Joining the Gnutella network
Initially, when you start gtk-gnutella for the first time, it doesn't know any other peers at all. The process of joining the Gnutella network by discovering peers is called bootstrapping. This can be achieved automagically or manually. Actually, if you haven't used gtk-gnutella for a couple of days, it may not know any connectible peers anymore and it has to bootstrap again. By using gtk-gnutella daily, this can be avoided.
Normally, when using a recent stable release, gtk-gnutella will bootstrap automagically using UDP host caches. That means you don't have anything to do other than waiting a moment until gtk-gnutella has found a number of peers and is connected to them. The "Network" shows you whether gtk-gnutella is connected to any peers, trying to connect or just a sitting duck. Ignore the one or two "Pseudo UDP nodes". They are called so because that's your own peer.
Unfortunately, under some circumstances this won't work. Some potential reasons are:
- Your version of gtk-gnutella is older than a year.
- Your firewall rules are too strict.
- You cannot use UDP at all.
- The known bootstrap servers are dead and gone or just out-of-order.
- You have bad luck.
Fortunately, the Gnutella network is fully distributed and well-known bootstrap servers are only an convenience but not a requirement for connecting to the public network. All you need is to find at least one well-connected peer.
A friend using Gnutella is a friend indeed
For example, you can simply ask your friends who are also using Gnutella - it doesn't have to be gtk-gnutella - and connect to their peers. You only need to know the IP address and port.
A public server is fine, too
Last but not least, there are also public servers, also known as GWebCaches. Originally, these were used automagically but this caused a lot of intended and unintended abuse. Most of them are extinct by now. Nonetheless, it is usually possible to visit them using any web browser to discover some fresh peer addresses for joining the gnutella network manually. GWebCaches can be found here. Please note that some GWebCaches are hostile and provided by well-known spammers.
Adding a peer using the GUI
A peer is manually added by entering its address at the "Network" tab. Always use copy and paste or drag and drop to avoid typing mistakes. Of course, you can also use hostnames instead of IP addresses and a comma-seperated list of multiple addresses.
Adding a peer using the shell interface
Peers can also be added by using the shell interface:
echo node add 127.1.2.3:38359 | gtk-gnutella --shell