Ten years ago this week, online music pioneer Justin Frankel released a little application dubbed Gnutella that enabled file sharing through a distributed P2P network. Frankel, whose previous claim to fame was programming the then hugely-popular Winamp MP3 player software, supposedly named the client after his favorite hazelnut cream spread, and the first version published online was really more of a proof of concept than anything else.

Still, Gnutella hit a nerve. Napster had been sued three months before, and many file sharers were rightfully fearing that the music industry would eventually prevail in court and force Napster to switch off its servers. With Gnutella, no such switch existed, as the client was allowing direct P2P connections without the help of any centralized server. Add to it the fact that Gnutella, unlike Napster, allowed users to swap videos and software as well as MP3s, and you begin to see why many immediately viewed Gnutella as the next step in P2P file sharing. Continue reading on Newteevee.com.

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