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Sell Your Wireless Bandwidth

pudge posted more than 10 years ago | from the mmmmm-oney dept.

Wireless (Apple) 57

BilSabab writes "Yahoo! News is reporting on the release of LinSpot 1.0 for Mac OS X. Linspot enables users to sell access to their wireless network to anyone who enters the hot zone." The software is free, but LinSpot takes a cut of the action.

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The GNAA Presents another FP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8514742)

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No thanks (5, Funny)

greentree (682982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8514838)

I'll just continue using my neighbor's cable internet for free.

Re:No thanks (4, Insightful)

Gropo (445879) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515181)

Yes. God Bless Microsoft for fostering a world in which people are so afraid of borking things that they leave everying set up with the base configuration.

-Posted over 1.3mb down/380k up, leeched RoadRunner :)

Re:No thanks (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8515482)

I read your email.

Re:No thanks (2, Informative)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 10 years ago | (#8538722)

Though I agree with the sentiment, it's worth noting that by default, Windows XP won't connect to unencrypted access points, and that Microsoft-brand access points are encrypted by default.

Of course, we all know that WEP is next to worthless, but having it enabled by default is one thing that Microsoft does right.

Re:No thanks (4, Funny)

Greedo (304385) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515523)

Even better: use his internet connection, but resell it to your other neighbours!

Re:No thanks (0, Flamebait)

till3y (760745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516438)

Oh the wonderfull things the News can teach us. What did we learn today kids? It's right to profit no matter who you sell out or step on

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8517036)

What did we learn today kids? It's right to profit no matter who you sell out or step on

Right, like we needed this LinSpot guy to teach us THAT, when we've had Bill Gates around for the last 20 years.

Interesting read on I, Cringely (5, Informative)

oacis (212298) | more than 10 years ago | (#8514847)

This sort of ties in with the ideas of Robert X cringely, which can be read here:

For Love Not Money: How WhyFi can turn hotspots into a real industry []


WhyFi Not? - Bob Defends his Wireless Networking Idea []

Yes, I realise WiFi, not WhyFi - those are the titles.

Re:Interesting read on I, Cringely (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516885)

The same guy who believed that each music artist gets to sell precisely one copy of each CD they make to the 'music trading consortium' who gets to trade and copy it without giving them any additional money?

Hotspots that die out when the 'owner' is using the bandwidth, $hundreds of millions in free hardware with $0 guaranteed return for the people who pony up.....who have to provide additional bandwidth just in case....

He always solves one problem (screw the record companies, we don't need them) and creates a bigger one (artists get $1 per album they release). Dumbest tech writer, EVER.

Lin? (2)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8514930)

So they call it LinSpot, use Tux's head (as a horrific looking background tile), but Linux is third on their list of supported OSes, after Windows?

Re:Lin? (2, Funny)

danalien (545655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8514956)

don't you get it?

...'small' ... 'medium' ... 'big' ?

need I say more? ...

Re:Lin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516384)

It's in their's an homage to all the free software they use for their software (apache, squid, etc). They also say they believe it will spread faster if it's associated with Linux...

Their reasoning might be specious, but at least they're fairly upfront about it...

Automatic Updates? (2, Insightful)

Abjifyicious (696433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515032)

From the article;

The LinSpot software is a free download that configures automatically upon installation and features end-to-end encryption, automatic self-updates, and the ability to accept PayPal as well as all major credit cards.

Call me paranoid, but I don't like the sound of that bit about updates.

Re:Automatic Updates? (3, Informative)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517047)

A lot of software (particularly Mac software) does this. " has detected that there is a new version, would you like to download and install it?"
Sometimes it gives a brief description of what's new, and it can almost always be disabled.

A quick note (4, Insightful)

Tim_F (12524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515124)

Please be sure to read the EULA that came with your cable or DSL high speed connection. Oftentimes a high speed provider will prohibit the reselling of bits of the connection.

Be aware people. I'm surprised something like this is even available...

Re:A quick note (1)

mattkime (8466) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515386)

mind explaining how they'd discover that you were doing this?

Re:A quick note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8515689)

By noticing that there are umpty-bump MAC addresses at your house.

Nat masking (2, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516293)

Wont the airport's fire wall NAT, mask how many MAC addresses you have?

Re:A quick note (1)

libra-dragon (701553) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518405)

Perhaps the automatic updating would trigger their suspicions. Or any frequent access to the LinSpot domain.

Re:A quick note (3, Interesting)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8519455)

In my country the ISP loses its right to enforce reselling conditions on the access service (or any service or product, for that matter) the moment I buy it. It's called "first sale exception", I think. It allows people to resell whatever they have however they see fit, even electric power.

