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The Gnutella Paradox 119

bemis writes "Red Herring is running an article about Gnutella and how its success may ultimately cripple it ... also covers the background for the uninitiated (like much of the 'management-types' that read RedHerring) of Gnutella, and Nullsoft itself." The article covers a lot of ground and is worth a read.
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The Gnutella Paradox

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  • i would much rather see DNS modelled after Gnutella. Power is too centralized in the DNS system right now.

    The problem is that, for something as basic and common as DNS, using something as bandwidth-intensive as gnutella would be a truly stupid mistake, so some sort of caching would have to be added to the system.

  • How about 'has crippled it'? I dunno about the rest of you, but I haven't been able to use Gnutella for a few weeks with any success. The ping-flood problem has taken its toll.. I'm waiting for GnutellaNP protocol though. Hopefully it will follow a more stable network design.

    Personally, I'm all for a dynamically-hierachial-by-line-speed design, with OCx/Txs service cable/dsl, serving a pool of modems.. Gnutella has always mirrored the internet in principal, and it's about time it started to mirror the internet physically, or it will never recover.

  • The problem is that gnutella is very stoppable if no one wants to use it. Everybody is scrambling right now to find a replacement for Napster. Something that everyone can flock to the day Napster is shut down in court. All the college kids who are competent with windows but just aren't interested in going further with their computers. The majority of people who use Napster now have probably never heard of gnutella, and probably wouldn't be bothered to set it up. (Huh? I don't get doesn't connect automatically! Forget it...)

    I honestly thought the problem with gnutella was just wouldn't work well on 56k. Well, I just had my cable modem installed, and i went to gnutella...and it's still no good. I got 10 connections going and put in a search for metallica(someone has to have metallica, right?). Five minutes later, *nothing*. It's all well and good that it's an experiment, but Napster may not have much time left, and 90% of Napster users aren't gonna mess around with something that isn't completely working yet. (OK, Napster is in beta right now, but i question their versioning scheme.) And worst of all, gnutella isn't visibly should be open source, with a CVS, and should have new versions coming out all the time, *fixing* the problems that people complain about instead of just being some mystery.

    If you're designing a distributed searchable peer-to-peer file sharing system, and you want it to change the world, you need to make it appeal to the people who don't care about the philosophy behind it, and just want it to work. I had high hopes for gnutella, but the bottom line is, when i want to find a song, I go to napster. It's just easier that way.

  • Isn't it obvious that the best benefit of using something like Gnutella is the possibility of setting up "private" Gnutella nets?

    Not really, IMHO. The good thing about file sharing systems is that you can join and immediately start becoming a member, sharing and getting something back. Private networks involve a lot of 'manual' human interaction, getting to know people in chats, via email etc. to develop trust and (personal) connection. That time is something not everyone is willing to invest.
  • Of course, this would be a problem, IF all the root servers were based at NSI, or even in the United States.

    However, with the global nature of the Internet in mind, it would be more than likely that a fair amount of the "root" servers would be located outside the legal jurisdiction of the United States. Perhaps place one or two in Sealand? Besides, although the system is similar to Napster in a few critical ways, you have to remember that theoretically, it would not be controlled by any central body, and the root servers are only providing a redirection service to other servers that do essentially the same thing. I believe that this practice would fall under the catagory of "deep linking", and if a law that banned deep linking were allowed, well, I believe we've seen that discussion on Slashdot before [].

  • "Consider this: file-sharing systems work best when they reach critical mass -- only once they have a significant number of users is it likely that someone out there will have the file you want. That's why Napster has continued to grow; with 30 million users, the odds are in your favor that one or two of them will have what you need. But as soon as a file-sharing system has critical mass, it's big enough and threatening enough to become the copyright protectorate's next legal target...

    Whoa! Critical mass? Threatening? Target?

    This sounds more like a plan to build a thermonuclear device with intent to obliterate the RIAA. Geeze, if this article isn't stealthily inflammatory, I don't know what is.

    Good thing it's not us on the wrong side of the cannon, though.

  • No, its not a bad analogy, /.ers just don't understand that ripping off a company just because they think the company is ripping off the artist (meaning the artists is getting ripped off twice) should be common pracitice, cause like infermation wuntz 2 B free.

    I know artists on both sides of the fence. Some are great musicians, but horrid horrid businessmen. These folks need the traditional distribution schemes...their music would never be heard if it were not for big media companies. I know other folks that deal with their music online, started their own lables and make most of their money from touring and selling their discs on tour. An $8 disc bought from these guys have a hell of a lot more profit potential for these guys than the $16 discs you'll buy from Best Buy (heh...I haven't bought anything in a record store in over a year so I don't really know if this is the correct pricing). Then again, there are artists like myself that could care less about the whole money aspect of music as we have great day jobs that allow for the fact that our music is so far from the commerical aspect that we don't even worry if we will ever sell anything :)

    The fact is it is not our right to say how someone elses wants their art distributed. If you don't like paying the price for the RIAA crap, just don't listen to it.

  • Hey,

    Nothing will kill Gnutella off any faster than if they implemented this.

    Sure, but wouuld I personally be any worse off? All it would mean for people with slow connections is they would have to keep the files they downloaded shared - most people wouldn't want to download from a 56k modem when there are faster servers out there, which there are.

    They'd quickly move to a different theft device if this were ever implemented.

    So there would be less people downloading files without making any availiable. Boo effinging hoo. I hardly think that makes the service dead. I think it makes if faster and better for 'honest' users. Which would be the aim.


    ...another comment from Michael Tandy.

  • I think these p2p file sharing solutions would benefit if they based on an older paradigm, indexed search engines and FTP. The p2p client/server would simple be a search index exchange. The function of the p2p app would be like talking about file exchange, but not actualy doing the exchange. Then, the actual exchange of data could be executed over FTP, or even HTTP. FTP, of course, has deep business root, and many, many, diferent clients and servers. In fact, even Microsoft as provided the client to every Windows user. HTTP is provided with Personal Web Server too. The legal angle of this exchange paradigm would be like taking on the whole world wide web. Hmmm, I think I have a new program to write now. Chew on that one, RIAA (and Metalica)
  • This was my thought too... Napster is banned where I am, so I use Napigator and various OpenNap/MyNapster servers. If Napster dies, I can keep on just as I have been for the last year.

    The thing is, there are like 50 servers listed in Napigator. Shutting down 50 servers wouldn't be much of a chore. If it becomes illegal to run an OpenNap server, we're in trouble again.

  • Why don't you go back and read the last sentance of my post again. If you still don't get it, lather, rinse, repeat until you get it.

    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • At the risk of sounding off-topic (to those who don't read the articles) , let me comment on something:

    The article states that Nullsoft and WinAmp are now owned by AOL. I think I'll be looking for another player to download now.

