Kazaa? Kazaa Lite? What's the difference?

Dennis Faas's picture

I'm sure you've at least heard of Napster, and the more popular Napster-like spin-offs, such as Kazaa, Morpheus Music City, WinMX, and Bearshare. Each program has the ability to swap files with other users around the world. Although Napster is now a subscription-based music trading service, it was the first of its kind to offer users free access to thousands of music files at the click of a button.

In comparison to Napster, Kazaa goes a step farther by allowing users within its file sharing community to trade not only music files, but movies, programs, and anything else under the sun. Kazaa uses "Fast Track" technology, which allows for highly reliable multi-source downloading: a bonus for those who have a broadband connection. File swarming, or multi-source downloading as it is referred to, will transfer the same file from multiple people within the community.

Because any connection speed less than broadband (such as 56k) is restricted to slow transfers, file swarming won't help much when it comes to obtaining a file faster. Before multi-source downloading existed, file swapping was only as fast as the person who was sending it. With Fast Track's technology, downloading a file from multiple users at the same time translates to ultra-fast download speeds.

Kazaa: not the only file sharing client which offers multi-source downloading

The Fast Track technology is only used with Kazaa and another file sharing client called Grokster. The file sharing "idea" is becoming quite popular and is available with other clients such as Limewire and WinMX which operate on different file sharing communities.

Parasite code: the downside to using Kazaa

Although Kazaa is free to use, it comes bundled with advertising software (adware). Kazaa.com states that their program does not contain Spyware; however, many argue that the additional software provided by Brilliant Digital is responsible for stealing users' CPU cycles (processing power) and hard drive space.

On the topic of adware, the Kazaa web site states: " Two applications are integrated inside the Kazaa Media Desktop (KMD). Cydoor provides the advertising technology in the bottom left hand corner of the KMD, while Brilliant Digital makes the engine for the incredible 3D ads you will start to see. "

So what is Kazaa Lite?

Kazaa Lite is simply a "hacked" version of Kazaa. Kazaa Lite is a stripped down version of Kazaa that contains no spyware, adware, banner ads, or popups. The author of Kazaa Lite (Shaun Garriock) wrote the hacked code in order to protest the bundled software included in the original Kazaa.

The Kazaa Lite conundrum

Although Kazaa Lite takes away the adware and spyware, the Kazaa Lite web site which distributes the program greets its visitors with two pop up advertisements in order to "help pay" for the cost of of maintaining the web site and program.

Legal ramifications

Is Kazaa Lite legal? Sharman Networks (the owners of Kazaa) made no comment on whether they will take legal action against the author of Kazaa Lite. It is also unclear whether or not Sharman Networks may take steps to lock out unauthorized Kazaa Lite clients from accessing their file sharing community network.

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