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2.8 Basic Network Service

Jim now decides he will make his base revision available to his employees. To do this, he arranges for Abe and Beth to synchronise their databases with his, over the network. There are two pre-requisites for this: first, he has to get a copy of each of their public keys; then, he has to tell monotone that the holders of those keys are permitted to access his database. Finally, with these pre-requisites in place, he needs to tell monotone to provide network access to his database.

First, Abe exports his public key:

$ mtn --db=~/ pubkey >~/abe.pubkey

His public key is just a plain block of ASCII text:

$ cat ~/abe.pubkey

Beth also exports her public key:

$ mtn --db=:beth pubkey >~/beth.pubkey

Then Abe and Beth both send their keys to Jim. The keys are not secret, but the team members must be relatively certain that they are exchanging keys with the person they intend to trust, and not some malicious person pretending to be a team member. Key exchange may involve sending keys over an encrypted medium, or meeting in person to exchange physical copies, or any number of techniques. All that matters, ultimately, is that Jim receives both Abe’s and Beth’s key in a way that he can be sure of.

So eventually, after key exchange, Jim has the public key files in his home directory. He tells monotone to read the associated key packets into his database:

$ cat ~/abe.pubkey ~/beth.pubkey | mtn --db=~/ read
mtn: read 2 packets

Now Jim’s monotone is able to identify Beth and Abe, and he is ready to give them permission to access his database. He does this by editing a pair of small files in his ~/.monotone directory:

$ cat >>~/.monotone/read-permissions
pattern "*"
allow ""
allow ""

$ cat >>~/.monotone/write-permissions

These files are read by the default monotone hooks that will decide whether remote monotone users will be allowed access to Jim’s database, identified by the named keys.

Jim then makes sure that his TCP port 4691 is open to incoming connections, adjusting his firewall settings as necessary, and runs the monotone serve command:

$ mtn serve

This command starts monotone listening on all network interfaces of his laptop on the default port 4691, serving everything in his database.

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