After more than a decade of loyal service, LimeWire was shut down yesterday by a U.S. Court. As LimeWire was one of the world’s most used P2P-applications, the shutdown affected millions of people, mostly casual downloaders. Luckily for them, there are plenty of alternatives and potential replacements former LimeWire users can choose from.
After a lengthy court battle, LimeWire lost its case with the RIAA yesterday. The New York District Court demanded that LimeWire shut down its entire operation, including all searches and uploading and downloading that occurs through the client.
In a response to the decision LimeWire made its client unusable, leaving millions of users with no other option than to find an alternative. The good news is that there are several applications and services that are ready to act as a replacement. We will discuss a few of them below.
FrostWire is a popular free and Open Source P2P client supporting both Gnutella and BitTorrent downloads. The application was first released in 2004 by members of the LimeWire Open Source community. FrostWire is similar to LimeWire in use and layout, and is fully compatible with iTunes. There are versions available for various operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux and even Android.
FrostWire has always emphasized the non-infringing use of their client. In 2008, the client introduced its FrostClick service through which it promotes independent artists, which has been very successful.
MP3Rocket is another LimeWire spinoff with a very similar look and functionality. It works on Windows and Mac and the application supports both Gnutella and BitTorrent downloads.
Unlike its name suggests, MP3Rocket is not limited to finding MP3s. It is capable of downloading any file format including video files and software. In addition to downloads, MP3Rocket also has hundreds of streamable radio and TV-channels.
The two applications we discussed above both support BitTorrent downloads, but like LimeWire they were rarely used for this purpose. The main reason is most likely that many of its users don’t really know where to find .torrent files. For those who want to switch over, here is a list of some decent torrent sites.
Music fans who don’t mind streaming tracks in their web browser actually have a few alternatives. Grooveshark is one of the most elaborate music services. It holds more content than the average download store, supports playlists and works on various mobile phones.
For video streaming there are perhaps even more alternatives. There are literally hundreds of sites one can choose from, although we have to warn of excessive popups on most sites. A Google search for “movie streaming” should be enough to get going.
Usenet / Newsgroups
Usenet is another good alternative to download all sorts of files, but depending on the service you sign up for it can be a bit harder to figure out than the other alternatives. Also, any good Usenet service requires a paid subscription, which is the trade-off for getting one of the fastest and most anonymous download services.
Direct Download Sites / Search Engines
There are numerous sites that search open web directories or allow saving of otherwise streaming music. BeeMP3, DilanDau, MRTZCMP3, MP3Hunting and various Mulve-style alternatives such as the PirateApp and Firefox plugin Vkontakte DL are just a few of those available.
More More More
The alternatives discussed above are really just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens, if not hundreds of alternatives to LimeWire that can be used for sharing and finding files. This includes some of the older LimeWire versions that are reportedly still working. Other notable P2P applications are Soulseek, Ares and eMule.
It never ends.