Gnutella - A Protocol for a Revolution

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Gnutella Protocol Development

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What is Gnutella?

Simple facts change the tradional worlds of retail, entertainment and publishing; the Internet by-passes tradional bricks and mortar retail outlets, the hard drive by-passes CD player and everyone who has a connection to the Internet has access to all the knowledge, literature, art and music that society produces.

The Gnutella protocol provides a simple reliable distribution system that delivers knowledge, literature, art and music to all. It does so without need for government subsidies, corporate monopolies or buildings on the high street. There are no central servers. The network is based on peers that co-operate independently to make a library of digital content. As such, Gnutella embodies a paradigm shift from a world of corporate overlords to networked producers and consumers.

Some industries are threatened by innovation. They yearn for the good old days when a music lover had to save up to buy a Beatles album. Even though digital content requires no labour, no factories, no shops, no supply chain warehouses and no taxes, they hope to charge as much for a movie purchased online as for a DVD that is made made from a lump of plastic in a Chinese sweatshop, shipped to California and sold in a boutique on Wiltshire Boulevard.

The Gnutella protocol is all that stands between this rapacity and your pocket book. There are business models that work in a world of equals. Producers of digital content will evolve that take advantage of them. Meanwhile, please take a look at our list of servents, try them out and join the network.

What is RFC-Gnutella all about?

RFC-Gnutella all about documenting the Gnutella protocol as it evolves. Our aim is to facilitate that growth by acting as a library in three useful areas.

Firstly, Gnutella is an evolving protocol. User numbers keep growing . A network on the scale of Gnutella that is completely without central management is a wholly new development. There are no existing standards except those based on experience of trying out new ideas. The Gnutella Developer Forum acts as a forum where ideas concerning network efficiency, scaleable searches and reliable file transfer are discussed and tried out.

Some ideas fail and are forgotten. Some succeed and endure. The RFC-Gnutella web-site acts as a library of ideas that have succeeded.

Secondly, Gnutella is a global network that requires many differing software packages to be capable of exchanging, content and propagating searches. This can only be done if there is an agreed reference standard upon which new ideas are built. RFC-Gnutella documents that standard.

Thirdly, Gnutella attracts academic and press interest simply because it the protocol that is shaping ideas about e-commerce, political control of the Internet, copyright in a networked age and digital distribution. We aim to provide links and abstracts of the more interesting and ground-breaking studies.



Copyright (C) Patrick Kirk (2003). All Rights Reserved.




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