We decided to come up with a review which will compare the two topmost peer to peer (p2p) software programs currently available, namely Kazaa (Kz) and Limewire (Lw). These two p2ps have been purchased by literally millions of users worldwide and thus proved to be the most popular and easiest to use so far. Kz has reached version 3.0 and Lw version 4.8.1. Although Kz is more popular than Lw, their history is very much the same.
We are going to carry out this review, dividing it into 10 sections, the qualities of the programs and the points awarded to them been compared at the end of each section. These points are based on our personal judgment since there is nothing objective to compare them with, nor are there objective tests that can be carried out. There will also be a final, overall score awarded, which will be presented at the conclusion.
The Kazaa Media Desktop is a p2p file sharing application, using the FastTrack protocol. The Kz and the FastTrack protocol were introduced in March 2001. It made its appearance in the end of the first generation of P2P networks (Napster shut down in July of the same year). The Kazaa is commonly used to exchange music and movie files. The official client can be downloaded free of charge and is financed by attached adware.
With the demise of Napster at the turn of the century, a new type of file-sharing technology emerged from the Scandinavians Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. Their company, 'Consumer Empowerment', developed a program which would replace Napster by following a dramatically differentiated path: the Kz relied on supernodes in order to index files, whereas Napster had a centralized index of files available for the downloading process. This meant that where it was possible for Kz to shut down Napster, it was virtually unstoppable. Consumer Empowerment sold Kz to several companies, including the Australian company Sharman Networks. Yet, Kz's future when its legal status is in question seems to be dim. Sharman is currently facing lawsuits by the RIAA, the ARIA and the MPAA.
Its initial user base was made up of users of the Morpheus program, a former client of MusicCity. Once the official Kz client became more popular, its developers used their ability to automatically update it, changing the protocol in February 2002 to shut out the Morpheus clients when its developers failed to pay license fees. The next step for Morpheus was to become a client of Gnutella.
Kz's creators have been taken to court by music publishing bodies claiming to the restriction of its use to sharing of copyrighted material. Consumer Empowerment was taken to court in the Netherlands in 2001 by the Dutch music publishing body, Buma/Stemra. In November 2001, the court ruled that the Kz's owners take steps to prevent its users from violating copyrights or else they would have to pay a heavy fine. Consumer Empowerment responded by selling the Kz application to a complicated network of offshore companies, primarily Sharman Networks, headquartered in Australia and incorporated in the Republic of Vanuatu.
In late March 2002, a court of appeals reversed the earlier ruling, stating that Kz was not responsible for the actions of its users. However, in 2002, Sharman was sued in Los Angeles by the RIAA and the MPAA. That lawsuit is still pending, although a recent ruling given by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a related lawsuit against a similar FastTrack client, Grokster, appears not to have taken heed of the rationale for the US Kz suit.
In February 2004, the Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), a division of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), announced its own legal action against Kz, on the grounds of alleged massive copyright breaches. The hearing commenced on November 29, 2004, and came to an end on September 5, 2005 with the Federal Court ruling that the Kazaa network had actually breached copyright in Australia. Federal Court Judge Murray Wilcox gave the service's owners two months to modify their website to prevent further piracy by its millions of users.
Kz has been accused of installing either spyware or adware into users' computers. Sharman claims that the products are adware ones and do not collect any personal information referring to users. At a time, the segment of the Kz code which was considered an adware one, was optional with the Kz installation (though technically difficult not to install). However, the code has been bundled into the main Kz software and it is not possible to uninstall it without uninstalling Kz first. Also, spyware detection and removal software have frequently failed to delete the code without special procedures initiated by the PC user.
Revenue comes from the following sources:
- Content - payment for distribution of Digital Rights Management content.
- Advertising - delivered by Cydoor and the GAIN Network.
- Sales of products and services – e.g. BullGuard, MatchNet.
The adware being the main cause, CNet's Download.com site terminated distribution of the Kz in April 2004.
In August 2003, Kz Plus was introduced by Sharman Networks, a paid-for premium version carrying neither spyware nor adware. Another commercial version under the name of Kazaa Gold has been created, but it is not part of the Sharman Networks line of production.
There have been programs based on the official Kazaa client without being official themselves. The Kazaa Lite is an unauthorized modification of the Kazaa Media Desktop application which excludes adware and spyware, providing at the same time slightly extended functionality. This fact resulted in Sharman Networks deeming the Kazaa Lite an infringement of copyright.
After the development of the Kazaa Lite was terminated, the Kazaa Lite Tools K++ and the Kazaa Lite Resurrection appeared. These are slightly modified versions of the Kazaa Lite. Following suit, other programmers came up with the K-Lite v2.6/2.71, and the Diet K. These programs do not include any of Sharman's codes: they only require from the user to supply the original, unpatched Kazaa Media Desktop, and they execute it in an environment which will remove the malware and add some features.
