eMule Interview

By Thomas Mennecke 2/20/03

The eDonkey2000 network has always been a popular network among the more advanced P2P crowd. For much of this clients history however, its use was limited to these users. This would all change with the advent of eMule. With a streamlined interface and a multitude of options, the eDonkey2000 network grew by leaps and bounds. In addition, it prompted MetaMachine, the creators of the original eDonkey, to ramp up development of their client. This competition has enhanced and strengthened the eDonkey2000 network to make it one of the most powerful communities in existence. We'd like to thank the eMule development team for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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SlyckTom: MetaMachine has displayed reservations about supplemental software connecting to the eDonkey2000 network. Are their concerns justified and do they include eMule? Read our eDonkey interview here

Monk: Much of that interview is already old news. (ie: MM now has a Hybrid.) Their concerns may have been justified with other clients, but not eMule. We made it a priority to make sure we played fair and even helped forcing other bad clients play fair by blocking loopholes in the protocol.

I (John[Unknown1]) even spoke to Jed on the phone and although I can't repeat what was said, I can say it had something to do with a quote he made saying eMule was better the eDonkeyv61.

SlyckTom What effect, negative or positive, does eMule have on the eDonkey2000 network? If there have been, or are currently, any negative effects, what steps have been taken to improve the situation?

Monk eMule has been a very positive effect to the ED2K network. We have significantly reduced the amount of server traffic needed allowing servers to increase the number of users they can support. eDonkey was horrible at finding sources making rare files impossible to find. With Source Exchanges, eMule is able to find rare files with no problems. eMule utilizes UDP in situations that a TCP connection is overkill allowing the client to handle much more sources by reducing the overhead.

SlyckTom Explain the communications that exist between eMule and other eDonkey developers, specifically MetaMachine? Have they ever asked you to stop eMule development?

Monk: There hasn't been much communications with MM. Although they have not told us to stop, they are also not willing help.

SlyckTom: The upcoming version of the official eDonkey client will have support for Overnet. Does eMule plan to implement this? If you do, what plans will be taken to ensure compatibility with Overnet and avoid the malcontent mlDonkey has created?

Monk: We are looking at the protocol and testing some very, very beta versions. If we do a release of an ON compatible version, we will do excessive testing before release. Like said already, our priority is to help the network, not hurt it for our own benefit.

SlyckTom: In terms of numbers, how popular has eMule become? What percentage do eMule clients make up the eDonkey network?

Monk: In many of our tests, it looks like eMule is about 80-90% of the ED2K network even after a week of the Hybrids release.

This is hard to tell, as there are no ways to measure the real numbers. Clearly eMule is the dominant client in the network now.

SlyckTom: How has eMule recovered since the departure of some of its key programmers?

Monk: Although we did have a lot of problems with the website right after Merkurís departure, the two events had nothing to do with each other. He will be remembered as the starter and great contributor of a very fascinating project and eMule development will continue.

SlyckTom: Metamachine has taken steps to limit mlDonkey's participation on Overnet. Do you feel that mlDonkey poses a threat to this community?

Monk: Although the mlDonkey team seems like good programmers, they seem to have very different ideas how the network should be. They also seem to have different priority. For example, when adding new features, they tend to be only one way. Ie: mlDonkey was able to download from ON for a long time before it uploaded to it.

SlyckTom: What features can we look forward to? Any chance of server software being developed? Perhaps a Linux version?

Monk: There is several people working on servers and porting eMule to other platforms. So no to these. Current eMule features are to numerous to list.

SlyckTom: How do you envision the eDonkey2000 network in a years time? What role will eMule play?

Monk: The ED2K network will be around for a long time. But it will be more like a under layer to the Overnet network and eMule will be a main player.

SlyckTom: With all the improvements made to the software, and multitude of new servers, it seems as though the eDonkey connectivity problem has abated. With this, do you believe there's a need for Overnet? What are your opinions of this community?

Monk: Short answer, Yes. When eMule first started, the ED2K network capped at about 500,000 and was very segmented. This made finding sources very hard. Now the network is able to handle over 700,000 users and it is pretty much whole again. But, we can only reduce the server traffic so much per client, so there will always be a cap to it. The Overnet protocol defeats this user limit. But, we also want to give the user a choice. So, when/if we have Overnet support, the user will have the option to connect or not.

You can check out eMule here.


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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