Feeds

Microsoft preps Napster clone

A hi-tech R&D project today - tomorrow ze vorld...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft plans to 'embrace and extend' peer-to-peer file sharing technology with a Napster-style system of its own.

Codenamed Farsite, the program is currently little more than a research project, according to a ZDNet US story. The newswire seems content with M$' line that the code will probably make it into the commercial arena, but we're not convinced.

Essentially, Farsite follows the true peer-to-peer mode of Gnutella rather than Napster's approach. Farsite lets PC talk unto PC, without the need for a central server to act as an intermediate directory, as is the case with Napster.

The Farsite developers' focus is on corporate networks and want to develop a system capable of allowing around 100,000 machines connected on what the research team calls a "serverless network" to exchange files quickly with each other.

All nice and techie, but let's revisit the phrase "serverless network". Now one of the application areas in which a certain open source operating system that competes with Microsoft's own offerings is doing rather well is file sharing. So it might well be to the Windows maker's benefit to be able to bypass said systems using client-based peer-to-peer sharing technology.

That's one use of peer-to-peer. Another is the approach Napster has taken: media sharing. This is likely to become a big part of the digital music market if not all of it, and it's hard to see Microsoft not wanting a share, a very big share of this emerging business. Right now, the music industry is broadly hostile to the technology, but that may change, as shown by Bertelsmann's deal with Napster.

It makes sense, then, for Microsoft to have the appropriate technology ready just in case. It can certainly afford to develop the code and risk it never being used.

Napster is unlikely to win the hearts and minds of the music industry - too much has been said by both parties for a true reconciliation - but if the world's biggest record labels begin to realise the potential of the generic peer-to-peer concept, they might be open to approaches from a company that can build its sharing software into the most widespread desktop OS there is. Tie it in with the near-ubiquitous Windows Media Player and Microsoft's Reciprocal-derived royalty payment management software, and you've the basis for a media delivery system that can work with both download and peer-to-peer subscription services... ®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.