Gnutella - Computer Definition
A software project developed by Justin Frankel and Tom Pepper in 2000 that was to produce a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing network without using a central server. On March 14, 2000, the software program was available for download on the servers of Nullsoft, Frankel and Pepper’s employer—a division of America Online (AOL). After the software’s availability was announced on Slashdot, thousands of people downloaded the program that very day. Rumor had it that the source code was supposed to be released at some later point under the GNU General Public License, or GPL. However, on March 15, 2000, AOL stopped making the software program available because the company was concerned about legal ramifications. Furthermore, AOL stopped Nullsoft from allowing employees to conduct further work on the project.
Soon thereafter, however, the protocol was reverse-engineered. Open-source clones began to appear, and parallel development of different clients by various groups continues to be the mode of operation for Gnutella’s growth and development to this day. Many view the Gnutella network as a fully distributed option to partially centralized systems such as Napster (which met its demise as a free music-sharing service in 2001 because of legal ramifications). By the end of 2001, the Gnutella client LimeWire, responsible for pushing much of the protocol’s development, was released as open source, as earlier predicted, and by February 2002, a file-sharing group known as “Morpheus” dropped its P2P software and released an open-source client known as Gnucleus.
The word Gnutella does not always refer to a particular project or to a particular piece of software but rather to open-source protocol clients. Because the latter are under constant evolution, it is difficult at this stage to predict what the word Gnutella will mean in future years.
GNU_FDL. Gnutella. [Online, 2004.] GNU Free Documentation Website. http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Gnutella.
A popular peer-to-peer file sharing network on the Internet. Gnutella lets users share files from user machine to user machine without the use of a central directory, which was the original Napster architecture. Numerous client programs, such as LimeWire, Morpheus, BearShare and Mutella, have been developed that incorporate the Gnutella file sharing protocol. For more information, visit www.gnutella.com. Developed by Nullsoft/AOL Nullsoft, makers of the popular Winamp software media player, was acquired by AOL in 1999. In 2000, the Nullsoft division released the Gnutella software on the Internet, but AOL quickly pulled the plug the next day. However, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), Gnutella spread rapidly in that short time, and Gnutella clients emerged soon after. The Gnutella name is a combination of GNU from the license and the chocolate-hazelnut spread Nutella. How Files Are Shared Each client in a Gnutella network is also a server, and the term "servent" is the combination of server and client. When starting for the first time, each Gnutella servent requires the IP address of at least one other servent, which it can obtain from a default list of UDP host caches (UHCs) or GWebcaches. UHCs crawl the Internet looking for Gnutella hosts (servents), and GWebcache servers are updated by the Gnutella hosts themselves. Once a servent contacts another servent, that servent tries to contact the nodes it is aware of, and the request gets forwarded throughout the Gnutella network until the request times out. High-speed, non-firewalled servents can become "ultrapeers," which can connect to 32 other ultrapeers and 30 regular servents. The ultrapeers maintain key words of the files in the servents and forward them only requests for files they are likely to have. See peer-to-peer network.