P2P Networks (TCD 4BA2 Project 2002/03)

Intoduction

1. Historical Development

2. Music and P2P

3. Copyright and P2P

4. Napster

5. GNUtella

6. YouServ

7. Freenet

8. P2P Search Engines

9. P2P Routing

10. P2P Security

Readers Guide



Introduction

Welcome to our website dedicated to P2P and networking technologies.

The site is split up into a number of sections with, with different groups writing about different areas of P2P technology and infrastructures. P2P stands for “peer-to-peer” architecture, as it differs from the normal “client/server architectures,” because this method involves systems serving other systems. P2P networks are simpler as each workstation “has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities”.

Gnutella, a P2P network is described by Aram Sinnreich, senior analyst for Jupiter Media Metrix,

"Gnutella is a decentralized system. There's no single server that tells you all the information of who's got what. So there's no single point in the continuum that you can force to shut down, if you take half of the computers that use Gnutella off the system, the other half will still work just fine."[source http://www.cnn.com]

Recently however P2P technology has become infamous throughout the Music and entertainment industry. More on this topic can be found here. The now famous napster, a company with for the better or worse lead the revolution in P2P technology, allowing users to shared MP3s can be found here.

Many predicted the end of P2P technology after the fall of napster, yet other companies based on the same model as napster quickly emerged and P2P technology is not simply about downloading free music. E-commerce could benefit from P2P as well -- think of a Napster-like service that charges members. And if members of B2B exchanges could use P2P to cut out the middlemen that serve them, such exchanges could become a whole lot more profitable for buyers and sellers.

However there are a number of articles here that concentrate on legal issues of P2P, as a bill has been introduced to Congress in the U.S. that would allow large media companies to hack into P2P services, and commit sabotage. The bill would prevent all lawsuits that the P2P services could bring up [source www.cnn.com]. It is these scenarios that show that the line between law and technology is becoming thinner and thinner.

These articles address many different facets to P2P technology not only legal issues. Recently a new Linux worm tried to construct a rogue P2P network [source: news.com.com] and it is issues such as security (which is mentioned here), that will play a vital role in the continued success or failure of this technology.

All the articles here have a complete list of bibliographies, but for a general overview of P2P technologies, we recommend these sites:

OpenP2P.com -- p2p development, open source development
The O'Reilly Network's P2P DevCenter offers comprehensive P2P developer information.

Peer-to-Peer Working Group - Home

Thoughts on Peer-to-Peer