I’ve been to quite a bit of small to mid sized LAN-parties, and every time, really every time the biggest issues we had have been issues with sharing data.
Different kinds of WinXP editions, Vista and even Linux had but did not want to work together when it came to sharing. Which caused a huge problem at one event when we had no internet connection and synchronising patches, point releases would have been almost impossible.
I then had the idea to use a bittorrent tracker inside the LAN environment which, surprisingly, worked out really well. But I, as the admin, had to explain all folks, often in private because of the noise, how to use the tracker and how to put up torrents.
So the torrent idea worked, but it wasn’t really easy to use, I’ve been looking for alternatives for quite a while and yesterday I saw Lanshark which is free open source P2P software to be used in local area networks and might help me on those LAN parties to come.
It’s really easy to you, there’s basically no configuration to do in order to get it working.
After the first start it asks you about a directory with you shared files in it, and about a directory where you want incoming files to go after which you just hit apply and it’s on line. That’s it.
The software itself is pretty minimalistic in its appearance, and very straight forward in functionality. Just mark those files you want to download, right click, and chose download. It offers an integrated webserver, so other people don’t even need the application, they only need a browser
The software is available for Linux, Windows and Mac and although being in early stage, it’s usable and does what it promises. Just give it a try.