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FastTrack

FastTrack is a peer-to-peer protocol, used by the KaZaA, Grokster, and iMesh[?] (iMesh users appear as username@FileShare) file sharing programs. The Morpheus program also used the protocol from mid-2001 until March 2002. giFT used the FastTrack network for a short period of time until it was shut out by protocol changes.

FastTrack is a so-called second generation P2P protocol, it is based on the Gnutella protocol and was created in March 2001, with KaZaA as its first client. It extends Gnutella with the addition of superpeers to improve scalability. The superpeer functionality is built into the client; if a powerful computer with a fast network connection runs the client, it will automatically become a superpeer, effectively acting as a server of sorts for other, slower clients.

As of early 2003, the FastTrack was the most popular file sharing network, being mainly used for the exchange of music mp3 files. It has more users than Napster had at its peak.

FastTrack is currently a closed source protocol. But there is much work being done to create an open source version of the protocol, one such effort is the giFT-FastTrack (http://developer.berlios.de/projects/gift-fasttrack/) plugin. The giFT-FastTrack project says:

The required cryptographic algorithms have been successfully reverse engineered and searching/downloading already work.

Recent versions of MLDonkey can also connect to the FastTrack network.



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