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Gnutella creator found dead (death ruled a suicide)


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Open Source loses a great one. I hope that his family and friends find comfort in this time of sorrow. RobT

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It is sad that a smart, creative person only 25 years old would become so depressed that he would feel there is nothing left to live for. Surely someone must have seen the warning signs. At 25, it doesn't matter how screwed up you are there is so much ahead of you to live for.
Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong: James Bryce
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Smart- Well, this guy's biggest invention was something he had almost no way of making money off of. Creative- didn't napster pretty much do this first? And haven't there been a ton of open source programs before this guy came up w/ Gnutella?

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[quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]Creative- didn't napster pretty much do this first? [/b][/quote]Well, not really... Apparently, unlike Napster, there is *no way* to shut Gnutella down because there is no central server (like Napster). The record or movie companies can't simply sue one company and tell them to put a stop to file trading on Gnutella. My understanding is, the only way to shut Gnutella down is to shut the internet down. [quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]And haven't there been a ton of open source programs before this guy came up w/ Gnutella?[/b][/quote]Well, yes -- there's been a ton of open source programs written before and after him; What makes Gnutella-based file sharing programs interesting is that it [i]can't be shut down.[/i] The cat's out of the bag... File trading is here to stay.
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[quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]Smart- Well, this guy's biggest invention was something he had almost no way of making money off of. [/b][/quote]Since when did money ever become a barometer of being smart. While I think the google guys are the posterboys for their generation, Gene's early work (remember how young he was then), showed how good a mind he had. His company InfraSearch was bought by Sun cause the technology was so promising, and at Sun he was part of some rather interesting development projects, i.e. he had a sharp, creative mind.
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It is sad that people want to slam someone in death. Gnutella made big waves in computer programming circles and not because it was used for swapping music. Unless you are in the business you will never realize how many people and companies said "why didn't I think of that" when they saw how the program worked. A genius is rare. A creative genius is special. This is a big loss for those who love technical advancement. :cry: Robert
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I think there are a lot of people who don't understand that software development is a creative process. I think people buy into the stereotype of a "computer geek" and simply don't understand that it takes both intelligence and creativity to make great software. While some software looks like an excercize in translating features or requirements into code, other software is elegant, efficient and innovative - demonstrating creativity. The trend in commercial software is towards the former while the trend in open source software is toward the later. Most open source software is a labour of love. As code is reviewed by peers, open source developers try to make their code elegant as well as efficient. Commercial software often starts off pretty innovative, after a couple of releases is turns to ugly feature bloated crap. I also don't equate innovation with creativity. Being innovative is simply being conceptually creative. One can also be creative in implementing other people's concepts. Finally - there are a lot of brilliant people who died pennyless. Tesla was far more brilliant than Edison, but Edison made the big bucks. Mozzart, Bach, Strauss and many of the great classical composers also died pennyless. Linus Torvald hasn't make any money from selling Linux operating systems, but there are very few (who understand his contributions) who would not think he is pretty damn smart.
Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong: James Bryce
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[quote] Well, to me he was just an asshole who had no respect for the work of others. Sorry. [/quote]Peer to peer file sharing has applications far beyond sharing or trading of music. I don't think Sun Microsystems bought InfraSearch in order to recreate Napster. Think of group collaboration.
Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong: James Bryce
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I'm not chiming in with this in any effort to denigrate the dead, but Gene Kan was extremely proud of the effects on the music business he thought his "innovation" would have. I saw him on the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour (PBS) a few years ago - they were doing a feature story one night about music downloads. Kan, on camera, made many bold, brash statements about how Gnutella would make music free forever, that musicians would never make money from recorded music anymore, etc., and he had a noticably vindictive attitude about him. The person I was watching the show with and I found him quite presumptuous and arrogant. I certainly never in a million years would have guessed he'd be a candidate for suicide. The fact is that Gnutella is not an efficient way to download music at all. Since people by nature tend to take more than they share, bottlenecks in the system become frequent, and downloads are of poor quality or incomplete. I know people who've used it, but none of them like it. Such a big deal has been made over the fact that it is decentralized, so you cannot sue it or shut it down, but that works against the system in as many ways as it does for it. Then there's the fact that you have to open your computer harddrive to everyone else using the system, which has potential for abuse (just imagine a virus or trojan horse let loose in Gnutella, or someone figures how to spy through it; sure nobody's figured out how to do those things yet...). But the biggest and most common complaint I've heard by far, is that most people just don't know how to properly rip music, which is not an inherent flaw in the system itself, but the nature of the system is that it can get flooded by poor files - again, it's decentralized, and therefore no way to "manage" it. I honestly believe P2P systems such as Gnutella actually send people to the stores to buy CDs, and recent studies have suggested this as well: that people who download music actually buy more CDs than people who don't. I think it's a shame the guy offed himself, though. Who knows what he was thinking when he did that, but it's got to be painful for the family.