On the other hand, a lawyer might argue that I'd have to resell the entire service and not use it ever after...

Re:A quick note (1)

sxtxixtxcxh (757736) | more than 10 years ago | (#8521044)

well... technically speaking, they're "selling" access to their wireless network, not "reselling" internet access. while their network DOES indeed have internet connectivity, it's not exactly a direct resale. now to throw in the requisite acronyms: IANAL and AFAICT

Whose going to use this (3, Insightful)

zpiderz (646360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515192)

The article is a little light on the details, but who exactly would pay for this? In my apartment building there are about 4 wireless routers that DO NOT restrict connections. I guess no one bothered to properly configure their easy-to-use linksys/netgear router. So why pay for it when you can get it for free?

..oh yeah, it's probably wrong or something...

Re:Whose going to use this (1)

iamriley (51622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8524273)


All you have to do is log in to your neighbors' routers and secure them. I'm sure they left the default passwords.

Only works through CPU not AP (5, Informative)

Blinkslowly (532105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515280)

What they don't make obvious is you can only sell your bandwith with your CPU acting as the access point. You can't just setup your Air Port base station and rake it in.

Re:Only works through CPU not AP (1)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515549)

Actually it seems pretty obvious, even this vague article mentions the software is only for an Apple based computer as of yet. I can't think of any accesspoints that you can readily install software into (besides firmware updates).

Re:Only works through CPU not AP (4, Informative)

Greedo (304385) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515587)

What they also don't seem to mention is that you can't set the price of your bandwidth. They do that for you.

But, in relation to the parent comment, It'll only be a matter of time before this is ported to Linux, and someone gets it installed on those configurable, cheapo LinkSYS routers.

speakeasy cut + linspot cut == no cut for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8515380)

so after speakeasy gets their 50% for doing billing and linspot gets their cut for their silly software what are you left with?

Even better (2, Interesting)

max born (739948) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515774)

Why buy when you can hack for free ....

wireless []

Mistaken identity? (4, Interesting)

GoRK (10018) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515850)

First, the software is commercial and proprietary (LinSpot takes a cut off of your bandwidth sales), yet seems to tie itself dubiously to OSS. Although I have not actually looked at the application myself, I suspect that there are likely untold amounts of license violations in LinSpot. Read these two faq entries while keeping in mind the way the software is advertised and used:

From the LinSpot FAQ:
First of all, we LOVE penguins! Secondly, it is the logo of the GNU/Linux operating system. The 'Tux' penguin logo is originally created by Larry Ewing using The GIMP as a drawing tool. With it, we want to honour the OpenSource projects who are at the basis of LinSpot: the Apache Web Server, the ISC DHCP server, the ISC BIND Nameserver, the SQUID Web Proxy Cache and lots of other things created by motivated programmers across the globe.
The penguin puts the end-users into the spotlight!

Inside LinSpot there's a lot of OpenSource software: the following OpenSource projects are packaged with LinSpot: Apache Web Server, ISC DHCP server, ISC Bind Nameserver, Squid Proxy server and several other smaller ones. With the first 3 letters we want to bring tribute to Linux and the OpenSource community, as they form the basis of the current Internet and it's popularity. Linux is the best known icon reflecting this FLOSS community!
Also, LinSpot is free and wants to spread rapidly, just like Linux.

The other information in the FAQ is very telling, including the telltale "Investment Opportunity" section that is present in the websites of so many dubious businesses.

I would caution any user against attempting to use this application. There are several good alternatives that are not difficult to set up including using NoCatAuth with a micropayment system. Since LinSpot happily handles the billing of the users for you and then sends you your 'share' later, you'll really have to decide whether or not you trust them to do the right thing, since they do not seem to be forthright in their other business practices.\

At any rate, this software hardly deserves a "1.0" release or attention on slashdot. It could likely be a scam, though I have no evidence to beleive that it is anything more than a really dubious, hacky, misguided implementation of someone else's good idea.

Re:Mistaken identity? (3, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518903)

At any rate, this software hardly deserves a "1.0" release or attention on slashdot. It could likely be a scam, though I have no evidence to beleive that it is anything more than a really dubious, hacky, misguided implementation of someone else's good idea.

Wait a minute. Someone puts together a viable, commercial business model for delivering bandwidth using open source software, and your reaction is to crap on it?

I don't get it. This is a great idea. It means that bandwidth can go anywhere its needed, and the folk who contribute to setting it up and getting WLAN working in whatever part of the world they want, can participate in the action of selling that bandwidth.

