Gene Kan: Old School Gnutella

Zeropaid: We know gnutella is awesome for pirating MP3s, movies and other file types, but is there a real future for gnutella?

GK: Yes. Gnutella is a real-time distributed search technology. MP3 trading
is but one small application of this technology. As Marc Andreessen said
in today’s Washington Post: “It changes the Internet in a way that it
hasn’t changed since the browser”. Gnutella has a bright future ahead.

Zeropaid: What’s up with gnutella/nutella… coincidence? I think not! Does Justin Frankel really like that crap?

GK: Nutella rocks! Try it on a crepe. That’s what I used to eat at Berkeley
for dessert. Banana, walnut, honey, Nutella crepe.

Zeropaid: Can gnutella hope to compete with big search engines like Yahoo? I’ve
heard talk but remain highly skeptical. And wouldn’t something like that
have to be ruthlessly commercialized for that to happen?

GK: We’ll see. Already Bryan Mayland’s PHP script has turned your average
web page into a Gnutella search interface. Competing isn’t the right
word. Complementing is better. Yahoo! is good at what it does, and
Gnutella is good at what it does. We need both.

Zeropaid: The largest concerns about gnutella are that its such a bandwidth hog,
and most people on dial-up can’t even use it. What’s up with that? AOLers
want to get in on the fun, too!

GK: I get a lot of email from AOL users who are successfully and happily using
Gnutella. Bandwidth is only a problem if you make it a problem by
misconfiguring the client software. Client software these days is alpha
or beta. It’s not really ready for general consumption. That means not
a lot of attention has been paid to usability. Developers are working hard
to address the usability problem.

But…until then, users should read our FAQ and Tutorials on
. They help you work around the problems
new Gnutella users typically have.

Here’s a tip for the lazy (myself included, so I know how it is): If
you’re on a modem, or even on a slower DSL, don’t set your connection
number to more than 2. Then set your listening port to 0 so nobody connects
to you.

Zeropaid: What kind of organization is Do you guys go to an
office everyday and get paid? Or is this a volunteer off-hours
on-the-downlow kinda deal?

GK: is the Gnutella Portal. There are other resources for
Gnutella users (like Zeropaid), and that’s good. More web sites implies
more education.

The people related to are either in school or have day
jobs. We do this on our spare time. It’s pretty tough, because
managing is really a full time job.

The Washington Post article says I work on Gnutella from 7:00 PM until
5:00 AM daily. At the time I did the interview, that was true. GnutellaNet
was having problems. GnutellaNet is now pretty stable and more usable than
ever due to the efforts of dozens of Gnutella client developers.

Zeropaid: What about companies like that are trying to work with record
companies and get them to see an entirely new business model? Do you think
there’s any future to that?

GK: The RIAA and MPAA are among the only large old-world distribution channels
which haven’t bothered to upgrade themselves for 21st-century service.
Every other industry I can think of has ungraded. They all took it like
men. Now we’re dragging the RIAA kicking and screaming down the road of
modernization. They threaten, they whine. But mainly, they stall.

They need to grow up, quickly: It’s sink or swim out here on the Internet. is trying to help modernize the RIAA. But it could be a wasted
effort. If the RIAA takes a few years to figure it all out, this revolution
could be their undoing. They could become irrelevant. You know who’s first
against the wall in a revolution: the wimpy nobles who steal from the
proletariat. The recent ruling that we consumers overpaid $480 million for
CDs in the last 4 years is only testimony to that.

CDs are brought to stores by trucks. They’re packaged and transported.
Big waste of money and makes tons of trash. Nothing says old-world like
tractor-trailers and trash. Who needs it when you can just click? It’s
even environmentally friendly.

Zeropaid: What’s all this I hear about gnutella being unstoppable? Does this mean
that a college can’t just ban it like they can Napster?

GK: Banning is impossible. Run it on your favorite randomly-selected port and
no ban is possible. 6346 is only a default, not a rule. We don’t have a
fixed range of IP addresses to ban like Napster does. Gnutella is a moving

Zeropaid: Has anyone been in contact with Frankel and Co. over at Nullsoft?
Aren’t they pretty much in hiding?

GK: No clue. I’m sure he’ll come up for air when the time is right.

Zeropaid: Inquiring minds want to know… do you think the Lakers got it wrapped up this year or what?

GK: Motor racing is where it’s at.