A workday with several Monkeysphere contributors on 2009-01-31 resulted in a significant reorganization of the project in several areas, primarily driven by the realization that there are two fundamentally different concepts on the server side:

  • publishing host keys via the Web-of-Trust (WoT), and
  • authenticating users via the WoT.

For simplicity and clarity, those two concepts should be independent from each other, but earlier releases of the Monkeysphere tangled the two up together more than we probably should have.

So the next release, version 0.23 (a.k.a. The Golden Bezoar) will have the following significant changes:

  • user interface: /usr/sbin/monkeysphere-server is no more, and its functionality will be split out into /usr/sbin/monkeysphere-host (for functionality dealing with publishing the ssh host key through the WoT) and /usr/sbin/monkeysphere-authentication (for functionality dealing with authenticating users via the WoT). /usr/bin/monkeysphere-ssh-proxycommand has been folded into /usr/bin/monkeysphere itself as a new subcommand.

  • code: the subfunctions are now stored in their own separate files, and sourced as-needed by the three top-level commands. The test suite has also been re-written to reflect the above UI changes.

  • documentation: in addition to making the man pages reflect the above UI changes, we're rewriting the "getting started" documentation to use the conceptually-cleaner distinctions above.

  • data storage: /var/lib/monkeysphere itself has been re-organized with the aim of keeping the host/authentication distinction clear, simplifying the internal use of gpg, and facilitating privilege-separated access.

The Golden Bezoar will also feature the ability to painlessly publish your current ssh host key to the WoT without needing to re-key the server. If you're considering adopting the Monkeysphere in the near future, we recommend waiting for 0.23 to be released, as it should be conceptually clearer and easier to use.