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Important Information

There is no official program named "Gnutella". The original version, 0.56, was released as an early beta. The program was excellent, but not completed. This version contained defects that contribute to poor functioning of the network, which consists of all the computers running a client on the Internet at the same time. All existing robust clients are clones, with their functionality derived from a reverse engineering effort on the original program. The proliferation of the old software has prevented the Gnutella network from reaching its full potentials. The entire community can help to solve this problem by looking to the leaders of the Gnutella compatible software effort: BearShare, Gnotella, and LimeWire. Reports and technical specifications of the Gnutella protocol and the history of its network can be found at Clip2.

What is Gnutella?

Gnutella is an open, decentralized, peer-to-peer search system that is mainly used to find files. Gnutella is neither a company nor a particular application. It is also not a Web site; in particular, it is not this one, which is merely a hub for Gnutella information. It is a name for a technology, like the terms "e-mail" and "web."

The Gnutella protocol and original servent ("Gnutella 0.56") were conceived and developed by Justin Frankel and Tom Pepper at Nullsoft in March, 2000. More recent servents provide more features and improved network behavior. The protocol has been openly published. Some servents are open source, but, contrary to popular misconception, the original is not. This site was started by an independent group interested in the technology.

Want to get Gnutella?

To use Gnutella, you need a Gnutella servent (SERVer+cliENT) application that lets you search for, download, and upload any type of file. Because the Gnutella protocol is open, there are many interoperable servents to choose from - see the Download section. With a servent, you can connect to others and form a private network or you can connect to the general public network.

Need an IP address to connect to Gnutella?

Newer programs automatically connect to the general public network. Older ones require you to enter an IP address to connect to; you can just enter "", "", or "" in the edit box, or you can visit with your browser to cut and paste a particular IP address.

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