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Gnutella Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Maintained By manuka.
Modified by Marc Molinaro.
Last updated: May 28, 2000

Source Code

What Is Gnutella Written With?
Will The Source Code Be Released, and if so, when?

Where Does The Name Gnutella Come From?

Protocol

How did you get the protocol specs?

Availability

Is it available for Linux?
Is it available for Mac?

Clients

What's the best client to use?

Downloading

Do the file transfers go through the GnutellaNet?
How do I know what IP I'm downloading from?
Does Gnutella automatically resume interrupted downloads?
Does anyone have <file> for me to download?
Why are my downloads slow?
How come when I try to download songs from Gnutella nothing happens?
If people are downloading from me will this slow down anything else I'm doing on the Internet?

Searching

Why Does A Search For *.mp3 Not Work Correctly?
Does a search normally take a long time?
Why doesn?t my search for <file> come up with anything?
Is there anyway to stop or cancel a search?
Since my IP address isn't sent along with my search, how does other people's Gnutella clients find out where to send the search results?

Firewalls

I'm behind a firewall. Can I still use Gnutella?

File Sharing/Security

Doesn't gnutella expose me to virus attacks?
Should I be worried about the potential hazards of giving anyone access to my computer?

Will people only have access to my files when Gnutella is running or every time I am on the Internet?

Servers/Hosts

I'd like to run a Gnutella server. Who do I ask?
Where Can I Find A Good Server To Connect to?
How many hosts should I connect to?

IO/Stats

What's the difference between incoming and outgoing connections?
What does the "Speed" number mean?
What are dropped packets and how do I reduce the number of dropped packets I receive?
What are those three comma-separated numbers in the info field after each connection (S,R,D)?

Where Are Settings Saved?

Copyright/AOL/RIAA/Misc

What's this "The RIAA is Watching You" message about?
Is this program designed for exchanging copyrighted files?
I thought AOL pulled the plug at 0.48, so what's with these new versions? Who is producing them? Are they official? Are more coming?
I'm a parent concerned about pornography. Is this a haven for perverts?

Gnutella Sucks! You?re all a bunch of lamers!



What's this "The RIAA Is Watching You" message about?

Many people report seeing this message when performing a search. This is clearly the result of some moron who has hacked up one of the clients to return that in response to every search. Don't worry about it, they're just abusing the network. Ditto for any other similar messages.

Where Can I Find A Good Server To Connect to?

Gnutella's peer-to-peer model uses no servers. Each person is an individual node in a network of computers. If you need a server please use the reflectors listed on the main page or in the topic of the IRC channel. If those don?t work, try logging on to IRC and getting someone?s IP address via your client?s lookup command (usually /dns) - consult your client?s documentation on how to do this if you?re unsure. Please do not ask the entire channel for somebody that has an IP for Gnutella, as you will likely find yourself out of the channel very rapidly. Many people in #gnutella are running Gnutella or one of the third-party clients. The default port is 6346. Keep trying until you get one. Alternately, try downloading the gnutella.net file from the File Center and putting it in your gnutella directory, overwriting the existing one. This file is updated fairly regularly. You can also check out my Gnut hosts list, which is relatively current.

What's the difference between incoming and outgoing connections?

The fact that people ask this one mystifies me. The answer is very simple. One is incoming connections, the other is outgoing connections. For those of you still unclear on this concept, an incoming connection is where someone is connected to you. And outgoing one is where you're connected to someone else. Does matter what direction it is, data is passed both ways.

Will The Source Code Be Released, and if so, when?

If all goes well and development of Gnutella continues you should see the source code during the 1.0 release. The source code has not been released yet and we are unsure at this time if it will ever be released, due to AOL locking it in a closet underneath a large pile of Time Warner's dirty laundry.

What does the "Speed" number mean?

Oddly enough, this is asked numerous times a day on IRC. The speed setting reflects, oddly enough, the speed of the line on the remote end that returned the search. This is not automatically determined, and is set in the configuration on the client, and as such is rarely accurate.

Where Are Settings Saved?

Settings are saved when you shut down Gnutella and are saved in the GNUTELLA.INI & GNUTELLA.NET files in your Gnutella directory.

Where Does The Name Gnutella Come From?

The GNU in Gnutella comes from GNU, which is obvious. The other part, "Nutella", refers to a chocolate and hazelnut spread that is phenomenally popular among Europeans.

http://www.ferrero.com.ar/productos/nutella/nutella.html

What Is Gnutella Written With?

Microsoft Visual Studio

Is it available for Linux?

There are third-party Linux clients already available! Some of the Beta versions of Gnutella for Windows are reported to work with WINE.

Is it available for Mac?

There is a Java version that is reported to work nicely under MacOS.

Do the file transfers go through the GnutellaNet?

No. The GnutellaNet is used only for exchanging servant messages and performing searches. The actual transfer is done directly between servants via HTTP.

How did you get the protocol specs?

Some smart people analyzed the traffic, and reverse engineered most of it. Other parts were obtained from a conversation on IRC.

I thought AOL pulled the plug at 0.48, so what's with these new versions? Who is producing them? Are they official? Are more coming?

In the interest of protecting those involved, it can only be said that these versions are being produced by someone with access to the source code. No, of course they're not official in the GnullSoft sense, but they do come from a trusted source. I would certainly expect more versions, since we've already seen several materialize.

What are those three comma-separated numbers in the info field after each connection? (S,R,D)

Those (at present) represent the number of GnutellaNet messages sent, received, and dropped, to that host.

How do I know what IP I'm downloading from?

There is a column in the downloads window immediately to the right of the "Status" column. It is set to zero width by default, but it can be stretched.

Why Does A Search For *.mp3 Not Work Correctly?