    Whenever AOL buys something, the obnoxious factor of that product or service starts to creep up. Case in point: WinAmp nagging me, almost EVERY TIME I start it, asking if I want to upgrade to a new version (with no real new features, except ones meant to advertise in an underhanded way (search for [Time Warner] music, etc.) I don't mind hearing about a new version, but if I don't want it, leave me alone! WinAmp had such a good reputation, I decided to overlook this issue, but now that I know who is behind it, I know it's all downhill from here. So, I'll be happily shopping elsewhere.

  • Slashdot linked to a site that cares about providing a semblance of correct typography, enough to spell coordinating as coördinating with the diaresis.

  • But all the traffic has put a strain on Gnutella, and the program's weaknesses are starting to show. Mr. Kan, ever the upbeat evangelist for the technology, cheerfully admits that Gnutella has had its faults, but he also believes that Gnutella is ready for widespread use. "At first you focus on building the car, and once the car is built then you focus on refining the car," he enthuses. "We knew the refining was around the corner and it just takes some time. We wanted to accelerate the best we could by coördinating developer efforts and encouraging them to raise the bar on usability. And it happened."

    No, engineers actually plan, build and test the car before it ever gets to the customer. Real software engineering (that deserves the name) is similar. Gnutella obviously wasn't thoroughly planned, which is okay, because you don't have to pay for it. But now that everyone knows that a file-sharing system can really work, the protocol should be redesigned by people who really know about what huge distributed file sharing systems need to be scalable. The 'official' Gnutella client should get all the features that the good third-party clones have, like limiatation for bandwidth and number of connections. Obviously unnecessary queries (like 'a.asf' or '*.mp3') should be dropped.
  • claimed that per-packet charging was inevitable

    I've been really sick of hearing that from Robert Metcalfe just about every month, too. I'm no economist, but I know intuitively that charging by the byte (or connect minute for those fans of circuit switching) would be the surest way to kill the golden goose known as the Internet.
  • Hey,

    I've seen some FTP servers with upload/download ratios too.

    Indeed. The problem here is that people can upload pointless files nobody wants, and it takes them a long time. The idea behind my proposal was that people just have to share the things that they have downloaded rather than unsharing them.

    You could probably go off IP address and distribute the rating across the Internet.

    Yes, as long as there is no central authority distributing ratings. And no way to identify users. I suppose each user could be given an exclusive, random number and another number that correlates to it. The correlating number could be SHA-1 hashed, then the server could run a 'query' service where other servers send the numbers and if the person is known, it returns thier rating and correlating number. But that could be bypassed by people starting thier own servers and giving themselves false credit and it all starts getting complicated.

    Nothing to keep the PPP users from disconnecting and reconnecting on a different IP but that might even be detectable algorithmically, and the modem users aren't really going to be your biggest bandwidth vampires anyway.

    Yeah... the idea of giving people numbers is the original time isn't really long enough to make a big download, and we wouldn't want to exclude all dial-up users (who would be unable to use the service if they got an IP someone had used before), because... uh... I'm a dial-up user some of the time.

    ...another comment from Michael Tandy.

  • Hey,

    That's the problem: A bogus client can report back anything, and nobody can ever verify if it's true.

    Yeah, that could be a problem, but the way I see it, it would be easier for a user to share the files they have downloaded than to write a new client that gave incorrect responses. Also, if people tried to download and couldn't, people would just use diferent servers (hopefully).


    ...another comment from Michael Tandy.

  • I would say this was a good idea to consider with regard to drug and gun laws as well as some intellectual property situations

    So basically you just want to abolish the laws that are inconvenient to you. You want to fire guns, use drugs and copy other people's software and music from the net, so let's get rid of all the regulations that stand in your way.

    There doesn't need to be a better argument.

    And you're actually serious about that? "because you can" is now a valid reason to do something and not place any restrictions on it?
    I find the reasoning that some people have adopted lately in order to justify their behaviour simply amazing...

  • The RIAA may try to make an example of Mr. Kan, Mr. Sidwall, or any of a multitude of Gnutella users or developers, even if they can't shut the P2P protocol down. And if enough users are scared off, Gnutella will lose the critical mass it needs to be successful. Those who are left could potentially splinter Gnutella into dozens or even hundreds of secret sub-networks in order to evade legal scrutiny -- creating smaller groups of hosts linked together, perhaps around specific interests, rather than the one mega-network that currently exists -- but this would basically turn Gnutella into an insiders-only club: hardly the kind of mass phenomenon that would be a threat, or useful, to anybody.
    I think the author underestimates the power of smaller specific interest groups. It's like what's been happening on IRC for years, lots of "small" channels distributing warez and MP3s to the public. But even in the past few years, there has been legal action attempted at IRC groups . . . also, most warez and MP3s start out by being ripped by some IRC group and distributed through IRC channels. KSi, RNS, APC still get most of the pre-release stuff and get the mp3s moving (look at the ID3 tags on your mp3s, they probably have the release group mentioned).

    I suppose my point is, you never really stop MP3 or warez distribution until you stop the small groups. Because as long as they exist, other people will make the protocol/software to distribute the files. So what if Napster dies out, so what if even Gnutella dies out. That doesn't mean the end of music distribution on the net, and the RIAA would be naive to think it would.

  • They'd quickly move to a different theft device if this were ever implemented.
    Is this a promise, or a threat? If somebody really does not want to share that badly, I wouldn't mind if they went away. All the more bodirectional bandwidth to share, then.
  • Kinda like the X windows client/server thing. The machine providing the service is the server. The machine requesting the service is the client. That's why X-windows calls the display the server, and the big honkin iron that does all the computation the client. The Onyx wants to show off it's pretty numbers and the old sun-3/50 provides the service. That's why the compute server is the display client.

    Just because we're used to something being some way doesn't mean it's supposed to only be that way. I'm mixed race black/white, but I grew up in an area where people almost never made a big thing about it. For me when band-aid [] advertized their invisible, ouchless bandages, I thought they were nuts. It certainly wasn't ouchless to take off, and if they thought that something pinkish was going to be even CLOSE to invisible on my skin they must have been freakin' BLIND . It wasn't until I was watching a comedy routing by a black man from Quebec (20 years later), that I remembered my thoughts about band-aids and realized that I was the one who didn't notice what the rest of the world was like -- and I was the one who was off-color.

    But I still say that they lied about the 'ouchless'.

    ... and home machines can be servers.

  • If you looked at Linux in it's first two years of existence, you'd say that it failed too. Gnutella is young and pimpley. Whether it will live or die is still up in the air. I think that the fun part of Gnutella would be to put together a scalable system that's backwards compatible with the old system. If you can do that, you've got something very live.
  • Gnutella suffers from two problems: 1) the protocol for searching doesn't scale well and 2) as soon as you put up some tasty content you get hammered with leeches who don't offer the file up to anyone else (similar to the Slashdot Effect). FTP for the most part suffers from the second problem.

    Check out Etree []. This is a loose group of people that legitimately trade live concert recordings compressed with Shorten (lossless compression). They use FTP. People setup FTP servers and then announce to a mailing list what they have available.

