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Filetopia Making Headway
April 20, 2004
Thomas Mennecke
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Filetopia has a history that exceeds even Napster. Arriving onto the file-sharing scene several months prior, Filetopia was more of a community chat program than a P2P application. However, as time progressed, added functionality was incorporated which has given Filetopia the potential to become a major player in the P2P world.

As the copyright industry turns up the heat on the file-sharing community, more individuals are seeking secure networks that can blanket their online activity. One network that has the potential to fulfill this mighty obligation to the masses is Filetopia.

Despite its lengthy history, Filetopia has not been known as a great P2P resource. Frequent server problems and simply the lack of advertising have kept this network in the relative dark. However, things are starting to change for the better as Filetopia has reached 5,000 users for the first time. Enrique, the sole programmer for Filetopia, weighs in on the current growth of his network.

"[The reason for our recent growth is due to more] stable servers, a very loyal user base and some of the communities that have been in Filetopia for [a] long [time]…keep growing."

In addition, the allure of participating in a secure network has also been a strong selling point of Filetopia. While SSL is a common (and excellent) encryption scheme, Filetopia allows users to select a variety of encryption devices.

"Filetopia uses a public key based encryption, similar in concept to SSL. In Filetopia, an EC encryptor is used to generate the asymmetric keys (SSL uses RSA) and the symmetric ciphers are optional (the user can choose among the strongest ones, including AES, blowfish, Twofish, etc.)

Of course, using SSL is as secure, the only advantage is probably that the EC cipher is a bit more efficient than the older RSA cipher."

Despite the growth and allure of Filetopia, one nagging issue remains – WinMX-itis. Similar to WinMX, Filetopia has not been updated in nearly a year (WinMX over a year.) Although this is of some concern, Filetopia 4.0 (a seemingly cursed release number) should be released sometime this summer. The delays are attributable to numerous projects, such at TorrentTopia.org.

"I've had to work on other projects in this past year. One of the projects is also related to P2P and it is having a big growth now. It is a BitTorrent client that has embedded search capabilities: Torrentopia.org.

I'm working on FT4 right now, it is a big rewrite, and I expect to have a beta maybe for the summer."

The delay can certainly be forgiven in exchange for a client that may revolutionize BitTorrent. Although the client in its existing state does not have an encryption scheme, future versions promise to add this much sought after feature.

"This version does not add any security to the BitTorrent protocol. That is what I plan to do with then next major version, adding virtual trackers and a secure DHT network. I just wanted to get used to the BitTorrent protocol in this version."

The future certainly looks bright for Filetopia. His current project, TorrentTopia, is a testing ground for eventually intergrating a secure BitTorrent element to FileTopia 4.0. Enrique talks about the future of Filetopia.

"Filetopia 3 is a lot more decentralized than the previous versions, it is based on supernodes; a fully decentralized DHT network (Filetopia 4.0) is a step forward in that direction. Overnet is the first big scale network that used DHT (that I know) and it has proven to be very effective. I will try to improve on that model adding security (PK encryption) and anonymity (using concepts from the Achord (Anonymous Cord) DHT (distributed hash tables) model and some ideas of my own.) Before DHT, fully decentralized networks where not too efficient, that is why I chose the supernodes model for Filetopia 3.

[In addition,] I plan to change key aspects that will help with the scalability. Although I have done a lot of work to improve the server protocols, some things could not be changed without breaking compatibility. FT4 will be a different, more efficient network, with changes in the overall architecture.

Of course, FT4 will borrow from Torrentopia many things (skinned interface, BitTorrent compatibility, usability aspects) but it will work on a new P2P network that will be even more secure than the current one and the file sharing will be completely decentralized (a DHT based network with anonymity improvements.)”

Although things seem stagnant, the Filetopia project is just getting started as version 4.0 hopes to break into the mainstream. With a secure BitTorrent client in the works coupled by an even more secure Filetopia, this aspiration is very possible.

“Although Filetopia seems to be frozen now, things move very fast here and my main focus is now again in the Filetopia project. I do this for the users, when I get a mail or message from a user that is enjoying one of my programs I find the motivation I need to advance faster.”


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
P2P Clients :: Other Clients

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