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The InterPlanetary FileSystem (IPFS) provides a peer-to-peer content-addressable distributed filesystem that can store and share linked hypermedia. In other words, it's a decentralized alternative to the web. The web is currently decentralized in the sense that anyone can add their own server to it. However, the servers themselves are often single points of failure. When a server goes away, it is not uncommon for all the content hosted on it to disappear. Organizations like the Internet Archive and Perma.cc seek to provide workarounds to this problem. IPFS seeks to solve it on a structural level, persistently building content into the network itself. As a side effect, IPFS is also highly resistant to denial of service attacks, is more bandwidth-efficient than HTTP, and provides some censorship resistance. For example, IPFS is currently being used to create a mirror of Wikipedia for people living in jurisdictions where access to Wikipedia is blocked. The Why and Uses sections of the IPFS site lists a number of additional advantages and applications. The reference implementation of IPFS (written in Google's Go language) is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Go-IPFS is free software, using the MIT license with source code available via GitHub.
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Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2018-06-01
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2018/0601

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