From InfoAnarchy
Jump to: navigation, search

See also: Groupware | Cryptography | Filetopia | Friend-to-friend

SourceForge: https://sourceforge.net/projects/waste/
Former: http://www.nullsoft.com/free/waste and original mirror
Acronym: "We Await Silent Tristero's Empire" - from The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon refering to a subversive, underground mail-delivery system.

A secure file sharing and instant messaging software meant for secure workgrouping or file exchange. Available for Win32 and Linux. Although an open-source creation, current development appears to be frozen on SourceForge.

The project has been called the most secure file sharing system currently in development. Its famous creator Justin Frankel garnered much of its original attention.

WASTE is unlike from Gnutella or KaZaA-like networks, targeting small groups that want to share information securely and effectively. Other services access enormous networks and a huge selection of files of all kinds. WASTE is useless to any individual machine, requiring a collective of two or more nodes with at least one behaving as a server. However, the program can be used by a single person for example in exchanging files to and from one's home computer, often through difficult firewalls.

When getting files from another node, an incomplete download from disconnection will restart automatically and reliably once reconnected, transparrent to the user.

iA testing has shown that setup can be cumbersome but the program itself is very robust and easy to use.

Redundancy / Robust Network

WASTE utilizes a distributed architecture that allows for nodes to connect in a partial mesh-type network. Nodes on the network can broadcast and route traffic. Nodes that are not publicly accessible or on slow links can choose not to route traffic.


It's open-source, and was distributed under the terms of the GPL (although this license may not be applicable - see "History" below). A server package for Linux and limited (currently broken) client/server for OS X are available.

"WASTE is a tool that is designed to permit secure distributed collaboration and communication for small, trusted groups of users." (From the WASTE "About" menu.)

Project status

As of June '05, development has been slow with the last release occuring in March of '05. Development on OS X version has been inactive since '03 and does not appear to work with other platforms.

Although classified as a Beta in-development project, iA testing shows that the available Windows client has hit its stride, not crashing once in 2 months of general use, exchanging IM messages gigabytes of files, all with reliable transfer and no data loss.

A similar software is PRIVARIA, although the project appears to be dead and iA testing in August 2005 of the program found it failure-ridden.

Security Features

Handling Firewalls / NAT barriers

WASTE requires that at least one connection be "active." This means it is a Static IP Address (like that does not change. Users on Cable/DSL with Dynamic IP Address can use a redirect service like No-IP.com points it to a self-updating address.

If both connections are behind NAT services or have a restrictive Firewall, users may have problems connecting:

  • NAT users need access to their router to set up port forwarding
  • Some firewall users (not ZoneAlarm) will need to open port "1337"

In an effort to overcome many other Firewalls issues, WASTE is one of the few p2p programs that allows passive-to-passive sharing, similar to Passive Mode in FTP.

Getting Help

Although fairly easy-to-use, a number of help sources are available both on the development site SourceForge help forum and elsewhere:


Since there is only preliminary documentation for the service, I've started on here, taking questions from an inactive site.

1. How Do I search?

You can search globally in the "browser" window. Simply type in a search term and press enter. The search is very fast and effective. Alternately, from within any chat window. Just type:

/search red

... to find any files with the word "red" in the title, and similarly for other terms.

2. Do I need to configure my computer for this program? What about my firewall?

The program itself does require administrative priviledges but otherwise is a largely unintrusive program. It can be uninstalled quickly and easily.

Most basic firewalls will simply ask if you wish to allow the program to connect to the internet. Of course, allow it to do so.

Every network requires a least ONE node that allows access to port 1337 (by default, unless you have changed this port from within WASTE). This will allow people to directly connect to you to get files, or to allow them to link directly to you. Due to the way this network works, you can allow others to connect to you through someone else (like a proxy). People can download files from you via your existing outbound connections to other servers. The more nodes that accept connections, the stronger the mesh will be and the less load that will be put on the network. This network is designed to be in a "mesh" topology, not a "star" a topology. In other words, there is no center -- many computers can behave as supernodes.

3. I keep having connection issues where it will start downloading and then stop and then start again. What's wrong?

  • Make sure you are updated to the very latest version. Although the release notes between Beta 2 and Beta 3 for Windows included no mention of backwards incompatibility, iA testing has shown problems running anything but the latest client.

4. I'm having problems sending someone a file.

Try working with your configuration to automatically allow file sends or see the next FAQ question.

5. I just posted a file I want my friend to see but they say its not showing up on the network.

By default, WASTE creates an index of all your files and rechecks them both at startup and periodically.

