P2P File Sharing: The Life and Death of Gnutella

P2P File Sharing: The Life and Death of Gnutella

Danny Hughes (Lancaster University, UK) and James Walkerdine (Lancaster University, UK)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch031
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Abstract

Peer-to-peer file sharing exploded into the public consciousness with the release of Napster in 1999. Napster sparked a revolution in computer-mediated communication and within a few years, peer-to-peer had replaced client-server as the dominant communications paradigm of the Internet. Peer-to-peer has also redefined the role of home users, empowering them to produce and distribute content free from control or censorship by third parties. The importance of the peer-to-peer revolution has been reflected by significant research and business activity, although considerable technical and socio-technical problems still remain. This chapter discusses the emergence of peer-to-peer systems as a medium for computer-mediated communication and how these systems have evolved to tackle new challenges. This is done in the context of a case-study of Gnutella, one of today’s most significant peer-to-peer file sharing systems.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Free-Riding: A socio-technical problem wherein users of anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing systems download files from the system, but do not upload.

Search Horizon: A critical limitation of second-generation or decentralized peer-to-peer systems, wherein users cannot discover resources distant from them on the P2P network.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P): Peer-to-peer is a class of applications that takes advantage of resources - storage, cycles, content, human presence - available at the edges of the Internet.

Third-Generation P2P Systems: Third generation or hybrid P2P systems combine elements of first and second-generation approaches. They assign greater responsibility to more capable peers. Examples include Gnutella 0.6 and Kazaa.

Third-Generation P2P Systems: Third generation or hybrid P2P systems combine elements of first and second-generation approaches. They assign greater responsibility to more capable peers. Examples include Gnutella 0.6 and Kazaa.

Client-server: The dominant form of Internet communication prior to the emergence of peer-to-peer. In client-server systems, services are provided only by powerful servers, and consumed by less powerful clients such as home and office computers.

First-Generation P2P Systems: First generation or semi-centralized P2P systems are those which use servers to mediate interaction between peers. Examples include Napster and Seti@Home.

Client-server: The dominant form of Internet communication prior to the emergence of peer-to-peer. In client-server systems, services are provided only by powerful servers, and consumed by less powerful clients such as home and office computers.

P2P Topology: A P2P topology describes the network connections which link the peers participating in a P2P system.

Search Horizon: A critical limitation of second-generation or decentralized peer-to-peer systems, wherein users cannot discover resources distant from them on the P2P network.

Second-Generation P2P Systems: Second generation or decentralized P2P systems are entirely decentralized and treat all peers equally. Examples include Gnutella 0.4 and Freenet.

Second-Generation P2P Systems: Second generation or decentralized P2P systems are entirely decentralized and treat all peers equally. Examples include Gnutella 0.4 and Freenet.

Free-Riding: A socio-technical problem wherein users of anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing systems download files from the system, but do not upload.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P): Peer-to-peer is a class of applications that takes advantage of resources - storage, cycles, content, human presence - available at the edges of the Internet.

First-Generation P2P Systems: First generation or semi-centralized P2P systems are those which use servers to mediate interaction between peers. Examples include Napster and Seti@Home.

P2P Topology: A P2P topology describes the network connections which link the peers participating in a P2P system.

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