    The problem is that all of the public servers are staggering under the load. They limit the number of concurrent connections betwen 2-5 users to prevent complete mayhem on their bandwidth. So many people are trying to get in that the servers have scripts that automatically route ban anyone that attempts to connect more often than once a minute (or even two minutes for the bigger servers). The files are so large (350 megs per CD, 1-3 CD's per show usually) that it takes forever to get in. Standard Operating Procedure for downloading from public Etree servers is to open 12 terminal windows, each with a script trying to login to 12 different sites (once per minute, of course). After a few days you might get into one or two of them.

    Hotline [] is a relatively modern BBS like system (it has integrated file transfer, message bases, and chatting). It's a little more advanced than FTP: it lets anyone connect but downloads are placed in a queue. So instead of redialing over and over and over again you just connect and start your download, and wait for the people in the queue ahead of you to finish. On popular sites that have lots of goodies I have literally had to wait in the queue for well over 24 hours to begin the actual file transfer.

    I think the solution to the problem is a market based solution. Create a barter system for disk space, bandwidth, and CPU. In order to download something from someone and depelete their disk/bandwidth/cpu resources you must provide a comparable amount of resources. Since disk/bandwidth/cpu is a commodity, you can use a digital bearer instrument to represent those resources and create a fungible currency backed by the disk/cpu/bandwidth. Mojo Nation [] does exactly that, but you probably already knew I was going to say that.


  • Instead of making search a part of service, why not to keep it separate? Search engines are separate from web sites. Why not to create a few central search engines for content in FreeNet. Why not to make them completely separate from file storing engine? This will keep content private, and search still is fast and not responsible for any content. and google - none of them is responsible for what you can find there.

    Here is background for idea: Cooperative networking. I would not call it file sharing because I believe P2P hip is bigger than this. There are two main issues: privacy & search. Search is what requires central fast server.

    • Napster implements fast search but lacks privacy.
    • Gnutella implements some decentralization but it ruined search feature.
    • Freenet implements good privacy and perfect decentralization, but it still lacks good search.
    • MojoNation again implements some privacy and make some steps toward decentralization, but it still requires central server for search.

    So if we know how to decentralize service, but fast search is hard to implement decentralized. Might be the right way to go is to implement content independent search engine separately from sharing system? BTW this kind of system might be not just file sharing, but CPU (like SETI@ or sharing, or information or, whatever you want it to be.

  • hehe. sorry. found cutthroat island soundtrack on opennap :) it's pretty fast for me, but i'm on cable. go figure. if not opennap, there are other napster-like networks as well that work with gnapster. 'sallgood. i'm sure napigator supports them too if you're windows. and if you're mac... well... your own damn fault :)

    you must amputate to email me

  • just an fyi, this is a salon piece.

  • "I would prefer to pay more than a $1 in royalties to an artist out of the $16 cost of a CD."

    I am so sick of this argument. Does this mean you can go to the local BurgerWop and steal a few burgers, but tip the underpaid frontline staff a few bucks. These poor underpaid artists are there because they signed contracts and wanted the marketting and distribution given by these bastard RIAA companies. See Harmony Central [] for an insiders view on why traditional RIAA approaches are good for quite a bit of artists.

  • It seems like all of these "truely" distributed will all have the problem of scaling poorly due to the large bandwidth overhead caused by things such as push requests and pings. Why not create a system that, although not truely distributed, doesn't really have to be as centralized as Napster?

    Why not model it after DNS? There could be, oh, several dozen "root" servers that keep records of all the IPs that list where you could get files that have a certain file extension, (.zip, for example), much like the root servers for DNS, which list all the servers that serve the various TLDs. Then, when the requests reach the servers on the next level down, you recieve a list of IPs of servers that have a list of clients that have the file you are looking for. Like the DNS system, all the locations of the files you downloaded would be stored in "your" server, which would be on the bottom level of the hierarchy. The clients could be programmed to log into a different lowest-heirarchy server each time they log on, thereby providing some kind of load-balancing, so that no one lowest-rung server has significantly more clients connected than the other.

    Although this would throw anonynimity out the window (with all the IPs cached somewhere), I think it would scale a lot better than Gnutella, since it would eliminate a lot of the traffic on the network, or at least channel it to the machines running the server application.

    IANAP (I am not a programmer), but I know that a lot of Slashdotters are, so I am counting on everyone to let me know if I am either talking out of my ass, or if I have a genuinely good idea here.

  • Well put.
  • I'm all for banning dialup users from gnutella alltogether. They're too slow to download from, they pass packets slower, they download slow, and there's too damn many of them.
  • by malus ( 6786 ) on Sunday October 01, 2000 @05:42AM (#741856) Journal
    this post is for the information have-not's in the press... gnutella is not going to be 'the new home of napster fans' ... openNap will be. I just fired up gnapster, and chose to 'browse OpenNap' servers, I have damned near 100 to choose from. All of these servers are indepenent, not related in any way to "napster" inc. Sure, right now the song selection on these servers is pretty crappy, but following the mass exodus I'm sure some snappy hacker out there will write some sort of 'bridging' software to bring all these other servers together, you poor media types just don't have a clue, do you?
  • That's an interesting question. While I don't have all the answers, here is what a quick trip through my mind reveals:

    When someone sticks something on the Internet, common objectives include ease of posting, capability of other people to access it, security and anonymity. They will probably use the medium that they know of that most suits their specific goals.

    Lets examine, say, Napster. It's easy to use, has decent anonymity (supposing I lie on all the forms, they can track me down by IP, but it's more difficult, and not everyone knows it is possible). It has high availability to other people, while your computer is online. So it makes a good distribution method for illegal mp3's, and once people are using it, for legal ones as well. If no one uses it, it fails on availability, so at first the big draw is probably anonymity, and there is little reason to post legal content until there is an astablished userbase.

    The easiest place to post something is on the WWW. It's also easily accessible to almost anyone, and searching and linking tools are very useful. The drawbacks are a lack of anonymity, and it being easy to take down because the content is centralized. It makes sense that most legal stuff would go there. Experience seems to bear this out, as that is the major Internet location for most large corporations, and most of my professors post their papers, course notes, etc. there. Of course, if you need anonymity it isn't useful. Most (not all, of course) legal stuff that is posted doesn't need anonymity, however most people posting things illegaly would prefer anonymity.

    Which brings us to Gnutella... its main benefit is anonymity, and its main drawbacks are lack of availability to users (due to the low number of users, less efficient searching and linking, the online/ offline thing, and now network difficulties), and being harder to use. It IS much more general than Napster, though. I would expect to find mostly illegal content, all the same, though. Perhaps even more than Napster, because suppose you post to Gnutella your complaint about unsafe working conditions, it is much less likely to be found than if you post your unknown band's mp3 on Napster. For it to contain mostly legal content (and I think it could, if the conditions were met) it would need to have much better searching capabilities, and a much higher user base.

    I'm sure there is some legal content on Gnutella, contrary to any claims of ONLY carrying illegal content, but at this stage, I think the motivation to post illegal content is much higher than the motivation to post legal content, most of which is more suitably placed elsewhere.

