eDonkey2000 (nicknamed "ed2k") was a peer-to-peer file sharing application developed by US company MetaMachine, using the Multisource File Transfer Protocol. The eDonkey client supports both the eDonkey2000 network and the Overnet network.
On September 28, 2005, eDonkey was officially discontinued following a cease and desist letter from the RIAA (further info on the case).
Users on the eDonkey2000 network predominantly share large files of tens or hundreds of megabytes, such as CD images, videos, games, and software programs. To ease file searching, some websites list the checksums of sought-after files in the form of an ed2k link. Some of those websites also have lists of active servers for users to update.
MetaMachines has also created another file-sharing network called Overnet, which interoperates with the eDonkey network, but without the use of servers. Most eDonkey clients also now use the Overnet network. In 2004, MetaMachines announced it would stop development of Overnet to concentrate on eDonkey2000 (though the eDonkey2000 client now includes the Overnet protocol).
eDonkey has been closed down, and if the user attempts to visit the site he/she will be shown a screen stating that eDonkey is unavailable and that the user's IP address has been logged.
Early history and design
eDonkey2000 was created by Jed McCaleb and was first released on September 6, 2000. On September 16, 2000, client and server versions were available for Microsoft Windows and Linux.
Compared to earlier P2P file-sharing program Napster, eDonkey2000 featured "swarming" downloads, meaning that clients could download different pieces of a single file from different peers, effectively utilizing the combined bandwidth of all of the peers instead of being limited to the bandwidth of a single peer.
At first, servers were isolated from one another as with Napster, but later versions of the eDonkey2000 server software enabled servers to form a search network. This allowed servers to forward search queries from their locally connected clients to other servers, allowing clients to effectively find peers connected to any server on the server network, thereby increasing download swarm size. It also allowed clients to find and download files not available from clients connected to the same server.
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