File-sharing program

File-sharing program

A file-sharing program is used to directly or indirectly transfer files from one computer to another computer over a network (e.g. the Internet). While the term may be used to describe client-server disk sharing (also known as shared file access or disk mounting), it is more commonly used to describe file sharing using the peer-to-peer (P2P) model.

Peer-to-peer file sharing typically operates using a network, such as Gnutella or BitTorrent. There are trade offs to using one network over another network. A variety of file-sharing programs are available on these different networks. It is common for commercial file sharing clients to contain abrasive advertising software or spyware.

Categories of clients

* Centralized Clients: OpenNap
** Benefits: Faster searching and downloading
** Negatives: Often more vulnerable to legal and DDOS attacks

* Decentralized clients: Gnutella
** Benefits: Usually more reliable and rarely shut down
** Negatives: Generally slower than centralized systems

*Decentralized tracker-based clients: BitTorrent
** Benefits: Very fast due to concentration of bittorrent networks on a single file, is principally used to offer new, large files for download, many tracker sites available
** Negatives: Not centrally searchable, tracker sites are often closed down from legal suits or fail, not truly anonymous

* Multi-network clients
** Benefits: allows connection to more than one network, almost always on the client side.
** Negatives: often playing catch-up to individual networks' changes and updates.

* Anonymous peer-to-peer: Freenet, GNUnet, MUTE, I2P
** Benefits: allows for the uncensored free flow of information and ideas
** Negatives: due to anonymity it allows for questionable or illegal material to be exchanged easier than other networks, often slower than regular p2p because of the overhead

* Private file-sharing networks

ee also

*Comparison of file sharing applications
*Disk sharing (Shared file access)
*Ethics of file sharing
*File sharing timeline
*Open Music Model
*File sharing in Canada

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