The LimeWire is a free, open source, Gnutella peer-to-peer network client, which was inspired by Mark Gorton and was released under the GNU General Public Licence. It is developed in Java, and hence runs on any computer having been equipped with a Java installation. The program allows users to share files utilizing the Gnutella p2p protocol. Two binary (pre-compiled) versions of the program have been released by its developer, the LimeWire LLC; a basic, free version, and an enhanced version sold for a small fee.
Lime Wire LLC is focused on developing advanced file-sharing client/server software, which connect computing devices over public and private networks. Its team of developers has its origins in some of the world's most highly esteemed academic as well as professional institutions, such as the MIT, Columbia, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, CIBC Oppenheimer, and Compaq.
LimeWire LLC is a subsidiary completely owned by the Lime Group, an incubator of technology, whose headquarters are located downtown New York City. As a matter of fact, LimeWire LLC itself, founded in August 2000 and having the status of a Limited Liability Company, has its headquarters in New York Its line of expertise involves developing technologies as well as setting up worldwide p2p networks across the internet, which are its main sources of profit.
Lime Wire occupies a very large team of developers who build applications for the Gnutella network. Their first product was the software package called LimeWire, a powerful as well as scalable serverless networking software that enables entities on the internet to search for, share, and download files via the Gnutella Network. The LimeWire has already achieved considerable popularity, having been downloaded more than 4,000,000 times since May 30, 2001. A pc magazine study shows that it resides in over 2% of the PCs worldwide.
The LW software was designed to be freely downloaded by individual users, in order to accelerate the growth of the network as a whole and introduce people to the power of p2p networks. For the time being it is being mainly used in file-sharing but it also has the potential to become a tool of information with capabilities beyond those currently existing on the Internet, such as the World Wide Web. Content-serving entities on a p2p network will be able to respond to queries by presenting dynamically generated, real-time information. Search requestors will be able to query and draw data directly from one or more databases, without having to navigate through several bulky web interfaces. They will also be able to communicate with a number of computers simultaneously, and pre select the kind and form of information they will receive in response to their requests. LW is building the technologies to communicate over p2p networks though structured metadata queries, transcending the text-based search capabilities of the World Wide Web and the current Gnutella network.
3. Quick Overview - Features
Kz was released only to accommodate the Windows operating system but it can be run on Linux, Mac OS X and other operating systems with emulation software like the WINE and Virtual PC.
Kz is considered by many users as superior to other file sharing programs because of its wide file selection and fast transfer speeds. While it is the p2p network with the largest user base installed, it is worth noting that the Kz client installs adware onto the user's machine, with potential security and privacy implications.
The program uses a "participation level" system to reward participants who share a lot of material with fast downloads. Unfortunately, a feature like this is subverted by the bulk of the unauthorized clients, leaving the legitimate third-party ones toiling in suffer.
The number of users connected to the Kz network at any given time fluctuates between 1 and 5 million users, the average usually lying in the number of 3 million users approximately. There are over 1.5 billion files on the network, totaling 26 petabytes, with about 1,000 downloads every minute.
- Up to five ΄Search More΄s: You can 'Search More' up to five times. This means you can access up to 1,000 results per search. Each 'Search More' displays up to an additional 200 search results score.
- Search Agent: You can use Search Agent when you are in search of a file to perform repeated queries every 30 minutes, over a 24- hour period.
- Multiple simultaneous searches: Searching is efficient because the user can run up to 24 concurrent searches.
- Multiple search result tabs: Each search you perform is displayed in a new window. This means that your search results won't be overwritten by each and every new search you perform.
- 'Quick' and 'Advanced' search tabs: 'Search' view allows both quick and advanced searches. Use the advanced search to obtain more accurate results in less time.
- Web search: You can use Kz to search the web.
- Downloading from Multiple Sources: Faster downloads as files can be simultaneously downloaded from multiple sources.
- Kz includes built-in Virus Protection from the adware BullGuard. It has been especially designed to quarantine and delete suspect files. You are also enabled to select how often you want your BullGuard program to scan the Kz for viruses and check for the latest definition updates. We must say that the BullGuard is the leading p2p virus protection software available and can be exclusively found in the Kz.
- Block suspect files with the Kazaa Virus Filter - With this feature the Kz can block: .EXE, .SCR, .LNK, .BAT, .VBS, .COM, .DLL, .BIN and .CMD in your search results, for additional safety.
- Adult Filter with password protection, ensuring your settings are secure.
- Kazaa has a No Spyware Commitment, it only has an Adware one.
- Customizable Toolbars: You can make Kazaa as streamlined or as feature packed as you want.
- Gold/Blue icons: Gold icons represent Premium content which is Artist/Content Owner approved and distributed by the Kz via Altnet. Blue icons represent all other files shared using the Kz.
- Preview files : if a file download is due to be completed or complete already, then you can Preview/Play it directly through the 'Traffic' view. Some files will open in 'Theater' view. Not all file types can be executed this way. .
- Global Reach: You will have access to millions of peers around the world with the Kazaa.
- Skype (adware): You can make free online calls, p2p. Talk, Instant Message and Send Files, PC to PC.
- Publish material you have made yourself: Simply place your photos, book, articles, artwork or independent films in your Shared Folder and users around the globe will be able to find and download them.
