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Rogue Clients and Overnet
January 17, 2003
Thomas Mennecke
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They go by the name of "Rogue Clients" by MetaMachine, and "Scam Clients" by Sharman Networks. In either case, official P2P companies see these entities as more of a threat to their existence than the RIAA or MPAA. According to the official P2P companies, these clients present mortal danger to their operation, with the potential to severely damage their network.

The extent to which these clients damage P2P networks is up to some debate. As this debate rages, their popularity has become undeniable. eMule, for example, has quickly become a wildly popular way to connect to the eDonkey2000 network.

eMule aside, its seems MetaMachine has targeted mlDonkey as a primary source for concern. mlDonkey is an open source client that connects to the eDonkey and Overnet communities.

In an ongoing email discussion, the mlDonkey developers have been pushing Jeb, the lead programmer at MetaMachine, for cooperation between the two projects. The debate was invigorated by MetaMachines statement on, denouncing "Rogue Clients."

1.16.03 - I was a bit upset last night after spending all day and finally pinpointing the offending clients to some incorrect Overnet implementation. I'm sorry I asked people to mail mlDonkey. I really just wanted their users to know what a harmful effect they are having on the network. Luckily I just went to yoga so I'm now at peace ( I also figured out a way to mitigate the harmful effects of these clients' irresponsible behavior). There will hopefully be a new version up Friday.

1.15.03 - I'm sure many of you have noticed strange search results occasionally. These are caused by rogue clients that are trying to get onto the overnet network. This is hurting everyone. The leading suspect is mlDonkey. It could be some other client that I'm not aware of though. If you would like your network free of misimplemented clients please mail mlDonkey and ask them to stop.

The mlDonkey response:

This is an inelegant way of solving this problem, if not illegal. Anyway, incitating users to spam other internet users is clearly an abuse

To get rid of so-called "rogue clients", another (much better) approach would have been to expose the protocol. eMule experience (with the edonkey2000 network) has proven by the past that publicly releasing source code of clients do not harm the usability of the

k in the whole.

Moreover, mlDonkey developers have asked, in the past on Overnet forums, overnet developers for help in the implementation of "upload to Overnet", after the successful implementation of download. As they never replied to these requests, the "occasional" "strange search results" are probably only the results of the best effort done by the
mldonkey community to provide this support without their help. Until now (and it will continue in the future), all the users who have followed this advice have been immediately added to the members of the mldonkey-users and mldonkey-bugs lists, so that they can better understand mldonkey, and maybe join its user base.

The MetaMachine camp has so far stood its ground, not yielding to the demands of mlDonkey. In subsequent exchanges, MetaMachine simply suggested that mlDonkey initiate is own network; since it is obvious they have the talent to do so.

However, it doesn't seem this will happen, as mlDonkey remains intent on infiltrating the Overnet community. Instead of accommodating to negotiations and discussing the Overnet protocol, MetaMachine has opted to limit mlDonkey's effect on the network, reducing their presence to a minimum. The updated Overnet should be available on Friday.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
eDonkey2000 :: Independent/Other Development
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Software

Check out Overnet here.

Check out mlDonkey's other website here.

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