Mayonnaise Jar -- backups via spam

This is Mayonnaise Jar, a tool for implementing geographically distributed peer-to-peer backups over SMTP, using the databases of spammers as a remote storage medium.

MJ draws its design from observation of the fact that while there exists no inherent motive for one party to provide another with backup storage, there also exists another class of enterpreneur dedicated to reminding you of at least one form of your data, namely your own email addresses1.

By harnessing the potential of Bulk Email Advertising2, MJ couples together these observations, by encoding your backups in the form of email addresses. From there it's a simple matter to make them available on the local web host of your choice (put the words "mortgage lenders" at the top and spam the link to a blog or two for maximum effect). Within days, helpful upstanding citizens of Florida3 will start a continuous feed of reminders of the backup data.

In the event of disk failure or other data loss, simply arrange for addresses sent to your backup addresses to be piped directly to mjd. Once the backup has been recovered, you're ready to restore -- no costly backup drives, no hassle with DLT tapes, no expensive backup services. Just free backups with nearly indefinite storage -- all any sysadmin could want. Not only that, but after a short time you'll be able to buy copies of your backups on CD -- just filter out the other addresses and you're good to go.

Mayonnaise Jar is free software, released under terms of the GPL.

This program was conceived of sometime around 2000, but has been polished up and released in response to a column by Robert Cringely calling for just such a system -- though I think he might have had a different transport and storage medium in mind. :)

  1. And also how to enlarge your penis and/or breasts naturally.
  2. Doubtless you've gotten mail about it.
  3. Note: for the best insurance against natural disasters, do not use Mayonnaise Jar if you live in Florida yourself.

Devin Carraway <mayonnaisejar @ devin.com>
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