Two college students, 19-year-old Shawn Fanning and 20-year-old Sean Parker founded Napster in May 1999. They originally just wanted to trade music over the Internet with their friends, however, other users latched onto this software and soon, it became global phenomenon. In February 2001, it had 29.4 million registered users who shared 2.79 billion files in the same month.
However, the major drawback of Napster was the need to connect to a central server to authenticate and then pass the control back to the nodes for further file transfer. In this kind of a system, theserver maintains directories of what is stored in each peer computer.The central server directs the connections between peers. Thus, while the connection is made directly from peer to peer, server is still necessary.
When a new user installs the client software in the computer and then goes online using the software, he is first connected to the central server. Once connected, he can then search for a specific song and sends his search on the server.
On the server side, it has indexed files that are available on other nodes connected to the server. Depending on the search you have sent, you will find a list of files or results. Now you can sort the results according to the bit rate, file size, artist name or any of the other factors important to you and get a more relevant file list.
Once you have chosen what file to download, the Napster software on the other end of the line will upload the file directly to them. The locations of all the music files of the users that are currently online are kept on the central network, but the files themselves stay on the users’ computers until another computer asks for it.
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