Auckland developer Right Hemisphere is getting ready to leap on the peer-to-peer (P2P) networking bandwagon.
Company head Mark Thomas says the company is working on software provisionally called Deep Exploration, the purpose of which is the exchange of graphics files. A “conceptual beta” of the program will be available in a few weeks, to be followed shortly by a commercially available product.
Thomas is convinced that P2P networking, made famous by music file-swapping service Napster, will be “the next web”.
“I see peer-to-peer networking being a big deal in the next few years,” he says.
He enthuses about the P2P model of computing, which bypasses the internet’s domain name structure and enables linked computers to share files, exploit idle processing power to perform complex computations, or tap unused storage.
The company has been working on its P2P effort for about 18 months and has a team of five on the job, Thomas says. The program combines open source code from Gnutella, another P2P network, and 3D Exploration, Right Hemisphere’s asset management program.
Thomas says 3D Exploration provides a front end for the system, for file viewing. The biggest development challenge is building in translation capabilities between 3D file formats.
Right Hemisphere specialises in software for creation and management of 3D images. Its flagship product is Deep Paint 3D, which it sells mostly to US customers.
“The primary market for the P2P product is workgroups,” says Thomas, enabling sharing of graphics files across an intranet or the internet.
While Gnutella has provided the P2P structure of Right Hemisphere’s product, it doesn’t have the required level of robustness and user authentication of a commercial product, says Thomas.
He expects to take a leaf out of the Napster book and make a version of the software freely available, as 3D Exploration is.
The company will be relying on user feedback for ongoing development of the software.
“There’s no precedent for this stuff other than Napster and Gnutella,” says Thomas.