ⓘ GiFT


ⓘ GiFT

giFT Internet File Transfer was a computer software daemon that allows several file sharing protocols to be used with a simple client having a graphical user interface. The client dynamically loads plugins implementing the protocols, as they are required.


1. General

Clients implementing frontends for the giFT daemon communicate with its process using a lightweight network protocol. This allows the networking protocol code to be completely abstracted from the user interface. The giFT daemon is written using relatively cross-platform C code, which means that it can be compiled for and executed on a big variety of operating systems. There are several giFT GUI front-ends for Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, and Unix-like operating systems.

The name giFT Internet File Transfer is a so-called recursive acronym, which means that it refers to itself in the expression for which it stands.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the giFT engine is that it currently lacks Unicode support, which prevents sharing files with Unicode characters in their file names such as "o", "a", "å", "e" etc. Also, giFT lacks many features needed to use the gnutella network effectively.


2. Available plugins

Available protocols are:

  • gnutella used by FrostWire, Shareaza
  • OpenFT, giFTs own file sharing protocol
  • Turtle F2F
  • Ares Galaxy
Beta version
  • FastTrack used by Kazaa. The giFT plugin is giFT-FastTrack.
Alpha version
  • Soulseek
  • OpenNap
  • eDonkey network

3. OpenFT protocol

giFTs sibling project is OpenFT, a peer-to-peer file sharing network protocol that has a structure in which nodes are divided into search nodes and index supernodes in addition to common nodes. Since both projects are related very closely, when one says OpenFT, one can mean either one of two different things: the OpenFT protocol, or the implementation in the form of a plugin for giFT.

Although the name OpenFT stands for "Open FastTrack", the OpenFT protocol is an entirely new protocol design: only a few ideas in the OpenFT protocol are drawn from what little was known about the FastTrack protocol at the time OpenFT was designed.


3.1. OpenFT protocol OpenFT file-sharing protocol

Like FastTrack and Napster, OpenFT is a network where nodes submit lists of shared files to other nodes to keep track of which files are available on the network. This reduces the bandwidth consumed from search requests at the price of additional memory and processing power on the nodes that store that information. The transmission of shared lists is not fully recursive: a node will only transmit its list of shared files to a single search node randomly chosen as that nodes "parent", and the list of those files will not be further transmitted to other nodes.

OpenFT is also similar to the gnutella network in that search requests are recursively forwarded in between the nodes that keep track of the shared files.

There are three different kinds of nodes on the OpenFT network:

  • USER
Most nodes are USER nodes; these dont have any special function.
These nodes handle search requests; they search the filelists their CHILD nodes explained below submit to them. These nodes must have a capable Internet connection and at least 128M RAM. A modern processor is highly recommended as well.
Nodes with fast connections and lots of memory can be INDEX nodes, which keep lists of available search nodes, collect statistics, and try to maintain the structure of the network.

A node can be both a SEARCH and an INDEX node. USER nodes will pick three SEARCH nodes to be their PARENT nodes. They will submit their shares list to them if the PARENT accepts the USER as its CHILD. By default, SEARCH nodes will be PARENTS for a maximum of 500 CHILD nodes.

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