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Peer-to-peer filesharing touches down

By Chris Williams. Published: 22nd Apr 2003, 01:16:03 | Permalink | Printable

New client brings RISC OS to Gnutellanet



Alpha Programming have today announced the launch of CocoGnut, a peer-to-peer file sharing application for online RISC OS users. Until now users have been almost begging for filesharing software for RISC OS since the demise of the Audiogalaxy and Napster networks while Windows users enjoy the proprietary Kazaa network. Is CocoGnut a welcome corner stone? Will it matter that CocoGnut is a commercial app although, to be honest, most affordable?

The CocoGnut website features screenshots and an online manual for you to peek at if you want to see how the bundle of joy works. In our test drive of CocoGnut, we were able to search, queue and download various MP3s and TV episodes. The software requires at least RISC OS 3.5 and a modest 28kbps internet connection although we feel 512kbps broadband is a much, much better recommendation. Lots of features including Gnutella support, a funky statistics window and the ability to download files whilst behind a firewall are all in there although uploading (aka sending files) isn't implemented yet but appears high on the to do list.

Peer to peer?
Ok, here's a brief introduction. Peer-to-peer networking is essentially a huge network of computers finding files for users. Basically, you enter some search terms and your filesharing client contacts other computers on the same peer-to-peer network to see if they have the file you're looking for. These computers then contact other computers to find the required file. This continues until the file is found and downloading begins. There's no central server controlling searches (like a website search engine), instead clients are in constant contact locating and freely distributing files - hence the term peer-to-peer.

It's no secret that filesharing networks are full of MP3s, e-books, cracked software and other more dubious content (parents beware) and all told, the large majority of filesharing users enjoy the ability to download whatever album or film they want and all for free. Understand that we are really not getting into the moral (and legal) debate right now.

Welcome to Gnutellanet
CocoGnut works on the multi-platform and popular Gnutella peer-to-peer network, connecting to other online Gnutella clients to seek out files requested by the user and fetching them once found. Gnutella clients exist for many OSes including Linux, Windows and now of course RISC OS.

"No-one owns the Gnutella network, which means that it cannot be shut down by hackers or government organisations", explains Alpha Programming's Marc Warne in his announcement, "unlike networks such as the original Audiogalaxy system, where clients such as the Satellite client for RISC OS are no longer usable."

You may recall that Marc Warne with Justin Fletcher developed the freeware RISC OS client for the very popular MP3-swapping-galore Audiogalaxy network which caved into RIAA pressure mid-2002. Despite this set back, developer Marc obviously wasn't going to take "no" for an answer when it came to filesharing on RISC OS.

Oh, one more thing. Raise your hand if you want CocoGnut. Good. Uh ok, put your hand down if you're an Iyonix user because CocoGnut sadly isn't 32 bit compatible (yet) although Aemulor may do the trick.

Links

CocoGnut website (plus pricing and ordering details)

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Discussion

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Excellent!

 is a RISC OS Usertakkaria on 22/4/03 2:53PM
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'ang on, it's not free?

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 22/4/03 4:35PM
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You have to pay 16,- GBP and i guess it is worth it if all issues have been solved.

You can not have anything for free...

Sincerely Hauke

 is a RISC OS UserVLIW on 22/4/03 4:53PM
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Hmmm, shareware would've been better imo :)

Almost tempted to port one of the many unix ones now. -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 22/4/03 4:57PM
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If it actually does work properly and will continue to be developed I'd be more than happy to pay for it - when there's a 32bit version :) -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 22/4/03 4:57PM
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I've been playing about with it for the past hour or so and it seems pretty nifty. There seems to be a lot of dud results and it sometimes takes a bit of time to get a decent connection. Some kind of filtering of results would be good as well. I'm still not totally up to notch on the GUI, seems rather complicated.

It's only crashed once, but that could've just been me playing. :D These things happen. Worth the expenditure in my opinion, it saves getting out of my seat and wandering downstairs to use Kazaa on the PC.

