Sometimes I see people say the phrase "client" when referring to the node. Why is it called that? Really its not a client, because that depends on the client-server model.

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It's called client because it is a client that implements the network protocol to interface to the peer-to-peer network, rather than a client connecting to a server in the client-server model.

Functionality-wise, the p2p client will have a client-server "server" listening out for connections from other peer's client-server "client" connection requests, and the p2p client will also have a client-server "client" reaching out to connect to other p2p node's client-server "servers".

It is like a BitTorrent client - from Comparison of BitTorrent Clients:

The BitTorrent protocol coordinates segmented file transfer among peers connected in a swarm. A BitTorrent client enables a user to exchange data as a peer in one or more swarms. Because BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer communications protocol that doesn't need a server, the BitTorrent definition of client differs from the conventional meaning expressed in the client–server model.

And from BitTorrent:

To send or receive files one uses a BitTorrent client; a computer program that implements the BitTorrent protocol. Such clients include μTorrent, Xunlei, Transmission, qBittorrent, Vuze, Deluge, and BitComet. BitTorrent trackers provide a list of files available for transfer, and allow the client to find peers known as seeds who may transfer the files.

  • In a peer-to-peer network how to identify the client? And a BitTorrent client is the UI like uTorrent.
    – niksmac
    Apr 10, 2016 at 14:32
  • Okay, so what do you call web3.js - a client-client? Or a an RPC-client?
    – Paul S
    Apr 11, 2016 at 4:45
  • I would call web3.js an Application Programming Interface (API) or a "wrapper" as it translates your JavaScript calls into RPC calls to/from your p2p client and then handles the events and results. Apr 11, 2016 at 5:02

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