The Future of WinMX

By Thomas Mennecke 1/27/03

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WinMX has always been at the forefront of P2P technology. In the earlier stages of its life, WinMX was simply an OpenNap client. However, once OpenNap collapsed at the hands of the RIAA, WinMX was a client without a network. In response, FrontCode Technologies introduced their own decentralized P2P network. Since that time, the success of this network has been second only to FastTrack.


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The last update from WinMX was back in October 2002, and little news has been heard since. Although things have been quite, WinMX development continues to forge ahead full steam. This time around, we didn't conduct a traditional Q&A interview, rather got right to the point about the current status and future of WinMX. We would like to thank Kevin Hearn, President of Frontcode Technologies, who took the time to respond to our questions.

Considering the long wait between releases, we first questioned when we could expect the next version of WinMX.

"We're working on some really exciting things for upcoming versions of WinMX, but progress is a bit slower than I expected. I expect the next release (v3.32 probably) to be within the next 6 weeks, possibly as soon as 2 weeks."

WinMX has always done an excellent job in finding high quality bitrate songs and provides tons of search results. However, one of the more vocal complaints stems from its long queues. The upcoming version hopes to lessen this problem.

"The most noticeable change in the next version will be the removal of the 'Auto Find Sources' and the 'Auto Enter Queue' features. We have replaced them with a much more intelligent version of the old 'Auto Complete' feature, which will do a much better job."

Another complaint regarding WinMX is the loss of queue status if ones Internet connection is lost. For example, say you're number 5 out of 20 individuals waiting to download a file. With the current version, if your Internet connection drops off, you wind up going to the bottom of the queue list; a frustrating situation for many. Again, Frontcode Technologies hopes to resolve this predicament.

"Also, there's a bunch of other minor refinements that many users have suggested and will probably be in the next few versions, such as a more robust queuing scheme so if your internet connection drops often you won't be as likely to lose you queue positions. Also, there will be a different color for search results that match files you already have complete copies of, and many other small bug fixes and tweaks."

Also, URL linking will be coming to the WinMX community. The combined efforts of P2P development brings about at least one defining feature each year that significantly impacts file-sharing. After Napster came decentralized networking, then multi-source downloading, and now URL linking. This technology, supported by file-hashing, has lessened the concerns that copyright holders will pollute P2P networks with false files. From WinMX, "Another really cool addition is URL linking support, so any web publisher will be able to directly link to files/searches and chat rooms on the network."

Frontcode also gave us an interesting perspective into the future of WinMX. Perhaps the most important refinement we're looking forward to will be the overhaul of the networking protocol. This addition should allow searches to traverse the network further, and provide even greater results.

"Over the course of the year you can expect to see many more significant new features that are currently in the development stage. I'd have to say the one I'm most excited about is bringing decentralized live media streaming to the chat rooms. I can't divulge too much info about this yet, but the decentralized nature of the streaming engine will allow a single broadband user with limited outgoing bandwidth to potentially broadcast to thousands without the use of any centralized distribution servers, which I expect will encourage an explosion of creativity and original programming on the network, both in the audio and video mediums.

Lots of other cool stuff is under development, like full skinability, a new network protocol that will be ~40% more efficient (which will allow your searches to go much further), a total replacement for the 'Shared Files' window, an integrated AV player, and plenty more that I can't remember at the moment...."

Even without all the upcoming refinements to the WinMX network, this community continues to draw an enormous userbase. As the current status of WinMX continues to be a top source for the files you want, the future promises to create the cutting edge in file-sharing technology.


Visit WinMX's homepage 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.

 

WinMX is Shut Down. Story Here -- editor Sept. 21, 2005


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