- Magnet Links: Magnet links allow web sites to link directly to files that can be downloaded with p2p technology. This can result in a significant cut down on online distribution and hosting costs.
- Promote your Blog: Promote your blog or website to other users via the Kz and find other users' blogs and sites.
- Unlimited bitrates. Higher quality files have been made possible with increased bitrates.
- Integrity Rating: The files are labeled by peers with reference to the technical quality and completeness of file data (metadata), so that file reliability is enhanced.
- Channels: Kz includes Search and Browse Channels. Channels are websites especially designed to be viewed within the Kazaa, giving you direct access to downloads and information.
- PeerPoints provided by Altne (adware)t: Collect Altnet PeerPoints by sharing Gold Icon Files. Altnet PeerPoints are redeemable for sponsored downloads and users stand good chances to win prizes.
- Customizable skins: Customize the basic desktop interface and create your own skin with our guide.
- Shared playlists: Create unique shared playlists and search for other Kazaa users playlists.
- Media Player image handling: View images and play audio and video files within the built-in Media Player in 'Theatre' view.
- Kapsules: Kapsules - custom digital packaging of multi-file collections. For example, a Kapsule may include music, exclusive footage of live performance, lyrics and images - all by the same band or artist.
Right at this point we have to comment that Kz is 100% Legal. On December 19, 2003, the Dutch Supreme Court confirmed upon the legitimacy of the Kazaa p2p technology and its distribution.
(8 points )
Following in the Kazza's footsteps the LimeWire runs on the Gnutella Network. It is an open standard software running on an open protocol, free for the public to use. The Limewire allows you to share any file. It is written in Java, and will run on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Sun, and other computer platforms.
You can search for multiple files at the same time, available in several different languages and different platforms (famous for its easy-to-use and cross-platform compatibility). Yet, though the LimeWare can be operational through Sun Java Runtime Library, it cannot operate likewise via the Microsoft Virtual Machine Java. The number of Hosts connected to the LimeWire network at any given time, fluctuates between 1,2 million and 1,8 million, the average normally being approximately 1,4 million.
- No bundled software of any kind. No spyware. No adware.
- Firewall to Firewall Transfers: About 60% of the users are currently firewalled resulting in an increasing amount of content on the network.
- Faster network connections: Using new "UDP Host Caches", Lw starts up and connects very fast.
- Universal Plug 'N Play: UPnP support allows the LimeWire to find more search results and produce faster downloads.
- iTunes Integration: Windows users can take advantage of the LimeWire's iTunes integration.
- Creative Commons Integration: the LimeWire recognizes OGGs and MP3s licensed under a Creative Commons License.
- "What's New?" feature: Users can browse the network for the most recent content additions.
- Search drill down results: Searches immediately display the artists, albums and other information that fully describes files.
- Proxy support: Users are enabled to utilize web proxies to route their downloads in their efforts to protect their identity.
- Support for International searches and International groups: Users can search without having to be acquainted with other languages since the LomeWire ensures that they will be connected to other users in their own language. The aim of the facility mentioned is to aid international users to receive search results in their native language and to find content from sources that are close to home.
The LimeWire is also capable of featuring the following facilities:
- Ability to search by artist, title, genre, or other meta-information.
- Multiple search tabbed interface.
- "Swarm" downloads by multiple hosts help you to download files faster.
- iTunes integration for Mac users.
- "Ultrapeer" technology that reduces bandwidth requirements for most users.
- Integrated chat.
- Browse host feature that even works through firewalls.
- Ask to block from downloading suspect files that may contain viruses, like executable files.
- Bitzi metadata lookup.
- International versions.
- Connects to the network using GWebCache, a distributed connection system.
- Automatic local network searches for very fast downloads. If you are on a corporate or university network, you are enabled to download files from other users on the same network almost instantaneously.
- Support for MAGNET links that allow you to click on web page links that access Gnutella.
- Custom skins.
In order to install the Kz, you have to connect to www.kazaa.com and follow the links to the download process. Here lies a trap though. While in the beginning you start downloading a file sized only 588kb, you finally realize in the installation process, that some new files whose length is over 8MBmust be downloaded.
At the end of the installation, a lot of adware will have been added to your PC which will have to be running so that the Kazaa functions properly (anti spyware/adware software can spot them but they are unable to remove them completely). As soon as you have completed installation, you can run Kazaa without having to reboot your computer.
These desktop icons are added in your Windows desktop.
The LimeWire is equipped with an easy as well as global installation, meaning that it can be installed on different platforms. The only thing a user has to do, is to simply go to www.limewire.com and download the 2.20MB setup file. The installer is available in different languages, so one can pick up the language they are comfortable with.
It's as simple as that. Now, the user can just run the installation file, the completion of which as a matter of a few seconds, not to mention the easy-to- follow installation menu. No adware or spyware are being installed, just the LimeWire ready to be operated at any time.
As soon as you start the Kazaa for the very first time, you have to do some configuring through an easy-to-use options menu with familiar tabs and their settings placed underneath. First, you have to enter a username and select your country. Then you have to specify your sharing directories and files.
