Gnutella reborn

— 12:20 AM on April 13, 2000

The Internet has spoken, and big name corporations will not stop the spread of new Internet information exchange programs. It started with a program called Napster, popular among college students, which enabled users to share music, may it be copyrighted or not. Eventually, when the centrally controlled service started overwhelming university computer networks, a ban was placed on its use and highlighted its centrally based system flaw. Nullsoft, the developers of WinAMP, a now AOL owned company, started a beta test of new, non-centrally-based file sharing program called Gnutella. AOL deemed the software title unauthorized and had the program pulled, but it was too late.

The Internet community loved the application and its principle, and Gnutella spread like wildfire. Various programmers have gotten together, porting the application to different OSes and improving the code. Many people point to Gnutella's superiority to Napster, as there is no centrally based server, no certain party to sue or shut down. Just like the first ideas of the Internet itself, Gnutella is designed to be harder to disable, legally (in this case) or technically (via servers). So the only way to fight it is with more technology. Some predict SDMI will be a savior for the record industry, but lone programmers always seem to be one step ahead. Maybe record companies themselves are no longer needed by musicians, as the Internet and computers can help better distribute their music and, with future developments, enable them to get the profits they deserve instead of the greedy record companies.

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