What's wrong with that?

Although I have not actually looked at the application myself, I suspect that there are likely untold license violations ...

WTF? This is such an assinine statement, I can't even handle it. Who are you working for, a competitor of LinSpot?

If you haven't looked at the apps, you're in no position, no, you are not qualified to raise the issue of whether there have been "license violations".

Honestly, you are an instant-negative robot. People, please think a little about your negativity before you let it take control of your mind and you end up crapping on something which ... maybe ... actually ... is a freakin' good idea, implemented by a company who ... if it works well ... deserves from profiting in the process of helping people set up public, open networks that can be easily used to access the Internet.

Especially if they're using Open Source software to do so. What if they are legit, and it does work, and people do get their share of the pie? What then?

That would be a huge win for Open Source Software, wouldn't it ...

Re:Mistaken identity? (1)

Lazaru5 (28995) | more than 10 years ago | (#8536332)

He's just saying something smells fishy. A faint LinuxOne smell. Their flagship product is for Mac OS X and they're using "Lin" in their name to draw attention to themselves. They tout OSS and in particular base their product on GPLd software but do not offer either any links for source or instructions on how to obtain it. They've splattered their site with images of Tux and are a little too enthusiastic about their devotion to The Penguin.

It's not Slashbot induced instant negativity, it's a little common sense and a keen sense of smell. Hell, he wasn't crapping on "LinSpot" the software at all, just advising people to be careful because of the fishyness of the claims and site.

Who are you working for, a potential investor of LinSpot?

Great idea... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8536961)

Yeah..since the beginnings of DHCP...

If you don't believe there's anything shady going on look at this (granted, I've only just started, but...):

forwarders {;;

What do you want to bet most people don't even check his BIND config? Further what do you want to bet that those two servers (look at their PTR records and follow the WHOIS trail too) aren't logging all queries?

Also, before you start let me say that _I_ *am* qualified to make judgements regarding this software. He isn't doing anything original at all. Combining DHCP and separate DNS space is extremely common for dividing people into "paid" and "unpaid" classes of service and controlling their access. Insight (US Cable provider) does exactly this for their cable modem subscribers. That makes this comment from his linspot.bogus root hint file all the more funnier:

; What did you expect?
; And still I'm pround of how linspot is desinged :-)

I'd say I saw exactly what I expected, and so would anyone else skilled in the art (and I don't mean any random geek who's hosting their vanity domain at home either, I mean someone with real clue).. I've been using wildcards in root hints files for exactly this type of separation for years. Hell, you don't even need BIND9's view support, just two legacy BIND servers each bound to different aliased IPs.

I'd consider it, except... (3, Interesting)

dbirchall (191839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515929)

...there are a few things that'd make it difficult for me to do this successfully.

  1. My ISP wants my bandwidth usage to stay within "reasonable" limits (under, say, 40 gigs one direction or the other) each month.
  2. There are good odds my ISP's policies don't allow me to re-sell my bandwidth.
  3. The local kine working-poor, little old Japanese ladies and feral chickens that make up most of the population of the neighborhood probably wouldn't take advantage of it anyway.
Maybe if I lived on a big street near a center of commerce or something... but I don't think folks are gonna sit around with their laptops at the fishing tackle store a few doors down and surf the web.

My ISP already offers this (3, Informative)

bobrk (62170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516012)

With Sonic Hotspots [] , you get a special IP number routed to their VPN aggregator. None of the riffraff get on your network.

Advertisements (1)

lukej (252598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516395)

Not sure I'll be putting Jasper's [] eye catching adverts [] around my neighborhood just yet.... :)

Re: adverts link NSFW (1)

HomeGroove (527053) | more than 10 years ago | (#8522172)

Just FYI clicking on those jpegs in the adverts link the linspot-teaser2.jpg and linspot-teaser3.jpg are not safe for work. Thank God no one was standing behind me when I clicked.

Hmm (3, Interesting)

.com b4 .storm (581701) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516825)

And just what sort of trouble will this get the (many) people in who have connections like Comcast, where you're not even supposed to share within your house without paying for extra IPs (yeah right), much less with neighbors and passers-by?

Am I the only one... (5, Insightful)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517117)

....voluntarily sharing my wi-fi broadband as an act of good will to passersby?

At one of the stoplights the bus I ride stops at, there is a wifi network somewhere within range, and we generally stop long enough for me to get a connection, check my email, click the 'post' button, before we move on. There's no way I'd be able to click 'Pay', enter all my info, etc, while I was there - even if I wanted to.
I prefer to leave my wifi unprotected and make sure my computer itself is secure... the worst anyone can do is put files into my Guest shared folder, and I may be helping some geek nearby look up something on the internet in a hurry.

