Upspin part 1: My $HOME
Dec 2017    |    upspin  


Background

For some time I imagined a world where all I’d need to access my data was something, be it a laptop, cellphone or embedded microchip, that would authenticate me and grant access to all data available to me. In this world I could bring said authentication anywhere, e.g., a library or Chiba City, and start accessing data with whatever tools available. Imagine a keyboard, mouse and monitor at the library or tablet at an airport.

Once authenticated such a system would allow “mounting” data from the cloud to whatever my current device was. No matter the hardware I’d always be accessing the same data. As a user it would feel as if the data was local to that device, i.e., my cloud data mounted locally, my $HOME.

The data itself would be:

  1. encrypted
  2. live in the cloud
  3. be vendor agnostic
  4. accessible 247

No longer would I concern myself with “transferring” a notes.txt file saved locally on device A to device B, or “downloading” a large folder composed of videos onto a USB to share with friends. It’s beyond the scope of this post to highlight the shortcomings of modern-day cloud storage systems within the context of this idea.

The point is simplicity, in addition to the above.

This has been on my mind for some time. So when I heard about an experimental project called Upspin I was immediately intrigued.

Data should simply be available to any program with authenticated access rights. And of course for any person with those rights

… from The Upspin manifesto: On the ownership and sharing of data.

That vision closely resembles, on some level, the abstract system I’ve been envisioning. I could go into more detail, but I feel comfortable pointing the reader at the above manifesto, as Rob did a fine job articulating what we used to have, where we are now and why we need a system such as Upspin. For a more detailed overview also see the Upspin Overview

Some useful resources:

Subsequent posts will cover:

augieAugie is the Upspin mascot, designed by Renee French.