-- Snig Undoubtley doubtful.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 22/4/03 5:06PM
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But what can you get for RISC OS on P2P? I guess some MP3s.... RISC OS folk just aren't into warez! :)

I'd prefer a KazaA client as there's much more out there. It's closed source, but the K++ guys have reverse-engineered it and their version is actually better than the commercial one (no spyware/limits) and free of course....

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 22/4/03 5:11PM
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Good job... I would be in the market for it if I hadn't moved over to Linux for such things. Shame it isn't free... are there legal issues with this? -- Rob

 is a RISC OS Userrob on 22/4/03 5:13PM
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I was wondering if there were any GPL issues! ;o) -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 22/4/03 5:36PM
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Where GPL is concerned, can't they just charge for the GUI and leave the file sharing bit open source. Perhaps then people could write a free front end!

A KaZaA client is exactly wot is needed. I've never even heard of Gnutellanet! ----------- Smiler - :D Alex Melhuish

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 22/4/03 5:57PM
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VLIW said "you cannot have anything for free", but isn't that what P2P sharing is all about? The author can't complain if CocoGnut appears on the P2P network. :oD

A demo version would be nice so I could see if it will work behind my firewall. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 22/4/03 6:22PM
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Give the author a wee bit of respect ppl, he's been working long and hard on this, you can tell. I don't blame him for the small charge.

-- Snig Undoubtley doubtful.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 22/4/03 6:54PM
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Oh, I know, I just think the irony (if you can call it that) is amusing. :o) -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 22/4/03 6:59PM
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I like this app. Well, the user interface is a bit nasty and uploads are not supported yet but i think this will be fixed soon. However, downloading works and the app is stable and esay to configure.

Well the "free" thing... Seems to depend what the people are using p2p for.

BTW: I am running my computer behind a SMC broadbandrouter with a small and easy firewall and Cocognat is very happy with that.

Sincerely Hauke

 is a RISC OS UserVLIW on 22/4/03 7:05PM
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Sounds great - hopefully the 32 bit version will be ready soon. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 22/4/03 7:28PM
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Hiya people...a few answers to your queries!

1. KaZaA - what firstly worries be about this is its propreitary status. I'm not 100% sure about how it works - but if (or 'when') Shamen Networks get stopped by the courts, will KaZaA continue? Gnutella's open protocol standard means it cannot easily be stopped by any organisation. BTW, I prefer WinMX anyway :-)

2. GPL - Because Gnutella is open protocol, there are no license restrictions with creating a client for this network.

3. 32-bit - The only real problem at the moment is CocoGnut's use of EasySocket, which is 26-bit only. I will need replace my usage of this (which I need to do anyway), and do a small alteration to make it work on the Iyonix. It shouldn't be too hard really...

4. Uploading - This is almost complete. A fair bit of tidying up and testing needs to be done first though. I've been considering disallowing uploads of files called 'cocognut' ;-) Nah, as said earlier, RISC OS users aren't into warez!

5. Firewalls - As long as you can make outgoing connections (usually to port 6346), CocoGnut will work. It doesn't need to have incoming connections, but it is advantageous.

I'd be happy to hear comments about how the interface could be improved. I understand what you mean about its clunkiness. BTW, if anyone wants to try it with Aemulor, I'd appreciate feedback!

Marc Warne

 is a RISC OS Usercocodude on 22/4/03 9:44PM
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well, cocodude: i also prefer winmx, but seems theres no hope to get such a client on riscos?

eric

 is a RISC OS Usercrow on 22/4/03 10:32PM
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Not sure why you both like winmx, Kazaa is clearing the better "network" and Kazaa Lite the best client. (Tho CocoGnut looks very nice indeed and might become my preferred P2P client - er as soon as I get my Iyonix *sigh* ;) -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 22/4/03 10:46PM
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Well, I didn't know KaZaA's protocol had been discovered, so it's possible WinMX's has too. However, Gnutella is getting better week by week and, in my opinion, it is likely to be the best. CocoGnut needs to support some of Gnutella's more modern features for it to compete though. These are, of course, in the pipeline.

