Soulseek is arguably one the greatest music sharing networks that most of the world has never heard of.
Created by former Napster programmer Nir Arbel, Soulseek can be used to share any type of file, but music is king on this network. Although mainstream music is available, if your tastes wander from the mainstream, if your musical dreams are a little avant garde and independent label-leaning, or you thrive on low frequencies and can’t get enough drum and bass or techno, Soulseek is for you.
If you like the sound of Soulseek and also happen to have a jail-broken iPhone, musical Christmas just came early. Last night, iPhone users with jail-broken devices saw a new application available for download from the ‘Big Boss’ source – ‘iSlsk’ – a free Soulseek port for the iPhone. TorrentFreak caught up with the developer for the lowdown:
TF: Please describe iSlsk
errrick: iSlsk is simply an application that lets you connect, download (and share, in the future) music directly from your iPod/iPhone through the Soulseek network. Anywhere, no computer required. That’s what makes “iSlsk” special and different from all other Soulseek clients out there.
TF: When did you start work on iSlsk and what motivated you to do so?
errrick: On February, 2008. What motivated me? Well. First of all, I saw all the capabilities this little gadget had and then thought “why didn’t someone already do something like this?”. A long time ago I did some little web application (just for fun) which let me connect to the Soulseek chat rooms from a web interface (written entirely in ASP.NET and C#). So I already had some experience with the protocol. Then I saw new applications being added everyday so I thought “Hey, making applications for the iPhone shouldn’t be that hard”… And thought how useful it would be to have a P2P client (first for me, then for the people) so I started learning and developing it myself.
TF: Tell us a little more about iSlsk from a technical viewpoint
errrick: In terms of code and programming, it’s entirely written in Objective-C (like most Cocoa and iPhone apps). The core of the application was made with the help of some open source Soulseek clients for mac (SolarSeek, SoleSeek). When I started developing it I was really afraid the iPhone/iPod wouldn’t be able to support for example, a high number of connections, constant byte transferring from peers and such. At that time I ran into thousands of problems which almost frustrated me, but most of them were really because I was a total newbie to Cocoa and Obj-C and not because of a hardware or software limitation like I thought.
TF: Thanks for your time.
Downloading and installation of the 224.5kb package takes a few seconds and then you’re away. At this point it has a basic file search and a display of any downloads queued along with progress. Media is downloaded to /var/mobile/Media/Downloads on any firmware above 1.1.3.
A nice feature is the ability to import the downloaded files straight into the iPod music database so they can be played immediately with the normal controls. There have been issues with this feature which are being addressed for the next update but in the meantime, here is a full workaround and great general tutorial from iPhoneFreakz.
Here is a video of iSlsk v0.1b in action:
The developer, ‘errrick’, can be found here.
Of course, Soulseek is not just for iPhone and as there are many thousands of unsigned artists populating the network, it’s worth checking out the PC version too.
Thanks to IIIALC