Use a software servent, not a web browser, to search the Gnutella Network.
The whole idea behind the Gnutella Network is that it is a file sharing community. You
take files from the network which are stored on other people's computers, but you also
give files back to the network by hosting them on your own computer. Software Gnutella
servants like LimeWire v1.0, ToadNode, and BearShare enable you to share certain
directories on your hard drive with the Gnutella community, whereas web-based Gnutella
search sites like www.gnute.com,
www.gnutmutt.ath.cx do not let you give
back to the community.
The only way that the content on the Gnutella Network is going to get better is if people
continue to share files, and to share more of them. If everyone on the network continuously
adds just a few good new pieces of content, the network will grow richer in content over
time. Software servents like LimeWire v1.0 automatically share any files you download from
someone else on the network. If your servent does not do this automatically, you should
make every possible effort to continue to share files you get from the network. The more
places that a particular file exists, the more opportunities other people will have to
Keep your connection to the network up as long as possible.
When your connection to the network is up, you are constantly sending query results to people
who are looking for the files that you are sharing. When you close down your connection,
you are making your files unavailable for download by the people who have received your
query replies. Further, shutting down your connection quickly makes it nearly impossible
for low-bandwidth connections to download files from you, or for anyone to download large
files from you. The current shortage of bandwidth on the network is due to the fact that
many users are taking up more bandwidth through downloads than they are giving back to the
network through uploads. This is, in turn, responsible for the current difficulty in
finding hosts that have enough available bandwidth for file uploads. Keeping your connection
open for as long as possible and sharing files back with the network help you give back to
the network and promote its general health.
Use a software servent that blocks web-based searches.
Web-based search site users tend to represent an excessively large percentage of network downloads,
especially given that, albeit often unwittingly, they take far more than they give back to the network.
This web-based download traffic clogs the network, using up download slots that could
otherwise be used by people who are sharing files. As a result, far more attempted
downloads fail than should. If all users were to run a servent program such as LimeWire
v1.3, which blocks web-based downloads, the current bandwidth shortage on
the network would soon disappear and the Gnutella Network would be able to have
download success rates similar to those of Napster and iMesh. In fact, the efforts of LimeWire v1.3 and BearShare
have already significantly improved both download success rates and overall network health.
However, it is also important to note that at this point some web-based sites are beginning to contribute to a
solution rather than the problem. Sites such as www.gnutella.it and
www.zeropaid.com have taken measures to inform and educate users about the
importance of a symbiotic relationship with the Gnutella Network. If web users become Gnutella servent users, then
ultimately their contributions to the network will be at least as significant as what they take from it.
Use a software servent that has built-in Gnutella Good Citizen features.
Many of the software servents that are currently being used to connect to the Gnutella
Network are extremely bad for the network. For instance, the "original" Gnutella servent,
Gnutella v0.56, broadcasts a lot of unnecessary traffic to the network, wasting valuable
bandwidth and processing power. Software servents such as LimeWire v1.0 have numerous
features that are designed to improve the overall health of the Gnutella Network. For
instance, LimeWire v1.0 enables "network tiering," so that higher-bandwidth nodes are
placed closer to the center of the network, where they can be put to better use.
Don't initiate overbroad searches like "*.mp3."
Overbroad searches like "*.mp3" result in more query responses being sent back to you
than you could possibly view, and cause the network to clog up with excess traffic.
LimeWire v1.0 will warn you before sending such an overbroad query, in the interest
of conserving the network's resources. If you have some idea of the nature of the
files that you are looking for, it is best to specify it in your search. If you're
just looking for ideas of files to download, you might try monitoring the queries
being sent across the network by others. Nearly all software servents, including
LimeWire v1.0, ToadNode, and BearShare, have this functionality, and it is usually
accessed in the "Monitor" window.