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[DotGNU]Open Content Network: Free Software P2P

From: Seth Johnson
Subject: [DotGNU]Open Content Network: Free Software P2P
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 15:36:55 -0400

An Open Source successor to Napster 

by Matthew
Wed May 22 2002

Open Source boffins have announced a distributed content
file sharing system--but on a much larger scale than the
likes of Napster and Gnutella. The Open Content Network, as
it has been named, is based around the peer-to-peer
technology known as the Content Addressable Web (CAW). Its
main aim is to be the largest content delivery system

The system relies on Open Source contributions made by
computer users in terms of disk space and spare bandwidth. 
By adding simple extensions to the HTTP protocol users will
be allowed to download files securely through the
distributed network. Integrity checking will be done by the
Tree Hash Exchange format that is also being rolled out this
month by the CAW developers.

A system such as this would be impossible to regulate, and
although the network is meant for Open Source and public
domain software, it is doubtful this is all it will be used

The Open Content Network hopes to go live this summer, and
you can visit the groups' website to sign up for the
announcement list as well as view some slides detailing the

For more information, please see vnunet.


So, how are they going to stop this one then? Well, I don't
think they can ("they" being the music and film companies,
mainly). This is an Open Source project catering to Open
Source and public domain software; the fact that it will be
used to host other files as well is a no-brainer, but who
can the big companies go after this time? In a truly
distributed network such as this there is no one service you
can shut down and no one to sue.

This is going to be another wait and see. Use the service as
long as it is up, then watch the big companies slowly start
to take notice and put up a fight. I think it will be a lot
harder to get rid of than Napster, however. The other bonus
of it being Open Source is there is no chance of there being
sleeper software built-in like the recent revelations about

As Sam pointed out in his news item about Napster and KaZaA
on Monday, there is always going to be some sort of
file-swapping software available this is just the latest


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