What is Reptile?

Reptile is a P2P (peer to peer) application designed to locate the best news on the Internet, increasing diversification while reducing censorship, disinformation and bias of the press.

Reptile is also decentralized. No single point of failure (except a severed network connection) should deny a user from quality news. To this end, we also attempt to 'bind' across multiple network architectures. Reptile runs over the convetional 'web' (HTTP) but also runs over more modern P2P architectures (JXTA).

Reptile also supports disconnected functionality. Even if your network connection does become severed, you can still read news from your local cache.

Reptile is designed around a hybrid architecture which supports the best advantages of client/server and P2P systems. For example you can run Reptile as a P2P system on your laptop. You could run Reptile as a client/server application from your home computer and access it over SSL from a web brower at an outside location. Reptile also supports rendezvous nodes which bridge this functionality with the rest of the world. For example a major website can run a search request via a stable Reptile node running on a known host (AKA openprivacy.org).

Advantages for the user

Reptile provides a way to subscribe to news sources (channels) syndicated from popular websites (CNN, slashdot, etc) and other Reptile users (your friends and other popular authors).

Reptile also provides high availability of information for the user. All articles and channels are cached locally and Reptile also uses other peers as cache nodes. If a website goes down you can either fetch content from your local cache or the cache of a remote peer.

The Reptile search infrastructure provides a mechanism which allows you to access all this information in a very powerful manner. For example you could find all articles on all known peers with the word 'Linux' and sort these by date found.

Reptile also integrates the concept of reputation which we believe will dramatically increase the power of the Internet. Users will be able to create trust relationships with fellow peers and measure the quality of resources in a distributed environment. Reptile integrates the Sierra Reputation Framework which provides a simple and powerful mechanism for measuring the quality of information.

Reptile also has a flexible network plugin infrastructure that will allow us to operate on multiple P2P networks including JXTA, Freenet, GNUtella, etc.

Reptile also provides an easy and flexible publication system for authors. Users can publish their own artices and exchange these with other Reptile users directly or have them automatically uploaded to a rendezvous peer in order to be further syndicated to other news services.

Breaking through censorship and disinformation

One of the main reasons why Reptile was created was to provide a communications 'network' where censorship, disinformation, and bias of the press are kept to a minimum.

With Reptile you can subscribe to multiple news sources such as articles from large organizations such as AOL/Time Warner, CNN. You can also subscribe to the author of a weblog living in some 3rd world country whose opinions just happen to be very well informed.

This is why Reptile is a P2P system. Anyone can be both a consumer and a producer in the network.

The main reason this works is that we use reputation (still under development) to rank the quality of articles. If someone like CNN produces an excellent and unbiased article, its reputation will rise. If they produce a biased and unfair article, its reputation will lower.

Our reputation system is still under development. The main goals are to build a system which is highly scalable, allows each user to define others whom they trust/distrust, preserve privacy and allow the rating of any resource.

Reptile is seeking developers!

The Reptile project is seeking experienced developers. If you like Open Source, understand Java and XML, and are excited about distributed (P2P) systems, please consider helping us out.

Reptile is still under heavy development. We encourage others to get involved and give us feedback.


Open Source
Reptile is dual licensed (GPL/BSD) under the OpenPrivacy Licensing Terms to provide the greatest degree of usefulness and flexibility in its use.
Java and XML driven
Reptile is a 100% Java and XML based environment. Builds are driven by Ant, Tomcat hosts our servlet environment, and Xerces and Xalan provide the XML infrastructure.
Syndicated content
Reptile is backed by a syndicated content engine which enables it to continually check for updated subscriptions and publish content back into the system. As the communications are abstracted, Reptile can support any P2P network including Freenet, JXTA, Jabber, GNUtella, etc. Adding a new network is as easy as writing a plugin.
Personalization and Reputation Management
Channels, articles and indeed all objects within the Reptile framework can be enhanced with reputation as provided by Sierra. Reputations provide a facility to enable feedback for the creation, delivery and presentation aspects of each object, as well as enabling threshold alerts and other advanced features.
Channel Creation (Anyone can publish)
Reptile users can publish their own RSS channels. Further, as part of channel subscription and article selection, the user may choose to publish all or part of their filtered feeds, creating a new 'virtual RSS channel'.
Channel Listing
Reptile can talk to RSS channel feeds (and OCS feed such as xmltree, 10.am, or moreover) and list them according to their reputation.


  • Thu Feb 14 2002 12:34 AM (burton@openprivacy.org): Reptile 0.5.0 has been released. A number of significant features have been added and this puts us a lot closer to 1.0.
  • Fri Dec 21 2001 04:41 PM (burton@openprivacy.org): We are currently working hard on a 0.5.0 release. Hopefully this will be available soon. The Reptile team wishes everyone a Happy Solstice!
  • Thu Sep 27 2001 04:48 PM (burton@relativity.yi.org): Version 0.0.3 of Reptile has been released. This is mostly a bugfix and stabilization release prior to JXTA/reputation integration. Release early, release often.
  • Wed Aug 15 2001 01:00 PM (burton@relativity.yi.org): Version 0.0.2 of Reptile has been released. This version incorporates a number of new features and bugfixes including improved OCS support, better weblog integration, and misc performance enhancements. Reputations, and the associated cryptographic support from Sierra, are not yet functional.
  • Fri Jul 27 2001 05:37 PM (burton@relativity.yi.org): The OpenPrivacy project would like to announce the creation and initial release (0.0.1) of Reptile. Reptile is a peer-to-peer content syndication engine (think RSS/OCS) that has privacy protection facilities (for such things as your identity and subscriptions) built in. Reptile nodes can publish to each other (everything is driven by XML based subscriptions) and provide a decentralized authentication model based on cryptographic mechanisms supporting the concept of Reputation. Reptile is built using Java and XML, and is fully Open Source/Free Software.
  • Wed Jul 11 2001 04:05 AM (burton@relativity.yi.org): Screenshots are now up. The best/quickest way to see what Reptile can do for you is to take a look at the screenshots.
  • Sun Jul 08 2001 04:11 AM (burton@relativity.yi.org): Reptile nightly builds are now available.
  • Tue Jun 26 2001 03:37 AM (burton@relativity.yi.org): Reptile is currently in development mode and we encourage other developers go get involved.