Peer to peer or P2P has been around for a long time now. Big Software, music and movie corporation are against the piracy it fosters, users love it.Why not after all its free. P2P accounts for the majority of data transfer globally. Studies have revealed that p2p network uses over half of the bandwidth globally, so much so that standard web surfing (HTTP) is no where in the same league.
So, whats behind all the exabytes of data that have changed hard drives across the globe? Why is p2p so popular and how will it change the future of the internet?
Lets first get to know whats p2p. Its said if you don’t get to know what i am talking about chances are you will leave before the end of the post. I will run this into 2 or 3 posts and dodging a bullet in your mind that will make you think. Are you ready ?
A little History:
Internet is based on servers and clients like technospot.net, which resides on a server which serves up post request and contents to any visitor who wants to see it (the clients). The interface used can be any web browser like Firefox, IEe etc. The data transfer rules which it follows ios called HTTP or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. Weather you come through Google or directly that’s how its used. Now somewhere someone along the line, discovered that if so many people were online why dont they talk ? A programmer somewhere said in not so heavenly voice “let there be chat” and poof chat was born. Soon IRC was born and then came yahoo and MSN and gtalk for now. However what IRC bought along with it was the power of searching and sharing the file, sending file directly to another user on the same server.
Now some may argue that usenet BBS(Bulletin Board Service) was the first p2p network but IRC @find is what the most users were using to find the shared files back in the day.
Then came Napster and the rest as they say is popular history.For those who don’t know about Napster, do a quick Google and come back.
Coming back to the topic, history of p2p and the justice system is made infamous mostly by this loss of lawsuit by Napster’s Lawyers.Next Service like Audiogalaxy,KaZa, Winma all were hit.Today BitTorrent is the last remaining in the bushes p2p file sharing garden and its using half of the internet bandwidth used globally.
Now lets get down to business and see whats so illegal and legal about it
Legality – Is it We or p2p Network
So is it legal? Why not ban it all ? Ah if life were always that simple.Majority would have paid for your software.music, movies and your computer would cost a good deal more.
P2P isn’t illegal, – if you want to share your vacation video with the world, no one has the right to stop you! If you have a band and you can make a different music you have every right to give to the world. The same applies for most controversial music and movies. Basically anything that is licensed under Creative common or is otherwise open source like GPL.
No One can blame p2p software for piracy, shame falls solely upon us the users of the software.
Advantages : Where the positive points roles!
P2P network is a great boon specially to the open source community.Suppose you are a software developer, who creates an application and want to distribute to the world for free use.God help you if you have to host a site and pay from you pocket!! If your software rocks, millions of people downloading your 700 mb application , you will be facing hard time discussing with your hosting when it gives you a crunch.This is where P2P comes into the picture.
First you have to find some friends who have fat pipes (good bandwidth) at home or work.Then get them to download it.Make a torrent file and upload it to popular legal torrent site or on your site. With a small 7kb torrent file and then downloading from your friends who has it, soon the seed will increase and your software will be downloaded my millions of users each having bits of your file.Apart from saving tons of bandwidths, p2p can help you develop community, quite like a forum does, but then there are ideas where there is no file sharing. (P2p without file sharing I am crazy right!! You will see below keep reading)
P2P with a difference
You know about Skype right? In case not do a Google and check the first link and come back.
Now you know how big revolution Skype has started in terms of voice over IP or VoIP.The difference in Skype and other VoIP solutions before it was the fact Skype was designed to be a P2P software!!!!. And this comes in fact comes from the people who gave us KaZaA ! Surprised!! I was too.(That’s what I was talking about)
Janus Friss(right) and Niklas Zennstrom (left) are the two brains behind two of the biggest P2p Software, KaZaA and Skype, who changed the how the world shares the information now giving the web surfing a beat on the bandwidth.
Since it was supposed to be a p2p network, it can sustain millions of users, with hardly any infrastructure costs.In fact the more users it has the cheaper the bandwidth per person on the network.Here instead of files users are helping each other through voice across the globe by exchanging data packets that carry voice.
Now you know what P2p is and what I am talking about, its time to dodge the bullet in my next post of this series for which you don’t have to wait. Read more P2P Legality who is responsible network or us – Part2.