Welcome to the Website of the project p2pMail. Nowadays loads of communication happens over the internet. There are blogs and forums where you can post your ideas and talk to other people. You can even post anonymously by using the tor network, but still the hoster of the website cannot be anonymous.
This is the same for email. You may be able to hide your identity behind an email-address, but you are still dependent on your email-provider. This email provider may be forced by law to register your name and all the people you've send emails to - so gone will be your anonymity. p2pMail tries to find a way around this issue.
You all know filesharing networks like BitTorrent or eMule which are hated by the Music Industry because they are so hard to control. In these systems there is no essential central server that can be shut down to collapse the network. Why isn't such a server needed? The clients establish the connections between themselves directly using peer-to-peer network.
p2pMail basically works the same way. If you send an email to A, this email is not send to a server to be stored, but it is send to some nodes in the network close to A or even directly to A, if A is online. If A was offline and gets online A can ask the nodes close to her, if they have stored mails for her. If the mail is send to enough nodes close to A (about 20) the probability is very high, that one of those nodes is still on, when A comes and thus A will receive her email. Combined with a bit of encryption this should be a pretty secure and independent way to send emails.
There is one attack method though, for which I wasn't able to find a solution yet: All routing is done throught the neighbours, so if an attacker spawns lots of clients close to some user, the attacker will affectably be controlling the storage of mail for the user (though he will not be able to read it).
For a detailed description go here and for javadoc here. There is also a feature list and here you will be able to find test-Case results.
To not get stuck in some structural back alley with this project, help from you is needed! Everybody looking at the project and adding his/her ideas will help get this project well structured and able to survive in the future.
This project is still in it's pre-Alpha phase and there may even be some changes in the communication between the nodes or other essential parts. So it might not work with later versions. Additionally it currently works in pure Ram, so no files are stored to remember informations between sessions and even your encryption keypair will be regenerated every time you start p2pMail.