Theory behind file sharing

Peer-to-peer is a hot buzzword, but nonetheless, there is something there there. Peer-to-peer (P2P) technology means you can connect a lot of dumb things together — without a center — to make something smart. Most web pages are pretty dumb yet the web as a whole is ingenious. Napster and the other music sharing systems are good examples. Many observers believe peer-to-peer systems are destined to prevail throughout the net and beyond. Since these systems are very decentralized, very open, and very vague, no one knows how such networks will make money. Maybe they won’t, maybe they will just become ubiquitous. This anthology from O’Reilly has gathered the first round of hard thinking on the subject. If beta versions don’t interest you, you can skip this; it’s nerdy and technical. If, otherwise, the hard-core edge of the things to come is a siren call, you won’t get a better fix then here.

-- KK 01/23/04