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Shareaza is a peer-to-peer file sharing client running under Microsoft Windows which supports the Gnutella, Gnutella2, eDonkey Network, BitTorrent, FTP and HTTP network protocols and handles magnet links, ed2k links, Piolet links, and the now deprecated Gnutella links. It is available in 30 languages.

Shareaza was developed by Michael Stokes until June 1, 2004, and is now maintained by a group of volunteers. On 1 June 2004, Shareaza 2.0 was released, along with the source code, under the GNU General Public License (GPL), making it free software. The latest version, 2.5.0.0, was released on October 31, 2009.

Features

Multi-network

Shareaza can connect to Gnutella, Gnutella2, eDonkey and BitTorrent. Shareaza hashes its files for all networks, and then distributes those hash values on G2. This allows Shareaza to download one file from several networks at once. When another Shareaza client connected to G2 finds such a file, it is given the hash values for all networks and can search on the other networks with their respective hash values, which increases the number of sources and the download speed of the file. Shareaza also uses its G2 network to find more sources for torrents.

Security filter

The Shareaza client has some basic content filters including a forced child and optional adult pornography filter, and some other optional filters such as a filter for files encumbered with Digital rights management (DRM). Shareaza's security filters can also be extended with user-defined keywords and/or IP addresses. Latest versions of Shareaza allow for the use of regular expressions and filtering by hash.These filters increase the chances of getting the files the user wants and decrease the chance of getting malicious or fake files. The file format used for the filters is an extendable XML schema. The filters are editable inside Shareaza, or with any external text editor, and can be exported from the application to be shared with others.

Plugins



Shareaza implements a framework for additional plugins. The Shareaza installer ships several plugins. Most of them are used to read and strip off built in metadata from the files being hashed and convert it to an external XML based format, or to decode multimedia files for making a preview for other G2 clients. Some others serve the need of a media player inside Shareaza, and enhancements of that media player. Third party plugins can also be used, for example, Sharemonkey, which will add a link inside Shareaza when downloading or searching copyrighted material from where it can be legally downloaded.

Skins

The client can have almost all parts of the GUI skinned. This includes bars, icons, as well as backgrounds and buttons. In that way, Shareaza can be completely changed with colors, images, new buttons, etc. A basic list of skins is contained in the Shareaza installer package. Other skins can be downloaded in the community forums or found via a search for .sks (Shareaza skin files) in the Gnutella2 network. The skins are zip archives, renamed with the extension .sks, containing icons and images, as well as an XML file which binds the images and colors with the GUI.

This feature is also used for localization. The language files are XML files, like the normal skins, but not zipped. The XML file contains the translations for a certain part of the program. This enables languages to be easily changed, updated and tested without compiling an entire binary.

Modes

Shareaza contains 3 user modes. The first one is for normal users. This mode is the default mode and provides a clean, trimmed GUI. Users will not be able to heavily change the settings in this mode, but will be able to make use of the most essential functions, like searching and downloading. The second mode is for power users. It provides more access to network and advanced settings, but can also break your connection to the networks. The third mode is the windowed mode. In this mode, users can see different tabs (windows) simultaneously, providing a lot of control about the things happening. This mode also makes it possible to personalize the look of the client to perfectly fit the needs of the respective user.

IRC

Shareaza contains a built-in IRC (chat) client which allows users to communicate with each other. There are channels in several languages for support and help. These channels are located on the P2PChat servers and can also by joined by any normal IRC client or via a Java addon on the Shareaza homapage.

History

In mid-2002 Stokes released the first version of a Gnutella client he had written and dubbed "Shareaza". It was from the beginning a client with the aim of having features other Gnutella clients did not have. Over the next two years Stokes coded in support for the eDonkey 2000 network, BitTorrent and a rewritten Gnutella-based protocol which he named Gnutella2.

On June 1, 2004 Stokes released the Shareaza source code under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (which coincided with the release of Shareaza version 2.0). It was the third big filesharing application (after LimeWire and Gnucleus) to become truly open software on the Gnutella network and moved Gnutella clients towards open source development.

