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Kazaa

Postby Allied » Sun May 07, 2006 3:21 pm

Wrote this as news for FSP, but I wanted to get the opinions of people that have completely given up on Fasttrack,
Image
Name: Kazaa
Homepage: www.Kazaa.com
Cost: Adware and Spyware
Recommended: No

The fall of Napster left a void on the internet. Central server based P2P networks were deemed unsafe by the masses. While many programmers got to work on a decentralized network, 2 programmers stepped up. Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, brought to life a monster, the likes of which the internet had never seen before.

Zennstrom and Friis started out with FastTrack. The 2nd decentralized P2P network, after Gnutella. FastTrack organized the peers, not with a central server but with nodes. FastTrack would detect which peers had fast connections. Then use them to store the IP's of other peers along with other meta data.

From the beginning there was a flaw in FastTrack's design. Zennstrom and Friis took the MD5 hashing algorithm and wrote their own version called UUhash. UUhash would only analyze the first 300kB of the file and then generate a summary for the rest of the file. While using a summary seemed harmless at first, it was later exploited by anti-P2P companies. In time, this flaw would lead to widespread fake files on FastTrack. On the plus side, UUhash can index all your shared files faster than any other hashing process.

Streamcast Networks was the first to go online with FastTrack. They scrapped their OpenNap client Music City and then built Morpheus around FastTrack. Morpheus was an adware and spyware client. They paid Zennstrom and Friis a monthly access fee to FastTrack. This money kept Zennstrom and Friis alive as they worked on their own FastTrack client KaZaA. March 2001, KaZaA was released. KaZaA was like Morpheus also riddled with spyware and adware. On March 2nd 2001, iMesh version 2.0 was released. Until 2.0, iMesh had had its own centralized network. But with KaZaA and Morpheus getting so much attention, iMesh decided to join the FastTrack network. iMesh too was an adware and spyware client. On March 31st 2001, Grokster was released. Grokster was yet another adware and spyware client. With Morpheus, KaZaA, iMesh and Grokster all pumping FastTrack with files, and cashing in on advertisements and spyware, they all became kings.

In November 2001 KaZaA was taken to court by the Dutch Music Association Buma. Zennstrom and Friis were ordered to prevent KaZaA from aiding in piracy. Rather than obey the court's ruling, Zennstrom and Friis sold KaZaA to Sharman Networks in Australia for $750,000. Sharman's only noteworthy change to KaZaA was to rename it "Kazaa", all lower case letters.

Sharman thought they had bought their way into a file sharing monopoly. But the programming code to FastTrack was soon made public when in December 2002, giFT FastTrack was released. This was an open source version of the FastTrack network. Then in April 2002, Kazaa Lite K++ was released. It was a hacked version of Kazaa. It had all spyware and adware removed. This version was extremely popular. In the coming months, FastTrack approached 5 million users.

On February 26, 2002, Sharman fired the first shot in their foot. They banned Morpheus from the FastTrack network. They said Morpheus had failed to pay their bills. Sharman's second mistake was to attack the unauthorized FastTrack clients. In December 2003, Sharman emailed everyone hosting the Kazaa Lite K++ installer threatening them with legal action if they continued to host the product. This halted development of Kazaa Lite K++. In April 2004 continued legal threats by Sharman forced the removal of giFT FastTrack from various giFT sites. Although BerliOS still hosted the code, development halted.

Sharman had a few victories, but they were short lived. Since they had done little to Kazaa or FastTrack, even an old version of Kazaa Lite K++ or giFT was still an improvement. A new wave of sites began to host Kazaa Lite K++. Many of which began to hack Kazaa Lite K++ and release their own versions. The first of which was Kazaa Lite Resurrection. A whole new group of developers began K-Lite, which was another hacked version of Kazaa. giFT powered clients like KCeasy and Apollon kept being developed, although in most programs the giFT FastTrack plugin had to be separately installed. Another team of developers released MLDonkey, another open source FastTrack client. The irony of FastTrack being ruled by clients that break copyright law seems to be lost on Sharman.

Although unauthorized clients were eager to use the FastTrack network, the legit clients were becoming weary. On November 7th 2005, Grokster was shutdown by the US supreme court. In May 2004, iMesh version 5 was released, it stopped subscribing to the FastTrack network in favor of GnucDNA and a new decentralized network of their own.

