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Wireless (Apple) Businesses Apple Hardware

Sell Your Wireless Bandwidth 57

Posted by pudge
from the mmmmm-oney dept.
BilSabab writes "Yahoo! News is reporting on the release of LinSpot 1.0 for Mac OS X. Linspot enables users to sell access to their wireless network to anyone who enters the hot zone." The software is free, but LinSpot takes a cut of the action.
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Sell Your Wireless Bandwidth

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  • No thanks (Score:5, Funny)

    by greentree (682982) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @05:49PM (#8514838)
    I'll just continue using my neighbor's cable internet for free.
  • by oacis (212298) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @05:50PM (#8514847)
    This sort of ties in with the ideas of Robert X cringely, which can be read here:

    For Love Not Money: How WhyFi can turn hotspots into a real industry [pbs.org]

    and

    WhyFi Not? - Bob Defends his Wireless Networking Idea [pbs.org]

    Yes, I realise WiFi, not WhyFi - those are the titles.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The same guy who believed that each music artist gets to sell precisely one copy of each CD they make to the 'music trading consortium' who gets to trade and copy it without giving them any additional money?

      Hotspots that die out when the 'owner' is using the bandwidth, $hundreds of millions in free hardware with $0 guaranteed return for the people who pony up.....who have to provide additional bandwidth just in case....

      He always solves one problem (screw the record companies, we don't need them) and creat
  • by Neon Spiral Injector (21234) * on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @05:59PM (#8514930)
    So they call it LinSpot, use Tux's head (as a horrific looking background tile), but Linux is third on their list of supported OSes, after Windows?
  • Automatic Updates? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Abjifyicious (696433)
    From the article;

    The LinSpot software is a free download that configures automatically upon installation and features end-to-end encryption, automatic self-updates, and the ability to accept PayPal as well as all major credit cards.

    Call me paranoid, but I don't like the sound of that bit about updates.

    • A lot of software (particularly Mac software) does this. " has detected that there is a new version, would you like to download and install it?"
      Sometimes it gives a brief description of what's new, and it can almost always be disabled.
  • A quick note (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim_F (12524) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @06:17PM (#8515124)
    Please be sure to read the EULA that came with your cable or DSL high speed connection. Oftentimes a high speed provider will prohibit the reselling of bits of the connection.

    Be aware people. I'm surprised something like this is even available...
    • mind explaining how they'd discover that you were doing this?
    • Re:A quick note (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jesrad (716567) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:31AM (#8519455) Journal
      In my country the ISP loses its right to enforce reselling conditions on the access service (or any service or product, for that matter) the moment I buy it. It's called "first sale exception", I think. It allows people to resell whatever they have however they see fit, even electric power.

      On the other hand, a lawyer might argue that I'd have to resell the entire service and not use it ever after...
    • well... technically speaking, they're "selling" access to their wireless network, not "reselling" internet access. while their network DOES indeed have internet connectivity, it's not exactly a direct resale. now to throw in the requisite acronyms: IANAL and AFAICT
  • by zpiderz (646360) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @06:23PM (#8515192)
    The article is a little light on the details, but who exactly would pay for this? In my apartment building there are about 4 wireless routers that DO NOT restrict connections. I guess no one bothered to properly configure their easy-to-use linksys/netgear router. So why pay for it when you can get it for free?

    ..oh yeah, it's probably wrong or something...
  • by Blinkslowly (532105) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @06:33PM (#8515280) Homepage Journal
    What they don't make obvious is you can only sell your bandwith with your CPU acting as the access point. You can't just setup your Air Port base station and rake it in.
  • Even better (Score:2, Interesting)

    by max born (739948)
    Why buy when you can hack for free ....

    wireless [hrp.com]

  • Mistaken identity? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GoRK (10018) <johnl AT blurbco DOT com> on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @07:22PM (#8515850) Homepage Journal
    First, the software is commercial and proprietary (LinSpot takes a cut off of your bandwidth sales), yet seems to tie itself dubiously to OSS. Although I have not actually looked at the application myself, I suspect that there are likely untold amounts of license violations in LinSpot. Read these two faq entries while keeping in mind the way the software is advertised and used:

    From the LinSpot FAQ:
    1.6 WHAT'S UP WITH THE PENGUIN?
    First of all, we LOVE penguins! Secondly, it is the logo of the GNU/Linux operating system. The 'Tux' penguin logo is originally created by Larry Ewing using The GIMP as a drawing tool. With it, we want to honour the OpenSource projects who are at the basis of LinSpot: the Apache Web Server, the ISC DHCP server, the ISC BIND Nameserver, the SQUID Web Proxy Cache and lots of other things created by motivated programmers across the globe.
    The penguin puts the end-users into the spotlight!