Since the beginning Shareaza was advertised as "completely free. No ads, no spyware, no guilting you to upgrade to a commercial version", stating that the developers "[couldn't] stand that kind of crap." It has remained as such in each subsequent release.

From the first version Shareaza has supported swarming, metadata, library management, and automatic file hashing.

Domain takeover

On 19 December 2007 the project's domain name, shareaza.com, was redirected to an unrelated site claiming to be "The Official Home of Shareaza", promoting the download of a client known as Shareaza V4(V6 ), an iMesh clone with only small graphical modifications. This client is unable to connect to any open P2P network (such as Gnutella, G2 or the eDonkey network, for example) and has strong limitations to the content shared: it offers DRM-protected music to buy. As a result, the Shareaza Development Team was forced to move their home page to SourceForge.net.

Versions prior to 2.3.1.0 of the original Shareaza connect to www.shareaza.com to update the program. From 1 January 2008 the current domain owner, Discordia LTD., a company based in Cyprusmarker and closely related to the RIAA, suggests to users that ShareazaV6 is an update to open-source Shareaza. This vulnerability was fixed in Shareaza 2.3.1.0, released on January 3.

Yahoo, which uses SiteAdvisor to filter their search results, no longer lists domain shareaza.com due to it being listed by SiteAdvisor as a security risk. Other website rating services, such as WOT (Web of Trust), also rate Shareaza.com as dangerous.

Attempted trademark registration

On January 10, 2008, the new owners of Shareaza.com, Discordia Ltd (iMesh Inc.), filed for trademark registration of the Shareaza name in an attempt to stop the original developers from using the name, claiming that the first-ever use was on December 17, 2007. The Shareaza Development Team have obtained legal representation to challenge the registration and a legal defense fund has been set up.

Loss of pantheraproject.net

After the loss of shareaza.com, the project moved to pantheraproject.net, where it was rebuilt and maintained by the Shareaza community. On June 11, 2009 the pantheraproject.net domain was sabotaged by William Shields Erwin, who had been the administrator of the community forum and posted by the name of 'Rhythm'. As a result of his actions the contents of the website have been changed to mimic the Discordia owned Shareaza.com domain. William Erwin also attempted to sabotage parts of the project that were hosted on SourceForge, but they were restored shortly after by the SourceForge staff and he was banned from the project . On June 15, 2009 the forums were reinstated. The pantheraproject.net domain is no longer related to the Shareaza project and its community.

v2.4.0.0

Version 2.4.0.0 of Shareaza was released on October 1, 2008, with many bug fixes and major changes to provide better stability of the client. It is also the first stable release to include IRC support. Furthermore, major changes to the torrent handling mechanism have been made and Windows 98/Me support has been discontinued (the last version which works on Windows 9x is 2.3.1.0). The next version (2.4.1.0), a v2.5 release candidate, was to be released around October 1, 2009, followed by 2.5.0.0 a month later.

Version 2.3.1.0 is the last stable version of Shareaza that supports Windows 9x.

Current release

The release of Shareaza is v2.5.0.0, released on October 31, 2009. It is significantly more stable and less resource-consuming than earlier versions. Also, it brings further improvements on the BitTorrent support, such as selective downloading of files contained in batch torrents and download prioritization. There have also been updates to the gnutella and ed2k implementation, such as extended support for GGEP, large files, and chat. The IRC implementation of v2.4.0.0 has been worked over and is now free of the bugs that made it partially unusable in the previous version. Also, download manager capabilities have been extended and Internet Explorer integration has been added.

Awards

In November 2008, Shareaza was featured on SourceForge as Project of the Month.

Shareaza and Linux

Sharelin is a limited Shareaza for Linux under development . It is based on Shareaza but the current release is not yet a full clone. It is being developed as a SourceForge project by one of Shareaza's developers .

Shareaza can be run under Linux using the Wine Windows emulator. Although the media player does not work, uploading and downloading work flawlessly. Shareaza 2.4.0 entry in WineHQ

Shareaza reviews and reports



See also



References

External links




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