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Secret Kazaa Documents Revealed in Court 273

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-read dept.
Dan Warne writes "A fascinating range of Kazaa's internal documents were revealed in Federal Court in the ongoing court case against the Australian-based company today. One extraordinary philosophical manifesto by the company's chief technical officer showed that he was aware that Kazaa's activities were a huge legal risk. He also feared being 'out-innovated' by other P2P programs that didn't come bundled with adware. "if consumers can connect to FT (as well as Gnutella 2, eDonkey and Bittorrent) and it has no ads or adware then it would seem a good choice," Philip Morle says in the his manifesto. The documents are full of all sorts of other admissions-that-you'd-be-crazy-to-put-on-paper like how Kazaa employees "hate" installing the Kazaa Media Desktop on their machines because all the bundled adware slows your machine down and can hijack your web browser."
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Secret Kazaa Documents Revealed in Court

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  • by tabkey12 (851759) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:08AM (#11549652) Homepage
    Kazaa contains Spyware! Lock up your daughterboards!!!
  • Currently... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gandell (827178) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:09AM (#11549656)
    If you go to Kazaa [kazaa.com] right now, however, you'll note that they say that there's no spyware bundled with the software. Thanks, but no thanks...I'm sticking with bittorrent and Winmx.
    • But there sure are boatful of "bloat"-ware galores!!!
      • by tabkey12 (851759) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:16AM (#11549687) Homepage
        Note that their Skype website says: No Spyware, Adware or Malware [skype.com]
        Kazaa says: No Spyware [kazaa.com]

        Spot the difference, people!

        • But Skype isn't Kazaa! Skype are the folks who invented the basics (or whatever) of Kazaa, before it was sold out by a "friend" to the current bloatware Kazaa company... (See earlier thread about Skype.) And yes, this is probably Off-Topic.
        • " Note that their Skype website says: No Spyware, Adware or Malware"

          Except it's not their Skype website. The creators of Kazaa and Skype sold Kazaa off to the current owners quite a while ago.
        • If they want me to believe their product contains no malware, spyware or adware, there is exactly one way they can convince me. And that's the same way that RMS [gnu.org], Linus [kernel.org] and ESR [catb.org] convinced me that their software is clean.

          If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.
          • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:04AM (#11550401)
            You've gone over every line of the source code you use? All of it? The entire kernel, all the drivers, all the utilities, all the apps and so on? You've checked carefully, to ensure that there's no backdoors spread across a number of functions (you can have some thigns that are innocent and harmless on their own, that work together to do something bad)?

            Are you also sure about your compiler, have you checked it? Not the source I mean, but do you know that the binary is a faithful reproduction of the source? The problem with a compiler, is that you compile it with an old version of itself. What if it has a backdoor that exists only in binary form, never in the source, but propagates on compile (see http://www.acm.org/classics/sep95/)?

            There's nothing about OSS that inherantly protects you. This is espically true since I'm guessing indeed you have NOT done the audit I described. Few people have the programming skills necessary to do so in a useful way and even fewer have the mountain of free time it takes. Rather, you are taking it on faith that others have audited the software you use, done a good job when doing so, and have spoken the truth and been heard if a problem was found.

            A more realistic way to check to see if the software is all above board, and one that works equally well on closde source software, is to check the install. By that I mean log everything that is added, modified, or deleted. Then, when running the software, look for anomalous behaviour, like loading modules it shouldn't, trying to establish network connections, spawning other processes, etc. If you do that correctly, it's not hard to tell if something is acting evil or comes with stuff that does. It's also something that you could realisticly spend the time to do for all the programs you use.

            Even then, I doubt you'd bother unless you are super paranoid. I'm sure you generally trust that others have looked in to it, and you'd have heard about it if there were problems. I personally only check the install and operation of a program that I find suspicious. Retail software, OSS, and 99% of downloads I don't bother since experience shows that there's nothing to worry about. I take on faith that there's nothing bad in there, and if there is one of my cleaner tools will catch it soon enough.

            But my point here isn't to attack OSS, if that's what you are thinking, just to point out that this warm, fuzzy feeling that many people get from the openess is a false sense of security. They think because the code is open, and able to be checked, it means that there's nothing bad in there. Well, that's probably true, but only in the same way it's probably true that if you buy retail software it's also free of malware. Neither is a gaurentee of anything, and since 99.999% (or more) of people aren't actually using the openness to do their own audit, it's a false sense of security.

