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Compaq iPaq runs Apache

Open source Web server for P2P file sharing

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Compaq's iPaq Pocket PC has just become what's possibly the world's smallest Apache-based Web server.

You think we exaggerate? Not so. Despite various last year's April Fools' gag that mooted a Palm-based Apache server, this one is legit.

Endeavors Technology, part of Tadpole Technology, itself best-known for its Sun Sparc-based notebooks, has ported its Magi Embedded peer-to-peer software over to Windows CE running on Compaq's PDA.

Magi is a Gnutella-style file-sharing system designed to hook up any number of machines across the Internet and other networks to facilitate collaborative computing. Magi is based around what Endeavors calls a "thin server", itself derived from Apache, the open source Web server. Effectively Magi turns any Net connected machine - from WAP phones to PDAs to Net appliances to PCs - into a Web server.

The code is available in three strands: Embedded, Enterprise and Express. The former is aimed at gadgets, while Enterprise hooks up major systems and workgroups. Express is a freebie version for desktop PCs - so far it supports Win32 systems, but Linux and MacOS X clients are on their way. All of them use the same fundamental transport technology, https running over TCP/IP, so they can all be used together. And to make it nice and easy to use, it's all based around an instant messaging-style interface.

Endeavors hopes to make its money selling extra functionality, such as workflow and workforce management, through proprietary software sitting on top of the open source core.

With the likes of Microsoft's Farsite project, Gnutella, Aimster and now Magi on the scene, it should be quickly coming to everyone's attention that peer-to-peer isn't just about nabbing free copies of music. Still, that's what many of these tools are going to be used for, as ad hoc sharing networks. And while suing a company (Napster) that focuses on sharing music is easy, it's a lot hard to stamp on a company whose software simply provides scope for such activity.

As we've said before, the sooner the music and movie businesses get their heads around this idea and evolve new models based on services rather than products (copyright licenses) the better. ®

Related Link

Endeavors Technologies Web site
Download MagiExpress here

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