Marc Warne

 is a RISC OS Usercocodude on 22/4/03 11:39PM
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Re: The Price

If you use CocoGnut to preview an album you were thinking of buying only to find out the album is naff you have already saved yourself 14 quid. Sure, the clients might be free on other systems and you'd save another 15 quid but if you don't have another system it'd be daft to pass this up just coz the grass is greener on the side you can't get to :-)

-- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 23/4/03 12:05AM
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And another thing... :)

Some of the more popular p2p clients install some form of adware that hits the user with banner ads. Of course, this helps pay for the apps and their networks but it means that the user's bandwidth is sapped and screen space is taken up with annoying, flashy, stupid banners. Grrr.

But then, you can get rid of them by paying for the Pro version :)

Cocodude, rename your app to CocoGnut Pro

-- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 23/4/03 12:19AM
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Believe me... in the few hours i now use this app it fully paid it's price back.

And i now know what to buy next sunday on the 2nd hand market as the german publisher do not sell CDDA any longer...

Sincerley Hauke

 is a RISC OS UserVLIW on 23/4/03 12:49AM
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Isn't KaZaA laced with spyware anyway? -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 23/4/03 9:21AM
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Which raises another interesting point, anyone know of any RISC OS software (past, present) that had spyware embedded in it? (even down to things like !iXRC that version checked for updates on a remote website each time it was run) -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 23/4/03 9:23AM
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The official client for Kazaa is laced with spyware and adware. The unofficial Kazaa lite (which is much better anyway) has none of it. Perhaps CocoGnut could add Kazaa support somewhere down the line :) Nice work Marc -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 23/4/03 9:39AM
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In the interests of accuracy (given the XScale fiasco on this same site ;)) I think it's worth noting that file sharing and discovery is an "application" of peer-to-peer networking. Peer-to-peer networks simply use an alternative model to client-server networks. A peer can be (and usually is) both client and server at once and, usually, there is some distributed means of discovering other peers. However this does not rule out the use of one or more central servers to act as rendezvous points to make finding other peers easier.

You can apply the peer-to-peer model to many apps. The obvious ones are things like video conferencing and games.

Ok, lecture over :)

 is a RISC OS Userjohnstlr on 23/4/03 9:48AM
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The freenet project (freenetproject.org) uses a seed-nodes database, that comes with the client that you download from any participating node.

That removes the last centralisation part of things. -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 23/4/03 9:53AM
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I think Lee was pointing out that a network can possess centralised nodes but still be regarded as a P2P networks. Usually these central nodes help to facilitate the system in some way (e.g. a look up facilitity - Napster, ICQ, etc).

True P2P systems do exist, with FreeNet being an example, however they do possess disadvantages such as the lack of scalability. (The temptation to plug a paper is almost overwhelming!!). It can also be argued that Gnutella isn't really a true P2P system given that it uses super peers.

As Lee said filesharing is just one possible application for P2P, it is certainly not the only one. P2P systems can be used for Instant Messaging, resource sharing (e.g. processing, disk space, etc), group working, etc.

Something that might be worth looking at is JXTA, an open source P2P API from Sun (www.jxta.org). Although it is predominantly Java based, there is also a C implementation being developed as well. By using JXTA it is quite easy for developers to build their own P2P applications.

 is a RISC OS UserWalks on 23/4/03 10:43AM
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I'll just plug some papers from

[link]

then ;-) -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 23/4/03 11:03AM
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I hadn't heard of !iXRC before now. Is it still around? From a Google search it appears to have been commercial at one point... -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 23/4/03 11:12AM
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Jon Wright was one of the people that wrote it, and it was commercial. I'm not sure as to it's current state <fx: prods Jon>...

 is a RISC OS Userg0tai on 23/04/03 11:29AM
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You wouldn't want it anyway. !LIRC was much better. :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 23/04/03 11:36AM
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I'm so glad there's a fileshsre program on Risc OS now, becuase KaZaA on my Pc Card has just about had it and continually crashes!