            Basically, when you get down to it, you can never be sure there isn't something lurking there, unknown to the general population. The only way you could feel confident is if you wrote your own assembler from machine code, your own basic OS and compiler from that, audited every line of code in the OS, compiler and apps you were going to run, and then proceeded to build them 100% from source using your own tools. Even then, you still might miss something. Remember: We find holes in software all the time, we call them bugs or exploits, meaning they weren't intended by the developers. This happens even to OSS, even to major peices of OSS that have been looked at thousands of times over. Sometimes, you just miss things.

            And none of these exploits were trying to be sneaky or hide on purpose.

            I'm not trying to say grab the AFDB and trust no one, that's pretty stupid clearly. I'm just pointing out that you should put the same amount of stock in OSS you haven't audited as in CSS you can't. Consider the source, and if it's suspicious, do a checked install, and have programs setup to watch how it runs. With 30 minutes of work you can generally tell if it's safe or not.
            • What you should really be asking is whether you believe that more white hats have studied the code than black hats. The formar group, upon finding a vulnerability, makes it known. The latter group uses it to compromise systems/networks. The common user is somewhere in the middle getting dragged around by these two extremes. So is the uncommon one :)
            • by peg0cjs (572593) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @11:10AM (#11551147) Homepage
              There's nothing about OSS that inherantly protects you. This is espically true since I'm guessing indeed you have NOT done the audit I described. Few people have the programming skills necessary to do so in a useful way and even fewer have the mountain of free time it takes.

              I love this argument. Of course the vast majority of people haven't pored over the source to find every detail. Similarly, few have opened their car engine's manual and pored over the specs to see if the Ford engineers got it right. But guess what, I can go to my mechanic and ask him: "What does this alternator thingy do?" and he can tell me. Not only that, but he can tell me how it does that. Not so with closed source.

              I sincerely doubt many people have even looked at the gcc source (I'm guessing under 1%). But you _CAN_ look at it. That says a lot, both about the people who wrote it and about the people who package it. Writing code that you know people will see is a lot different than writing code that will forever reside in some closet somewhere in the bowels of Redmond...uhh...Sydney.

              Do open-source bugs exist? Sure. Do open-source deliberate exploits exist? Unlikely. For one thing the exploit would have to be as you descibed, split over multiple calls & deliberately obfuscated to avoid casual detection. This level of complexity reduces the probability that such a thing exists and has avoided detection. It's not impossible, just unlikely. And that's good enough for me, cuz it's more than those closed source derivatives can say.

        • Just a heads-up on another program that says it doesn't come with spyware or adware:

          Mercora free radio client.

          MS anti-spyware spotted it trying to install the grokster adware bundle. Good catch.

          -Nano.
          • MS anti-spyware spotted [Mercora] trying to install the grokster adware bundle. Good catch.

            MS anti-spyware is a product in the grand tradition of MSAV. It detects a registry setting for magnet links, and thinks that means you've installed Grokster and its accompanying adware.
        • by Phisbut (761268) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @09:54AM (#11550303)
          Note that their Skype website says: No Spyware, Adware or Malware
          Kazaa says: No Spyware

          Funny when companies have to explicitly mention they're not evil. Funnier is that Microsoft also says: "We're not saying there's no virus or malware in our product". Seriously... The MSN-Messenger license states that :

          disclaimer of warranties. to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, microsoft and its suppliers provide to you [...] as is and with all faults; and microsoft and its suppliers hereby disclaim [...] all warranties and conditions, whether express, implied or statutory, including, [...] lack of viruses, [...]

    • Re:Currently... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ninjy (828167) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:19AM (#11549706) Homepage
      Always be careful, thanks to the language ambigiouty, even the simplest statements can be turned around to form the opposite instead.

      Even in saying "Kazaa does not come with spyware bundled", followed by "Kazaa and the bundled software do not collect personal information" still leaves quite a large hole for them to just walk straight through. What if one of the bundled applications reroutes your HTTP traffic through third-party servers? All the application does is re-route your traffic, it doesn't collect any information at all. The information collecting may just as well happen elsewhere.

      Again, always remain on the look-out for these things, however minor they may seem.
    • Re:Currently... (Score:5, Informative)

      by dioscaido (541037) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:22AM (#11549717)
      Because they have "adware", not "spyware". A ridiculous distinction that allows many companies to morally justify their inclusion of such horrible pieces of code in their products.

