First P2P Generation Server Client
When file sharing through a peer-to-peer network first started, it was very centralized. In other words, a user who wished to share a file with others, would then have to upload that file to a server so that others could access it through that same server. Back then, there were no nodes, one computer would not talk and download a file from another computer, unless you are counting the server as that other computer.
From there, if you were looking for a file, you would basically type in your search requirements and if it was available, you could start downloading it directly from the server as the file was located there and not on the creator’s personal computer. Napster was probably one of the most famous of these centralized servers.
Napster became immensely popular shortly after the development of the MP3 file format, and subsequently, allowed people to share their favorite song with others via the MP3 format. Unfortunately, this was piracy and illegal. Eventually Napster was shut down, and several teenage users faced criminal prosecution for their “piracy.” Since then, Napster has then changed to a paid service and now offers high quality MP3 soundtracks for it clients. Napster today is still centralized, but due to the fact that it is now a paid service, it can no longer be in the category with the peer-to-peer file sharing. Once upon a time, it was sharing of files, but today, you are buying the files.
There are a number of services out there today offering the same centralized service, but this is not to be confused with file sharing. If you have to pay for the file, then you are not sharing it you are buying it. Some of the “Non” file sharing services now include Napster, Lime-Wire, Real and I-Pod. By technicality, these are not file sharing, as if they were sharing the file, you would not get charged for it.
File sharing is free, if you pay for it, regardless as to the price, you are paying too much.
Basically, according to these standards, you have only a few remaining protocols that can fall under file sharing. Obviously, the bit torrent protocol falls under file sharing, regardless as to the name of the application. Another is Magnet, while at the same time, another program called Ares allows for file sharing, the program is free, it allows you to not only view the movies and hear the music files, but it allows you to do this while you are in the middle of the download.
There are also a number of other protocols out there today, but the less know the protocol is, the smaller the network is. The bit torrent network is the largest in the world. On one popular file alone, you can expect to see over 1,000 if not ten times that amount of sources available.
Use your head when using a bit torrent though. If you decide to download files that you know are copyrighted, do not be surprised if some day, you get a nice little letter from the owner of that data.