1.2 Historical

Although P2P networking has existed for quite some time, it has only been
popularized recently and will probably be subject to even bigger revolutions in
the near future.
Napster was the first P2P application which really took off. The way it worked
was quite simple: a server indexed all the files each user had. When a client
queried Napster for a file, the central server would answer with a list of all indexed
clients who already possessed the file.
Napster-like networks are known now as first generation networks. Such networks
didn’t have a complicated implementation and often relied on a central

server (hybrid P2P). The central server model makes sense for many reasons:
it is an efficient way to handle searches and allows to retain control over the
network. However, it also means there is a single point of failure. When lawyers
decided Napster should be shut down, all they had to do was to disconnect the
server.
Gnutella was the second major P2P network. After Napster’s demise, the creators
of Gnutella wanted to create a decentralized network, one that could not
be shut down by simply turning off a server. At first the model did not scale
because of bottlenecks created whilst searching for files. FastTrack solved this
problem by rendering some nodes more capable than others. Such networks
are now known as second generation networks and are the most widely used
nowadays [1].
Third generation networks are the new emerging P2P networks. They are
a response to the legal attention P2P networks have been receiving for a few
years and have built-in anonymity features. They have not yet reached the mass
usage main second generation networks currently endure but this could change
shortly. Freenet is a good example of a third generation P2P network, that is
the reason why we will study it more deeply during this thesis.

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