Napster and Gnutella let users swap data from one PC--or "peer"--to another, without going through a central server. Here's how they work:
1 Napster is downloaded and installed on a personal computer.
2 The software enables the PC to log on to Napster's server. When a search is made, the server checks its database for any other Napster users who are online and have that file.
3 If the server finds a match, Napster puts the computer that has the file directly in touch with the computer that wants it, and the file is downloaded from one to the other....