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Interview with Pablo Soto of the Manolito P2P Network
February 17, 2004
Thomas Mennecke
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The Manolito P2P network, spearheaded by the popular Piolet client, has long been one of the more efficient ways to trade information. Piolet, with its sister clients Blubster and RockItNet, connect to the mp3-only Manolito network. Although it averages about 200,000-250,000 users at any given time, it has proven to be a viable, and safer, alternative to the FastTrack network.

However, the Manolito network has stagnated recently, with no noticeable increase or decrease in its population (considering the current P2P landscape, this may not be such a bad sign.) In addition, the file-sharing community has not seen a new release in over half a year, which has many concerned.

To discover the latest with the Manolito Network, we spoke with Pablo Soto, lead programmer behind this community. It has been a while since we have seen an update to Piolet. When will we see the next version released?

Pablo Soto: We are in the latest phase of the new release; it'll be a joint release between all the MP2P clients, rather than just a Piolet release, so that some Blubster 1.2.3 clients don't fragment the network in zones made of old clients and zones made of new encrypted clients. The release date has not been set, but readers can stop by to get the latest news and stay tuned...I'd love to release it in some days, and that's what we are trying. What new features can we look forward to with the next version (what's this I hear about Universal Connection)? Any thoughts on allowing all media types to be shared, or has the community spoken against this?

Pablo Soto: There are tons of enhancements in both, the program and the protocol. The program now features an easy to use built-in CD burner. The newly improved internal player, featuring a built-in equalizer, can compete with any of the leaders in that market, [especially] in quality of sound.

The ease of use has always been one of my biggest concerns, and we just made steps in the right direction integrating the XP look and feel and giving the software customization features, which leaves room for advanced users to have full control of their copy.

The interface no longer has any ads in it; we make revenue through Google text-ads and the two software bundles, which add real value to the package, are totally optional and passed our tough privacy and quality requirements.

The MP2P protocol has evolved greatly in the last months; several layers of encryption have been added to every communication between peers, on all transport protocols. Many optimizations and feature revisions are ready to make the MP2P network scale like no other decentralized network has shown before. The so-called universal connection grants fire walled TCP/IP users full access to the network, keeping the speeds that made it famous, if not improving the overall responsiveness.

I'd need some hours to explain all that has been done in these months, but the bottom line is the client software works faster, is more robust, and provides a better experience as an end-to-end music platform.

Piolet, Blubster and RockItNet are at the moment music sharing networks. I am getting a lot of feedback about the possibility of opening to all file types, and I understand that the concerns of the music lovers at MP2P are the performance problems (long queues, worse file availability, etc.) derived from big files flooding the network. These concerns, while legit, have real-world solutions on MP2P, and the next step for our network in order to prove its technological leadership is to allow other media being shared, beside music. A while back there was a falling out between you and Optisoft. If you can, please give us some back ground information and have things been resolved between you two?

Pablo Soto: Yes, Optisoft founders were difficult to deal with, and it almost killed Blubster. Now the company has new investors, and I am external to it. This is allowing the MP2P technology to prosper. What are some of your main priorities now with the Manolito Network? What visions do you have for it and where do you see it going in 6 months? A year?

Pablo Soto: I see Manolito probing itself as the best-performing P2P technology within this year. That is my biggest goal, well over download numbers or revenues. We're seeing a number of networks such as Mute make their way into the P2P scene. How is user anonymity being addressed with Piolet and the other clients?

Pablo Soto: Anonymity in MP2P is addressed in several different ways. By mixing UDP and TCP communications we separate host and content lookup and negotiation from actual data transfers. Transport protocols now implement full encryption. As a third layer of anonymity, the new TCP connections act as proxy'ed negotiators. Tell us a bit more about RockItNet and its anonymity feature. Who is leasing the rights to this program? Other than the name, what differences are there between RockItNet and Piolet?

Pablo Soto: RockItNet is run from The Netherlands, which is a big difference now that the Supreme Court there declared P2P programs legal. Beside that, it uses the same MP2P technology that Piolet and Blubster use. Last year, the RIAA managed to grab a few people from the Manolito Network (look for Christy@Blubster.1.2.3) Hs the RIAA been able to persue any additional users that you know of?

Pablo Soto: As far as I know, there was no prosecution, as the MP2P cases didn't even have one single hearing before a judge. It would be interesting to see how the RIAA deals with the obligation to probe their claims and show the logs. Which Manolito client is the most popular?

Pablo Soto: Blubster, estimates say over 5 million downloads. What other P2P companies will be joining the Manolito network? If you can't be specific, can you at least tell us if others joining?

Pablo Soto: No, some entered in negotiations in the past, but only wanted to make us lose time, it appears. The population of Piolet has stalled at around 250,000-300,000 users. What is being done to promote the Manolito Network?

Pablo Soto: Most of the promotion is being done by Optisoft's crew, specially its CEO, Wayne Rosso, and a PR firm that worked in the past with Napster and; HBPR. My personal work about that is coding, coding and coding - beside doing a few interviews, only with friendly writers ;) Are you still the only developer for this network? Will you be hiring additional programmers any time soon?

Pablo Soto: There are some outsourced developments, but protocol-related developments rely 100% on me and the help of a couple of coders. I expect to grow the team soon.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
P2P Clients :: Piolet
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Interviews

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