P2P heats up with FrostWire | The Download Blog - CNET Download.com

P2P heats up with FrostWire

A redo of LimeWire gets reborn with a blue interface and some LimeWire Pro features as FrostWire. Is it worth getting?

FrostWire hopes to breathe some new life into the much-maligned P2P file-sharing client LimeWire.

LimeWire has become the Web 2.0 equivalent of Kazaa and the late 1990s Napster. What you think is last night's episode of Heroes turns out to be a villainous chunk of malware, and litigation issues have forced its programmers to include a license filter, warning you if you're about to grab something without proper copyright information attached. Plus, the interface is ugly.

Direct Connect lets you connect directly to other users so you can browse their shared files.

(Credit: CNET Networks Inc.)

FrostWire aims to be a cool princess to LimeWire's grouchy grandmother. It's built on a fork of the LimeWire Pro source code, so FrostWire functions exactly the same as its parent. That means that in the grand scheme of things, if you don't like LimeWire, this child branch probably isn't going to appeal to you, either. If you do use LimeWire regularly, though, there's a lot in FrostWire to recommend it as a more appealing version.

First off, the copyright check has gone away, so caveat emptor. Built by former LimeWire coders, FrostWire is based on the pay version of LimeWire. Simultaneous download restrictions and ads have been removed. Also, befitting the name, the interface has been changed from staid green and gray to cool blue, and the corners have been rounded off, giving the program a slicker look.

The new Connections tab monitors your outgoing and incoming connections by host name, but also provides bandwidth information, the vendor and version being used, and more. There's also a built-in community chat tab, and you can now "Direct Connect" to other users via their IP. This is a smart function for direct sharing between two users who trust each other's content.

The Connections tab provides IP addresses and other info on people you're sharing with.

(Credit: CNET Networks Inc.)

When we tested it, the built-in media player in FrostWire didn't work with MP3s or MPGs although those files worked fine in LimeWire and elsewhere. The app also comes bundled with the Ask toolbar, but you can opt out of during the installation process. Some people have experienced faster download times with FrostWire compared with its parent; others have not.

There's no killer function that FrostWire has over LimeWire, but the UI changes are enough to consider FrostWire the stronger choice of the two.

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