    4.3 WHY THE NAME LINSPOT?
    Inside LinSpot there's a lot of OpenSource software: the following OpenSource projects are packaged with LinSpot: Apache Web Server, ISC DHCP server, ISC Bind Nameserver, Squid Proxy server and several other smaller ones. With the first 3 letters we want to bring tribute to Linux and the OpenSource community, as they form the basis of the current Internet and it's popularity. Linux is the best known icon reflecting this FLOSS community!
    Also, LinSpot is free and wants to spread rapidly, just like Linux.

    The other information in the FAQ is very telling, including the telltale "Investment Opportunity" section that is present in the websites of so many dubious businesses.

    I would caution any user against attempting to use this application. There are several good alternatives that are not difficult to set up including using NoCatAuth with a micropayment system. Since LinSpot happily handles the billing of the users for you and then sends you your 'share' later, you'll really have to decide whether or not you trust them to do the right thing, since they do not seem to be forthright in their other business practices.\

    At any rate, this software hardly deserves a "1.0" release or attention on slashdot. It could likely be a scam, though I have no evidence to beleive that it is anything more than a really dubious, hacky, misguided implementation of someone else's good idea.
    • by torpor (458)
      At any rate, this software hardly deserves a "1.0" release or attention on slashdot. It could likely be a scam, though I have no evidence to beleive that it is anything more than a really dubious, hacky, misguided implementation of someone else's good idea.

      Wait a minute. Someone puts together a viable, commercial business model for delivering bandwidth using open source software, and your reaction is to crap on it?

      I don't get it. This is a great idea. It means that bandwidth can go anywhere its neede
      • He's just saying something smells fishy. A faint LinuxOne smell. Their flagship product is for Mac OS X and they're using "Lin" in their name to draw attention to themselves. They tout OSS and in particular base their product on GPLd software but do not offer either any links for source or instructions on how to obtain it. They've splattered their site with images of Tux and are a little too enthusiastic about their devotion to The Penguin.

        It's not Slashbot induced instant negativity, it's a little com
      • Great idea... (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah..since the beginnings of DHCP...

        If you don't believe there's anything shady going on look at this (granted, I've only just started, but...):

        forwarders {
        195.162.196.2;
        195.162.197.2;
        };

        What do you want to bet most people don't even check his BIND config? Further what do you want to bet that those two servers (look at their PTR records and follow the WHOIS trail too) aren't logging all queries?

        Also, before you start let me say that _I_ *am* qualified
  • by dbirchall (191839) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @07:30PM (#8515929) Journal
    ...there are a few things that'd make it difficult for me to do this successfully.

    1. My ISP wants my bandwidth usage to stay within "reasonable" limits (under, say, 40 gigs one direction or the other) each month.
    2. There are good odds my ISP's policies don't allow me to re-sell my bandwidth.
    3. The local kine working-poor, little old Japanese ladies and feral chickens that make up most of the population of the neighborhood probably wouldn't take advantage of it anyway.
    Maybe if I lived on a big street near a center of commerce or something... but I don't think folks are gonna sit around with their laptops at the fishing tackle store a few doors down and surf the web.

  • by bobrk (62170) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @07:38PM (#8516012)
    With Sonic Hotspots [sonic.net], you get a special IP number routed to their VPN aggregator. None of the riffraff get on your network.
  • Not sure I'll be putting Jasper's [linspot.com] eye catching adverts [linspot.com] around my neighborhood just yet.... :)
    • Just FYI clicking on those jpegs in the adverts link the linspot-teaser2.jpg and linspot-teaser3.jpg are not safe for work. Thank God no one was standing behind me when I clicked.
  • Hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by .com b4 .storm (581701) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @09:15PM (#8516825)
    And just what sort of trouble will this get the (many) people in who have connections like Comcast, where you're not even supposed to share within your house without paying for extra IPs (yeah right), much less with neighbors and passers-by?
  • by System.out.println() (755533) on Tuesday March 09, 2004 @09:57PM (#8517117) Journal
    ....voluntarily sharing my wi-fi broadband as an act of good will to passersby?

