This page has been updated on 2010-08-06 for the release of Shareaza v188.8.131.52.
The information on this page should apply to all Shareaza versions provided there are no major changes.
A P2P network, or Peer-to-Peer Network, is a network of users who interact as equals (peers). It is different from traditional, server based networks in that there is no central point of control that is 'in charge' of the network. This makes it difficult to shut down or restrict, yet easy to set up without having to invest large sums of money in servers.
Examples of P2P networks include Gnutella2 and gnutella. eDonkey2000 is a semi-centralized network, that uses P2P characteristics to distribute files, however, files are indexed on and searches are conducted via central servers. BitTorrent is often referred to as a P2P network as well, however, BitTorrent is not a network at all, but rather a distributed content delivery system.
Shareaza supports all of the previously mentioned networks, as well as BitTorrent.
For more information on P2P networks in general, see the Wikipedia article on P2P networks.