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In the earlier days of Gnutella, it was easier to get files because, although there were fewer users, the ones who showed up in the search were on a clear connection. Then, right after Napster died, there was a huge jump in the number of file. For a few months, it was really difficult to get a whole lot of meaningful results, especially at certain times of the day. But as the protocol matured (and perhaps the user base?) it settled down into a pretty good balance between popularity and usefulness.
I installed LimeWire Pro on an IBM Thinkpad T20 with SuSE 7.3 Personal edition. If you're going to put LimeWire on SuSE, you'll do well to uninstall the version of Java that comes with it, then download and install the latest Sun JRE before you install LimeWire. Otherwise it won't work. I already knew this from previous experience, but didn't heed my own advice and had to backtrack. LimeWire Pro installs without a hitch on Mandrake 8.1, though, the distribution I had on the T20 a few days ago.
When you pay online for the software, you get your own download page where you can pull down a version for Linux, Windows or Macintosh. You get access to the page for six months after the date of purchase, though the LimeWire license states that you're only allowed one copy of the software on one computer at a time, and a backup copy. On an interesting side note, the LimeWire license also states that "IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL MACHINES OR OTHER SYSTEMS OR DEVICES IN WHICH CASE THE FAILURE OF THE LimeWire software COULD LEAD TO DEATH, PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE." Okay, I guess all you air traffic controllers better stop trading files on company time.
If you're interested, there are some other restrictions in the LimeWire license worth noting: "(i) to infringe the intellectual property rights of others in any way (ii) 'stalk' or otherwise harass another; (iii) collect or store personal data about other users; (iv) collect or distribute child pornography or other obscene or illegal material; or (v) promote or provide instructional information about illegal activities, promote physical harm or injury against any group or individual, or promote any act of cruelty to animals (this may include, but is not limited to, providing instructions on how to assemble bombs, grenades and other weapons)."
Anyway, after LimeWire was installed properly, I found the interface to be clean and easy to use -- better than the free version. It was faster, too. Of course, there were no flickering animated ad banners to contend with -- which honestly doesn't make all that much difference to me -- but for only $9.95 I might as well pay to get rid of them, especially if it will help feed a hungry programmer or two.
A nice feature that is back in this latest version after a conspicuous absence: the ability to browse a host and see all the files available on an individual computer. I don't know how practical it is to have this, but the researcher in me likes to contrast and compare and make mental notes. For instance, most hosts I browsed during a recent unscientific study had more than three hundred files to share. Those with Britney Spears MP3s were more likely to also have porn files. Those with at least one software file available, usually had only software files available, and those with at least one music file available, usually had only music files available.
Also nice: the ability to simultaneously download a file from several hosts at once, making the download quicker. This is called "swarming." Other features: a built-in MP3 player; the ability to filter out certain hosts or keywords or file types; the ability to limit a user's downloads; chatting with those you're downloading from; filtering out files on hosts with low connection speeds or behind a firewall.
I've used just about all the Gnutella clients for Linux and they all have their good and bad qualities. For days when I just want to use the command line, gnut works just fine. But for days when I want the cushiness of a fancy GUI, LimeWire is the best. LimeWire Pro is a bargain and really does work better than the free version. I recommend you buy it.