Kazaa has already a shared directory in, HD:\program files\Kazaa\My Shared Folder, which the second Kazaa setup file downloaded before resides in. You can then define the maximum number of search results (per search session - a total max of 200), and the maximum bandwidth to be used when transferring files.
There is also a Filter tab useful to blocking offensive content and other similar cases. The proxy settings are on the next tab, which is easy enough to set up. You can also specify whether it is your intention that other users can browse your shared files.
The Kazaa's skin can also be changed from the options menu but there are only two possibilities here. Furthermore, the second skin recommended by the Kazaaoses is not very nice and the colours do not help.
The Bull-guard is a built-in adware antivirus that comes with the Kazaa and is also available through the Kazaa's options menu. This is a very helpful software if you come to think of the large number of downloaded files, generally software, being infected by viruses. You can always use your own antivirus software of course (recommended).
Finally, there is one last tab where you can specify your personal website. This way, other users can view and access your site or any other site you propose.
When you run the LimeWire for the first time, you see a message box which offers you the option of upgrading to LimeWire PRO. The problem is that you continue to see this message every time you start the program. Like the Kazaa, the LimeWire is also equipped with a configuration utility that needs to be run the first time one uses the program, the only difference being that it is a little more confusing than the Kazaa's.
The list of options is located on the left hand side and their specific settings on the right.
With the LimeWire you do not have to provide a user name as it happens with the Kazaa. You do have to set up your sharing directories though. By default your downloaded and shared directory is HD:\Documents and Settings\...user..\Shared.
Then there is an option to declare your connection speed, through the familiar internet connection dialog type, etc. There are also some other options connected with improving the search speed. It is up to you to declare your computer to be used as an ultrapeer if you wish to help slower users with their search, but note that if you have a slow connection, this can affect your search and download speed.
The next two options are used to configure downloads and uploads and are thoroughly detailed as well as easy to set up.
There are more options to follow, which allow you to personalize program functionality. The option through which you can define whether the LimeWire should use its built in mp3 player to preview files or your system default player comes more handy. Bug reports can be configured in the LimeWire so that they can be sent to the LimeWire bug server or they can be discarded.
There is also an iTunes option in the LimeWire, a very helpful one with the Mac users when you come to think of it.
The view menu has the autocomplete text option and a setting for popup message boxes, which are useful tools, despite the fact that they are not indispensable. Following in the line, there are the search options, utilized to customize which type of files should be shown in the results menu, on the grounds of quality and the speed of the user. Last but not least comes the ability to define the maximum number of simultaneous searches.
A sophisticated filter configuration menu is also available, in which you can safeguard your PC against others' (e.g. children) viewing any kind of offensive content, or anything you would not like them to see.
Just for the end, we have the advanced option providing for any setups having to do with the Firewall and the Proxy, which can be configured quite easily. In this case one can configure the LimeWare into working behind a firewall or a router.
Kazaa's environment ranks top as far as popularity along with its familiarity with millions of users are concerned. It has not changed a lot since its older versions came out and is easy to handle, even by inexperienced users. The default skin is similar to the older versions' one, based on the classic Kazaa green. You can change this skin via the options menu, but we feel that the other skin to follow is not as good.
There are three rows of tool buttons right at the top. The topmost row has the buttons to 'search', 'traffic', 'my Kazaa', 'theatre', 'shop' and 'peerpoints'. Below that, there is the second line of buttons with the 'new p2p search' option, 'download', 'find more from this user', 'search field' and 'close tabs' buttons. The last line has the tabs to the internal internet browser control and the channels tabs ( sites recommended by the Kazaa).
The main display area is divided into three sections. On the left hand side there are five main choices - P2P Search, Skype Contacts, Web Search, Love and Dating, Ringtone Channel. The right hand side is the major display area and functions exactly like a browser. At the bottom, there are the media player controls and the ad banner. Unfortunately, ad banners appear almost every- where in the Kazaa environment followed by popup screens. They are the most annoying feature with the Kazaa. But in general, the environment is very friendly and easy for everyone to use.
The LimeWire is equipped with a friendly environment indeed and a clear and easy to use panel. The biggest difference and one of the advantages of the LimeWire over the Kazaa is that there are neither Ads nor pop ups while it is run. However, there is a disturbing feature with it, in that there is the message window that was mentioned above which offers you the choice to upgrade to LimeWire PRO when starting up. This message pops up every time you start the LimeWire.
As with the Kazaa, you can change the skin of the program in the 'View' option from the menu bar. The LimeWire has four skins available which, in reality, are just different colour schemes. There in no reason to change the layout which is neat and simple.
The main menu bar is placed right at the top and underneath that we have the menu tabs. Initially, "Search, Monitor and Library" are visible but you can also enable the Connections options from "View->Show/Hide" in the main menu. The choice of tabs instead of image buttons in Kazaa is more helpful and keeps the display clear and uncluttered.