      Just peek at Messenger Plus v3 (an add on for MSN Messenger) -- they include LOP in their installer, which hijacks your browser, your searches, adds a toolbar, and adds icons to your desktop, and is one of the most annoyingly difficult things to clean on your own. The Plus 'company' justifies it in that it's "adware", not "spyware", and that the user opted in when installing by not un-checking the default install option. What comes next is a hellish exercise of peering into the most obscure parts of the registry to kill the re-spawners that make the spyware^H^H^H^Hadware come back on reboot when things look clean. /end rant
      • Re:Currently... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Spl0it (541008)
        Actually you have to click yes or no. They do not 'assume' yes or no for you. So your comment implying that you have to uncheck something is completely untrue.
    • Re:Currently... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Durzel (137902) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:42AM (#11549814) Homepage
      Straight from the installer's mouth.. What you agree to install...

      Step 1 of 4

      Kazaa file sharing application with: Bullguard Virus Protection, Altnet Topsearch.

      Kazaa is a free download supported by advertising from Cydoor, the GAIN Network and InstaFinder.

      Altnet PeerPoints Manager Package, an application that rewards you for sharing on Kazaa including My Search Toolbar and P2P Networking Application.

      Sharman Networks respects your privacy. Read the privacy policy. You must also agree to the user license agreements linked from below before continuing.

      [ ] I agree to the Kazaa Media Desktop End User License Agreement and Altnet PeerPoints Manager Package End User License Agreements.

      Seems it's just as polluted with spyware as it has always been.

    • I mean, they wouldn't be very good spies if they just told you where they were.

      Covert!
  • by Dark Coder (66759) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:10AM (#11549661)
    With regard to forcing their spiteful employees using their own products, KaZaa ain't no preacher for the general populace.
  • by DaHat (247651) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:10AM (#11549663) Homepage
    Never write anything in a letter, e-mail, diary, memo or any other quotable medium that you don't want the other guys lawyer holding up in court.
    • Unless you don't mind if it shows up in court. This guy may very well have written that memo knowing that it would become a piece of evidence. CYA.
    • by Eminence (225397) <akbrandt@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:29AM (#11549746) Homepage
      This sounds very rational. And this is probably what people should do. However, both the original poster and you assume that other fellow's lawyers' right to read anything that you've written is natural and obvious. But shouldn't there be a limit? If that would be technologically possible to subpoena someone's thoughts would you see it as natural and right? I really don't like the idea that anything I write or draw might be used against me - I thought this rule applied only to testimonies after being arrested.

      I understand that from the court's point of view such memos and letters are an important evidence that would allow them to judge not only the actions but also the intentions. Maybe that's what we should worry about? After all, it is really hard to prove intentions in cases like this - and even harder to judge them. An intention to rape & kill are obviously bad, but it is not as obvious with intention to develop a way for people to freely share files over the network. Here it depends on one's beliefs and interests whether he would see it the way I put it or as an intention to develop a way for people to steal precious and highly valued intellectual property of media companies. Are beliefs to be tested in court?

      • While the 5th Amendment allows you to abstain from testomony that would otherwise incriminate yourself, the notion of bringing forward witnesses (hostile or otherwise), placing them before the court, getting them to swear to tell the truth before the court under penalty of purgory, and then questioning them is, in essence, subpoena-ing(?) someone's thoughts. You have put them into a situation where they must reply to the questions put forth, or provide a valid reason why they cannot answer, or they face jai
      • by dutky (20510) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:25AM (#11550576) Homepage Journal
        Eminence [slashdot.org] wrote:
        This sounds very rational. And this is probably what people should do. However, both the original poster and you assume that other fellow's lawyers' right to read anything that you've written is natural and obvious. But shouldn't there be a limit? If that would be technologically possible to subpoena someone's thoughts would you see it as natural and right? I really don't like the idea that anything I write or draw might be used against me - I thought this rule applied only to testimonies after being arrested.

        It is currently techologically possible to subpoena a person's thoughts: A witness can be subpoenaed to testify regarding their thoughts, and they are required by law to tell the truth. The only time your thoughts are protected (under the U.S. constitution) from testimony are when their revelation may incriminate you. If you commit your thoughts to physical form, however, they are subject to discovery just like any other physical object: should we be prevented from using a bloody knife as evidence simply because it is personal property of the defendant? If not, why should we exempt a written note?

