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Review: LimeWire Pro is fast, fun stuff for file traders

By on September 06, 2002 (8:00:00 AM)

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- by Tina Gasperson -
LimeWire is a java-based Gnutella client that is incredibly popular in the wake of the demise of Napster. In the past week there were over 350,000 downloads of the 2.5.5 free-as-in-beer release for Linux from Download.com. After experiencing some slow response times and difficulties in connecting with the free version, I decided to kick down $9.95 for the Pro version.

Gnutella is the P2P protocol that big music and big software haven't been able to figure out how to bust. The latest attempt at tomfoolery has been the request to allow RIAA and cohorts free reign to hack our computers if they suspect we have unauthorized possession of copyrighted material. Napster was easier to bring down because the files resided on a central server belonging to Napster. Nobody "owns" Gnutella because it is simply a protocol whereby hundreds of thousands of computers running software like Limewire create an on-the-fly network, passing along the digital version of the message: "I'm looking for a recipe for blueberry pie." Or whatever.

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.

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on Review: LimeWire Pro is fast, fun stuff for file traders

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Do files download reliably?

Posted by: malsdavis on September 06, 2002 06:53 PM
The main problem by far I have experienced while trying to use p2p applications like Limewire or bearshare etc. is trying to actually get the files to download.

With 95% of attempts failing to actually start downloading, as I understand it this is mainly because of things like upload limits on the computers of hosts and people loggin off the network etc.

How does Limewire Pro deal with this issue, so one can easily and reliably download files?

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Re:Do files download reliably?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 06, 2002 09:13 PM
It does what most p2p apps do these days, it doesn't put the file in your shared directory until its done downloading.

There's a temp file in your incomplete directory that has some meta data to let the program know how far along it is. If the person your downloading from cuts you off, you can finish off the same file from someone else.

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Re:Do files download reliably?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 08:10 PM
Thats not what he is talking about. He is saying that most of the files don't<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/begin/ to send, instead turn him away at the door with an error message of some type (to busy, connection refused, etc).

He is correct about this too, if you want to download from p2p it is a real pain in the ass. I generally find that if the file begins to send at all, it almost always completes but this is perhaps 1 in 5 tries of differerent people.

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Re:Do files download reliably?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 11, 2002 12:45 PM
edonkey..

takes care of stuff like that pretty good, simultaneus downloads and stuff, and the partially downloaded parts get shared too.

and crc hashing that's used to identify files instead of names, so you don't end up getting fakes(the downside is that you better use sites like sharereactor.com to choose what you d/l).

what i really dig about it is that i can just get a file to d'load, leave the program running, and it gets it, sure as a train, sooner or later.(provided that the file is spread at least marginally, which those posting sites are for)

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First paragraph translation

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 06, 2002 08:17 PM
I love the first paragraph -- but a translation is needed; here's mine:

"I downloaded this LiveWire software. It is non-free software -- both non-free in beer and non-free in liberty! It sucked and didnt' work right, and I didn't know if it was due to bugs or the software being crippleware/demoware or what, so I plunked down 10 bucks for the "pro" version in the hope that the "pro" version was better. After all, since the pro version costs money, it HAS to be better, right?"

Myself, I find myself wondering two things: isn't the whole free software movement aimed at getting rid of software licenses like LimeWire's? And secondly, how many sets of Ginsu knives does Tina own? Those TV marketers must *love* her...

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Re:First paragraph translation

Posted by: gnurdy on September 06, 2002 08:32 PM
Ouch, man. Funny, though. And true.

But ouch.

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Re:First paragraph translation

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 06, 2002 09:44 PM
I used limewire it worked okay, but as soon as I tried Qtella for KDE3, limewire became just another casualty of "rm -rf Limewire". Qtella has an interface very similiar to Limewire's except it follows my KDE style (Liquid) and feels slightly faster with no spyware and a free license to boot.

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Good

Posted by: Joseph Cooper on September 07, 2002 03:47 AM
Write a review of Qtella, then.

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Stupid review

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 06, 2002 09:02 PM
Why pay, when Limewire is Opensource and WITHOUT SPYWARE, better give instructions on how to compile. Another opensource client is Gnucleus.

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Why pay

Posted by: tina on September 06, 2002 09:39 PM
Mostly to support the project. If you don't believe it's a worthwhile cause, then don't.

