Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!

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Gnutella is a free, open source project to create a true peer-to-peer file sharing network.  Such a network would be a fully distributed alternative to semi-centralized systems like [[Napster]].  To date (February 2000), Gnutella has not achieved widespread success, due primarily to problems of scalability.

Sometimes the word 'Gnutella' refers not to a particular project or particular piece of software, but to the open protocol used by various clients.  Since new clients are under development all over, and since a new protocol is apparently on the way too, it is hard to say what the word 'Gnutella' will mostly stand for in the future.

The most popular Gnutella clients (at the moment) are BearShare and [[Limewire]].