was initially bought by AOL
, it was heralded by many folks (the same folks who say Slashdot
's been bought by MSN
every time the site's down for more than an hour) as the end of the world
Luckily, thanks to Justin Frankel's rather rebellious tendencies and perhaps (dare I say it?) also to AOL's smart management of Nullsoft, the end of the world has yet to come. Justin, like many young programmers, is easily sidetracked by new projects, which results in lots of groovy stuff for us.
Gnutella, a de-centralized, peer-to-peer file-sharing application, was a result of Justin's attempt to improve upon the Napster-style centralized server file-sharing concept. Unfortunately, AOL quickly banned Nullsoft from developing Gnutella further and forced them to remove it from their site, citing possible copyright violation concerns due to the nature of the program and the action taken against Napster by the RIAA.
Fortunately, many thousands of people had already downloaded Gnutella, and soon clones began to pop up that used the Gnutella protocol and improved upon it. Now, there are literally hundreds of Gnutella clones and websites devoted to them, even though Nullsoft is not allowed to have anything to do with them.
When AOL Instant Messenger began sporting rather unattractive (and annoying) banner ads on its windows, Justin Frankel wrote a WinAMP plugin that replaced AIM's ads with WinAMP visualizations. This caused quite a ruckus, as AOL, the owners of AIM, were also the owners of Nullsoft. AOL managed to downplay the incident fairly effectively and (again) made Justin remove the download from Nullsoft's website, but even so, the whole incident was hilarious.