Washington Post: E-Power to the People [via Gnutella]

“Both the beauty and danger of Gnutella are that it is a more
sophisticated version of Napster, the infamous and popular program
that college students have been using to swap music files over the
Web. Napster’s developers have recently been hit with a flurry of
copyright-infringement lawsuits. But unlike users of Napster,
Gnutella aficionados can trade files without going through a
storage center, making it impossible to shut down the system
without unplugging every computer on the network and difficult to
control by laws because there’s no central authority.”

“Marc Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape Communications and a
former chief technology officer for AOL, compares Gnutella to a
benevolent virus, a “revolutionary” program that spreads the power
of publishing from an elite set of corporations to anyone who has a
computer. “It changes the Internet in a way that it hasn’t changed
since the browser,” Andreessen said.”

“At a time when the general assumption is that the World
Wide Web’s destiny will be guided by international conglomerates
such as AOL, Amazon.com Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.,
Gnutella is the unexpected variable.
Its very existence is a
statement about the wild nature of the Web and how difficult it
will be for anyone to tame it. It is also a dramatic display of how
easily the Internet can be transformed or at least shaken by smart
computer programmers who are barely old enough to drink or

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