Blubster: Reloaded

By Tom 12/09/02

When I did a review for Blubster 1.2.3 back in March 2002, we were looking at a much different network than exists today. Few doubt that version 1.2.3 was a superior P2P application, as its intelligent downloading feature ensured quick file transfers. In addition, its impressive population of 5,000 plus users made this network a great alternative to the crowded and impersonal FastTrack network.

That was nine months ago. Since that time, Blubster's population has skyrocked past 80,000 users, often reaching 100,000 during peak times. With a nearly 20-fold increase in population since the beginning of this year, Blubster is quickly becoming a central power in the P2P world. Once a great rival of SongSpy, this P2P community has joined the elite networks in the 100,000-user club. Blubster now finds company along side such reputable networks as Overnet, DirectConnect and eDonkey2000.


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The basic layout of the client has remained virtually unchanged since version 1.2.3. Blubster continues to be a no-nonsense client, with no spyware or adware. Its layout is simple; if you were a fan of Napster, using Blubster will be like visiting an old friend. Although the two versions look identical, some important features have been added.

The search feature has been dramatically improved, which now includes an "advanced" function. Much like Napster, the individual can filter out songs by bitrate and frequency.

One of the most obvious improvements is the implementation of multi-source downloading. While the initial version took advantage of it's intelligent downloading feature, blazing speeds more commonplace with 2.0. Much like WinMX 3.0, the arrival of multi-source downloading has propelled Blubster into the next level of the file-sharing world.

The network architecture has remained mostly untouched since version 1.2.3, however some very important changes have been made. Namely, centralized host caches (gateways) have been eliminated.

Maintaining a gateway server can be a serious liability for a "decentralized" network. Although the central indexing situation is eliminated, the host server remains its Achilles heel. Blubster eliminates this potentially devastating situation by literally removing these gateways. Instead, the Blubster client "scans networks and subnetworks in milliseconds to find hosts already connected to the network, and use them as gateways dynamically. As the Blubster population grows and grows, the easier and faster it is to work server-less."

The arrival of Blubster 2.0 and its kin represent the next step forward for file-sharing. While Gnutella and FastTrack have become the standard of 2nd generation P2P networking, Blubster, along with its cohort Overnet, have established the threshold for the 3rd generation. With no central indexing or gateway servers, the copyright industry is facing a new enemy in the war against file-sharing. Unlike the vulnerabilities of Napster or FastTrack, the newer breed of file-sharing technology may be the final chapter in this battle. With nearly 100,000 users and growing on a daily basis, Blubster has proven to be one of the mp3 gems of file-sharing world. And while development may seem to be spotty, rest assured that we haven't seen anything yet from the Blubster team. Surprises are abound!

Tom from Slyck.com is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Tom's insights on other digital music issues can be read on his site and we encourage you to check it out.

 


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