WinMX has just announced that they are releasing a Community Patch which is designed to bring together a once split community.
While there has been high profile news stories like the legal challenge brought against Ray Beckerman from the RIAA, Danish ISPs refusing to be copyright police and ACTA getting stalled (not to mention earning a lawsuit in the process), the WinMX community has been quietly moving along with key developments to help the community regain a bigger footing in the file-sharing world at large – not just in the past few days, but in the past few years.
Early on this year, we conducted an interview with an operator of WinMXWorld by the name of Tigger. At the time, we discussed things like Deep Packet Inspection failing to detect WinMX traffic, developments in the network past, present and future and the community behind the WinMX network that’s successfully kept the network alive and well.
A lot of time has passed since this interview, but a lot of time to make significant developments for the network. We spoke recently to Tigger again who brings some exciting news for the WinMX community. About three years ago, the WinMX peer cache was taken offline without warning. The move was a major blow to the community at large and could have simply meant the demise of the network altogether had the whole community simply dissipated by moving to other networks. After the shut down of the main peer caches, many wrote off the network as dead – but many of those people underestimated the strength of the community behind the network.
Tigger described the time with the following:
The history of WinMX hasn’t always been smooth. Three years ago the official WinMX.com peer caches were taken offline with no warning. It was a time of sadness to all the users including myself. It was a time that many many online friendships where lost . Moving forward we come to more positive news and the end (and start) of an exciting project that we are now able to reveal.
Shortly after the shut down of the main server, a number of people in the community wanted to rebuild the network and put it back into operating condition. The problem was that there were two factions in the community that had two separate visions for the network. These entities were basically WinMXWorld and Vladd44. While the two separate factions in the community proved that there was going to be an effort to revitalize the network, it also unfortunately divided the network – not exactly the best thing to happen for an already fragile network.
There were different groups trying different solutions to bring the network back up and running. The work in this new patch is an effort to bring together these different groups together. There were developments including a prototype UNPNP and an improved filter during this time, but what about today?
“As you may be aware Drew we have been working for some time on replacing the entire system of connecting WinMX clients because of a dispute with the owner of the existing patch code,” Tigger told ZeroPaid, “this has involved replacing the entire range of peer caches and increasing their number along with making some significant DNS fallback enhancements, all this has now been completed and the final stage of the replacement program has arrived, after many months of testing we have reached a satisfactory build of patch replacement, the result is something called The WinMX Community patch, and to mark our third anniversary since the official closure of WinMX Technologies we have decided to release it on the reconnection anniversary. On the 23rd of September we are releasing the new patch.”
This will no doubt be exciting news for the WinMX community at large. It gets better, some of the things that were considered prototypes back when we conducted the interview have now become features. Tigger explains, “The new WinMX Community patch has many new features including UPNP port forwarding, an improved fake filtering system, a real time blocking counter and also has resolved a prior method of securing secondaries that was causing a network concern. Unlike previous patches The WinMX Community patch features an ini file that ensures the users get to decide some of the more important aspects of how their patch operates, including for example the ability to manually change the cache hosts names in the event of a major assault on the network.”
A major assault on network servers have been an issue in the eMule community. The servers holding the ED2K network together once had at least a good 20 plus servers keeping the network in tact. Since the shut down of Razorback, Razorback 2.0, Razorback 3.0, Big BanG, Donkey Server #, and numerous others, the network has dwindled down to a small hand full of legitimate servers, causing most to simply jump ship and switch to the Kademlia network instead and give up on the servers altogether. Clearly this development of being able to manually change hosts will help future-proof the network for now – making way for further future plans for the network.
“One of the goals of the Community Patch effort was to make for the provision of tools and technical information amongst the community to ensure no single group or individual has the power to affect the network unilaterally,” Tigger explains, “this goal has been achieved and a code base now exists of both peer caches and patches that can be tailored to fit any future requirements, this in itself is a tremendous leap forward and a comfort for many. The creator of the Community Patch is a third party programmer named “Eagle”, who has done a fantastic job in creating and negotiating its use within the community and it is certain now after many discussions amongst the two major groups to bring the community together, healing a rift of some years.”
As some may be aware, there has been a hope of building a completely new open source project.
“Its hoped that with this major project out of the way many more developers will be able to focus on the ultimate goal of completing a new client,” Tigger told ZeroPaid, “something that has been receiving much attention for over a year now and attracting many of the newer WinMX community coding talents to take an active part in building something equally solid.”
Clearly some bold and exciting plans in the works. Some might note the release date, September 23rd and recall that it was this day in 2005 that the resurrection took place, just two days after the original peer cache went offline. Indeed, it is the third year anniversary and this is also to celebrate the third anniversary of the new WinMX. One of the complaints being whispered in the community has been that things take a long time to developed. Well clearly, what we see here is a sort of, ‘hey, we are here, we are alive, and we are progressing and we will prove it.’ Perhaps the age old clichÃ© of ‘good things happen to those who wait’ is ringing particularly true here.
There is some specifics available on the WinMXWorld website on what this patch offers to the community. While there is a number of paragraphs to explain each point in further detail, here’s the main points:
Details of this list is available here.
While some may have forgotten all about the third anniversary, others in the WinMX community reminiscing already and discussing what the closure meant to them. With the network making very positive strides now, let’s wrap this article up with quotes from users who talked about the anniversary:
The community was one of alternately mixed emotions following the suprise [closure of WinMX], anger and despair took hold of many of the regular users, but for a hard core the desire to right the perceived “wrong” was strong and slowly they sought out each other to discuss technical solutions to the puzzle that had presented itself.
This they did and in a remarkably short space of time, with the best technical minds across at least 8 different countries the solution to the puzzle took a mere matter of days, 3 days in fact.
I ask you to join me in saying once again our thanks to those who worked around the clock in keeping the WinMX community alive, not just the tech folks you all know but the lesser known folks, those who made posts and worked in spreading the message to the internet of keeping faith that a solution would be found, users who answered the same question thousands of times without complaint, and those few thousand who kept their WinMX connected at any cost to ensure there was something left of the network to connect to, without the team work and support of literally thousands the breakthroughs and final solutions may not have been possible, without the faith of you all in each other we would not be the community we are today.
I am grateful for all of the hard work that was put into bringing back WinMX and keeping it going, even improving upon it in a way over time so that we can continue to share files freely as was originally intended by the creators of the program itself. Also, if someone on my slow speed can share without feeling restricted, anyone can.
i used to and still do let [WinMX] run 24/7 (or back then as long as win98 would run) and all of a sudden after a reboot i didnt have a MX connection anymore… …to get my winmx working again… well.. every one knows that story…. what they dont know is i never used the ‘chat’ function till -after- the shutdown…. “hey! there are some cool ppl out there!”
long story short? ive still got my ‘lite’ (which is very ‘lite’ on newer hardware) P2P app that still finds nearly everything i want… and now ive got a forum of folk to thank for it and of course a new bunch to chat with…. dunno if the shutdown was a curse or a blessing….
Happy Anniversary. I remember that day so well. All I could think of was “What about all the chatroom people? They have LIVES there. Friends. Woah.”
ZeroPaid would like to thank Tigger of WinMXWorld for taking the time to talk to us about this new announcement.