Re:Am I the only one... (2, Insightful)

colinleroy (592025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8519532)

..., and I may be helping some geek nearby look up something on the internet in a hurry. Or the nearby cracker or pedophile. Well, that's your problem now.

Re:Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527688)

Post Lat-Long coordinates of your WiFi base station so that everyone can wander over and do any number of illegal things in your name... download child pornography, set off a DDOS attack on, communicate with other terrorist cells... and then, here's the kicker, you'll be the one who ends up spending time being interrogated at Guantanamo!

Woo! What a great idea.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540396)

I'm doing enough illegal stuff (not any of those particular things) that I don't need any help from anyone else.
And I think they will understand, if it's an open Wifi, anyone can use it. In fact, a HUGE amount of WAP's are unprotected because the owner doesn't know how to secure them. Is every one of these owners at risk? I seriously doubt it.
Is the owner (company, or whatever) of a pay phone responsible for the communications that go through it? I doubt it. (Disclaimer: I don't know shit about pay phones. For all I know they could be gov't-run.)

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 10 years ago | (#8540340)

My 802.11b network is _WIDE_ open.150 gigs of audio/video is free to grab via ftp. There are notices I have placed around stating that I already know that my system is open and that I won't be giving you a cookie because you were smart enough to dl a wifi and port scanner.

Why not open it up? I've brought together all of these songs/videos because people were willing to share w/ me.

Yes, I share over 12k songs.You won't get a single one of them if I see you are not returning the favor by allowing others to gather from you.

I see folks around who are eager to try to impress by saying how much they've found and speak of all these "secret servers" they know of. I really don't care. If you want to impress me, have the balls to stand up and share what you have. (Unless of course it's an STD, then keep that to yourself (Or give it to one of the folks who like to aquire, but not distribute)) :)

As for helping terorists and kiddie-porn twats, go don your tin-foil helmet.

And yes, I'm expecting a cease-and-decist letter from MPAA, RIAA, & SBA come Monday morning after posting this.

Sharing Bandwidth is a Security Risk to All (2, Funny)

Bruha (412869) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518210)

If you dont think so next time the FBI comes to your door becuase the latest nasty virus that cost companies billions of dollars in one day becuase your wifi was open to all.

Dont think you'll get off squeaky clean becuase "You didnt know".

If your system is hacked and the virus came that way then they can let you off. But I doubt that just leaving the door open to anonymous cyberterrorists is going to win you any friends in the court room.

Re:Sharing Bandwidth is a Security Risk to All (3, Insightful)

max born (739948) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518739)

I doubt you'd even go to court. If you share your bandwidth, you are in fact an ISP. And if ISPs were liable they would have been sued long ago. I may be wrong.

Also, there seems to be a growing movement in many cities to provide free wireless access with complete anonymity. This will no doubt be a problem for the music industry as illegal file sharing will become rampant on these networks and, unlike Napster, it's doubtful the courts will close them down as their primary purpose is non infringing.

Re:Sharing Bandwidth is a Security Risk to All (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8521800)

If it's your fault that it's impossible to track a cracker any farther than your deliberately open AP, then you're probably guilty of something or other related to obstructing a criminal investigation. At least, that's the way things seem to work these days :/

Re:Sharing Bandwidth is a Security Risk to All (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8524044)

Then why exactly haven't the owners of the tons of open proxy machines that pass on virusrs and spam gone to jail yet? It's the same thing, except the virus writers and spammers don't have to actually physically be near their houses to use their computers.

Re:Sharing Bandwidth is a Security Risk to All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527741)

Because the FBI is too busy hunting down terrorist cells and uncovering what intern Clinton slept with last week, that's why.

They can't visit IRC to uncover what illegal acts are being planned for next week, they sure as hell can't track down virus-infected users.

Crap, when I do the good samaritan thing and let ISPs know that one of their customers is infected, I always get the dead ear and the fscking dumbass continues to try and infect me for months afterwards... I swear those bastards are spamhavens and as a result they direct all postmaster emails to the bitbucket. And that's the ISP. They can easily find out which IP corresponds to what customer at the correct point in time. The FBI is a couple steps up from there...

Re:Sharing Bandwidth is a Security Risk to All (1)

chasman (132781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533860)

Of course since most of the virus writers are clueless past Windows, you can take 'reasonable precautions', use a Linux or Mac OSX machine and get off from any impending legal charges.