The main panel is similarly divided into sections as in the Kazaa. The layout changes however, depending the tab option you select. For example, with Search opted, the left column allows you to indicate the type of file you wish to search for (e.g. image, audio, video, etc) as well as enter the name search string. At the bottom of this column, there are further tab options available that allow you to search with the help of keywords, browse the files at a specific IP address or look for newly added files on the network. The right hand pane is the main display area with the results of your search. Here again, just as it happens with the Kazaa, at we have the media player controls and information on the connection quality right at the bottom. Note that you can configure the LimeWire to show or hide some screenshots in the panel.
Generally, the Kazaa and the LimeWire environments are very similar and always easy to use. So it is particularly easy for the users of either program to swap over to the other one.
With both programs, one can share any file they want. While there is no minimum number of files or bytes that you have to share, if you do not share enough, you get low 'points' and you go further back in line when you want to download a file, which means more time of waiting till you start downloading. Furthermore, it is not morally acceptable to receive and not to give. So, it is advisable that you share more than 100 files in both the Kazaa and the LimeWire. If you use both programs, you can have a common share folder.
In order for everyone to benefit from such a collaboration, users need to share appropriate files in accordance with the end user license agreement. Responsible and active sharing is the key to useful p2p experiences.
As we have already mentioned in the configuration section above, the default folder to share is, HD:\program files\Kazaa\My Shared Folder. You can add folders from the options menu. When you select a folder to share, all files and sub-folders within the selected folder will be made available for other Kazaa users to download from. Please take great care not to accidentally share files that are illegal, unauthorized, private and/or confidential. The Kazaa has a tab named 'My Kazaa' where you can locate all the files you have been sharing. There is also an icon named 'My shared folder' which is the link to your Kazaa default sharing folder
By logging in the Kazaa, one becomes able of promoting their own content. Any documents, images, music, playlists, software or videos having been created and owned, can be placed in their creator's 'My Shared Folder' to be downloaded by others.
Magnet Links : If you have a blog or web site, you can use Magnet Links. A Magnet Link in your blog or site allows a visitor who is also a Kazaa user, to download your file via P2P. If the Kazaa cannot find your file via P2P, the download will occur as abnormal one by your server. This way, P2P can help you save bandwidth.
The Kazaa provides a resource center for anyone who has something to promote or say on the Net, called 'Make it'.
The adware 'Peer Points Manager' gives you points for sharing authorized Gold Icon files. It does not serve advertising, generate pop-up ads or log your personal information. If you would like to remove the Peer Points Manager (you can do so without interfering with the the Kazaa running); you can simply go to Add/Remove Programs and uninstall "Peer Points Manager".
With the LimeWire the shared folders are contained in the 'Library' tab. Your default shared folder is HD:\Documents and Settings\...user..\Shared. You can change it in the option menu and you can also add more folders to share.
The Library Column Headers can provide more information about the file you are sharing. Clicking on the column headers sorts your files accordingly.
The Shared Folder in the Library contains all the files you are sharing with other users on the Network. Anything you download will be placed here by default, unless you change "Save To Folder" in Options. If you wish to move items to your Shared folder, you can do so manually.
The Incomplete Folder contains all files that were only partially downloaded and files that are currently being downloaded. It is up to you whether or not to delete these files. In the options menu you can specify the number of days the incomplete files may stay in the folder before the LimeWire deletes them. It is not advisable to share partially downloaded files.
Clicking on To playlist will add the selected file in your shared directory to the playlist. The Annotate button will open a window where you can adjust the meta-data tag for a file. This tag contains information about the file that can be used to organize files, or help any searching process by narrowing its search criteria. Magnet Links are also present in the LimeWire..
Here comes the most important part of this review. Search methods and their up-coming results are the heart of these programs. We decided to compare the Kazaa with the LimeWire with reference to searching, by making some specific quick searches, identical for both programs and to count the average results and the searching speed in results/sec. We made a stop in the searching as soon as the max limit 'search more' option in the Kazaa appeared, or after three minutes of the searching procedure had passed in both the Kazaa and the LimeWire. After these 'Quick' searches in every category we conducted some more specific 'Advanced' searches for the audio and video category to measure the speed and the capability of these software to trace down specific files. Because the searching results greatly depend on the number of users connected at the time of the search, we carried out measurements in three different periods of the day, at 8:00am GMT, at 16:00pm GMT and at 22:00pm GMT. All the timing was made with the ApolloN Xronos® timing software.
The Kazaa has a very nice search menu providing options to search for anything you want. The easiest way to search is to click on the 'Search' button in the top tool bar. As for 'Quick' Search, you have to type keywords into the 'Search for:' field and click the 'Search' button. This will search all types of media for any files matching the keywords you have used. If you are after a particular type of file, you can narrow your search to include only one type of media. If you are not happy with the results of your search, click 'Search More'. The Kazaa will conduct the search again and may find the file you are looking for during the new search. You should always bear in mind that you only have 5 'search more' possibilities though. Apart from all these, the Kazaa is equipped with a 'Search Agent' that can be given instructions search for a specific file every 30 minutes for up to 24 hours. You can perform up to 24 searches simultaneously.
