Peer-to-peer is a concept, some would even say a philosophy, that is all the rage on the Internet. The principal is simple: each Internaut stores the music, image and text files on their computer's hard disk that they have collected according to their personal tastes and hobbies. Often this collection is very rich, and is likely to interest other people on the Internet. That's where the idea of enabling every Internaut to share their documents with the whole of the planet comes from.
Exchanging music was the first major area of peer-to-peer activity, through the notorious software that for a while defied the major record labels, Napster. On its own, Napster managed to federate a community of millions of individuals, sharing and downloading music in MP3 format. Caught between massive support and bitter disputes, Napster was finally forced to give in to the legal onslaught. But other file-sharing networks have emerged. From now on, videos, music and documents can be freely exchanged via peer-to-peer applications using decentralized servers.
The different categories of peer-to-peer software
Multimedia file-sharing: audio, video, text etc. Everything can be shared using these applications. Some of them include an integrated multimedia player.
Humanitarian file-sharing: peer-to-peer can also have humanitarian objectives. But this time, instead of sharing your documents, you share your computer's calculating power in order to help advance the world of science.
Adult file-sharing: on the Internet, sharing adult material also has its tools and adepts.