Peer-to-peer is an almost magical term that’s often used, rarely explained, and frequently misunderstood. In the popular media, peer-to-peer is often described as a copyright-violating technology that underlies song-swapping and file-sharing systems such as Napster and Gnutella. In the world of high-tech business, peer-to-peer networking is a revolution that promises to harness the combined computing power of ordinary personal computers and revolutionize the way we communicate. And to Internet pioneers, peer-to-peer is as much a philosophy as it is a model of development, one that contains the keys needed to defeat censorship and create global communities. All of these descriptions contain part of the answer, but none will help you build your own peer-to-peer systems, or explain why you should.
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