    At one of the stoplights the bus I ride stops at, there is a wifi network somewhere within range, and we generally stop long enough for me to get a connection, check my email, click the 'post' button, before we move on. There's no way I'd be able to click 'Pay', enter all my info, etc, while I was there - even if I wanted to.
    I prefer to leave my wifi unprotected and make sure my computer itself is secure... the worst anyone can do is put files into my Guest shared folder, and I may be helping some geek nearby look up something on the internet in a hurry.
    • ..., and I may be helping some geek nearby look up something on the internet in a hurry. Or the nearby cracker or pedophile. Well, that's your problem now.
    • My 802.11b network is _WIDE_ open.150 gigs of audio/video is free to grab via ftp. There are notices I have placed around stating that I already know that my system is open and that I won't be giving you a cookie because you were smart enough to dl a wifi and port scanner.

      Why not open it up? I've brought together all of these songs/videos because people were willing to share w/ me.

      Yes, I share over 12k songs.You won't get a single one of them if I see you are not returning the favor by allowing others to
  • by Bruha (412869) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @12:21AM (#8518210) Homepage Journal
    If you dont think so next time the FBI comes to your door becuase the latest nasty virus that cost companies billions of dollars in one day becuase your wifi was open to all.

    Dont think you'll get off squeaky clean becuase "You didnt know".

    If your system is hacked and the virus came that way then they can let you off. But I doubt that just leaving the door open to anonymous cyberterrorists is going to win you any friends in the court room.
    • I doubt you'd even go to court. If you share your bandwidth, you are in fact an ISP. And if ISPs were liable they would have been sued long ago. I may be wrong.

      Also, there seems to be a growing movement in many cities to provide free wireless access with complete anonymity. This will no doubt be a problem for the music industry as illegal file sharing will become rampant on these networks and, unlike Napster, it's doubtful the courts will close them down as their primary purpose is non infringing.
  • Okay, someone needs to point out to Jasper [mailto] (I couldn't find a reasonable contact, so I'm guessing investment@linspot.com will know what to with it...) that it's "free" as in speech, not as in beer...the whole point of the Open Source movement is to let the code be availible for evaluation and use. The GPL is copy left and this seems to be lost in the amueterish hyperbole of what could be a legitimate business model if 1) it didn't restrict the end user setting their own pricing and 2) didn't infringe / def
    • As long as they don't do a static link to LGPL'd code or link in any way to GPL'd code and don't modify any GPL'd code, they are not required to release the code.

      There is nothing in the GPL that prevents you from selling GPL software.

      The only stipulation is that you must release any modified GPL'd code used in your product.

      Apple and MS both distribute GPL'd programs with their OS and/or other commercial products but they just ensure that any modifications are published and including these individual p

      • The FAQ [linspot.com] at Linspot suggests more than simply packaging or including OSS (as Apple and Microsoft do):

        With it, we want to honour the OpenSource projects who are at the basis of LinSpot: the Apache Web Server, the ISC DHCP server, the ISC BIND Nameserver, the SQUID Web Proxy Cache and lots of other things created by motivated programmers across the globe.

        Either this guy needs a better Dutch/French/Standard German-English Dictionary *OR* all the code is hacked together and intergrated into the billing/gatew
  • While your fondness for penguins and Tux and Linux and open-source software in general is nice, I think you're making a mistake in co-opting Tux and "Lin" for your software. Your FAQ talks about the open-source software this package uses, which is cool. But Apache is not Linux. BIND is not Linux. ISC DCHP is not Linux. Squid is not Linux. The kernel developed by Linus Torvalds and others (and any OS built around that) is Linux. But your software has nothing to do with that. Using "Lin" and the Tux l
  • by Linuxathome (242573) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @03:03PM (#8524205) Homepage Journal
    Has anyone raised this issue up? Is it just me or does this look like a hacked version of NoCatAuth [nocat.net] that first serves as a proxy for accessing and paying via your PayPal account? For those of you who are not familiar with NoCatAuth, it's:

    centralized authentication code that make shared Internet services possible.

    On the wifi network, it essentially forces the wifi client to use a proxy and before allowing you to access anything else, it will pop up a web page for you to enter a login and password. By logging on, NoCatAuth can keep track of all the users on the wifi network. Hmmm, sounds a lot like linspot to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hi there,

    Some remarks that needed comments after I tested this:
    - Auto-updating is a feature that Mac people like, but you can turn it off...
    - Inside the LinSpot application directory is a directory structure which looks like a mini *nix distro, this contains Apache and the other mentioned applications, but also others such as wget...

    It differs from NoCatAuth in the following way:
    - roaming between all LinSpots (I guess that's also the reason why they have to fix the prices - but as they state, they wan

  • If I wanted to resell wireless Internet access to a neighbor, I'd just ask him to give me twenty bucks a month or whatever... then, as long as he paid me, I'd add the appropriate MAC to my WiFi's filter set and give the neighbor the WEP password. I don't see the need for any extra software, credit card processing, or anything else like that.

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