Where's the code? (1)

grocer (718489) | more than 10 years ago | (#8520226)

Okay, someone needs to point out to Jasper [mailto] (I couldn't find a reasonable contact, so I'm guessing will know what to with it...) that it's "free" as in speech, not as in beer...the whole point of the Open Source movement is to let the code be availible for evaluation and use. The GPL is copy left and this seems to be lost in the amueterish hyperbole of what could be a legitimate business model if 1) it didn't restrict the end user setting their own pricing and 2) didn't infringe / defame / violate the GPL and OSS movement.

Other problems: No contact information, not a real company yet (to be incorporated in Belgium)

Re:Where's the code? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 10 years ago | (#8521878)

As long as they don't do a static link to LGPL'd code or link in any way to GPL'd code and don't modify any GPL'd code, they are not required to release the code.

There is nothing in the GPL that prevents you from selling GPL software.

The only stipulation is that you must release any modified GPL'd code used in your product.

Apple and MS both distribute GPL'd programs with their OS and/or other commercial products but they just ensure that any modifications are published and including these individual programs does not contaminate their product.

I'm sick and tired of these clueless GPL nazis jumping to conclusions all the time.

Re:Where's the code? (1)

grocer (718489) | more than 10 years ago | (#8522502)

The FAQ [] at Linspot suggests more than simply packaging or including OSS (as Apple and Microsoft do):

With it, we want to honour the OpenSource projects who are at the basis of LinSpot: the Apache Web Server, the ISC DHCP server, the ISC BIND Nameserver, the SQUID Web Proxy Cache and lots of other things created by motivated programmers across the globe.

Either this guy needs a better Dutch/French/Standard German-English Dictionary *OR* all the code is hacked together and intergrated into the billing/gateway software...I highly doubt a download will yield anything other than a binary for Linspot.

My e-mail to them about Tux and the name: (1, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8520927)

While your fondness for penguins and Tux and Linux and open-source software in general is nice, I think you're making a mistake in co-opting Tux and "Lin" for your software. Your FAQ talks about the open-source software this package uses, which is cool. But Apache is not Linux. BIND is not Linux. ISC DCHP is not Linux. Squid is not Linux. The kernel developed by Linus Torvalds and others (and any OS built around that) is Linux. But your software has nothing to do with that. Using "Lin" and the Tux logo imply that it does, and that's not promoting open-source software, it's =confusing= people about what's what in open-source software. Larry Ewing probably won't sue you over mis-applying his Tux logo, and Linus Torvalds probably won't sue you over the first syllable of his name. They're not the kind of control freaks who'd do that. But what you're doing here is exactly the kind of "confusion in the marketplace" that trademark laws were set up to prevent.

Re-badged NoCatAuth? (2, Insightful)

Linuxathome (242573) | more than 10 years ago | (#8524205)

Has anyone raised this issue up? Is it just me or does this look like a hacked version of NoCatAuth [] that first serves as a proxy for accessing and paying via your PayPal account? For those of you who are not familiar with NoCatAuth, it's:

centralized authentication code that make shared Internet services possible.

On the wifi network, it essentially forces the wifi client to use a proxy and before allowing you to access anything else, it will pop up a web page for you to enter a login and password. By logging on, NoCatAuth can keep track of all the users on the wifi network. Hmmm, sounds a lot like linspot to me.

Some remarks after testing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527871)

Hi there,

Some remarks that needed comments after I tested this:
- Auto-updating is a feature that Mac people like, but you can turn it off...
- Inside the LinSpot application directory is a directory structure which looks like a mini *nix distro, this contains Apache and the other mentioned applications, but also others such as wget...

It differs from NoCatAuth in the following way:
- roaming between all LinSpots (I guess that's also the reason why they have to fix the prices - but as they state, they want the prices to go down and charge $2.5 for 2 hours till $25 for one month). Didn't test it between different countries though... yet ;-)
- users gaining access on the network get immediately the registration page when the browser tries to access their homepage (I guess that's why they use the DNS and proxy). After the first page selection, there's immediately the PayPal screen - a quick process!

And they paid my tests within a day (only bought 2 hours).

Re:Some remarks after testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8582588)

out of curiosity, how much did they pay you for the 2 hours you purchased?

Why would you need this? (1)

Zathras26 (763537) | more than 10 years ago | (#8607567)

If I wanted to resell wireless Internet access to a neighbor, I'd just ask him to give me twenty bucks a month or whatever... then, as long as he paid me, I'd add the appropriate MAC to my WiFi's filter set and give the neighbor the WEP password. I don't see the need for any extra software, credit card processing, or anything else like that.
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