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Peer to peer platforms

Peer to peer platforms are distributed and do not require central co-ordination. Users make their resources (time, disk-storage etc) available to other users for free. This includes file sharing services such as Napster, and open source software such as the Linux operating system, the Mozilla Firefox browser and the Apache web server. These rely on a large and highly distributed community of programmers to develop, maintain and improve the software. Peer to peer platforms can be characterised by decentralisation, self-selected participation, self-allocated tasks, community based moderation and diversity of participants. However, none of these are of themselves defining features.