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HALP stands for Host Address List Protocol. It's essentially a distributed list of hostname/port combos prioritized by how recently they've been confirmed to work. The intent is to provide a decentralized peer introduction service for any and every P2P application that wants to completely decentralize. The trick is that HALP servers are also listed within HALP, which is what allows them to decentralize with their own service. HALP simplifies the work for developers by providing a simple interface to a simple, easily implemented standard they can depend on for peer discovery without writing any host caching code themselves. Also, by having a single unifying peer discovery "language" for things like bittorrent and freenet means that the HALP network will have the combined strength of all of them, providing benefits for small services and large services alike. With this kind of resource available freely to everyone, hopefully we can kill our depandency on centralized servers for P2P systems. The best resource at present if you want to understand the protocol is | http://thisisimprobable.tumblr.com/post/3865253817/halp However, certain parts of the spec have changed since that writing, and what I'll do eventually when I have more time is to move the spec over into the repo where it can change with the practical realities discovered in development until the implementations stabilize. It's recommended that, for now, you work ON the HALP protocol instead of WITH it, if you're inclined. There are two separate libraries in this repo, which is probably a really good example of really bad organization. The Python library (halp.py) is a lot more mature than the C library, and comes with example code to show how to use it. client.py does not need a running server to function, but it's blind to the world if it has nothing to talk to. You can insert things into the local cache with "./client.py insert somelabel localhost 30" or some such similar command, but what you really want is to test out the *protocol*. On another computer (if you can, if not than use localhost for the hostname later) add a few random hosts to whatever labels you want (the client has full usage help, just play around with it). Then run server.py with no arguments. When you connect to it with the client (by adding the server's hostname/port combo to the local 'halp' list and running 'get' requests on various labels), you'll see the information from the server being copied over to the client, and the server happily printing out information on every connection event that goes through it. TODO: * Add sublabel tracking to the server * Add a .allocation file to the cache to control the maximum size of lists cached on the disk and memory.