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WinMX PNP Network Mysteriously Ends Operations
September 21, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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WinMX began its time as a simple OpenNap client in a time when Napster and Scour ruled the P2P scene. When Napster and Scour were banished from the Internet, WinMX's importance took on a new burden of importance. It reinvented itself from a mere OpenNap client to become one of the premier P2P networks of its day.

Update: Please read this article for reconnecting to the WinMX network.

During its height, WinMX, developed by FrontCode Technologies, eclipsed the Napster P2P network in not only resourcefulness, but also in population. During mid-2002, its population had reached over 1.5 million simultaneous users. With an active community, plenty of independent user forums and steady development it appeared there was nothing that could stop this network.

Then something mysterious happened. From July 2003 to July 2004, there were no updates to WinMX - nothing to improve the network architecture, the dreaded queues or any other attributes. Then in July 2004 after nearly a year of frustration, FrontCode released addition betas which many perceived as a mere "filler" versions. Version 3.53 did little more than feature “a major upgrade of the chat component and other minor improvements." Another beta version (3.54) was subsequently released, which improved the media library.

That would be the last anyone would hear from WinMX ever again. Slyck maintained communications with FrontCode president Kevin Hearn, who stated that work was still being continued on the mystical version 4.0. During the early part of the summer, Mr. Hearn told Slyck.com that something might be available towards the end of the 2005 summer.

However, another plot twist appears to have mixed things up once again. On September 13, 2005, WinMX was the recipient of a letter (along with 6 other P2P firms) from the RIAA. The letter demanded the receiving developers they cease infrin
ging operations immediately, and offered to "discuss pre-litigation resolution of these claims."

Like Alberto Treves' decision to release the source of Ares Galaxy, or Sam Yagan's decision to join the DCIA, every move a P2P developer makes is immediately questioned to be in direct response to the RIAA's letter campaign. Such is the case for FrontCode Technologies. Or should we say WinMX Technology Associates?

Currently, the WinMX.com homepage, the FrontCode.com homepage, the WinMX PNP Network and all of its host caches are down. It is impossible to connect to the network, and those remaining online will only stay online as long as their host supernodes do. But is this the end of WinMX?

Perhaps not. Interestingly enough, if one conducts a DNS whois for "WinMX.com", the result directs owner ship to a "WinMX Technology Associates" - not FrontCode Technologies as it has in the past. Even more interesting is the geographical relocation from Toronto, Canada to Port Vila, Vanuatu. Many will remember that Sharman Networks pulled a similar stunt to avoid prosecution in the Netherlands and to capitalize on "tax efficiencies."

FrontCode.com is still registered in Canada. Kevin Hearn, who is usually readily available for comment with Slyck.com, has not responded to inquiries for several weeks.

Before anyone clamors the end of the WinMX PNP network, time needs to be given to allow for this development to unfold. Although it appears WinMX.com was reregistered prior to this event, its occurrence cannot be downplayed until this fluid situation is resolved.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
P2P Clients :: WinMX

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