Search results, Gold and Blue Icons. Each file in your search results is marked with an icon. Gold Icons identify high quality files brought to you from professional creators via the Altnet adware. These files are released in accordance with Digital Rights Management and are typically offered either on a free, or a free-trial basis. Blue Icons identify all other files found in users' shared folders. Capsules contain a collection of individual files and are marked with a unique Gold Icon. Depending on the keywords you use for your search, you may be provided with a relevant advertisement in advertising areas of the Kazaa application. The keywords and the sponsored advertisements are managed by the Altnet adware. The advertisements displayed represent advertising clients and not necessarily individuals who may use the keyword in search to identify their services or products. The sponsored advertisements are distinguishable among other messages because the advertisements appear in a separate advertising section in the Kazaa application and/or are identified as originating from our ad serving partner.
Searching in the Kazaa is very easy. There is an option for generic search named 'Everything' which enables you, just with one click, to come up with details on a musical band, to give an example, that can be spotted in video music, images, documents and so on. This is not a very good search method but it is useful in some cases. We made some generic searches with specific objects, which were the same in both the Kazaa and the LimeWire, to compare the results. The average results where 1026. Five different kinds of files were found, and these types of files were videos(18), audio(990), images 5(10), documents(3) and others(5). The speed obtained was not very high, with an average of 2.3 results/sec. Note that the Kazaa has a 'Search more' option along with a 'max search results per search' one, which will greatly decrease both the searching speed and the number of results . There is another point to be made here, and it definitely has to do with the way the number of results is presented, as related to users, by both the Kazaa and the LimeWire. For example, if there is one file shared among four users, the number of results will be four and not one, so the total number of results is rather plasmatic.
While searching in the Kazaa we came across six more specific options: 'Audio', 'Documents', 'Images', 'Playlists', 'Software' and 'Video'. We measured the average of the complete search results obtained in each different option together with the speed which they appear at.
For the Audio option, the one mostly used, the average search results for specific musical bands or specific songs were 894 , at an 18.4 result/sec speed.
The speed reached while searching for documents was not very high, just 1.3 results/sec, with an average of 103 results. Most of the files were in .pdf format and were well described by the users.
The image option was found to be quick enough and gave us a really satisfactory rate of results. So the average number of results reached 829 and the speed obtained was 16.2 results/sec.
The Playlists searching features only in the Kazaa, so no comparison was attempted. In this section, the average speed was 1.1 results/sec and the average number of results amounted 56.
The software was quite effective with 112 results a 8.8 result/sec speed. However, you have to watch out for viruses when you search or download executables because the risk of virus infection is really high. The Kazaa is equipped with the Bullguard Antivirus software whose task is to scan your files , but one thing's for sure. You should always be alert.
Finally, the video search came up with very good scores, averaging 561 results at a 8.1 result/sec speed. The video option is used a lot by the users nowadays, especially by those capacitated with broadband internet connection speeds. The Kazaa is in position of finding all kinds of known video types.
Having been through with generic 'Quick' searches in every category, we performed some more specific 'Advanced' ones with the audio and video categories, to measure the speed and the capacity of the software in terms of locating specific files.
With regards to the Audio advanced search, the Kazaa performed at the level desired, averaging 3.78 seconds. The average full-scale results were 78 and the final average speed reached 10.3 results/sec. Success in this case, despite the fact that the searching method applied was more specific, was due to the fact that users named their files differently.
On the other hand, we are sorry to say that the Video advanced search was very slow, with the first desired result appearing after 2 minutes and 5 seconds. The average completed results were 23 and the searching speed was only 0.0076 results/sec.
The LimeWire has a very simple-to-use searching interface and the ability to show the results in their distinct icon which depends on the default software the user has selected for their reproduction. For example, if you use winamp for mp3 reproduction, the mp3 audio files in the result will be displayed in the winamp specific icon. There are six searching categories which are the same as the ones found in the Kazaa with the exception of Playlists option which is omitted. Their names are, 'Any type', 'Audio', 'Images', 'Video', 'Documents' and 'Software'. The advanced search option ('More options' check box) exists only for the Audio and Video files' search. You can also keep up with the progress made with your search via the Search Progress Bars, located on each search result window tab. The 'What's New' Tab allows users to search in their local network for the latest content added. For example, clicking on an Audio file type and then searching via what's new, will yield the latest audio files added to the network.
So the method used was identical with the one used by the Kazaa. In the Any Type Search we had an average of 590 results at a speed of 3.1 results/sec. Five different categories of files were found: 5 videos, 6 images, 4 documents and 575 audio results.
Audio searching was assessed to be really fast but with less results when compared with the Kazaa. The average results were 624 and the speed reached 22,5 results/sec. The speed was impressive indeed as well as the big number of users per file.
The Images Search option gave us an average of 653 results at a speed of 12,5 results/sec. There were a lot of duplicate files in this case.