Shame about the price though - please could it be shareware, please :)

 is a RISC OS Usertim_firmager on 23/04/03 12:01AM
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KaZaA - Support for this is a possibility, but I'm really not sure how long Shamen Networks will last with legal issues and all and whether KaZaA will continue to run in the future.

SpyWare - Doesn't Oregano 2 (or at least the demo) check for updates upon startup? I seem to remember it automatically updating itself a while ago.

Centralisation - It's true that Gnutella does use Super peers (called 'Ultrapeers', on Gnutella) but I still wouldn't call this centralisation, as the choice of which nodes can become Ultrapeers is totally dynamic. I don't think there is a total reliance on these, as all servents should be able to fall back to classic Gnutella mode, which CocoGnut uses. Also, if many/all Ultrapeers fail, more will arise because nodes will sense the need for more.

Gnutella's previous point of centralisation was host cachces, which provided a list of IP addreses to connect to. This isn't really the case anymore, as IP addresses are now located via GWebCaches - a system of WWW sites which provide IP addresses and URLS of other GWebCaches. As long as clients are provided with the URLs of some GWebCaches, as long as not all of them are down, there is no central point of connection.

Freenet - Is nice, admittedly! It's more anonymous than Gnutella, but from my experience of it (this was a while ago), slow, very difficult to connect to and hard to acquire files, eg. MP3s.

Just my 15 worth.

Marc Warne

 is a RISC OS Usercocodude on 23/4/03 12:07PM
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Maybe a demo mode, where it'll only download files of under size 'X' (100K?) or otherwise crippled, so people can try before they commit? :)

 is a RISC OS Userg0tai on 23/04/03 12:22AM
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Very good idea :)

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 23/04/03 12:26AM
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!LIRC is far more powerful than !iXRC although I would argue not as simple to use. :) It still is a commercial product and used to cost 14.99. As for the current state, it's dormant and there are already 101 IRC clients for RISC OS (!g0IRC being another example of a bad one :P ). Perhaps if there was enough interest, it could be polished off and re-released either as freeware or shareware.

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 23/04/03 12:50AM
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g0tai: Yes, I had been thinking about that. A demo is on the 'to do' list :-)

 is a RISC OS Usercocodude on 23/04/03 1:16PM
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I don't understand all these people saying "shame about th price, make it shareware." Err, am I missing something? If it were shareware, you'd still have to pay for it. Or is it just so you can freeload it?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 23/04/03 1:38PM
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What about direct connect? [link]

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 23/04/03 1:54PM
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nunnny> I prefer to try before I buy. I imagine others do as well.

 is a RISC OS Userg0tai on 23/04/03 2:00PM
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Direct Connect has been something I have played with in the past. There is certainly a lot of stuff out there to download, but realistically you need to be sharing at least 5 Gig of data before you get allowed onto the hubs.

From what I gather the Gnutella network has actually seen a drop in usage over recent months.

 is a RISC OS UserWalks on 23/04/03 2:42PM
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iXRC: as i bought it years ago, i'd be interested in an upgrade. especially a 32-bit one.

what about emule? the source is free. see www.emule.de how does it compare to kazaa or gnutella?

to have to pay around 20 - 25 euro for a filesharing prog seems to be an interesting philosophy.

 is a RISC OS Useranon/217.185.192.67 on 23/04/03 3:10PM
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Someone has to go to the trouble of producing it and maintaining it, why shouldn't they want a small reward for it? In view of the size of this market I'm sure it /will/ be a /small/ reward.

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 23/04/03 10:26PM
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g0at: That's what a demo's for. Trying before you buy.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 23/04/03 10:42PM
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Err, thats what I said earlier. Read up.

 is a RISC OS Userg0tai on 24/04/03 08:39AM
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Exactly. My point is people who want something as shareware, 'just to try it'. They *should* be content with a demo, but rarely are, 'cause they'll want to freeload it. :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 24/04/03 11:19AM
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"RISC OS folk just aren't into warez!"

ha ha, ha ha ha

<fx>ooof</fx>

sI need to get a lower chair.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 24/04/03 2:48PM
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