        You may not like the idea that your scribblings may be used against you in court, but it is the case, and has been for many, many years. If you commit a crime, then write about it in your diary, or send a letter to a friend confessing to the crime (or bragging about it, or whatever), those confessions damn well aught to be able to be used against you: they are directly material to the prosecution of the case and there is no state interest in protecting such communication (as there is in protecting communication between spouses, doctors and patients and lawyers and clients).

        In the prosecution of almost any crime, there are two vital aspects that must exist: the actus reus (guilty act), and the mens rea (guilt mind). If the legal system can't attempt to substantiate mens rea, then we must either accept that no crimes can be prosecuted without a direct confession (completely unacceptable) or that intent is irrelevent to the crime (meaning that simple negligence would become criminal, also unacceptable).

        • OK, maybe it is the way I write but this wasn't my point. I understand that courts need to establish whether someone had an intention to say kill or if it was just an accident. But my point was that this is a valid and right way of resolving the cases in which the opinion that the act was criminal is obvious or at least accepted by majority. With this so called intellectual "property" it is quite clear, that this an issue of beliefs, not judgment of whether the action was taken with criminal intent. Documen
      • However, both the original poster and you assume that other fellow's lawyers' right to read anything that you've written is natural and obvious.

        No, the original poster isn't even addressing rights.

        The advice to "Never write anything in a letter, e-mail, diary, memo or any other quotable medium that you don't want the other guys lawyer holding up in court." is more like the advice to lock your doors, or for young girls not to walk alone in bad neighborhoods at night. It's not that we assume others have th
      • ...both the original poster and you assume that other fellow's lawyers' right to read anything that you've written is natural and obvious. But shouldn't there be a limit?

        Perhaps there should be a limit, but there is not, at least not any limit that is helpful at hiding anything. Getting your opponent's documents during a lawsuit is part of a process called "discovery." The sooner people learn this, the safer they'll be. Lobby the legislature for a change if you want to, but this is the way it is in man
      • I understand that from the court's point of view such memos and letters are an important evidence that would allow them to judge not only the actions but also the intentions.

        Contemporaneous evidence (i.e. written at the time) is great since the writer often reveals at that time what he will later want to conceal from his opponent. This is true whether we are looking for evidence of intentions or evidence of actions.

        (It's just that these intentions documents make for good reading.)
    • Never write anything in a letter, e-mail, diary, memo or any other quotable medium that you dont want the other guys lawyer holding up in court.

      I am feeling a bit optimistic today, but I would rather that everyone write everything down. That way, the scumbags will be obvious and you can get a more honest view of things. It is like saying "don't be evil" as opposed to "don't leave a paper trail proving you are evil"

  • article text (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:11AM (#11549666)
    just incase of the slashdot effect:

    The Sale of Kazaa

    Team Sharman came to court today with a strategic shift in direction: the revolution would now be a secret.

    Their legal team presented a draft set of undertakings designed to suppress non-confidential documents from the media. It could have been a great plan if the Judge didn't think it was so crap, and with no supporting evidence for the basis of claim to confidentiality, Judge Wilcox swept away the majority of the claims for confidentiality by Altnet and Sharman.

    There were 30 Altnet documents and four Sharman documents they didn't want publicised. We'll go through the Sharman documents today, and the Altnet documents later in the week.

    The first item for discussion here at the Daily Dispatch is a 28 page contract between Kazaa B.V and Sharman, titled: Agreement for the Sale and Purchase of the Business and certain Assets of Kazaa B.V.

    Buried within the most standard legal contract that makes you want to stab your eyeballs out, are the following nuggets of information.

    When Kazaa's original Dutch owners got the jitters from pending US litigation by the music industry, the company was sold to Sharman for 600,000 Euros (about $1 million) to be paid in three installments. The purchase price included all company assets for the provision of p2p enabled software (which includes advertisement space for display advertising) to let users search and download files from other users.

    Plus, all business and registered intellectual property rights, confidential information (defined as processes, methods, formulae, financial data, customer and supplier lists, marketing information, test results and reports, project reports, testing procedures, development manuals, training manuals, market forecasts, sales targets and stats, price sensitive information, research reports, business development reports), and all Internet domain names.