In December 5th 2005, an Australian court ruled that Kazaa had to filter copyrighted material. But Sharman wasn't up for the task. Rather then create a filter for Kazaa they edited their website. Now when an Australian goes to Kazaa.com they're sent here.

In March 2006 Streamcast filed a lawsuit against Sharman, Zennstrom and Friis under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This lawsuit among other legal troubles has Sharman CEO Nikki Hemming selling off all her assets and sending all of her money to a tax haven in Vanuatu.

Which brings us to today. Kazaa 3.0 has been released, Nobody cares. It has changed very little over the years. It's still a dedicated FastTrack client. It comes in a very user friendly web based installer. The GUI is skinnable and quite possibly the easiest to use of all P2P clients. Due to the amount of viruses on the FastTrack network, Kazaa has integrated a virus scanner. Sharman claims there is no spyware. <insert punch line>. Kazaa is bundled with Altnet Peer Points Manager, InstaGinderK, Need2Find Bar, RX Bar and P2P Networking (don't let the name fool you, its adware). The installer also puts links to ThunderLuck.com and ThunderLuckPoker.com on the desktop. Skype is included, but it's optional. All in all, if you run Ad-Aware you'll see 214 new objects after installing Kazaa.

Kazaa has had its 15 minutes of fame, its fall from grace and is now facing its conclusion: Don't waste your time with it. While there's no way to solve every problem with Kazaa, Kazaa Lite Resurrection comes close.

Download KLR here
Allied's Review:
Recommended: LimeWire | Ares | Shareaza | eMule | KCeasy
Not Recommended: Morpheus | Kazaa | eDonkey2000 | Manolito | iMesh
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Postby lordfoul » Mon May 08, 2006 12:04 am

Nice article Allied you should write articles for Slyck. :)
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Postby elitie » Mon May 08, 2006 1:02 am

maybe we can have a section of histories of these programs in slyck.
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Postby IceCube » Mon May 08, 2006 3:43 am

lordfoul wrote:Nice article Allied you should write articles for Slyck. :)


Actually, to be honest, I've always wondered that even way back when I first got on board for the Slyck writing staff and I've since still wondered about that.
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Postby P2P_G » Mon May 08, 2006 1:01 pm

So you recommend KLR and the Fasttrack network ? :roll:
Piracy Will Never Die.
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Postby Allied » Mon May 08, 2006 1:14 pm

There's lots of rasons why i don't write for Slyck.
...but for once I don't feel like talking about myself. Pm me if you really want to know.

Talk about Kazaa.

Using the UUhash, Fasttrack has the potential to hash files quicker than any other p2p.

AFAIK, there's no company left that's flooding the fasttrack network with fakes anymore. And since the only official client left has a built in virus scanner. the fasttrack network could clean itself up.
Allied's Review:
Recommended: LimeWire | Ares | Shareaza | eMule | KCeasy
Not Recommended: Morpheus | Kazaa | eDonkey2000 | Manolito | iMesh
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Postby LaX » Tue May 09, 2006 4:58 am

Imagine the FT network becomes clean again. Is it off the **aa's radar yet?
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Not too sure...

Postby king8654 » Tue May 09, 2006 5:53 am

Fasttrack cleaning up..is like George Carlins mouth cleaning up..not happaneing...

It lived its days, saw its millions, and still does
but the thrive is just not there anymore, way too many other options.

Maybe your right, im wrong. Just think its sh** has hit the fan

:twisted:
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Postby P2P_G » Tue May 09, 2006 9:01 am

I just trey'd KLR and the searches was good but there ware soo many fakes! like the searches was 90% fakes :roll: why dont use gnutella? it looks like Fasttrack and bearshare as kazaa and there are about 1% fakes on the network! and dont know why people still use FT i get more search results and faster speeds on gnutella!
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Postby LaX » Tue May 09, 2006 9:10 am

Gnutella is getting too well-known. And who said FT doesnt have any fakes?
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Postby king8654 » Tue May 09, 2006 9:44 am

FastTrack as well as Gnetulla are seeing their last days...As far as Kazaa goes

Open source P2P apps running off it may have a chance if it cleans up a bit. Till then noone knows.

(Dun Dun Dun...Twilight Zone Sh**)

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Postby nms04 » Sun May 14, 2006 9:31 am

yeah realy nice article!
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