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The eDonkey network (eD2k) is a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing system designed to provide long term data file availability. This means that all files are stored on an individual user computer and then directly exchanged with peers.
At one time, eD2k was hugely popular with a presence greater than Grokster - a popular music and movie file-sharing service. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous ruling in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster Ltd. lawsuit against Grokster. The ruling crippled eD2k, which was based on the same data-sharing model, sans Grokster's technology and algorithms. ED2k was forced to reinvent itself but has not recovered from the Supreme Court's landmark decision.
The eDonkey network is also known as the eDonkey2000 network.
There are many network data and file sharing suites, but eD2k is one of the largest decentralized P2P networking systems and also provides server and client applications. In server applications, there are two different families developed in C++ and C programming languages. ED2k client applications are also available. The original client applications - eMule and eDonkey 2000 - were developed in Visual Basic and C++.
Before transmitting, files are broken into smaller chunks. In the event of transmission or network failure, only a small portion of a file, versus an entire file, requires retransfer.