    Bored yet? The sale took place in the Amsterdam offices of Van Doome at De Lairessestraat, and following the sale, Kazaa BV would have to change its name. Sharman was indemnified against all debts and liabilities and blah blah blah standard contract stuff. All employees were sacked after the sale (nice). Kazaa B.V ensured there was no Trade Union agreements or disputes in place at the time of sale. If there was, the leftie bastards would understand anyway, because every revolution starts a bit nasty. Of course, today Sharman enjoys the full support of a devoted staff that would never be treated so shoddily by their benevolent bosses if there were cause to up and move from a jurisdiction under legal duress. It's a revolution, it's Us against Them, it's Mabo, it's the vibe of the thing.

    The Sales Agreement further confirms that when all employees were sacked, there was no way anyone could come back and haunt them to "assert any moral right in respect of any Business Intellectual Property Right." And if they did, then Zenstrom and Friis would be stung for it, not Sharman. So I'm guessing all employees were made to sign a contract as thick and dense as this one to make sure they kept quiet.

    The original owners, Niklas "Skype" Zennstrom and Janus Friis were forbidden from competing with Sharman in any way for 3 years.

    The deal was to be kept secret and not announced without the written consent of Sharman. The Sales Agreement was construed in accordance with the laws of England and subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

    There were two clauses that seemed a bit odd. Under Schedule 3 of Vendor Warranties is the subheading Litigation. Clause 5.1 says:
    Save as disclosed in the Litigation Letter, the Vendor (Kazaa B.V) is not a plaintiff or defendant in or otherwise a party to any litigation relating to the Business, which are in progress or threatened in writing or pending against the Vendor. So far as the Vendor is aware, no governmental or official investigation or inquiry concerning the Vendor is in progress or pending.

    Th
  • by mistersooreams (811324) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:13AM (#11549670) Homepage

    I can't see that this is going to blow major holes in Kazaa's legal defense, although I do think they'll lose anyway.



    I don't think Kazaa's argument was ever that they "didn't know" about all the illegal P2P traffic they were generating. Surely their argument is the old "Common Carrier" one, where they aren't responsible for anything Kazaa transports and responsibility is shifted to the software user? Maybe I've misunderstood, feel free to correct me.



    Now, this is clearly embarrassing for the company, and the CTO especially, but I can't see that it's of much legal importance. Everyone knows about Kazaa and spyware by now, don't they/

  • No, really (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ignignokt (803398) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:13AM (#11549671)
    People would prefer programs without adware? What a stunning concept. At what point did "manifesto" replace "common sense"?
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:15AM (#11549679) Homepage

    That maybe this chap wasn't -entirely- on side with the business strategy of the company.

    To me this sounds like a techy complaining that the business is subverting the idea. In many cases this is because the techy doesn't understand the business model, but here it sounds more as if the business didn't understand the market.

  • by Syini666 (622800) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:17AM (#11549693)
    When your own employees hate installing the very software of their employeer you know its a recipe for disaster. With those kinds of feelings flowing around the office its suprising the documents werent 'leaked' earlier. For some odd reason I don't see anybody coming to Kazaa's defense in court now like Napster saw when they were up on the chopping block.
    • Can you download these documents on Kazaa?
    • For some odd reason I don't see anybody coming to Kazaa's defense in court now like Napster saw when they were up on the chopping block.

      It's a little different now... Too many lawsuits, too much media coverage, and too much money pumped into "educating" the public about the "evils" of P2P and Kazaa.
  • Otherwise he's know that it's always a bad idea to tell the truth rather than CYA in a memo.

    Which is not to excuse his spyware-infested piece of crap. But where ever business memo must be written in such a way that you csn't tell the truth because it might be used against you in a court of law, your have a big problem with your tort system.


    • But where ever business memo must be written in such a way that you csn't tell the truth because it might be used against you in a court of law, your have a big problem with your tort system.

      Replace tort system with business practices. Now your statement makes more sense.

      IOW, the problem is not in the tort system: if the truth is bad enough to get one in trouble then that is the real issue.
    • But where ever business memo must be written in such a way that you csn't tell the truth because it might be used against you in a court of law, your have a big problem with your tort system.

      Um, wherever putting details about your business model down on paper would result in serious legal liability, you have a big problem with your business model. Yes? The problem with Enron wasn't that they might get caught, it was that they used fundamentally dishonest accounting practices -- whether they wrote those pr

  • Still... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DoubleDangerClub (855480) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:19AM (#11549704) Homepage
    I'm still amazed that the people in charge of companies like Sharman, etc. think that chocking their software full of crap programs that infect and make peoples' pcs run poorly (to say the least) is the correct way to go. I guess it just shows that in the end, a proper p2p program needs to be open sourced. It seems the only way we'll get something people will want (want is emphasized) to use. It takes real people to make software to be used by real people I guess.
    • It's simple, real (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @09:58AM (#11550335) Journal
      Some people, simply put, don't give a rat's ass about "correct" or about damage done. They only care about making money. Period.

