Charlie Demerjian has an excellent editorial over at the Inquirer about the RIAA's history with Internet filesharing networks, from Napster to the Grokster decision. He makes the interesting case that the RIAA might have been better served by continuing to work with the centralized server-based model of Napster, as this would have avoided the decentralization of post-Napster networks like Gnutella.

In the old days, there was one provider, and one repository, one throat to strangle. It was manageable technically if it came down to a technical solution. Instead of allowing that technical solution to blossom, they went the legal route, and lost. In the intervening years, the tech went around them, and they sat still, and possibly regressed.

But the plethora of filesharing networks made searching more difficult. What is really needed right now is not a network that encrypts all of your files, nor a client that DDoS the RIAA's website with your spare CPU cycles, but more interoperability, especially among proprietary networks like FastTrack and EDonkey. "One client to rule them all," so to speak. The cross-platform giFT shows some potential, as its plugin-based system should theoretically make it easy to add support for new networks. The reality seems to be different, if the developer of the partially complete gift-donkey plugin is to be believed.

In other filesharing news, the Wirehog website has gone from "Coming August 25" to "Coming late August" to the current "Coming soon." I hope that the delay means they are working on a Linux client.