Tina

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Limewire free

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 06, 2002 11:28 PM
Hi,

Haven't used the paid version, but I think Limewire is great. The only thing that bothers me a lot is that Java apps are terribly slow and sometimes slow down the rest of the system with them.

I've used GTK-Gnutella and enjoyed it. However, I use it only for MP3. Stuff like videos and software I prefer to use mldonkey, a great client to the E-Donkey Network.

Worth a look: http://www.freesoftware.fsf.org/mldonkey/

Regards,

DeadFish Man

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Limewire is GPLed

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 06, 2002 11:53 PM
Well, I dont know about the paid-version, but the Free version is both free beer and free speech. I just cvs'ed the source for 2.5.5 and compiled it. I havent run the paid version, but I originally thought it was just a pre-compiled version of the original sans ads and spyware. When you compile from source, it also does not have ads or spyware =)

Thats not to say that I havent done my part. I have paid my $10, even though I consider it a donation rather than a purchase.

Check out limewire.org for more info.

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browse files

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 12:00 AM
The next version of limewire will have the ability to browse all files on another person's system. If you go to <A HREF="http://www.limewire.org/">Limewire.org</a limewire.org> and download the source from CVS, it has it in there.

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rooted linux gateway

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 12:59 AM
I let my stepson have a marathon session using limewire. When I got up early the next morning I noticed "nobody" from "?" doing a updatedb and a find for nfs file systems, among other things, on my gateway. I will never allow limewire on my little net again.

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Re:rooted linux gateway

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 04:32 AM
No doubt limewire has some security holes. But are you saying it has a remote root compromise? (I doubt that.) If not, what were you doing running it as root? And are you sure that Limewire was the app at fault, and not something else that you forgot to patch?

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Re:rooted linux gateway

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 06:00 AM
It's just coincedence. My wifes kid downloaded for 10 hours straight, from her win2k box. When I woke up (an hour after he went to sleep) - I noticed the hd was churning on my slackware based gateway (no doubt the updatedb command). I assume it was someone who knows something about how limewire works - and saw my ip, which is usually hidden (ipchains and all, it was a 2.2 kernel) and went to town with an exploit. Needles to say I updated my firewall.

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Re:rooted linux gateway

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 04:06 PM
it's a cron job, it's normal, and it will hit all filesystems including nfs (i don't know what you mean by "a find for nfs file systems" though)

~$ cat<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/etc/cron.daily/slocate
#!/bin/sh<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/usr/bin/updatedb -c

besides limewire is a java app - rather more complicated to root a box from a java app than a normal native app.

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Re:rooted linux gateway

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 08, 2002 05:53 AM
if it's scheduled, which it was not. The find command had a parameter that contained a flag called -nfs. Again, the app did not cause the root it was someone monitoring my ip from the gateway. What I did was a 'ps -ef' and I found 7 processes running that were not cron jobs and the user was "nobody" - I only specified the "updatedb" and the "find" command that I found from the ps output. It might have just been coincedence - but I believe someone monitored my internet ip from the limewire broadcasting it. Either way - I would not run a p2p app from a client behind a linux firewall without some kind of intrusion detection on the gateway.

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Re:rooted linux gateway

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 08, 2002 07:22 PM
before it was an updatedb command which is scheduled by default in slackware, now it is a find? what exactly was it? (ps - there is no -nfs arg for find!) there is a -fstype nfs but that would hardly help a cracker...

i've now re-evaluated the validity of the original post - your gateway was rooted because somebody was running a p2p app *behind* your gateway!?!

if you really do have such problems i would refer you to http://www.netfilter.org/unreliable-guides/packet<nobr>-<wbr></nobr> filtering-HOWTO/index.html , but this is NOT a problem of limewire or any other p2p program. please do not blame irrelevant parties for poor administration!

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Gtk-Gnutella, MLDonkey, dcgui

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 01:48 AM
All those are better than LimeWire.

GTK-Gnutella is a super-ultra-stable gnutella client for Linux. It is well written, has a clean interface, and is (IMO) superbly done.

I'm not too fond of the Edonkey2000 Network, but Linux clients exist for it too.

If you have plenty to share, dcgui is definitely the best. You can browse user's files, join hubs of users, chat about your favorite subjects, and easily find and download files rare on Gnutella or Edonkey2000 at 150 kBps 24/7 (until your HDD is used up and your CD-Rs are all burned)

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I actually find it quite sluggish

Posted by: Joseph Cooper on September 07, 2002 03:07 AM
It takes about 10 seconds to load.
Much more if other programs are running.
Pretty pathetic for a 256meg system.
In action the menus and buttons have a
noticable response time lag.

