"Network measurements from the edges"
As you probably have noticed, I changed the tagline of the website. From "the network neutrality bot" to "network measurements from the edges". Oh, and I also aggressively edited the content of the website. To the point that most content now sleeps with the fishes.
Such radical changes reflect profound transformations that have been happening in the last 1.5 years.
Basically, at a certain point the focus moved away from the Neubot software tool alone, and started to be measuring the internet from the edges with whatever mean, provided that it was adequate for the task.
This happened, I guess, during the MorFEO project (i.e. in 2014).
Today, preparing my talk for the (and my!) seventh Nexa conference, I reckoned that the time had come to finally attempt to sync up this website with reality.
So, what did I change? Well, basically I kept the original skeleton, but in many cases I've significantly reduced the bloat. And, most importantly, in all places I've clarified that Neubot is now the name of Nexa Center's project that R&D network measurement tools, one of which happens to be called neubot. (This was also clarified in Nexa's website and I also opened an helper GitHub repository to track TODOs.)
As said, the new content now reflects reality. In the last two years I have been working mostly on what was initially called libneubot, then libight, and finally MeasurementKit. This product is a portable network measurement library meant to support network-performance and internet-censorship measurements from mobile devices (iOS and Android). It is a new product because Neubot, as a tool written in Python, was not adequate to perform mobile measurements -- a thing that we're interested to do.
And yes this library, MeasurementKit, was significantly shaped by MorFEO. In fact MeasurementKit is jointly developed with the OONI project, which was partner of MorFEO.
Does this mean that Neubot (as a software) will die? No. I am currently working with Davide (another Neubot core developer) and Carmine to, let's say, extract the code that used to be Neubot from the ball of mud that Neubot become during the last two years of my doctorate. We're making a good job at that. We already have a quasi-stable implementation of the Neubot core classes (the "runtime"), we made this portable to Python3, we separated client code and server code, and now server code kinda works using the runtime.
While writing this blog post I was listening to this song. At a certain point it says:
"it shouldn't be impossible to use scissors if this is exactly what you want".
The plan for the next one year or so is to focus on MeasurementKit adding cool features and to maintain Neubot and engineer its code to make it simple again to do useful stuff with it. This seems to me at the moment the most rational way to move forward.
And possibly that's what I'll say tomorrow during my lightning talk at Nexa Conference. Now closing this log and focusing on the slides deck. I will likely have more to say in the near future.