  • opennap is already interconnected. *and* what are you talking about, crappy selection? as of right now, i see 4023 users, 3.527 *terabytes* of data (875,603 songs)... yeah. whew. *really* crappy selection. hardly have anything, these openNap types do...

    you must amputate to email me

  • In the article, Mr. kan says "[snip] in any case, Gnutella is nothing but a communications protocol. It'd be like suing English."

    maybe the recording industry can get help
    from Quebec politicians then, since they have
    done such a great job in doing just that, i.e.
    prosecuting English;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You geeks always think that you can code around a problem. If you bothered to read the glossy brochures or slick web sites of MBA schools like Stanford or Harvard, you'd realize that the key is relying on stratetic management skills.

    Imagine.... if we had no MBAs, would we have all the new technologies that we see today? Oops..nevermind. Bad question.

  • I am pretty sure the new napster client reverts to opennap on its own when it can't connect to napster servers. If this is true, then napster users may not even notice the change...
  • Why isn't there any quality, "legal" content on any of these file sharing services?

    Because if it's legal, people will happily stick it on their website, amid more context than a mere filename. If they're dealing in porn and illegal music or software, most people want as little recognition as possible. (Think of the proud lighting on the works of art in the Louvre versus the way cockroaches scurry when you turn a light on 'em.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    But it only works until someone writes a program that connects to all rings simultaneously for a really good search because it makes sense to each user indivually then when everyone does it the network grinds to a halt.
  • I'm confused, can people still actually connect to gnutella? I haven't been able to get on with any clone for a couple months now... toadnode doesnt work, gnotella doesn't work, gnutella 0.56 doesn't work. I tried putting in various hosts and none of them would connect.
  • Why is Red Herring running the identical article as (here). I wasn't aware that these companies had a relationship. []
  • Your post deserves to be moderated up for a variety of reasons. That is probably not going to happen though, because most slashdotters don't like what you're saying. Sad really...
  • Nothing will kill Gnutella off any faster than if they implemented this. As people already knew, and the Xerox study just confirmed, these kinds of kiddies generally don't like the "giving" part of the whole sharing equation — they just stick to the "taking" part. They'd quickly move to a different theft device if this were ever implemented.


  • The person who moderated that drivel up should be dragged into the street and shot...
  • Let's make that the last three sentences, to get a little context:

    "The whole argument is irrelevant anyways. This is not going to stop. Not even for you clif."

    So basically you're saying that it's OK because everybody's doing it and they're not going to stop doing it. Great argument. Let's get rid of all laws then. They're obviously not stopping crime, so why even bother? That would really solve a lot of problems: no more jails needed, no more police needed. Think of all the money that could be saved! (in fact, you could give some of that money to former criminals, so they don't have to go out and rob people). Plus with murder being legalized, we could get rid of the evil capitalist GPL-opponents once and for all.

    I sincerely hope that you have a better argument for Gnutella and Napster than "it's not going to stop". But you probably don't.

  • Hey,

    There is no server.

    For the reasons of my post, a 'server' is an almost-always-connected computer, one that spends a significant amount of time uploading compared to downloading. If I am downloading a file, the computer that I am connecting to is the server. You could say that they should also be refferred to as 'clients', but I am downloading from them, and they aren't *my* clients. So I call them servers. Almost everyone knows what I mean.


    ...another comment from Michael Tandy.

  • Everyone seems to be missing, what I consider to be, the point in Gnutella: It isn't a Napster replacement, but proof that killing Napster isn't going to make the problem go away.

    Sure Gnutella isn't scaling, but it was hacked up with minimal effort as a way to say "See, look what can be done, now who are you going to sue?" Consider it a prototype. A little more elbow grease and some community development and Gnutella's shortcomings could be removed.

  • Mojo Nation does not centralize its searching functionailty. Currently it does have an annoying centralized "metatracker" (think of it as a root DNS server) at the moment for finding contact info of the many other brokers running within mojonation and the services they are providing, but there are plans underway to replace that with more p2p gossip style requests so that, like gnutella or freenet, you only need to know the contact info of a few people on the mojo net to get yourself going.

    Searching is distributed, anyone can run a content trackers. The company doesn't run any content trackers.

  • So I'm reading the Gnutella article. Page 1. Next page. Page 2. Next page. Page 3.

    "... such help won't have come fast enough.

    Next page | Part 4

    I'm done at that point. Nothing more to be seen here folks. Can we somehow be free of articles like this that go on and on for pages and pages for the only reason that they want to show us more ads? I don't mind a long article but PUT IT ON ONE FREAKING PAGE! next page, next page, next page, give it a rest already Related Stories Napster's last-minute reprieve. The clashes between the RIAA and the MP3 sites intensify. Record labels have tried to slap price tags on digital downloads. The RIAA and the MPAA went after Scour in July. Company Profiles Gnutella Napster Scour Recording Industry Association of America
  • Gnutella obviously hasn't been tested under high stress - a decentralised system is always going to be hard to test realistically. Part of the disadvantage of being decentralised is there's no central server to upgrade when things slow down.

    I'm sure it'll evolve. It's open after all.
  • I thought of something similar right away. Why not have parallel Gnutella "rings" with a limited number of clients in each?

    Possibly but it might end up with the same sort of problems that some ftp servers suffer from, where the most popular ones are just impossible to connect to. (The major ones are mirrored but people's home-maintained ones often aren't, and they're also slow meaning connections take longer.)

    One thing that might help though is if the rings were interconnected, and clients were able to cache the files available on all the other clients in each ring. If there weren't specific rings, it might be all the clients within two hops, or something like that. Okay so it wouldn't be gnutella anymore, it would have to be a next generation protocol.

    If anything, this could help cut down on the hammering that every gnutella client gets from incoming searches which are virtually all failures.

    I also think it could be a good idea if clients were able to organise themselves into a tree or graph, based on the file categories and filenames that they have. If it was known in advance roughly where a certain file would be, the search could be limited to that part of the network.

  • Isn't it obvious that the best benefit of using something like Gnutella is the possibility of setting up "private" Gnutella nets?

    Yeah, I recall reading some people have already set up private child pornography Gnutella exchanges. Hurrah for technology.

  • Cri**cal m**s? Th**atening? Tar**t?
    This sounds more like a plan to build a th**monuc**ar device with intent to obl**erate the R**A

    You sure use a lot of words that will probably trigger some government attention!
    I'd uninstall anything that reminds even slightly ov Napster, Gnutella, ScourExchange or "Terrorist Handbook" and saty low for a while if I were you. . . ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Gnutella was a great experiment, but it's time to move on to bigger and better things.
  • you know, one can get a bit grumpy while having cold turkey.... my dealer is outta town so... *s*

  • But if you take the tiresome twaddle off Slashdot, what's left?


  • Remember that there's a big bandwith waste, ping-pongs and push requests take up way too much. Whenever a client connects to another host, it sends a ping to receive other host-addresses, this ping is broadcasted to all other hosts (until the TTL expires) and every host replies with a pong, thus creating a vast amount of traffic. Even worse, the original gnutella-client sent periodically a ping for some reason... (remember that weekend with the 0.59 gnutella? the TTL was decrased before being checked for 0, gnutella sent packets with 255 TTL!) The ping issue got already addressed and the clients should most of the time just listen to the pongs, that's enough already...
  • This is all about your "right" to steal copyrighted material.