Finally, searching for videos was hard work with a relatively low average of 310 results and a speed of 6.3 results/sec. Some videos we had been searching had a very slow searching speed, not to mention the fact that one of them could not be located during a whole period of searching (at 16am GMT).
The LimeWire has not been adequately equipped with the 'More Options' advanced search option, but a very fast search is attainable. So searching for strictly defined audio files took us an average of only 1.28 seconds to find. The average full-scale results were 82 and the average speed accomplished was 11.8 results/sec.
Once again, as it occurred with the Kazaa, we came up with a hard job to perform when attempting to locate specific video files in the LimeWire. The first desired result showed up 1.57 minutes later. The total average results were 15, displayed at a 0,01result/sec speed.
When you use p2p software you must always have in mind that downloading speed always depends on the uploading speed reached by the users who share their files. So, if you are in possession of a DSL connection and you are attempting to download a file from a user connected through a 56k dial, it is evident that the downloading speed due to be achieved will be very low. Furthermore, when you are downloading a lot of files at the same time, the download bandwidth will be distributed amongst them. To make things worse, if your request is narrowed down to files that are either popular very rare when searching, you may have to queue for ages. The more users share a file the faster both the download and the start downloading speeds are. We measured the time needed to start a download, the average queue time, the average downloading speed and the average number of users sharing a file.
The download window is displayed within the 'Traffic' view. It shows all the files selected to be downloaded and shows information on their current status.
With the exception of the bandwidth utilized by the user when sharing their files, the Kazaa does not allow them to see their connection speed. As a result of this, it is difficult to know whether a satisfactory downloading speed has been accomplished. Yet, the Kazaa will let you see the estimated time of a download, but once again this is plasmatic. Generally one can achieve very fast downloading speeds because there are a lot of users who use the Kazaa and most of the time there are more than two users sharing the same file. This way a user is given the opportunity of a fast download without having to wait long for it to start. The information linked with the file you are going to download is shown on the panel on top of the results when you click on the desired file. The same happens with an info box if your mouse is placed over the file over a short period of time.
The average Time to Start Downloading (TSD) was only 7 seconds. The 84.5% of the files started being downloaded very fast. 10.2% went to queue for over 1.3 minutes and only 1.1% remained in queue for more than 2 hours. Our estimation is that the files remaining in queue were rather. The Average Downloading Speed (ADS) reached 88% of our connection Maximum Downloading Speed. 86.3% of the files remained at max speed till the end of their download and only 0.7% returned pended at mid time of the download.
As we have mentioned above, the average number of users per file was 2, with a range of 1 to 45 users per file. We must say that the possibility to find an acceptable downloading speed is rather predictable if you consider the popularity of the file you want to download.
The LimeWire has a very good panel with all the necessary information about the file you are going to download. You can have more information if you have your mouse over the file. An advantage the LimeWire has to offer, are the icons next to the files, related to the default software the user employs to open them. The Search Result Ranking System indicates the likelihood of successfully completing a file transfer with a particular host.
A four star indication displays optimal probability of successful download. This easy-to-understand ranking system has been designed to dramatically improve download success rates by ranking each file with a number of stars from one star (the least likely to achieve a successful download) to four stars (most likely to achieve a successful download). If you opt to download a selection with four stars, it is almost guaranteed that you will be crowned with success. Blue Stars indicate results from a host in your local network. All results indicated by blue stars download incredibly fast.
Generally, downloading speed is efficient and the number of host-users per file is rather high, especially when it comes to audio files. The average time to start downloading was only 5.3 seconds. 82.2% of the files started being downloaded really fast. Queue time for 16.3% of the files was over two minutes. 3.6% remained in queue for more than two hours but those files were rather rare one could say. The average downloading speed reached 91% of our connection maximum downloading speed. 82% of the files remained in max speed until the end of their download and only 1.2% returned pended midways of the download. The average users per file were 2, at a range of 1 to 39 users per file.
The possibility to have a fast downloading speed is predictable only for the audio files. For the video files the downloading speed was not so steady.
Uploading does is not much of a concern to the user and almost no one watches what is happening in the uploading panel. The Kazaa and the LimeWire let you see and manage the Uploading process.
By selecting the 'Traffic' tab, the upload window, at the bottom of the 'Traffic' display, shows all the files requested to be downloaded from you. These files are, therefore, being uploaded by you to another user's computer. There is a number of fields per file, and they each have a different use in showing what is happening with the particular upload.
You can see the 'user name' of the person who is downloading the file from you. Please note that there is no control over the user-selected names, and users may change their names any time. You can also see the Participation Level of the user who is at the other end. You can manage the uploads by clicking the right mouse over the file being uploaded. Here, you are also provided with an option to cancel them or view the other user shared files. The View Users' Personal Website indication- if a user has entered their website address-will appear here too. In general, you will need to use the uploading menus a lot, and it is ethically appropriate to let other users upload freely from you.