      If it weren't explicitly illegal, they'd even poison a town's water supply just for some money. Not an exaggeration: companies dumped toxic stuff into rivers right until the law forced them to stop. Or into the air. And even then, every time someone told them to use filters, there was endless moaning and bitching and lobbying about it.

      Spam, tele-marketting, link-spam, spyware, etc, are just a symptom of the same thing: if it makes money and it's not illegal, hell yeah. Let's pollute and destroy another resource.

      There was an interview with a link-spammer on The Register this week. Dunno, I found it surrealistic how the guy basically had _zero_ morals. Not even an "eh, it's wrong, but I need the money" kinda attitude. Nope. The general tone all over was along the lines of "who the damn has time to care about collateral damage? It makes money and it's not illegal. Period. If you have a problem with it, tough shit. Sucks to be you."

      Basically it's the same with spyware. These people don't care, that's all. As long as it makes them a buck and isn't explicitly illegal, they'll clog your computer without thinking twice. If it was possible and made them a buck, they'd even make that computer explode without thinking twice.
    • I'm still amazed that the people in charge of companies like Sharman, etc. think that chocking their software full of crap programs that infect and make peoples' pcs run poorly (to say the least) is the correct way to go.

      Why be amazed? The adware/spyware is about making money fast. It really is that simple.

      They're not trying to go the "correct way", no matter what they claim.
  • OK, bear in mind (Score:3, Informative)

    by ArbiterOne (715233) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:35AM (#11549775) Homepage
    Bear in mind that these aren't the Halloween Documents [opensource.org]. The article, for those who refuse to RTFA, is basically a summary of the documents- not the documents themselves. They don't say "we're selling a product which we know is poisoning people's computers", that's sort of implied across the board. But they still don't come right out and say it.
  • Hoisted... (Score:4, Funny)

    by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda@eOPENBSDtoyoc.com minus bsd> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:37AM (#11549787) Homepage Journal
    Hoisted by their own petards.

    One nice thing about any devious plots. People always have to write them down to either keep their lies straight, or to justify it somehow to themselves.

  • by br00tus (528477) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:41AM (#11549802)
    I develop a Gnutella p2p application (Gnutizen [sf.net]) and have often wondered why so much of the popular and innovative products are propietary, and not more open. Napster was the first. Kazaa was the first to have "superpeers", but its network is now totally locked. Edonkey was the first good program for downloading big files, but it is propietary (there are decent Windows clients, but I haven't found any on Linux I like yet). And now eXeem has a propietary on may levels network technically superior to Edonkey in terms of speed.

    I don't know the answer, but I guess I'm more qualified to answer than many because I've been coding one on and off for the past three years. I guess the answer is it's hard work. You're also not "following head lights", as even the eDonkey clones do. And the programming is not easy - with C language it's socket programming, which means all kinds of strange things can come over the network which have to be defensively coded against, and since you're using multiple sockets that means threading. And it takes a lot of code to just get a decent app, never mind cool bells and whistles. One reason mine is GPL is, aside from liking the GPL, this is my first big software project so I don't feel I'm at a level where I can sell my code yet. I've also borrowed GPL code from a program called gnut which helped. I would borrow from one called GTK-Gnutella but it's so big and complex it's hard to directly borrow from.

    Of course there are exceptions - Gnutella (although AOL/TW killed the eponymous one, leaving only the protocol clones), and Bittorrent. With the Gnutella protocol, Limewire and Bearshare are commercial companies, but they agree on an open protocol, which they share with some free clients (like mine).

    There are so many innovations possible - Bittorrent is one of the recent ones - it built on what Edonkey did, allowing hundreds of megs of files to be transferred, except with Bittorrent, it added speed to the picture. So because Bittorrent exists, people now have a better chance of getting ISOs of Linux distros, Indymedia videos or whatnot. It's such a cool area I wonder why the propietary folks so often beat the free ones in terms of innovation. I guess it's a wash now with who innovates more. And also, with sockets, trheading and protocols that obsolete older versions as time goes on (ay de mi!), it takes so long to get a decent app together that innovation seems a long way off.