    No, it is about my right to "steal" copyrighted material. See the difference?

  • You would need to develop a new protocol, at the moment, someone could connect to your private network with just one other host from outside...
    THERE, we got problems like good'ol grandma:
    "Don't tell this anyone else" -> "No, no, all Hosts I have here are secure."

    Why not just switch to FreeNet? That would address the caching problem too, it was designed upon caching.
  • No, no, no.. I believe all that I said but the ultimate point is that none of it even matters because this isn't going to stop.

    As far as convincing myself it's OK to steal music, that really doesn't apply to me. See, I listen to punk (no, not blink182, or green day, or any those current current age "new wave" bands) and they don't copyright their music. You see they already realize what a joke the music industry is.

    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • I have tried Gnutella several times. Although it may be "better" than Napster in some ways, I still have found that it is harder to learn how to use, and it eats up bandwidth. The more people that are using the system, the more people there are sending searches to your computer. It slows everything down.
    I think the bandwidth problem should be fixed first. A mid point has to be found betweena centralized server that databases all the files, and everyone sending the searches to everyone else. Of course, many people like Gnutella especially for the fact that it is completely decentralized. This coulc be a tough problem to fix.

    - []
    "Sucks to your ass-mar"
  • by NevDull ( 170554 ) on Sunday October 01, 2000 @04:30AM (#741886) Homepage Journal
    Isn't it obvious that the best benefit of using something like Gnutella is the possibility of setting up "private" Gnutella nets?

    Sharing with the whole world is always a problem. If you've got something everyone wants, they will always beat a path to your doorstep... with a number of friends in a "private" network, the grass might not all die as they cross your yard.


  • This article (wasn't it on Salon a while back?) highlights some good points in the middle of page 3, about the difficulties of open source projects to coordinate. There are hundreds of different projects each trying to accomplish similar goals, with tons of overlap and many at cross purposes. Without an evangelist like Linus, the gnutella projects are being very inefficient and not making much progress.

    But the flip side is that it leaves very few people to attack in a court case, requiring the RIAA to file thousands of suits to make any kind of impact. Many of the small groups could will not have the money to mount a legal defence, so they will fold, providing a bad precedence for the other suits. I have a bad feeling the RIAA lawyers are already considering tactics like this to stomp all over any gnutella/P2P protocol developers.

    Until a few well led groups fix the underlying problems with the protocols, gnutella will never replace napster on such a large scale. I'd urge all /. coders to help out with getting a solid protocol library built so any P2P application can easily be built on top of it.

    the AC
  • There are many alternatives to Gnutella, which have similarly decentralised networks, but if the alternatives are unearthed by Napster users and then flooded by demand, they too will get discovered by the RIAA, or even just collapse under the immense load. This is why the development of gPulp and other similar protocols needs to progress, as they will be more efficient with bandwidth and hopefully at least as difficult to shut down as the current Napster protocol. If there weren't so many leeches on Gnutella though, the RIAA would have more of a job shutting it down. As it is, only a small percentage of users are providing the majority of files, and whatever the RIAA says, they'll soon start going after individuals and restricting the 'supply' of files on peer-to-peer networks such as Gnutella. I think I better go hide....
  • I would prefer to pay more than a $1 in royalties to an artist out of the $16 cost of a CD. Just because RIAA companies have a chokehold on distribution (currently) doesn't mean they actually contribute anything to the value chain. I've been able to pay for downloaded software because it's the authors who hold the rights. Imagine if you had to give up the rights to your software in order to get listed in PCZone, Programmer's Paradise, whatever. Luckily, developers have distribution alternatives to try to get paid (non-GPL stuff, o'course). Artists get screwed over by record labels, and it's a shame.
  • by ckedge ( 192996 ) on Sunday October 01, 2000 @05:58AM (#741890) Journal

    > but if Gnutella, which has some of the best open-source programmers
    > on the Net behind it, can't survive the technical or legal challenges
    > of critical mass, how will the other programs be any better prepared?

    Mr. Fenning created Napster with the help of a few people.
    Justin Frankel created Gnutella with the help of a few people in a few days.

    The other programs don't have to be better prepared. They simply have to be better.

    We've seen the best application that the Net has yet to provide.(*) We'll never forget what can be. What should be. What must be.

    I'm itching all over, and some day, I'm going to scratch.

    (*)- Admit it, when you first used Napster you said to yourself: "Holy shit, this thing is fast and does EXACTLY what I want it to, unlike 99% of every other piece of software and place on the net. This is EXACTLY how the world should be. This is spectacular."

  • The problem with a DNS-like system is simple: sue NSI. Force them to bring down their servers. Now what do you have? Do the same for the operators of all the rest of the root servers. Now you have no root servers. Network is down.
  • Wouldn't this make Napster more difficult for RIAA to shutdown? Find some off shore, non-international-law observing country, and dump the Napster database(s) there. Hasn't anyone read _Cryptomonicon_? ;-)
  • Quit talking to yourself.
  • yeah, I'm all for stopping the searches across gnutella at the 2nd tier (dsl/cable/isdn, etc) so that modems can d/l (they don't suck that much b/w anyways.. let 'em download..) but don't pollute the rest of the network with advertisements for useless stuff.. even though that is kinda against the whole integrated client/server concept. Sometimes concepts just don't work well in practice.

  • Flamebait? Don't you moderators get it? Oh, I'm going to get moderated as "redundant".
  • Gnotella works. Unfortunately, I have an OC-3, and I have not been able to get any decent speed out of anything.
  • That may be the case with Bernado Huberman's paper from PARC. Huberman isn't a computer scientist; he's an economist who writes bad papers about the Internet from a extreme libertarian perspective. He also has a strong tendency to write what people in power want to hear; his first big paper on the Internet, a few years back, claimed that per-packet charging was inevitable, based on some bogus analysis of congestion. (I'm stil irked that he claims to have discovered that the "tragedy of the commons" problem applies to the Internet. I did, a decade earlier; read my RFC970. [])

    While Gnutella's distribution algorithm scales badly, there's no reason a fully distributed system for a finite amount of content can't scale well. Netnews scales fine, for example. Once somebody builds something that caches popular stuff near people who want it, the bandwidth requirement should drop way down. channels to download content.

  • gnutella will not evolve much further. though the article suggests that the decentralized Gnutella can't handle the legal and technical threats that come from mass usage, and that no system can, the truth lies in music on demand, not a file sharing system of gnutella/napster nature. it would be nice and gay and happy if this open system worked for all, particularly the newly impoverished artist who now only requires singles rather than working on greater musical texts such as album concepts (because we the users only have time for snackpack music samples), but it ain't gonna happen. wireless downloading is about to change all of this nonsense; instantaneous subscriber/radio models. the labels won't let go, the artist needs to get restitution, and the user will still have the "columbia house"-style institutions to scam, but not the big guys. they know how to protect themselves, these music labels. paranoid assholes generally do.