The LimeWire is equipped with the Monitor tab, which is divided into two sections. The Incoming Searches section shows search terms sent by other Gnutella users. These queries allow you to see some terms other people have been searching for. This is a feature deactivated by default. You must click the “Enable” checkbox to activate it. If you select the “Enable” box, you will see phrases stream across your screen. If you are not a designated Ultrapeer you may see relatively few search terms. These phrases represent queries that you are currently receiving from the Gnutella Network. You can control the number of searches that are displayed by typing a number in the box labeled “Show last – searches.”
The Uploads section monitors upload activity. Here, you can see what files other Gnutella users are downloading from your Shared Directory. In the window, you can view the Name, Host (IP address of the host downloading from you) Size, Status, Chat, Progress, Speed, Time (Time it will take to complete the download), Vendor/Version (the Gnutella client the host is running to download from you).
Kill Upload allows you to cancel an upload in progress. If someone is downloading a file from your shared directory, you can halt the transfer by clicking this button.
In the Library tab you can see the files that have been uploaded. It is Uploads (number of times the file has been uploaded), Hits (number of times the file has been displayed as a search result), Locations (number of hosts from which you downloaded the file + number of hosts to whom the file has been uploaded).
Actually, it is not some specific tools in the Kazaa or the LimeWire that can be useful. It is a matter of options.
The Kazaa has a 'Tools' option on the menu bar but there are no real tools in it. From there you can clear the web history and the p2p search history. There is also the Kazaa option menu. All other software tools that come with the Kazaa are Adware. So we are not going to look into them.
The Kazaa has an internet browser relying on the windows internet explorer, a tool that will enable you to browse internet sites while searching or downloading. There is also a 'Web search' tab in the 'search' menu where you can print some keywords and search the web.
The Kazaa has a 'Theater' tab where you can preview the files you have downloaded. Its media player relies on the windows media player.
There is a 'Tools' menu in the LimeWire as well, and as it so happens with the Kazaa there are not so important tools in it. Here the user can find the "Options" and the 'Statistics' menus. The statistics menu is a helpful tool for those who are 'crazy' with statistics and graphs referring to speed, connections, users etc. It is a very extensive menu, but the help provided for it by the LimeWire is not enough.
A comment we could make on the 'Monitor' tab is that it is a tool, because you can have some extra information about other users searching for terms ( above, part 8).
You can connect directly to a user if you know their IP address, and share your files. You can also chat with other users by clicking the right mouse button over a result file or over a file you are downloading. There is a Connections tab where you can locate and browse some ultrapeers the LimeWire uses.The LimeWire has also a built-in mp3 player for faster audio file previews. In dealing with other types of files, the LimeWire makes use of the external windows media player.
Both software have a good on line help with extended guides and useful tips.
You can set the Help guide in the Kazaa browser panel or on your default internet browser if you visit Kazaa's official web site. It has been designed very well with a lot of screenshots and can resolve most of the user's questions. You cannot have access to help if you are off line.
There is a FAQ option in the Kazaa user guide with a big number of questions and very clear answers to them. An extremely helpful option in the help menu is 'Information for Parents' where parents can read useful information that will enable them to protec their child from adult content, viruses etc.
The LimeWirre is also equipped with help on-line which appears on your default internet browser. It is not as extensive as the Kazaa's one, but there is an extensive user guide in .pdf format for you to download and always keep in your computer, even when you are not connected to the net.
There is also a very good FAQ menu with much more questions in comparison with the Kazaa, which are also downloadable in .pdf format. In addition, you can find more skins to download on the LimeWire's website. Finally, there is a LimeWire Forum where you can find more answers to your problems. The LimeWire has a 'Tip of the day' start up message box where one can read useful tips.
Well, is it the Kazaa or the LimeWire? After a lot of really hard work and testing, it is difficult to tell. The Kazaa achieved a really high marking scheme in most of the parts but always missed 10 points votes except for the downloading part. The reason in most of the cases can be traced down to its adware. The LimeWire achieved more 10 point votes than the Kazaa in most of the parts due to its simplicity. There is a big differentiation in votes connected with installation and the interface parts, in which the LimeWire received 10 point votes.
The software, along with searching and downloading, were equally appreciated with the Kazaa being slightly ahead, especially in the downloading part. Most of the time the Kazaa was found to be slower than the LimeWire while searching, while it was more efficient in relation to the number of results despite its restricted limit in searching. Downloading is almost the same in both software, with Kazaa receiving its only one 10-point vote. The Kazaa is also very good at both audio and video searching, whereas the LimeWire is better at software and document searching.
Since most users use p2p to accomplish audio downloading, we can say that both programs are doing very well in this domain. As for video downloading the Kazaa is somewhat better than the LimeWire, while on the other hand the LimeWire allows users to view the type of the internet connection they have been using, letting them at the same time assess the downloading possibilities of large video files more efficiently. In addition, if one wishes to uninstall the Kazaa they will have to go to the Windows control panel to remove the software. On the other hand, the LimeWire has an "Uninstall" option in its program folder.
Only for reasons of objectivity, and relying solely on the point votes of this review, we can conclude that the LimeWire is the winner with an average of 9.3 points. The Kazaa gets an average of 8.4, the reason for such a marking scheme lying mostly in the Adware. -