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Related to Gnutella: BitTorrent, LimeWire


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

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
5 will create their own ad-hoc file-sharing network, the Neo Network, in addition to being able to search other existing file sharing networks including Gnutella, eDonkey and FastTrack**.
Gnutella users can create private networks to swap files and once these networks break up, there is virtually no way to trace the activity.
Search iMesh allows iMesh users to access a broad range of tracks available for download from major labels and independents, as well as "unclaimed" music culled from the Gnutella and iMesh networks.
Meanwhile users of the service are being warned about a worm virus disguised as a downloadable file that's spreading through the Gnutella network.
Unlike Napster, which uses a central server to co-ordinate all the data being collected from users and their files, Gnutella runs across networks and servers - it is very difficult to trace where it is being used and extremely difficult to stop people using it once they have started.
Edonkey captures 80% of all French P2P traffic with BitTorrent trailing behind FastTrack and Gnutella.
Rather than a central server like napster, gnutella is spread throughout its user base.
Gnutella, freely available on the Net and installed in minutes, allows online users to search each others' computers for music or DVDs.
The iMesh site will also open access to a large pool of content culled from multiple sources, including the Gnutella network, that will remain available for unlimited downloads that are free to the user.
Morpheus' multi-source downloading delivers faster and more reliable downloads and its new architecture provides faster and better connections to the Gnutella network while using less system resources on users' computers.
iMesh will also provide access to a large pool of content, culled from multiple sources including the Gnutella network that remain free of any claim of rights.
NEW YORK -- NEW YORK, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Judge Stephen Wilson, a federal judge in Los Angeles today handed a victory to users of Gnutella, the peer-to-peer file sharing service by deciding against the record and movie industries in their lawsuit against file sharing companies.