Code Quality Rank: L1
Programming language: C++
License: MIT License
Tags: Communication systems     Social Networks and Forums     PPnet    

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twister - p2p microblogging


Bitcoin Copyright (c) 2009 - 2013 Bitcoin Core developers
libtorrent Copyright (c) 2003 - 2007, Arvid Norberg
twister Copyright (c) 2013 - 2018 Miguel Freitas

What is twister?

twister is an experimental peer-to-peer microblogging software.

User registration and authentication is provided by a bitcoin-like network, so it is completely decentralized (does not depend on any central authority).

Post distribution uses kademlia DHT network and bittorrent-like swarms, both are provided by libtorrent.

Both Bitcoin and libtorrent versions included here are highly patched and do not interoperate with existing networks (on purpose).


Please follow the instructions for your platform:

According to our tests, at least 1GB of RAM is needed to compile Twister.

Alternatively, you can run Twister on an isolated Linux container, using Docker. First, install Docker on your system. Then run:

# Leave out the "sudo -E" if you added yourself to the "docker" group
sudo -E ./twister-on-docker run --remote

The above command downloads and runs a pre-built image from the Docker index. You can also build and run your own container:

sudo -E ./twister-on-docker build
sudo -E ./twister-on-docker run


Bitcoin is released under the terms of the MIT license. See COPYING for more information or see https://opensource.org/licenses/MIT.

libtorrent is released under the BSD-license.

twister specific code is released under the MIT license or BSD, you choose. (it shouldn't matter anyway, except for the "non-endorsement clause").

Development process

There is no development process defined yet.

Developers of either bitcoin or libtorrent are welcomed and will be granted immediate write-access to the repository (a small retribution for bastardizing their codebases).


Some security checks are disabled (temporarily) allowing multiple clients per IP. Therefore it is possible to run multiple twisterd instances at the same machine:

$ twisterd -datadir=/tmp/twister1 -port=30001 -daemon -rpcuser=user -rpcpassword=pwd -rpcallowip= -rpcport=40001
$ twisterd -datadir=/tmp/twister2 -port=30002 -daemon -rpcuser=user -rpcpassword=pwd -rpcallowip= -rpcport=40002
$ twisterd -rpcuser=user -rpcpassword=pwd -rpcallowip= -rpcport=40001 addnode <external-ip>:30002 onetry

Note: some features (like block generation and dht put/get) do now work unless the network has at least two nodes, like these two instances in the example above.

Wire protocol

Bitcoin and libtorrent protocol signatures have been changed on purpose to make twister network incompatible. This avoids the so called "merge bug".

  • Bitcoin signature changed from "f9 be b4 d9" to "f0 da bb d2".
  • Bitcoin port changed from 8333 to 28333.
  • Torrent signature changed from "BitTorrent protocol" to "twister protocollll".
  • Torrent/DHT query changed from "y" to "z"
  • Torrent/DHT answer changed from "a" to "x"

Quick JSON command examples

In order to use JSON-RPC you must set user/password/port by either command line or configuration file. This is the same as in bitcoin except that twister config file is /home/user/.twister/twister.conf

To create a new (local) user key:

./twisterd createwalletuser myname

This command returns the secret which can be used to recreate the key in a different computer (in order to access the account). The user should be encouraged to make a copy of this information, either by printing, snapshoting or even writing it down to a piece of paper.

The newly created user only exists in the local database (wallet), so before the user is able to fully use the system (post messages), his public key must be propagated to the network:

./twisterd sendnewusertransaction myname

The above command may take a few seconds to run, depending on your CPU. This is normal.

To create the first (1) public post:

./twisterd newpostmsg myname 1 "hello world"

To add some users to the following list:

./twisterd follow myname '["myname","myfriend"]'

To get the last 5 posts from the users we follow:

./twisterd getposts 5 '[{"username":"myname"},{"username":"myfriend"}]'

To send a new (private) direct message:

./twisterd newdirectmsg myname 2 myfriend "secret message"

Notes for newdirectmsg:

  • The post number (2) follows the same numbering as newpostmsg, make sure they don't clash.

  • The recipient must be your follower.

To get the last 10 direct messages to/from remote user:

./twisterd getdirectmsgs myname 10 '[{"username":"myfriend"}]'

Notes for getdirectmsgs:

  • These direct message IDs (max_id, since_id etc) are not related to post numbers. The numbering is local and specific to this thread.

  • This function will return messages which have been successfully decrypted upon receiving or that have been sent by this same computer. A different computer, sharing the same account, will see the same received, but not the same sent messages.

To setup your profile:

./twisterd dhtput myname profile s '{"fullname":"My Name","bio":"just another user","location":"nowhere","url":"twister.net.co"}' myname 1

Note: increase the revision number (the last parameter) whenever you want to update something using dhtput.

To obtain the profile of another user:

./twisterd dhtget myfriend profile s

To obtain the full list of commands

./twisterd help

Running the web interface

First you'll need to grab the latest version of the web UI code and put it in your twister data dir:

cd ~/.twister/
git clone https://github.com/miguelfreitas/twister-html.git ./html


cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/twister
git clone https://github.com/miguelfreitas/twister-html.git ./html

Next, run the twister daemon. The RPC username and password are currently hard coded as "user" and "pwd" in the web client so you'll need to specify them:

./twisterd -rpcuser=user -rpcpassword=pwd -rpcallowip=

Visit http://user:pwd@localhost:28332 in your web browser and you should see a page asking you to choose between the Desktop and Mobile interfaces.

Different themes

If you prefer new modern look of twister with new untested things, you can try twister-calm theme. But be careful, it is in beta stage.

cd ~/.twister/
git clone https://github.com/iHedgehog/twister-calm.git ./html





*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the twister README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.