P2P is nice, it's free right?
From the video, P2P starts off being connected to a central broker server which helps negotiate network details to connect. Once the network details have arrived, each peer establishes a P2P pipe to the other peer and cuts its dependency with the broker server. It's like the 'chicken and the egg' problem - You have to be connected with a server to get a serverless connection XD.
So we need a highly available WebSocket server to be hosted in the cloud and this does not come for free. For now, Teleport's WebSocket server is hosted in a single click through Digital ocean's app platform with the free credits provided from DO. P2P works most of the time, but let's say in 20% of the cases direct if the users live under a complex network setup or symmetric NATs, direct P2P might fail. As a backup, we need a turn server, think of it as a central router that helps in delivering the files if P2P fails, which does not store the files, just routes it to the receiver. This is not free again as turn servers come at a cost. Most of the open-source projects above don't have a turn service for the same reason, leaving a section of users unattended.
Regardless of winning the hack or not, Teleport will be free to use forever in terms of unlimited file transfer, clipboard share and CLI(excluding premium features that would need funds). Since real money is involved, we have no plans as of now to run Teleport opensource. There are multiple reasons for this. Before Teleport, we used tools like Snapdrop or Sharedrop. We often just love the problem it solves and wants to use it but don't have time to look into the code and contribute. Most of the issues in Snapdrop can be summed up as it works in X device but not in the Y device and it works in this X browser and not in Y browser, in this platform and so on.
Implementing a new feature or even a UI design change always breaks something somewhere because of webRTC in some other browser and API's we use don't have the same behavior/support in all platforms. This problem is directly connected to having a comprehensive automated selenium test suite in BrowserStack and obviously. BrowserStack doesn't come for free as well it's around 26$/month. Not only that, the dev time for unpaid work, it is also pretty huge as it took 6 months to get a POC pr to be raised for a really important issue posted 7 months ago. This is perfectly explained by Havoc Pennington in his article Open source has a working-for-free problem, where we particularly endorse the quote.
We as developers will put our blood and sweat into building more features for Teleport for our users in record time and provide a reliable and quality service for individuals and organizations. We have great plans for Teleport in solving many problems in many areas not only as a personal file transfer tool but the mission is also to easily move files from point A to point B by ensuring security and privacy at both ends. This could be solving a particular problem in a video production company, working remote and sending videos instantly to peers for reviews, etc. We have discovered potential is from India where the education system still requires a photocopies for every single assignment, project or document from schools to colleges. Teleport can eliminate the usage of USB's in these shops which inturn prevents malicious files/virus being injected to the printer machine. This also introduces the convenience where users can pay online and schedule their photocopies or just scan a QR code in the shop to drop the files directly P2P via Teleport to the printer machine. We have also want to customize the Teleport to provide them some unique features including one were once they click the leave room button, the file is automatically erased from the Desktop which performed the photocopy to ensure there is no misuse of the documents.
There are a lot of places like these where Teleport can change traditional ways of transferring files. But we want this to be a tool that is accessible to a wider range of audience, like where we were using free open source tools. We will be moving/developing exclusive or existing premium features like remembering portal links, private portals, persistent push notification convenience(even if users close the app, they could join a portal in a single click from their notification bar) and more in the near future to reward the users who pay for us through the business plan. We aim at running it at a very reasonable and affordable price, enough to help us run Teleport with a smile on our face.
Our vision for Teleport is that 'Teleport me the files' gets added to people's vocab and becomes the new norm with constant help/support from the community. That's all folks!
Teleport's alpha version is up at [teleportme.in][https://teleportme.in], we have been very transparent with everything we did and we hope people try it and give us feedback/suggestions to improve. Thank you!