FastTrack is a
peer-to-peer(P2P) protocol, used by the Kazaa(and variants, Groksterand iMesh) file sharingprograms. The file sharing application Morpheus originally used this network, but was later banished from it because of licensing disputes.
In 2003, FastTrack was the most popular file sharing network, being mainly used for the exchange of music
The network had approximately 2.4 million concurrent users in 2003. It is estimated that the total number of users was greater than that of
Napsterat its peak.
While the FastTrack protocol is used in file-sharing software it is also used in other entities that share the same name, such as FastTrack and the
The FastTrack protocol and Kazaa are the brainchild of
Niklas Zennströmfrom Sweden, Janus Friisfrom Denmark and Estonian programmers headed by Jaan Tallinn, the same team that later created Skype. It was introduced in March 2001 by their Dutch company Consumer Empowerment. It appeared during the end of the first generation of P2P networks – Napstershut down in July of that year.
Currently, three FastTrack-based networks exist, using mutually incompatible versions of the protocol. The most popular clients on each are Kazaa (and its variations), Grokster, and iMesh. References to "the" FastTrack network" usually apply only to Kazaa's.
For more information about the various lawsuits surrounding Kazaa and Sharman Networks, see
FastTrack is a so-called second generation P2P protocol. It uses supernodes to improve scalability.
To allow downloading from multiple sources, FastTrack employs the
UUHashhashing algorithm. While UUHash allows very large files to be checksummed in a short time, even on slow computers, it also allows for massive corruption of a file to go unnoticed. Many people, as well as the RIAA, have exploited this vulnerability to spread corrupt and fake files on the network.
The FastTrack protocol uses
encryptionand was not documented by its creators, and the first clients were all closed source software. However, initialization data for the encryption algorithms is sent in the clear and no public keyencryption is used, so reverse engineering was made comparatively easy. In 2003, open sourceprogrammers succeeded in reverse-engineering the portion of the protocol dealing with client-supernode communication, but the supernode-supernode communication protocol remains largely unknown.
The following programs are or have been FastTrack clients:
KCeasy(requires the gIFT-fasttrack plugin)
* Morpheus, until 2002
* Apollon - A KDE-Based P2P client
giFT-FastTrack[http://developer.berlios.de/projects/gift-fasttrack/] – a giFTplugin
MLDonkey, a free multi-platform multi-network file sharing client
* [http://developer.berlios.de/projects/gift-fasttrack/ giFT-FastTrack home page]
* [http://cvs.berlios.de/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/gift-fasttrack/giFT-FastTrack/PROTOCOL?rev=HEAD&content-type=text/vnd.viewcvs-markup Documentation of the known parts of the FastTrack protocol] , from giFT-FastTrack
* Boardwatch [http://www.boardwatch.com/document.asp?doc_id=36886&site=boardwatch Interview with Niklas Zennstrom] , July 17, 2003
* [http://www.lowth.com/p2pwall FTWall] - A firewalling technique for blocking the fast-track protocol.
* " [http://shumans.com/p2p-business-models.pdf Advanced Peer-Based Technology Business Models] ". Ghosemajumder, Shuman.
MIT Sloan School of Management, 2002.
* " [http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item.jhtml?id=4206&t=innovation Music Downloads: Pirates- or Customers?] ". Silverthorne, Sean. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, 2004.
* [http://www.slyck.com/story1019.html How Overpeer was able to corrupt data on the FastTrack network]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.