    I suppose another reason is the RIAA/MPAA is suing p2p developers left and right - that might explain why people are hanging back somewhat. It's unfortunate this fear is stifling p2p innovation. In many ways it seems ridiculous to me - on BBSs in the 1980s you had a file section and a message board system. Sometimes you didn't even have a message board - just a file section. People have been trading and sharing files on computers for decades, all of a sudden such communal practices are tainted, with accusations flying on Slashdot on how people use p2p to break some new laws that the big corporations passed recently in Washington DC that protected their soi disant intellectual property. It's ridiculous - there were normal BBSs and warez BBSs back then, just as there is an equivalent nowadays on the Internet. It would be insane for US-legal (for now) things such as sharing ISOs or Indymedia videos is crushed by the evil capitalist bourgeois corporations.

    • The goal of both Kazaa and Napster were about dominating a market. Being uno supremo means having no competition.

      Now I'm an Apple fan boy. But they too use proprietary tech to make sure that just about the only things that will bolt on to a Mac or iTunes is an Apple product. Apple went the proprietary route for many of the same reasons, they wanted to be sure THEY would capitalize on the product's success, not a generic competitor. Especially since iTunes required licensing out intellectual property from

      • Which is why today "gnutella" is synonymous with p2p file sharing, and people say "Napster Who?".

        I don't see how you can make this statement - Gnutella is in no way synonymous with P2P file sharing; having used it myself and knowing others who have tried it the only thing I would associated the name Gnutella with is a software application which getting any file will take a relative lifetime.

        Napster however is a different story. They had a product which was used by many and had an immense amount of content

        • As far as the time to get a file, I think it depends on the file size. For big files, Bittorrent is clearly the best program. For smaller files, I felt Kazaa was superior to Gnutella for a while, but at a certain point Gnutella became equal and then better than Kazaa. The Gnutella protocol is constantly being developed, so what was bad a year ago might not be bad now. In my opinion, Gnutella is the best p2p application for files of less than several dozen megabytes of size. Beyond that, Bittorrent is b
    • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @09:46AM (#11550249) Homepage
      I think I can come up with a few more reasons.

      1. Lack of goal cohesion. In a proprietary company, you have a few people who design, and many who do as told. There are far too many variables around, often contradictory, like anonymity vs speed, centralization vs searchability, trust vs open network, leeching vs entry barrier and so on. Many networks have become not only a jack, but a deuce of all trades that way.

      2. Lack of vision. Those capable of coding a network application are rarely the same ones who can imagine a working concept of a million nodes. In OSS, it is my distinct impression that those who can do, and those who can't are ignored. Such a network can never be simularted properly in a test lab, you have to do it in your mind. Which means others will disagree, and badly.

      3. Standing on the shoulders of the wrong giant. By OSS's cross-breeding nature, it is much easier to keep building onto what is, than to change the fundamentals. In a proprietary network you're starting from scratch anyway, might as well do it "right", for whatever you believe is right. In networks, scaling is everything. If the way you construct the network is putting a ceiling on your app, the only thing you'll do is hit the roof again and again.

      And what experience do I have about that? :) Let's just say that there might be a few surprises left...
    • Your perception about P2P being mostly proprietary is incorrect. Open Source has all but taken over the field. The dominating players are emule/Kad and Bittorrent, both of which are GPL'd. The best Gnutella clients (Limewire, Shareaza) are also open source. So is DC++, the leading client for DirectConnect. And BitTorrent/Azureus, of course.

      The proprietary developers such as Napster/KazaA/Morpheus/Aimster were quicker to get into the fray because they believed there would be big dollars. By now, all the pro
  • by kahei (466208) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @08:42AM (#11549818) Homepage

    <grumpiness size="extreme" style="curmudgeonly">

    If Kazaa goes down, there could well be a flood of low-quality Britney_Spears_naked111.mpg traders and leeches coming onto the good p2p systems. I don't think I want that.

    It'll be like AOL day all over again.

    Support Kazaa -- or America's highschoolers will be trading on your network!

    </grumpiness>

    • It's hard at least on BT since the trackers can be moderated. And it's work for the highschoolers to create .torrent files and upload them unlike just clicking to share a 1,000 file directory of junk. I'd think their attention span is often short enough for them to just settle with leeching from BT trackers. ;-)
    • It'll be like AOL day all over again.