  • I have some ideas I would like to throw into the pot of ideas for speeding up Gnutella (which is the primary concern now. Interface be dammned!). However, I'm having trouble finding any discussion groups that are talking about the fundemental protocol and infrastructure (sp?) issues of Gnutella. Where can I go for this kind of discussion? I just have a couple ideas:

    1) A caching system that keeps track of what the lower bandwitdth systems have already returned from queries. That way, they only need to ping the low band client to see if the client is still up instead of sending the whole query over. Think about it, most queries will cover the same thing over and over, why repeatedly bog down pipe with the same reqest every two seconds (porn... porn... porn...) if you already know what that client has?

    2) Prioritize the clients used to forward to in a list by their bandwitdth, number of returned queries (instead of what the browser claims to falsely have. It will resolve a little bit the clients that report they are sharing 10TB). Forward queries based on this list by weighting who you send the query to toward the higher priority while still getting some information out of the lower ones.

    If you know a better forum than slashdot to post my naive ideas, please reply, I would like to throw my $.02 into the hat.

  • holy shit! this geek spelled "Definitely" correctly!

    you da man.
  • Do we really need musicians at all? Automated music synthesis is getting better. NTONYX [] adds expression to MIDI files, and Flinger [] handles the vocals. You still need MIDI content as input, but ASCAP/BMI licenses are cheap.

    Maybe we can simply automate the recording industry out of existence. There's a niche market for live performers, of course, but maybe recorded audio was just a 20th century fad.

  • by FallLine ( 12211 ) on Sunday October 01, 2000 @09:04AM (#741902)
    I think this account of GNUtella is obvious, but long overdue. Though I've been saying that GNUtella was flawed since day 1, it suprises me how much of slashdot used the "but there's always GNUtella argument". What's more, though somewhat less suprising, has been the tendency of the popular media lately to take this same attitude, acting as if massive piracy is necessarily unstoppable because of the idealized GNUtella.

    One thing that I'd like to add to this argument against GNUtella is that, even if it or any of it's cousins could scale, I believe it'll ultimately fall due to the combination of two primary factors, the so-called "tragedy of the commons" and the threat of law. In other words, it's already been established that damn few people are willing to really share. Today, the only primary reasons not to share seem to be bandwidth and CPU concerns.

    In the future one thing that will play a dramatic element in the mix, if RIAA must, is fear of lawsuits by the fileservers. Since the beginning of the spread of piracy online, there has been very little fear of enforcement. Put simply, neither the software industry nor the music industry has done much more than attempt to threaten the owner or the uplink of the server. However, if the industry starts prosecuting (or otherwise hurting) the top fileserves, that will mean that anyone who runs a server is putting themselves at risk.

    Put it this way, as redherring alluded to, there is very little reward for sharing files. Yet, there are costs (i.e., bandwidth, cpu/hd utilization, and time). So here we have a new emerging cost, the threat of getting busted. If they go after the top 1% of fileservers without fail, I think it is reasonable to assume that most everyone will make sure that they're not in the top 1%. Thus the entire organization will collapse from the top down.

    It need not even necessarily be criminal prosecution. If the industry can effectively get a user blackballed from all broadband ISPs, how many users are going to risk it? Think about how many of these servers are either being run off of DSL, cable modem, or universities. I can tell you that most of these authorities can, will, and have, rapidly shutdown offending users services. Those users that share the most, are also most likely to not cope with losing high speed service. It's a significant threat.

    The cost benefit ratio for the file servers is very poor as is, so low that I doubt it'll withstand serious additional pressure by industry. I know many of you will clamor, "but one will always pop backup"...but this is flawed logic. Why would any rational individual pop up and make himself a target?

    Though it may be true that COLLECTIVELY if no one runs scared, then those industry tactics would be ineffective. But this is thinking too much like a group. It's like saying that automobile traffic would be infinitely better if everyone aheared to a few basic rules (i.e., no cutting other drivers off, left lane for passing only, etc). That is very true, but that doesn't mean that it is better for the individual in the driver seat at that moment. At that moment, the individual is thinking like an individual, not as a group, so, traffic happens. Likewise, "tragedy of the commons" will happen.

    I can easily see RIAA coming after all of the top fileservers (no matter what the protocol). So long as the uploader/fileserver is known, they can be targeted.
  • Well, all the developers who work on GPLed software, and by extension, Redhat, all have granted the right of redistribution to you. Musicians and labels haven't.

    Funny though the correlation between Developer and Musician, Redhat and Record Label. You all should think about that one for a little while.

    And yes, things like napster and gnutella could have legitamate uses, but overwhelmingly, they're not used for those uses, IMHO. But even then, distributing Redhat over gnutella would seem to almost violate the GPL in that the person that gives you the binaries is obligated to give you the source if you want it. It's not Redhat's responsibility to give it to you if you acquired it through that medium... So if you wanted it and for some reason couldn't get it from redhat, or the distributor, someone just violated the GPL, correct?
  • Let's get rid of all laws then. They're obviously not stopping crime, so why even bother?

    I would say this was a good idea to consider with regard to drug and gun laws as well as some intellectual property situations

    Plus with murder being legalized, we could get rid of the evil capitalist GPL-opponents once and for all

    ...who are more than willing to use evil socialist big-government to push around evil capitalist GPL-proponents...

    But you probably don't.
    There doesn't need to be a better argument. I can imagine all sorts of good behavioral restrictions that we could try to enforce by law, but we would ultimately fail. Just as copyrights, as they stand today, will ultimately fail.
  • by burris ( 122191 ) on Sunday October 01, 2000 @11:53AM (#741905)
    The article mentions Mojo Nation []in passing at the end of the article but doesn't discuss the things that Mojo Nation does that differentiate it from other p2p filesharing protocols and how it solves some of Gnutella's problem.

    Mojo Nation is a p2p file sharing protocol that has a built-in digital cash system. It prevents the "Tragedy of the Commons" problem by effectively creating a barter system for bandwidth, disk space, and CPU. In order to search, upload, download, or otherwise consume any resources from the remote host you must compensate them with the internal currency, known as Mojo. The Mojo represents the resources you are consuming from the counterparty. This way nobody can consume more resources than they are contributing to the system. Each person who joins helps to make it stronger. Note that contributing resources doesn't mean uploading files. You must pay Mojo to upload since you are consuming other servers disk, bandwidth, and CPU by uploading blocks to them and asking the servers to hold them.

    The best way to get Mojo, so you can get the files you are interested in, is to provide your own resources (bandwidth, disk, CPU) to the network by using the Mojo Nation Broker (our name for the client software) to run a Block Server, Content Tracker, or Relay server.

