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Gnutella and Napster models for information distribution

by Simon St.Laurent -- 2000/04/27

Jesse Berst proposes that Gnutella, Napster, and their distributed architectures may "turn the Web inside out."

Deliberately avoiding the claims and counter-claims about music piracy, Berst looks more closely at the latest wave of Internet-based technologies with an eye to their architecture as a direct competitor to the Web.

Berst writes that:

"Information is now stored in centers. But programs like Napster and Gnutella will push that information out to the edges. This means users no longer have to be physically present at a particular PC to get information from it. And a big middleman, the central server, can be eliminated. "

Eliminating the 'middleman' and making these systems work for information that needs more than a simple catalog will probably take years (and likely won't happen completely), but it does open up new options for developers with information that needs to be shared rather than published.