PSST II

Big Frustration for Big Brother

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Introduction

Hi everyone, and welcome to the 21st Century.

Don't ya just LOVE (not!) the way our governments are stripping away our freedoms?

Well I for one am voluntarily choosing not to buy in to the new reality of a terrorist under every bed and a child pornographer behind every rose-bush.

Nor am I buying in to this new mind-set that everyone's a terrorist unless proven otherwise.

And I'm also not buying this trip from Dubbya and crew who think that unless every aspect of everyone's life gets logged to central US Govt databases and scrutinised by every government official right down to the janitor, then we'll wake up to Sep 11-style attacks every Tuesday around lunchtime.

Gee, I guess that makes me a subversive!

Or worse,

terrorist, n:

An individual who wilfully refuses to accept, as self-evident truth, the tenet that the USA (led by Republican-controlled executive/legislature/judiciary) possesses the divine right to monitor and control all governments, commerce, media, activity, communication, expression and beliefs throughout the entire human species, and to assert this control by military force as it so desires.

What is PSST?

PSST started out as a small instant messaging program for Windows and Linux.

What, yet another chat program?

Well, very few of the chat programs have built-in encryption. Which means that anyone with a bit of goverment pull who doesn't like your opinions can get a court order for your ISP to log your internet traffic, and ban this ISP from notifying you. And then get access to all your internet activity - all your text chat, your web surfing, your email - everything.

I looked at a few encryption programs, but on the whole they proved to be very complicated, as if their authors had no concept of the average user's skill set. Some of these programs were so fiddly that one almost needs to be a programmer to set them up and use them.

So there was a huge gap, and a crying need for software which provides strong encryption but supports ease and convenience of use.

Hence came PSST. A simple 1-to-1 chat program, written in Forth, which took care of all the key generation and session establishment/management.

PSST went down well with users, but development stalled - mainly because of my choice of language. Forth is great for creating small standalone programs, but as a language it totally sucks for any decent application. It's just a couple of steps above assembler. So I've since switched to Python, which in comparison to Forth, C/C++, Java, Pascal etc is sheer programming heaven. And, it allows for portable code that will run on  virtually all known platforms, and can be packaged into standalone binaries on Windoze systems.

What's New in PSST II?

Here's just a few of the new features you'll find in PSST II:
And the catch?

A price of switching to Python is that PSST has lost its anorexic (64k) footprint.
PSST II now weighs in at around 12MB all up.
It can no longer be run from a floppy disk, but it can be burned onto a mini pocket-size CD along with your contacts' key files, and used from any computer.

License

All versions released as fully open source, under the GNU General Public License.

Legal Points

Notes Regarding Government Attack

If you are concerned that officials in your country may demand encryption keys, you can protect yourself very simply as follows:
I hope soon to add a feature to PSST to make the change of private keys as automatic and painless as possible.

Development Status

Currently Pre-Alpha - first round of Alpha testing commencing soon

Expected Release

Hoping to release first beta version before end of April

Development Roadmap

To be announced


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