Channels are a way to share/broadcast a set of files to all your friends. You create a channel, and add a set of files to each message. Anyone of your friends that are subscribed will automatically download these files. If you just want to see what is in a channel you can deactivate automatic download, and you can download manually the files that you want.
The benefits of channels (as opposed to other systems) are:
There is no identifying information in the channel (unless you add it) that could link it back to you. Each peer knows which of their friends are subscribed to the channel. i.e. where it can get the files from. But you have no idea which one (if any) created the message (see (3)).
Although you don't know where the information is coming from, each message is signed by a private RSA key. This guarantees that all channel messages come from the same source.
- Self regulating
If you subscribe to a channel, the messages are automatically sent out to all your friends.... who can subscribe and download the files. This allows the number of channel subscribers to grow if the channel is good. Likewise if no one subscribes to a channel, then it will not be shared with your friends, and its audience will remain very small.
Each peer will see all the channels that their friends subscribe to and/or have created. This should lead to the good channels being subscribed and shared while the rubbish ones are ignored.
Current Channels Status (2012)
The basic channels functionality works. If you are subscribed to a channel, The files are automatically downloaded to the Downloads directory. These can be accessed using the play button. Most of the functionality is now implemented in channels. Channel messages can now also have thumbnail picture added to them.
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