What is giFT, you ask? giFT is an acronym for “giFT: Internet File Transfer”. The giFT project is an initiative to attempt to unify the divided peer-to-peer community following Napster’s demise.
The basic underlying concept of giFT is that there should be no direct connection between the user interface preferred by the user, and the back-end protocol. This is tackled using a collection of several components together:
The giFT daemon acts as a “bridge” between multiple backend file sharing protocols, exposing them to the end developer in an easy to understand XML-like interface protocol.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking “hey, that sounds a lot like Jabber!”. Well, you’re partly correct. Jabber worked by setting up a finite number of translation servers on the Internet, requiring the user to authenticate with one extra remote server in order to take advantage of this technology.
We feel that the task would be better handled by a local daemon that acts transparently to the user, feeding the benefits solely to the developer. The giFT team believes that the best way to improve the state of file sharing on the Internet is to allow developers to take on the complex (and unique) tasks specific to their project, rather than re-inventing the wheel that each interface and network must have.
OpenFT is a p2p network designed to exploit all the functionality giFT supports. Loosely based on FastTrack’s design, OpenFT aims to become the new pseudo standard in file trading on the Internet, but we’ll settle for Total World Domination.
The default giFT front-end is a GTK application to interact with the daemon’s interface protocol. Multiple instances of giFT-fe can be launched from multiple computers to interact with a single daemon, thus requiring only one instance of the core translation service per network. This adds some flexibility at the cost of complexity.
Most giFT users will run the daemon on the same computer as giFT-fe, and the front-end will likely have features designed to make it easier for them to do just that at startup. However, the daemon does not require any clients to maintain a connection to the network. This allows any user to essentially “screen” downloads or communication on any protocol that giFT supports while restarting the preferred front-end.
P.S. – Since giFT is still under heavy development, there are no released files. There are some old ones, but they won’t work anymore, because they’re the old giFT, which connected to the FastTrack network.
However, you can try giFT, if you’re able do the compiling yourself. You can get the most recent version from CVS. Please read the Installation Guide for more information. The Installation Guide also covers most (if not all) problems you can run into, so it’s a must read.