Eric Vincent (ASCAP)

www.curvedominant.com

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[quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]Smart- Well, this guy's biggest invention was something he had almost no way of making money off of. Creative- didn't napster pretty much do this first? And haven't there been a ton of open source programs before this guy came up w/ Gnutella?[/b][/quote]So he deserved to die then?
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[quote]posted by nursers: [b]quote: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Originally posted by GT3: Smart- Well, this guy's biggest invention was something he had almost no way of making money off of. Creative- didn't napster pretty much do this first? And haven't there been a ton of open source programs before this guy came up w/ Gnutella? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ So he deserved to die then?[/b][/quote]I can't imagine GT3 meant that exactly. But I think its fair for some of us to have mixed feelings about Gnutella and what its inventor's intentions for it were. Obviously, the irony of Kan's suicide has struck a chord in many musicians, composers and songwriters, and I don't see it as crass or politically incorrect for us to share those views and feelings on our forum here - that is what this forum is for, after all: to share information, views and opinions with our peers. On the one hand, a guy doesn't automatically become a good guy just because he offs himself. On the other hand, I personally would have preferred to see Gene Kan live, and decide to use his talents towards more productive ends. The singer I'm working with right now happens to come from a poor background; she hopes her singing will change that, and I'm working hard with her to make that a reality. I find it offensive that well-to-do engineering students from CalTech or wherever would be arrogant enough to effectively tell folks like her, "Forget about any dreams you may have about using your talents to move up in society, because my invention will destroy that possibility." For all of the noble intentions of many open-source code engineers, there were many more who had serious delusions of grandeur in regards to how they were going to "change the world," and Gene Kan clearly fell into that mentality. Believe me, I am not imagining the television interview I saw him give to PBS: he clearly seemed to relish the sense of power he felt he was holding over musicians and songwriters. I consider myself fairly objective in these matters; if he was there basically saying, "Well, this is a file sharing system, it's meant to help people..." but that was not where he was coming from at all. He was adamant and explicit about his opinions of how Gnutella would adversly affect musicians and songwriters, to the point of going into detail - postulating that live performances would from now on be the ONLY form of compensation that musicians could possibly hope for as a result of his invention. I remember it vividly, because it struck me as odd how emotionally intense he seemed to believe in his opinions. As a composer I should have been angered by this, but I wasn't because I was skeptical about the long-term effectiveness of P2P systems in that regard: they just are not meant for that sort of purpose, and it's an abuse of the P2P concept to view it as such. Peer-to-peer networks are traditionally an educational endeavor, where the idea is to "share information." They work perfectly well within that paradigm. Once you turn a peer-to-peer system into a "free-goods" vehical, a "looters" mentality inevitably takes hold. The proportion of people "taking" files will vastly outgrow those offering them (because who wants to give when they can recieve instead?), and this disproportion clogs the system. I'm a little vague on how exactly this works within the Gnutella architecture because it's been a couple of years since I've studied it, but there are concrete mechanical reasons for why the system bogs down. Maybe I'll see if I can dig up some of that info if anyone's curious.

Eric Vincent (ASCAP)

www.curvedominant.com

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[quote]Originally posted by Lee Flier: [b]Ya know, I'm not normally one for conspiracy theories, but this seems a bit odd. He was found on July 2nd and cremated on Friday and this is the first we're hearing about it? Hmm.[/b][/quote]What's to be suspicious of? Really old people tend to die suddenly, after all. Not only that, but it's not like what he developed and was capable of furthering perhaps had any impact on any business known for it's corrupt nature and Big Money being scared to losing said Big Money. No, the poor guy had absolutely no impact on anyone who would have any type of desire or capability to knock someone off in a surreptitious manner, no mahm, silly notion.

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[quote] Really old people tend to die suddenly, after all. [/quote]So [b]25[/b] is "Really Old" now? Holy Bovines! Interesting that Sun called it an accident, and the coroner's expected to rule scuicide. He didn't 'invent' Gnutella anyway- he downloaded it and put a friendlier interface on it- so the reason for the 'dour' attitude could have been something different than the software business completely. Ever have a love relationship go to hell? At the (ahem) "Really Old" age of 25 lots of things could seem like there is no reason to continue. He was probably depressed at not being young anymore. :rolleyes:

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Yeh, Curve- I was not trying to sound particularly cold hearted, I just find it hard to have sympathy for a character like this. And I saw the peice of footage you are referring to, and found it apalling. We can either, as a society, decide to do away with the concept of "intellectual property" all together, or stick to our guns and stomp out all of this bootlegging. I really don't have a problem w/ flushing all of the copyright patent stuff down the toilet. But it's total crap for this double standard to be going on. Hey, the cops, are out busting people's balls all day long, and fabricating evidence on drug dealers up the yin yang. Can't they concern themselves some w/ protecting the property of citizens?

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