January 17th, 2003


Product Report: Alpine

This is an off-site copy of the corresponding Product report page on the SearchTools.com website, and it is designed to allow you to comment on the product and/or the reporting. For more information about the topic of search and tools visit SearchTools.com where you can browse many articles, in-depth analysis and overviews of external resources.

Alpine P2P Search

Adaptive Large-scale Peer2peer Information NEtworking

Product Information

Platform: pl1, pl2
Price: free (open source)


  • Decentralized search shares resources
  • Uses "social networking" theory
  • Suited to profiling, filtering and alerting services
  • Retrieves dynamic and rapidly changing data
  • Designed to be robust and scalable
  • Defines new protocols such as DTCP
  • Uses CORBA with C++
  • Defaults to searching file names but can be expanded to locate other content.
  • Can support metadata
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Articles & Reviews

  • Decentralized Resource Discovery in Large Peer Based Networks: undated (March 3, 2002), by coderman (Martin Peck)
    Describes problems with existing centralized search engines, including scaling of hardware and bandwidth, access to non-Web data and currency. Pure peer networks such as Freenet and Gnutella lack flexibility and performance, broadcasting queries to peers and groups until the engine finds the information or gives up, which does not scale well. Selective forwarding relies on a small number of nodes, thus becoming susceptible to malicious activity such as false advertising. Recommends the Alpine approach: metadata, "social networks", control over bandwidth, historical profiles of peers for bandwidth, provision of resources, and quality of responses, categorization of peers by the type of material and modularity for easy extension of the protocols.