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Mixmaster Remailer FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions about Mixmaster Remailers
FAQ Verson 1.7 Nov 27 1995
by Lance Cottrell

This document is a semi-technical discussion of Mixmaster remailers.
I wrote this to answer questions often asked by new users of Mixmaster,
and to explain why you would want to use Mixmaster remailers.
At the end of this FAQ is a list of currently active Mixmaster remailers.


I am pleased to announce the release of Mixmaster 2.0.3
It contains many bug fixes, and a much improved Makefile which
makes compiling a snap!

**What is Mixmaster?**

Mixmaster is a new class of anonymous remailers. Inspired by the existing
"cypherpunk" remailers and discussions on the Cypherpunk mailing list.
Mixmaster is the next generation in the evolution of remailer technology.

**What is an anonymous remailer?**

Quoting from Andre Bacard's remailer FAQ:

  An anonymous remailer (also called an "anonymous server")
  is a free computer service that privatizes your e-mail.
  A remailer allows you to send electronic mail to a Usenet
  news group or to a person without the recipient knowing
  your name or your e-mail address.

For a non-technical introduction to remailers (not including Mixmaster),
I recommend Andre's FAQ. It is posted regularly to:

or you can get it by sending mail to:
  To: [email protected]
  Subject: Help1
  Message: [Ignored]

There is also a version on the World Wide Web.

**What do I need to use Mixmaster remailers?**

Unlike other remailers, you can't just make your own message and send it
to the remailer. Mixmaster's security comes in part from using a special
message format. The disadvantage of this is that you need a special 
program to make the message for you. Once you have that program 
(the client) remailing is as easy as running the program, and telling it
which remailers you want to use.

**How do I get the Mixmaster client software?**

There are two sites for distribution. The first is my machine,
or ftp to obscura.com and read /pub/remail/README.no-export.
The other is by anonymous ftp to jpunix.com.

You will have to follow the instructions there to get Mixmaster.
Because Mixmaster contains cryptography, it may not be exported 
from the U.S and Canada. The reason for the circuitous route to download
Mixmaster is to show my good faith efforts to keep Mixmaster from being
exported. I have heard rumors that someone has already broken this law,
and that Mixmaster is available from Europe. I do not approve of this
and will not support that site.

**How do I get the software to run a Mixmaster remailer?**

The remailer software is available from the same sites as the client.

**But I only see one Mixmaster distribution?**

The same program is used for both the client and the remailer. The only
difference is in the installation. For the client you just compile it
and you are ready to go. For the remailer, you need to set up mail
forwarding and cron jobs.

**What kinds of computers does Mixmaster run on?**

Unfortunately, not PCs or Macs. But it is being ported to those right now.
Mixmaster runs under UNIX. The only machine it is known not to work on
is Dec Alpha. It has been tested on Linux, FreeBSD, SunOS 4.1.3,
Solaris, and several others. It has been compiled and tested on Netcom. 
If you use it on a machine or service not on this list, please let me 
know so I can add it.

**How does Mixmaster work, and why should I use it?**

You should use Mixmaster if you want the highest level of anonymity
available, or if your are tired of building remailer messages your self.
A discussion of how Mixmaster provides this level of security is beyond
the scope of this FAQ, but I put an essay on the subject on my home page.

**Does Mixmaster use PGP?**

No, Mixmaster uses the rsaref package from RSA. Mixmaster uses its own
keys and key file formats. To add a key to a key ring, simply append 
the key to your key file using your favorite text editor.

**Can Mixmaster post to News?**

Yes, like older remailers some Mixmaster remailers can post to news.
Also like older remailers, not all Mixmaster remailers can post
to news. Request the remailer's help file to check if it supports
posting. Do this by sending mail to the remailer with the subject line 

**When Was Mixmaster Released?**

Mixmaster was originally released on an experimental basis in late
1994. There were only ever two remailers running Mixmaster 1.0.
Mixmaster 2.0 was released on May 3, 1995. There are now 18 publicly
available Mixmaster remailers.

**What is the latest version of Mixmaster?**

Version 2.0.3 was released on Nov 27, 1995. This version uses a new
Makefile, which makes compiling it a snap. Several bugs were also fixed,
and some esoteric functions added.

Version 2.0.2 was released on Sept 22, 1995. Mixmaster remailers can
now accept messages containing multiple Mixmaster packets. Mixmaster
can be told to choose a random set of remailers to chain your message
through. It will now route multiple packet messages over independant
chains. Several minor bugs were fixed.

Version 2.0.1 was released on May 27, 1995. The only changes from 2.0
are some improvements in the documentation, and the inclusion of a 
more up to date list of remailers.

**What remailers run Mixmaster?**

The most recent list of remailers is available on my homepage,
along with the remailer list and key file for Mixmaster. You can simply
replace your old files with the ones from my site to keep up to date.
They are also available by ftp.

Here is the current list of Mixmaster remailers. Send mail to the
remailer with the subject remailer-key to retrieve the remailers
Mixmaster key.

   mix         [email protected]
   vishnu      [email protected]
   knight      [email protected]
   robomix     [email protected]
   syrinx      [email protected]
   replay      [email protected]
   hacktic     [email protected]
   crynwr      [email protected]
   spook       [email protected]
   flame       [email protected]
   Armadillo   [email protected]
   anon        [email protected]
   secrets     [email protected]
   wmono       [email protected]
   ecafe-mix   [email protected]
   aD          [email protected]
   shinobi     [email protected]
   amnesia     [email protected]
   q           [email protected]
   precipice   [email protected]

Since this is a new FAQ, I am sure it is far from comprehensive. Watch
this space for changes to the FAQ. It will be evolving rapidly for a
while. Please send any questions you think should be here to:

Lance Cottrell <[email protected]>

Version: 2.6.2