After LimeWire was shut down last year FrostWire took over as the leading file-sharing application on the Gnutella network. But this didn’t last long. Today FrostWire announces that it will leave Gnutella entirely and focus on BitTorrent instead. This decision may very well signal the end of the once-mighty Gnutella network, while existing BitTorrent networks will only grow stronger.
For many years Gnutella was one of largest P2P networks on the Internet, but after the shutdown of its flagship LimeWire client, it started to collapse quickly.
Today the news breaks that FrostWire will also leave the Gnutella network, an announcement that could be seen as the final nail in Gnutella’s coffin. Unable to cope with this increasingly spam-ridden network, Frostwire’s upcoming 5.0 release will be a BitTorrent-only affair.
“We decided to go all out with BitTorrent and spend our time making FrostWire the best BitTorrent client out there, and not fighting the endless spam battle. There are many opportunities to take in the realm of legal file-sharing and social networking that you will see happen as FrostWire 5 keeps evolving,” the FrostWire team told TorrentFreak.
When FrostWire was first released in 2004 it was nearly identical to its big brother LimeWire, using the Gnutella network to share files. In 2006 FrostWire first added BitTorrent support, but the client’s core user base continued to mainly use the Gnutella network.
However, in recent months spam took control over the Gnutella network, and the FrostWire team eventually decided to focus entirely on BitTorrent.
“The team decided to listen to what’s happening in the p2p world and to make FrostWire a great BitTorrent client that makes BitTorrent easy to use,” FrostWire states. “The Gnutella Protocol is an amazing piece of technology, but one which the team is no longer interested in or capable of developing further.”
The New Frostwire 5 (large)
With the upcoming release of FrostWire 5 its users will only be able to download files via BitTorrent. As can be seen in the screenshot above, users don’t have to leave the client as all search results are presented within FrostWire. In the latest beta build the search results come from various BitTorrent sites including isoHunt and BTJunkie.
By presenting the search results in FrostWire most users won’t have much trouble adapting to the massive underlying changes. On the other hand, for the existing BitTorrent community it means that a few million ForstWire users will be added to their swarms, which is generally a good thing.
With its large user base FrostWire will become one of the most-used BitTorrent clients once most of its users move over to the upcoming 5.0 release. For Gnutella, however, the future is looking more and more bleak. Although there are still a few Gnutella-based clients out there, its unclear how long they will remain usable.
For those developers who appreciate a challenge, the latest version of the Gnutella-based FrostWire client is available at the BitBucket repository.