    A Block Server holds the actual data. In Mojo Nation, instead of holding an entire file on a single server, every file is broken up into many redundant blocks which are spread over many block servers throughout the network. You only need half of the available blocks to reassemble the original file. Of course, the Broker does all of the hunting for and reassembling of blocks transparently. In this way Mojo Nation is like a big distributed RAID drive which makes it resistant to servers disappearing. It also spreads the load out over many hosts, so when you download you are not impacting any single host or network connection severely (expect perhaps your own). It also means that hosts with slow net connections can hold data since each block is pretty small. Your Broker can download some blocks from slower servers in parallel with more blocks from faster servers. The Broker keeps track of performance statistics for each host so it can make intelligent choices about where to purchase blocks from.

    Content Trackers are like the search engines in Mojo Nation. Instead of routing all searches through the entire network (which is what is bringing Gnutella down). Mojo Nation has centralized content trackers, but anyone can run one. The content trackers store rich XML metadata describing the files so you can easily search on different fields. The metadata also holds the instructions for your Broker to find and reassemble the blocks that comprise the file. So if you run a Block Server but not a content tracker you cannot know what data you are holding.

    Relay Servers are for people behind firewalls. Mojo Nation is an asynchronous protocol. Relay Servers are used so you can send a request to someone behind a firewall. The Relay server holds messages for the clients to pickup, in exchange for some Mojo of course. Relay Servers will also be used for Digital Mix untraceability, much like the old Cypherpunk remailers.

    In any event, it is extremely cool and is definitely worth checking out


  • I thought of something similar right away. Why not have parallel Gnutella "rings" with a limited number of clients in each? Each ring operates like the current Gnutella p2p setup, but there's no inter-ring communication.

    If you're concerned you didn't find something because you were on the wrong ring, just switch which ring you're on. Of course, this is mostly good for mp3 sharing where there's pretty much always a critical mass of SOMETHING you want. If you were to use Gnutella for, say, an album release, you'd run into problems not being on every ring. Of course, with transactions that are mainly 1-way like that, you could just post a website.

    Anyway, there would be advantages to this setup.

  • Gnutella is a very cool idea, and a decent little program, but it can't possibly survive true success. It's anonymity makes it vulnerable to the same problems as usenet. The average quality of Gnutella data is already far below Napster's, and it can only go lower. It will eventually be overrun with crap and spam.

    People like to trump it up, but anonymity doesn't really work that well in large groups. It's the shared restaraunt bill problem; the hotmail spam problem; it's even the slashdot problem. Fact is, some level of accountability is required for a society to function.

    If Gnutella had some sort of democratic "trust" system, so that people could build co-operative networks, it might have a chance.

  • Wow, thanks for that wonderful answer to the problem. The only problem is, is that people like me who need a minimum of approx. 45 minutes to get one freakin song. I don't have all that much to offer because I can't amass a great mp3 collection, for the simple reason of bandwidth. I would love to be able to share with everyone, but the simple act of connecting to 2 different servers takes up half of my bandwidth. So, until someone solves the bandwidth issue, all the other things will have to wait

  • Another problem with this idea is that it (unlike Napster) is illegal under the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act and the DMCA. The AHRA specifically legalized the noncommercial sharing of all recorded music; the DMCA further "clarified" the definition of "noncommercial" to include only those instances of sharing in which nothing is gained in return. In other words, a service in which one person shares while expecting nothing in return from anyone who downloads from him or her is noncommercial, and thus legal, whereas one in which something is expected in return--i.e. a traditional ratio FTP site, and potentially the scheme you've laid out here--is not.

    Of course, the only reason this would be necessary is if Napster is found to be illegal anyways, so I suppose the point is moot. On the other hand, as others have pointed out, this scheme seems to rely inherently on trusted clients, which is a bad idea in any system, much less an open-source mixed-client protocol like Gnutella.
  • Actually in my original submission i included a link to the salon article, as that was where it was from -- the note was just that the more managerial magazines were covering the subject ..

    -i was drunk enough to walk through walls -- so back off
  • You're one of those "War on Drug" types eh? Wasting tons of money on another pointless cause? Wake up damnit!

    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • Yeah does this, indexing media on HTTP and FTP sites. It sucks. There is no way to confirm the availability of the servers reliably. The site attempts to ping the sites and remove unavailable ones, but if you have ever used the system, you know how inferior it is. If someone could build a better system layered on top of FTP, then this would have a chance. was around almost a full year before Napster. That should tell you something about the relative reliabilities of the two systems.
  • Forwarding search requests through every host is really helping drag down Gnutella, but it has an upside. The Fury client, for instance, lets you watch the search requests fly by as they are routed through your box. It is very interesting (for a little while at least) to see what goes by. Here is what most people are looking for on Gnutella (not a scientific survey):

    Porn - teens and Jenna Jameson, an any mpegs, movs, vobs, divxs, avis, etc...

    Music - metallica (just out of spite), Britney, N'Sync, Backstreet Boys

    Warez - Photoshop.

  • If you're going to do this -- it should be distributed, not centralised, so use an election system similar to MS' master browser system. The problem then is pollution (bad servers, ill-intentioned servers giving mis-information). The user could choose to use the master browsers or not though.
  • that is a good idea: have many different servers available, not administered by the same people, and there's no centralized figure for the RAIAA (whatever) to bring down. But this is what OpenNap has already done- see the below post by malus. there are indeed dozens of these servers, and some of them actually do have a lot of content.

  • Hey,

    If you ask me, every connection to a server should be given a number, and 30 minutes of time downloading from the server. If any files are downloaded, the next time that computer connects to that server, it returns the number. The files the computer is sharing are checked, and if 75% or more are present, the client is rewarded with 50 minutes of download time from said server. If 35% or more of the downloaded files are being shared, the client gets 35 minutes of time on the server. If 10% of the files are being shared, the client still gets 30 minutes of time. If none of the files are being shared, the server returns a 'No connections availiable' error.

    To accomodate this system, downloads would have to be resumable, or course. They could be listed from searches along with a SHA-1 fingerprint, so you could resume from any of a number of servers with identical files.

    The system would, of course, offer more than 50 minutes of download time for users who consistently make availiable more than 75% of what they download, that is if you download 30 minutes of files and keep 75% of them, then the next day you download 50 minutes of files and make all of them availiable also, you micht get 70 minutes of download time.

    They could also use a 'Speed limit' system, i.e. people who don't make availiable many of teh files they download might be limited to 1.8kbps download bandwidth, but as you get a good reputation, you get more and more server time.

    The good thing about this system is, since there would be no communication of information between servers, if you got a bad reputation on one, you could easily move on to another to get more minutes on the same day, thus spreading out usage more between servers.

    It's just an idea. I don't grogram Gnutella.


    ...another comment from Michael Tandy.

  • I remember when that was The Way It Was in the old BBS scene. Definitely a great way to keep the prepubescent dweebies from monopolizing your 2400 baud modem for 9 hours at a time sucking down those Commander Keen demos. I've seen some FTP servers with upload/download ratios too.

    You could probably go off IP address and distribute the rating across the Internet. Nothing to keep the PPP users from disconnecting and reconnecting on a different IP but that might even be detectable algorithmically, and the modem users aren't really going to be your biggest bandwidth vampires anyway.