It goes like this:
Click.
Wait half a second.
Menu pops up.

Downloading is rarely reliable, but that is
the fault of the whole gnutella network's
design, so i'm not gonna fault limewire for
that.

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Also...

Posted by: Joseph Cooper on September 07, 2002 03:09 AM
It was a real bitch to instal on manrake
since it depended on a java virtual machine
that was also a bitch to install.

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Re:Also...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 12:41 PM
java was hard for you to install on mandrake?

Its an rpm dude.
I just had to pull down the bin file which was a zipped rpm, rpm -ivh, then make sure the java/bin folder was in my path.

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Re:Also...

Posted by: Joseph Cooper on September 07, 2002 06:46 PM
Time consuming, not hard.

Limewire didn't take half an hour to
install in Windows, and I didn't even
need the Win98 CD.

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Re:Also...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 11, 2002 11:45 PM
GO back to your Windows box.
Damn you

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Cannot Move To Library

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 04:34 AM
I've had this "cannot move to library" crap since 2.5, which makes it very difficult to download files.

Apparently it's a bug with the different stypes of slashes in different OS'es filesystems (/ = Unix, \ = Windows). Pretty basic stuff you'd have though the LW guys would know about.

I would download the source and try to fix it myself, but I've never bothered with Java programming - too slow for my liking.

Plus there's Morpheus flooding the network, which makes it hard to connect to a reliable host - I suspect all the Morpheus users are dumbass AOL users who don't know how to properly configure their client.

EDonkey looks like too much hassle - all that client/server/gui you have to install, I tried KazaaLite, although that seem to be used mainly by EWindows users - the first (and therefore only) two things I downloaded were viruses.

Is there a Gnutella client that has no adware, is opensource, has no spyware and doesn't have Limewire's bugs/Kazaa's viruses/Morpheus' users?

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GTK-Gnutella

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 08, 2002 01:30 AM

Let's keep Jack Valenti in check

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 09:20 AM
We need to obscure the IP addresses. Earlier Bearshare Gnutella clients allowed you to change your reported IP address to something else. This was probably removed due to AOL corporate suit demands. The need to spoof the reported IP address of your own client is critical now that MPAA slugs are chasing P2P users.

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Re:Let's keep Jack Valenti in check

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 04:14 PM
this can't be done on the gnutella network. Because you are directly downloading from another user you can always type 'netstat -a' and get every network connection your computer has open (ie the other user's ip)

check out freenet for something like this.

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Mystery bundleware

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 10:26 AM
I am dissatisfied with this review. It does not talk about Limewire's mystery bundleware. This makes Newsforge seem like an untrustworthy advocacy site. (As opposed to an honest one.)

I know that Newsforge must make money, and maybe that forces certain unfortunate compromises. But on the same hand, any consumer wonders about spyware. I praise Limewire's obvious attention to engineering, and know they cringe about the spyware. But the fact remains that MSFT would be crucified for something half so bad.

If I am at all wrong, please respond. But simply saying, "Tina and Newsforge were only reviewing the paid product," just does not fly.

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I just want to make sure...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 07, 2002 08:41 PM
... that it's clear this review was otherwise well-written and entertaining. Just that it can't be a satisfying review because people have lost trust with Limewire. All these comments on spyware at the bottom will give the average reader pause to question Newsforge.

I remember when some guy from Limewire totally flamed Joel Spolsky on his lack of engineering knowledge. But at least Joel is more trustworthy.

I accept it's an ugly situation, and I have no problem with what Limewire must do. But as a consumer I have a big problem.

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Review: LimeWire Pro is fast, fun stuff for file traders

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Free Version of LimeWire Pro

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.166.0.69] on November 27, 2007 01:20 AM
I was just wondering, what about those thats offering free version of the LimeWire Pro? Is it the same program?

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Limewire not working

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 121.247.80.41] on February 04, 2008 05:50 PM
I downloaded limewire 4.14.10 and it is installed on suse 10.1 . I am facing a problem whenever i start limewire it starts downloading but after 2-3 mins the transfer rate is reduced to zero , When i try to pause a download it says pausing but it dont do anything . It says it is downloading from 10 hosts or so but it does not.

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