Mac Filesharing Clients Update
Awhile back I mentioned Poisoned, a fine multi-network P2P client for Mac OS X. Shortly thereafter I was directed to mlMac, which is similar in appearance and features, but while aiming to support more P2P networks and protocols instead falls short as a buggy and unstable mess that I’ve never once gotten a successful download out of. In the vein of multi-network clients, stick to Poisoned; it’s only gotten better,
But much of the Mac P2P world still rides on the Gnutellanet, one of the first open and decentralized (or at least more decentralized than not) post-Napster networks. Acqlite, a superb open source “fork” of the loathsome and spyware-ridden Acquisition (don’t let the site fool you: it’s pure evil!), is the best Gnutella client out there for OS X. I have better luck getting just about anything with Acqlite than with Poisoned, for the record.
There’s still no good Mac Soulseek client. You can get the GTK client Nicotine to run with some help from Fink but the results aren’t worth the time; either Nicotine sucks or the Soulseek network is crap, and I think it’s a little of both. Pity, because there’s no other P2P network I know of that caters community-wise to electronic and otherwise off-the-beaten-path music.
Lastly there’s the swarming P2P BitTorrent software, of which there is a perfectly passable but not overwhelming OS X port. The BitTorrent scene is the place to be for filesharing these days, but rarely do I actually see the supposed speed benefits of swarming downloads. For example (and purely for research purposes, Mr. Valenti) I’m pulling down a film from some reported 32 peers, yet my download speed varies between 7-11 kilobits per second. That mediocre bandwidth means that it’ll take me, or rather my iBook, roughly an entire day to download the movie. At the same time, however, I’ve already uploaded nearly three times as much as I’ve downloaded, megabyte-wise, of the portion of the file I’ve downloaded back to other Torrent users. If somebody’s benefitting from all this sharing it sure isn’t me, but I can’t complain too much with the wide selection of files for the taking at sites like Suprnova and MacTorrents.
For the average user or P2P beginner Gnutella via Acqlite is probably the way to go on a Mac. But for anything big or unusual forget the unreliability of the eDonkey and OpenFT implementations out there and go straight to BitTorrent. Your sanity will thank you.