[messaging] alternative to OpenPGP?

carlo von lynX lynX at i.know.you.are.psyced.org
Fri Aug 14 02:14:14 PDT 2015

As the author of http://secushare.org/PGP this discussion obviously
attracted my attention... OpenPGP usually comes with SMTP which is
a metadata problem in the first place, so most alternatives are not
about SMTP. Outside of the SMTP+PGP bubble, I assume everybody is rolling
their own thing.. some aren't even providing anything beyond the
mere encrypted raw data and typically there is no armor to identify
some data as being encrypted. Who needs unencrypted data anyway?

I would roughly assume that...
- Bitmessage sends raw encrypted text.
- Pond could have some binary header syntax.. maybe protobufs.
- Retroshare uses PGP within its P2P boundaries for "mail" kind of messages.
- Cables, I2P-Bote: I have no idea.

> > So I'm looking for an alternative message format which: has minimal
> > metadata; requires authenticated encryption; and is trivial to parse
> > with Hammer.

For secushare we use the PSYC syntax embedded in unarmored encryption.
That means there is a rich, extensible, inheritance-capable header
format that allows to carry all kinds of content a distributed social
network needs to distinguish. The syntax is formally text-based
although it is structured in a binary-like C-parser-friendly way,
so it should be possible to use Hammer. But the existing libpsyc C
implementation is probably hard to beat performancewise. The PSYC 
syntax is, under any circumstances, at least 4 times if not several 
times faster than either XML or JSON. 

Here's the grammar... http://about.psyc.eu/Spec:Syntax
Benchmarks comparing it with XML and JSON and explaining the reasons
for the drastic improvements over the legacy standards...
Further discussion about its efficiency: http://about.psyc.eu/Syntax

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