  • A mid point has to be found betweena centralized server that databases all the files, and everyone sending the searches to everyone else.

    what if...

    whenever a client connects to a host they do a handshake that would exchange lists of all their shared files, and the client/host would remember all those files for as long as the connection exhists. everytime person A connects to person B, they would swap lists of all their shared files and their lists of everyone elses files. your database would have to keep track of how each person is connected to you. then you would only send lists of people fairly near you (no more than seven connections away), otherwise the databases would grow to disk filling sizes. this handshake should also include everyones connection speed (people will say their speed like in napster, not just as a ping). Then when you search, you can choose the fastest connection for your file.

    whenever you do a search, say for file 123.tgz, your client would first check your database. If someone near you has 123.tgz, then you get it from them and the search is over. If your database doesn't know where to find 123.tgz, then your client asks the people farthest from you in your database (any of these shall be refered to as person C). Person C will check their database for 123.tgz. If person C knows where to find it, then they will tell you. If person C doesn't know where it is, then they ask the people who are farthest from them in their database. Those people will act in the same maner as person C, and the search will continue untill they find 123.tgz or the search becomes farther than seven person C types away. this type of search would allow you to search farther across the network than gnutella, but with the same amount of bandwidth (except when starting new connections).

    the biggest problem that i can see with my idea is that if you find 123.tgz near you then you may be forced to cooperate with someone with a slower connection (or a faster person with you). Phizzy mentioned a dynamically-hierachial-by-line-speed design that may help stop this, or just make it worse depending on how you think about it. I guess the best solution would be to ask person C even if you do know where to find 123.tgz because then you would get more choices and the search threads would end when the file is found anyways.

    can anyone tell me if I an making any sense? It seems like it might work in my head, but i know close to nothing about transfer protocals, networking, spelling, punctuation, and such.
  • This is like the 4th article on /. in the last few months about the same thing. Instead of complaining and degrading gnutella, why doesn't anyone encourage people to help [] ?

    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • The files the computer is sharing are checked, ...

    That's the problem: A bogus client can report back anything, and nobody can ever verify if it's true.

    Actually, this is already happening. Some nodes in the network are reporting that they share 10 TB of data in about 10,000 files, which is hardly true. You can see it when the 'network status' in your client is updated and the reported data / number of files jumps within a very short time from nothing to very much.

    The sad thing is that nobody really has an advantage from reporting wrong numbers AFAIK.
  • ...fact.

    Napster was designed and built from the ground up as a music only file sharing system. All of it's functions are to identify, tag, categorize and distribute mp3 files.

    Gnutella, and the others, are not meant to do this - they can share anything and everything, and they do. They don't have code to analyze bit-rates, length, etc..

    So, how can anyone attempt litigation against it? It was designed to share anything you want to share, much like FTP. If the RIAA can prevent gnutella from distribution, then well that means FTP, HTTP, gopher... hell, even TCP, all are just as at fault.

    Please don't give me that "it's primary use is for mp3 distribution" crap. That couldn't work- it's use was to share files, and mp3's are a.. popular file to share. FTP's primary use could be claimed to be mp3 sharing. Oh no!

    This would be akin to saying:
    'A gun's primary use is to kill people, so we should make guns illegal. Sorry all you hunters and sportsmen.'

    'A knife's primary use is to kill people. Sorry all you cooks, and all you people who want to eat steak. You'll have to use a spork.'

    'Oops! Looks like dynamite's primary use is to blow up buildings with people in them. Dynamite should be illegal. Sorry all you ski resorts who want to make things safe by making avalanches. Sorry all you construction crews - your just going to have to use pick-axes.'

    See where I'm getting at?

    Oh... IANAL... heh.
  • Yes, and Stephenson got many of his ideas from discussions on the Cypherpunks list where most of the Mojo Nation developers were participants before Snow Crash came out.

    Mojo Nation currently only addresses the trading of commodity resources like disk, bandwidth, and CPU, and does not concern itself with the possibility that one block might have more value to certain individuals than others. The price a block server charges for a block is independent of what the block contains since the block server doesn't know what's in it (nor does it want to know, nor does it want to try to find out since that would be expensive if possible at all). A block server charges the same price for every block.

    Markets for valuable information (i.e. timely information) where some information is worth more than others is something that we expect to be built on top of Mojo Nation.


  • IMHO, the problem with Gnutella is that it is designed as a copyright violation tool. This means that there is no cache of who have what, so as soon as you disconnect, nobody remember anything about you. And the downloads are true peer-to-peer. There should be a cache somewhere in between, but as most stuff copied is copyrighted it would be a legal nightmare.
    Huh? Guntella isn't designed to be a Copyright infringement tool any more than e-mail, web servers, Xerox machines, or cassette recorders are. Remember, not everything is Copyrighted and not every copy of Copyrighted material is an infringement. There is such a thing as Fair Use and many Copyright holders explicity give permission to distribute their works while retaining the Copyright. Metallica, Pearl Jam, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, and the Grateful Dead, for instance, allow people to trade recordings of their live concerts while retaining the Copyright.


  • by Cryofan ( 194126 ) on Sunday October 01, 2000 @04:57AM (#741943) Journal
    There are some factors that are being overloked here:
    First, many people such as myself have downloaded music from Napster. But the type of music downloaded is important. I have downloaded songs from my past. These songs are important to me because they represent my youth. But now I have a gig or so of my youth, and that is all I need of that type of music.

    New music I do not dl from Napster; I stream that from THis music is from unknown artists. When I compare it to new mainstream music, music which must be paid for, I find it to be just as good.

    That is because new mainstream music does have its hooks in me like the old music. And BTW, this is the real intellectual property insofar as music is concerned: connection to the listeners' past.

    But all these former dynamics will be swept aside by the new Net distribution model. I encourage all of you to try streaming some of the new music from, especially the electronic music; often this is made by one person on a computer. It's fantastic! Also check out all the foreign ethnic music offerings. It's all free and legal--and very good.

  • . . . that's why it's special. Gnutella was not designed to (immediately) be able to compete with Napster on performance. The key, and what makes Gnutella a true KA, is the fact that it can't be stopped.

    Gnutella is certainly not the streamlined, centralized system that Napster is, but that's like arguing that underground 'zine distribution is not as efficient as the major publishing houses. Gnutella's beauty is in the fact that it is accessible to all, but is controlled by no one. Performance can be improved and tuned over time. What's exciting about Gnutella is that it is a "proof-of-concept" for unrestricted, unstoppable file transfer. Whether you like goatsex, Metallica, or Hemingway, you must admit that the concept is brilliant.

    Gnutella is exactly what it is supposed to be . . . a successful experiment. Give the open-source folks some time to iron out the technical details (strangling off nodes that don't share, and automatically routing through faster hosts, for two simplistic examples), and Gnutella becomes the foundation for the future of file transfer. This is what science fiction imagined that computer networks could become; we are now watching (or helping) it happen!

    Gnutella is not perfect. But it is the start of something big.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein