Review: Xolox 1.18

By Tom 6/11/02

Introduction

It's been a bumpy ride for this Gnutella client the P2P world calls XoloX. XoloX was introduced in mid 2001 and almost immediately became a success. At the time, several features placed it above the reigning Gnutella clients such as BearShare and LimeWire. Such features included multi-source downloading (revolutionary for a Gnutella client) and a very efficient resume feature.


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As XoloX marched along, events began unfold that would radically alter the environment in which development progressed. The inner mechanisms of Burma/Stemra, the copyright offices in the Netherlands, scored an initial victory against FastTrack, another Dutch based P2P network. Fearing litigation, the developers of XoloX imposed a self-exile upon themselves which lasted for almost 5 months. However, the initial court ruling was overturned, paving the way for a XoloX revival. And indeed has XoloX revived itself. Xolox returns as a fine example of Gnutella technology, as its reputation for being easy to use while producing a numerous search results remains intact.

Ease of Use:

With only 4 buttons on the tool bar, P2P networking doesn't get much easier than this. XoloX automatically connects to the Gnutella network, so you won't have to worry about finding or maintaining a host cache. Other important features, such as establishing shared directories, are easily accessible through the "tools" drop down menu.

Layout/Design:

There's nothing particularly stunning about XoloX, its just an average looking Windows application. While the design is simplistic, it gets the job done. Those who are accustomed to feature driven applications such as WinMX will be surprised that a P2P application that's seemingly one-dimensional can be so productive.

Speed of Download:

With super-peers and multi-source downloading restructuring Gnutella, download speeds have improved dramatically. When we talk about download speed, lets speak in relative terms. Although Gnutella isn't as fast (on a consistent basis) or successful as KaZaA or WinMX, this network certainly delivers more frequently than it fails. Once the multi-source feature kicks in, there's no problem in transferring files at full download velocity.

File Availability:

This is dependent on the health of the Gnutella network. However, with the multitude of improvements made, more and more individuals have begun to populate this network. Of course, the more individuals, the more file availability. With FastTrack and AudioGalaxy's future in doubt, expect Gnutella's population to swell. This network has a wide availability of popular music and videos, while maintaining a adequate supply of rare or harder to find information.

Network Architecture

Decentralized networking has become a powerful influence in P2P world. Virtually all serious P2P networks today employ this powerful architecture. It allows greater scalability and costs significantly less to operate than a money hungry centralized network like Napster. Gnutella's architecture has gone under significant changes over the last 2 years. During the days of version .56, the network didn't have super-peers. Although the application was excellent when it worked, it didn't take advantage of computers with fast Internet connections or processors. Today's Gnutella clients have borrowed the super-peer concept from FastTrack and have implemented this into its architecture. These super-peers alleviate the stress of a decentralized network by performing more tasks than slow dial-up hosts, act as temporary indexing servers and integrate themselves as the "glue" that holds the network together.

Overall:

XoloX is spyware/adware free, no nonsense Gnutella client. The only negative aspect is that it doesn't support super-peer technology, however we'll see this in future versions. Its simple, down-to-earth design should encourage those who were previously discouraged with more complex Gnutella applications to get back into the game. Its good to see XoloX back on the cutting edge of Gnutella technology.

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.

Other MP3 Reviews:
Review: WinMX 3.1
Review: Gnucleus
Review: eDonkey2000
Review: SongSpy
Review: AudioGalaxy
Review: BearShare
Review: Newtella
Review: LimeWire
Review: Imesh

 

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