Gnutella is a decentralized peer-to-peer file sharing network. With similar results as the old Napster, users of Gnutella are able to search for a song or file through one of Gnutella’s clients and then download that file onto his or her own hard drive. What makes Gnutella different from Napster is the fact that it lacks a central server and, instead, each of the computers networked perform as both server and client.
To use Gnutella, users place files they are willing to share on hard disks and make them available to others for downloading in the normal peer-to-peer method. Then, using one of Gnutella’s numerous clients including BearShare, Gnucleus, LimeWire, Morpehus, WinMX and XoloX, a user types in the name of the song or file into the software’s search field. The computer then connects to at least one other computer through Gnutella and looks to see if that computer has the desired file. The computer has either been programmed with another computer’s IP address or uses one of its software’s pre-programmed servers. That computer then connects to at least one other and the process continues on and on and on, until either the file is found or the search’s time to live (TTL) limit has run out