have a hardware compatibility list on our wiki that needs to be expanded.
– – Help translating the user interface.  We especially need people fluent in dialects of Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu.
– – Help us write and translate documentation.

Homepage: http://project-byzantium.org/

Download sites: http://project-byzantium.org/download/

This announcement is published under a Creative Commons By Attribution / Noncommercial / Share Alike v3.0 License. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/)

 

Project Byzantium at HOPE Number 9

The Project Byzantium team will present at Hope Number 9. Be sure to catch our presentation Saturday at 7:00pm EST in the Sassaman Room.  If you can’t attend, the presentations will be livestreamed from the Hotel Pennsylvania; details to follow.  Also look for the team in the hackerspace village at 8:00pm EST (immediately following the presentation), where the team will be handing out copies of v0.2a for a live demonstration on the mezzanine.  We hope to build the biggest Byzantium mesh yet at HOPE Number Nine!

Update: Here’s our slide deck (Powerpoint) (PDF) from HOPE Number 9.

Update: You can download a video of our presentation here.

Carolina Con 8 Presentation Available

The Project Byzantium team pesented at CarolinaCon 8.  You can watch it online here (part 1, part 2), and you can download a full video of the presentation here.  You can also download our slides as a Powerpoint deck.