p2p news view / p2pnet:- The WinMX Peer Network, one of the oldest and largest file-sharing communities, has recently suffered from a series of disastrous problems.
Frontcode Technologies was threatened with an RIAA lawsuit. To avoid a litigation, they shut down their Peer Cache Servers.
These servers act as a gateway to the WinMX network. The cache servers supply the WinMX client with IP adresses to primary connections (SuperNodes), which then allows the client to enter the network.
When Frontcode closed their operations, they took their peer cache servers with it, making a network connection impossible.
The WinMX users that were connected to the network when this happened found themselves stranded. If they disconnected, they did so permanently.
WinMX was rapidly dieing and written off as dead by observers.
But then, a group of programmers on the Italian forum P2PZone wrote a workaround that uses the /etc/hosts (or with Windows, C:WindowsSystem32driversetchosts file) to redirect all Peer Cache Server requests to alternative servers which they themselves set up. They essentially revived the network.
The workaround was subsequently taken and improved upon by several groups such as WinMXWorld and Vladd44.
These groups continued to develop their own branches of this workaround. Vladd44′s workaround is called the PIE Patch, while WinMXWorld’s version was a DLL patch.
The dynamic link library “ws2_32.dll” is to be placed in the WinMX directory replacing the original one. Both of these patches do the one and same thing.
These two groups recently started conflicting over which patch should be used, whose servers should be used and other important subjects.
It’s clear that these two groups aren’t interested in cooperating and keeping the network running the way it is now, but want control over the network.
Neither wants to give in, or cooperate and WinMX development has stopped entirely. The latest version of the client, 3.54 Beta 4, is the last one ever to be released by Frontcode. The resurrection of WinMX by P2PZone, accompanied by the further improvements on the workaround by Vladd44 and WinMXWorld, are merely temporary solutions.
The network is doomed to die, unless development happens to the client, something that obviously won’t happen on Frontcode Technologies’s side.
This temporary fix has only postponed the inevitable, namely WinMX’s death. This network, and client will surely die very soon, for the following reasons:
*No development in a year, and no development is to come.
*Rivaling cache server owners
*If one cache server group goes down or gives, the other will get a monopoly, and full control over the network. If they go down, so does the network.
*The cache servers can easily be taken down, just like Napster was, by eliminating the caches.
*The fixes can’t last long, because if a server goes down (like a server crash), it’s likely to come back up with a different IP adress, which will make WinMX clients incapable of connecting to it.
*There is no “consortium” to coordinate what needs to be done, how, when and by whom. It’s all a big mess. “We want to do this our way!” “We don’t like that idea, so we won’t let you do it that way.
*With the two server groups fighting, the network could split into two networks, with the users of one patch on one network, and the users of another patch on a different network. This would cause tremendous damage to the network, because it’s size.
From my observer perspective, the only possible solution to this problem is that people settle their differences, and work together on writing an open source WinMX client. That way, no Frontcode copyrights will be broken, and at the same time, the WinMX network will be getting updates and improvements much faster and better than they did with Frontcode.
Open Source software has a tendency never to die (Look at BitTorrent or Linux for instance), and maintain a high software quality (a very low average BPM (Bugs Per Megabyte)).
Release cycles are faster, development would become speedy (especially considering how large and popular the network already is), and it would be an easy job to port it to other platforms, such as GNU/Linux or FreeBSD.
Stop fighting, and start doing something constructive to save what’s left of this network.
Da Blade – LinuxP2P
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