      Do not underestimate the power of the September side of the Force.

    • Who today uses Kazaa for file transfers, as opposed to Shareaza? Kazaa is infested with fake files (as I've been told... *whistles innocently*), viruses, leechers who don't share a thing, etc etc.

      Shareaza, on the other hand...
  • If you install Kazaa while running MS Antispyware, do you still get the adware installed?
    • by Xoo (178947)
      If you install Kazaa with MS Antispyware running, it will install all of the spyware, but MS Antispyware will pickup about half of the spyware immediately after installation. To get rid of the rest, a thorough system spyware check will kill it.

      It's important to note that while you can kill the spyware bundled with Kazaa, if you modify the Cydoor installation, then Kazaa will cease to function.

      Here is a good website [cexx.org] if you want to install "dummy" files to trick Kazaa and other adware software into thin
    • by stinerman (812158)
      Kazaa Lite K++ is still floating around the internets somewhere. I believe the last version was 2.4.3e (or something to that effect). One possibility is to install the latest Kazaa and try to download Kazaa Lite. Of course, you'd then want to uninstall the adware version and do a cleanup then install Kazaa Lite.
  • by signingis (158683) <signingis@hotmai l . c om> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @09:00AM (#11549919) Journal
    Haven't secret government documents appeared on Kazaa? ;)
  • by elliotj (519297) <slashdot@elliotj ... m ['hns' in gap]> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @09:07AM (#11549965) Homepage
    1) People install Kazaa because they want to pirate music, pictures, video and software from the Internet
    2) Kazaa puts spyware crap in their product
    3) Users think this is unfair
    4) Kazaa is in court because of what they did

    Am I crazy? Is there someone out there forcing people to install Kazaa? How many people were installing it for legit legal use?

    You don't want spyware crap? Don't install shady programs.

    This is like sueing a drug addict because he let you share his needle and you contracted HIV. I really don't get what all the fuss is about.
    • by oirtemed (849229) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @09:24AM (#11550075)
      no, this is like suing a gun dealer because the gun he sold you had a gps device on it and the bullets were faulty. It doesn't matter that you were going to commit a crime with the gun. Kazaa purports to provide a legitimate product and service. If they are lying about it, they should be held responsible. Whether or not P2P is legal or illegal, or more importantly moral or immoral isn't relevant.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @10:47AM (#11550830)
    Kazaa employees "hate" installing the Kazaa Media Desktop on their machines because all the bundled adware

    You'd really think, wouldn't you, that if your employees hate your product your customers might too?

    Oh, right. They're just stupid kids intent on killing off the music industry throught their own needs for immediate gratification.

    This CEO is not someone I'd ever hire to run my company.

  • by jownz (843106) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @12:48PM (#11552245)
    Option 1
    kazaa lite is like the holy grail of windows p2p clients. If you search near and far then you just might be able to get your hands on this piece of p2p goodness.

    Option 2
    grab giFT! This is the most amazing p2p client I've come across because you can install modules that allow it to connect to all the p2p networks! gnutella, fast track and others at the click of the mouse!
  • by rkischuk (463111) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @12:51PM (#11552283)
    One extraordinary philosophical manifesto by the company's chief technical officer showed that he was aware that Kazaa's activities were a huge legal risk.
    Why should this be damning evidence? Any sane executive should be aware of any and all legal risks associated with their activities.

    Is your company using Linux? You could be at legal risk to a SCO lawsuit. Collect personal data on your customers? You could be at legal risk if that data gets hacked. Run a bungee jumping business? Legal risk. It doesn't say "he was aware they were performing illegal activities", it says he was aware of a risk. That is simply awareness that a) there was a real chance a lawsuit would be filed against them, and b) there was a non-trivial chance that, if sued, they would lose. Risk awareness does not imply guilt.

  • I like Kazaa.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by srcosmo (73503) <ultramegatron&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @01:35PM (#11552901) Journal
    If it weren't for Kazaa, there would be no Kazaa Lite [mpex.net], one of the most convenient filesharing apps around.
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @03:14PM (#11554266) Journal
    Who here actually uses Kazaa? No not 'lite or another cracked client but the actual original Kazaa client? I think I tried it once about 3-4 years ago, fact is, only idiots are using Kazaa (i was young and foolish), lesser idiots use Kazaa Lite Resurrection, and really you should be using something else as a primary P2P client or network.

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