By Robert Menta - 8/13/01
A third P2P program based on the Dutch FastTracK technology has emerged. Called Grokster, the program can now share files with Morpheus and Kazaa users who also link through FastTrack. Morpheus and Kazaa are among the fastest growing file trade programs in the wake of Napster's shutdown, scoring almost 2 million requests on Download.com last week alone. Grokster, which plans to put more emphasis on the music of unsigned artists, will expand that network.
Like its two cousins above, Grokster will be a free service, though how they plan to generate income on the serverless network is not yet known (advertising probably). Grokster does not offer anything that Kazaa and Morpheus don't already offer so you may want to wait to see how it evolves before you choose it over programs that have had more time to work out their bugs. That said, the biggest incentive to seek out Grokster over the most recent version of Kazaa is that Grokster does not include the spyware which MUST be installed with Kazaa 1.3.1 before that program will function. That alone is reason enough for many to consider it.
Voodoo is unique in that it is written entirely in Java , which helps keep the program size small. Theoretically it should also allow the same program file to play on Windows, Mac, and the various flavors of Unix (theoretically is not the same as actually. Still, it allows for less code changes for the programmers to serve each platform).
The catch phrase for the Arizona based company is " No logging, no fees, no banner ads" revealing its grass roots origins. Unlike Grokster, it will have to build its audience alone so in the short term the service will not yet offer the variety of songs available on more established programs. Voodoo will have to build that audience up quickly if it wishes to remain a viable alternative.
Basing themselves in the US also makes them more vulnerable to legal action from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) than other Napster alternatives that have set themselves up overseas and away from US copyright law.
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