The * is ignored. if you really, really want to search for all mp3's out there (we think you're nuts if you do, however), search for ".mp3". Or whatever extension your little heart desires.

Is this program designed for exchanging copyrighted files?

Gnutella is a tool for general peer-to-peer file sharing. It can be used to share spreadsheets, source code, design documents, really any file on your computer. Yes, it is possible to exchange illegal files. This is entirely the choice of the people sharing them. That is, after all, the beauty of freedom of choice. We do not condone or endorse the exchange and transfer of such files, and would like to point out that doing so is entirely at your own risk. The files you can find out on the GnutellaNet include recipes from Usenet?s rec.food.recipes group, as well as files from the Gutenberg Project.

I'd like to run a Gnutella server. Who do I ask?

There are no servers. This is a decentralized system that does not rely on central servers that can be shut down on a whim. If you want to be part of the network, download the Gnutella application, and fire away.

I'm behind a firewall. Can I still use Gnutella?

Certainly. If you're exchanging files with people outside your firewall, the other end of the transaction can't be firewalled. But you can also set up your own GnutellaNet within your firewall, simply by having others connect to each other. Please see the firewalling document for details on Gnutella and firewalls.

How come when I try to download songs from Gnutella nothing happens?

Usually if nothing happens, it?s because the person who is hosting the files has recently renamed the files they are sharing and has forgotten to rescan the folders in which they are sharing the files, or is behind a firewall.

I'm a parent concerned about pornography. Is this a haven for perverts?

Given that gnutella is designed to share any type of files, it's quite likely that there are people sharing adult material. There is really nothing that can be done to stop this. However, the proportion of searches for adult material on gnutella is not significantly different from what you will find on the web at large. There are several people on the network actively trying to reduce the amount of "objectionable" material flowing across their systems.

Doesn't gnutella expose me to virus attacks?

No more so than downloading files from the Internet through any other means such as FTP, the Web, IRC, or Usenet. Use common sense and scan executable file using a current virus scanner with a recent list.

What are dropped packets?

A packet is "dropped" when the client at the other end of the connection is unable to keep up with the rate at which the data wants to flow. It's trying to drink from a fire hose. If you find that a particular client connection has a lot of dropped packets and that number doesn't stop growing, then you should close that client's connection because it's wasting your time and dragging the entire network down. That system isn't receiving much of the data it is supposed to, so it really doesn't need to be connected to you. Aggressively closing connections to clients which are dropping an unreasonably high number of packets benefits the performance of the network at large. To reduce the number of dropped packets that you receive check all the hosts you are connected to for dropped packets and remove any where the number is increasing rapidly.

Does Gnutella automatically resume interrupted downloads?

Whenever you close Gnutella and you have a file that was still downloading, it will resume where it left off upon restarting Gnutella. This doesn't always work, as the system you were downloading from may no longer be on the network.

Does a search normally take a long time?

The amount of time it takes for a search to complete depends on your speed and the speed of the others you are connected to. It takes time to traverse the GnutellaNet made up of many high and low speed connections. Give the search at least a few minutes. Why doesn?t my search for <file> come up with anything?

The most likely cause is that you searched for something nobody has shared out at the moment. But just to be sure, make sure you have at least one connection to the GnutellaNet, and that you can see more than one host.

Since my IP address isn't sent along with my search, how do other Gnutella clients find out where to send the search results?

Gnutella keeps track of all the IP addresses on the network along with each client's TTL and hops. Gnutella then matches up the TTL and hops from the search with the ones it has from all of its pings and sends it to the IP address it found.

Is there anyway to stop or cancel a search?

Since there is no point that can define the "end" of a search, it will keep accepting results until you start another.

What's the best client to use?

I have no idea what your needs are, and neither does anyone else. The best client is whatever works for you and meets your individual needs. Why don't you try one?

Does anyone have <file> for me to download?

Gnutella is a file search tool, so why don?t you go search for what you?re looking for with Gnutella? We?re not your personal locator service, but if you still insist on having us find stuff for you, I?m sure we can accommodate you for a reasonable fee, just provide us with your billing information and credit card number, and we?ll be glad to help.

How many hosts should I connect to?

If you?re using a dialup connection, no more than two. Bear in mind that each connection uses up between 500 and 1000 bytes/second of bandwidth. If you?re on a faster connection, four is a good number.

Why are my downloads so slow With Gnutella?

The speed of your file transfers has nothing to do with Gnutella itself, but rather the network connection between the two systems. The actual file download is a direct HTTP connection and would be no faster than if you used a web browser to the same system. Bear in mind you?re quite likely not the only person downloading files from the system on the other end. If they?re on a dialup, transfers will be slow.

Should I be worried about the potential hazards of giving anyone access to my computer?

The only files people can see are the ones you allow them to see. If you have important information in any of the folders that you are sharing then it would be best to move them to another folder. Gnutella only shares the folders which you specify - this can be changed in the configuration area of Gnutella.

Gnutella Sucks! You?re all a bunch of lamers!

Nobody said you had to use Gnutella. Use whatever you like. We really don?t give a damn about your holy war and aren't going to play your silly troll games.

Will people only have access to my files when Gnutella is running or every time I am on the Internet?

Whenever you have Gnutella open and you are connected to the internet and connected to some body on Gnutella then the people who you are connected have access to the files you are sharing on the network. You have to be connected to the internet and to a Gnutella host in order to share files with your neighbors.

If people are downloading from me will this slow down anything else I'm doing on the Internet?

Whether or not you have a fast enough connection will determine if anything else is slowed down because of Gnutella. In fact, Gnutella does take up quite a lot of bandwidth and if you have a slow connection the most likely your other connections to the internet (whether it be via WWW,FTP, ect..) will suffer.

Have more questions? Post them in our forum, and we'll try our best to answer them.

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