Goto "Preferences" - "File Transfers" - "Sending" and click "Rescan." To help automate this process, set the "Rescan directories every ___ minutes" to a lower value. However, this may slow down your computer by rechecking your shares more often than you change them.

If your files are being updated on a very fast basis and you do not have many files to share, set this as low as possible.

6. Should I use the "Stealth mode?"

iA testing has shown so far that there is no performance loss in running your WASTE network in the Stealth mode and there *appear* to be some security benefits. Therefore, it is recommended you enable this option. However, everyone on your network must enable this option as well.

7. I'm using WASTE for my friends to exchange files with friends but I want to setup two more WASTE networks. I want one that will exchange files securely at my office and another to collaborate with classmates. I don't want my office seeing what I'm learning in school, nor do I want them seeing my friends' computers. I installed two separate installations but its not working.

It is possible to run any number or more instances of WASTE from a single installation:

  1. Under "Preferences" - "Profiles" check two boxes: "Show profile manager on startup" and "Append profile name to all window titles."
  2. In the same window, click "Profile Manger"
  3. Select the "Create" button and give your profile a new name (we used "Default2" in our example)

Again, "Preferences" - "Profiles" create a new profile and follow the setup wizard as you did when you first installed the program.

  1. Once created, open "Preferences" - "Network" set the system to run on a different port (we used 1774).
  2. Give your new public key to outside users and give them the new address. People who connect to this new network will need to enter your address in the "Network Status" window with a colon and the port number. For example: yourserver.no-ip.com:1774.

In the future, when you start the program, select "Preferences" - "Profiles" and then click the "Profile Manager." Select the next profile (e.g. Default2) and select "Launch with profile." You now have two WASTE networks running concurrently.

  1. You must run either NONE or ALL networks using the "Stealth mode" option. You cannot pick and choose which networks have this enabled.
  2. Each instance of the program uses around 12 megs of system memory. Running too many networks will quickly deplete your available RAM.

8. Someone on the network has added a user I don't know personally and I've denied their key but I keep getting a prompt to add them. What do I do to stop from being prompted over and over?"

First, make sure they are in the pending keys list and auto-accept is checked so 'promt on incomming public keys' gets greyed out. However, this appears to be a bug in the system. The auto-accept checkbox doesn't prevent notifications from happening. Consider running a separate network suggested in answer number 7.

9. Can you give me detailed setup instructions?

More detailed instructions are available.


  • I want to connect directly to another WASTE user to speed up the transfer. Unfortunately, a server node is routing all the data. I can see how that would be useful for privacy reasons but I trust everyone on my network. How do I control that?

have both your keys traded and make sure one of you is able to 'listen'/has the listen port routed and that option on as well as the option to 'try to enable dirrect connections for transfers and 'try and establish these direct connections'.

  • The main window on my client doesn't appear. It still works fine and I can work around it but the problem is annoying. How do I fix that?

One visitor to iA suggested opening your accountname.pr0 file and edit the lines: net_x=*** & net_y=*** to lower numbers. This has not yet been tested.

History of the Project

The original software was pulled shortly after the release by its parent company, Nullsoft in a method very similar to the creation of Gnutella, also originating from Nullsoft. Nullsoft has since shut its doors but was owned by AOL, who maintains Winamp.com.

Released on Wednesday May 28, 2003, the WASTE's homepage quickly became an "error 404" and, as of this writing, now contains a message stating that it was an unauthorized release. WASTE was purported as a release under the GPL but its Nullsoft homepage is now saying that "Any license that you may believe you acquired with the Software [WASTE] is void, revoked and terminated."

It also said/says:

"Any reproduction, distribution, display or other use of the Software by you is unauthorized and an infringement of Nullsoft's copyright in the Software as well as a potential violation of other laws."

At the release date, a Windows client existed in 1.0 beta status. Source code was provided which also compiled with a limited feature set on FreeBSD and OS X. In a discussion on Slashdot patches for compiling on Linux and description on how to get it up and running were quickly provided.

In response, its author, Justin Frankel, who also has created a lot of great software announced he would be leaving AOL/Time Warner. In a similar series of events, Frankel created and distributed the open-source Gnutella file Sharing service in the wake of Napster, which was also subsequently shut down but survives to this day. An Internet personality even before these events, Frankel also founded Nullsoft and created the Winamp MP3 player and Shoutcast online radio service. After its removal from the Nullsoft site, it was first mirrored by other individuals and then started as a project on SourceForge.

Justin created and posted to his Web site his reasons for leaving:

"The company controls what I do with my code. In the past, it seemed I had freedom, but it turns out all of that was not really the case--rather, I was somehow avoiding the control illicitly (for 4 years)."