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GnutellaNet is being held forth as an escape from the centralized, privacy-invading structure of today’s Net-browsing.
GNUTELLA STARTS GNETWORKING
Decentralized Freeware Program Hopes To "Kick Napster In The Pants"
It's all about the sharing.

"3 Days and counting to a new world of Gnutella."

Such was the teaser campaign greeting visitors at the file-sharing program’s site prior to its semi-unveiling this week. But those expecting the warm embrace of an MP3 pirate community were in for a surprise.

Though Gnutella emerged as file-trading protocol that was superior in many ways to Napster—especially since it has no centralized brain (it’s a protocol that connects individual user-servers) and therefore can’t be shut down—its current developers emphasize that its primary purpose is not for illicit media exchanges.

"Napster is basically traffic in illegal MP3s," pointed out Gene Kan of the Nerd Herd Gnutella Project in an interview with ZDNet Music. "That’s not at all what we want to do. We want…to provide a content-search service comparable to what search engines offer, but in real time," he said.

Kan added, "I think Gnutella is going to kick Napster in the pants."

Not that you won’t be able to grab those Pablo Cruise jams whenever you want 'em. But the folks at Nerd Herd are trying to re-focus the definition of Gnutella (to be reborn as GnutellaNet) to include searching for all kinds of files without dead links or irrelevant results. Indeed, the "What is Gnutella" essay on the site uses a search for a "recipe for strawberry-rhubarb pie" as its paradigm.

More importantly, GnutellaNet is being held forth as an escape from the centralized, privacy-invading structure of today’s Net-browsing. Anonymity and freedom from data-mining and ad-targeting are emphasized—which could be just as upsetting as piracy to corporate entities doing business on the Web.

Gnutella was initially developed by programmers at AOL-owned NullSoft, but was shut down (and deemed an "unauthorized free-lance project") by the corporate mothership immediately after its bow. Nerd Herd and other independent programmers simply reverse-engineered the system’s protocol and made it freely available. The Windows version is out now, and Linux, Mac and multiplatform versions are scheduled for the near future.

Kan underscored that he and his partners (whom he claims to know only through chat servers) have no intention of making Gnutella into a going concern. As for fears of being sued, as the RIAA has done with Napster, he was sanguine: "I’d like to see them try. I mean, you can’t get blood from a turnip." As the site’s message itself says: "Gnutella is nothing but a protocol. It’s just freely accessible information. There is no company to sue. No one entity is really responsible for Gnutella."

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