Study: LimeWire still top P2P software; uTorrent #2

Popular download choice hangs in after eight years

LimeWire, a grizzled veteran of the peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing scene, remains the most popular software for exchanging music, video and software -- much of it pirated -- through the Internet, according to a study released Wednesday.

LimeWire was used on 17.8 per cent of PCs in September last year, according to the latest Digital Media Desktop Report. Since about half of surveyed PCs have at least one peer-to-peer sharing application installed, that gives LimeWire a 36.4 per cent share -- more than three times the 11.3 per cent share of the next-most popular client, uTorrent.

The report is a collaboration of digital music consultancy BigChampagne, utility software provider PC Pitstop, and Digital Music News. More than 100,000 Windows PCs were polled each month, with a total of 1.67 million machines polled during the 12 months.

The first version of LimeWire was released in 2000 as an alternative to the pioneering Napster MP3 sharing network. Its contemporaries, such as KaZaa, Morpheus, FastTrack, SoulSeek, Audiogalaxy and (of course) Napster, have long since faded, though Napster now operates today as a small service dealing strictly in legal downloads, and Audiogalaxy evolved into the Rhapsody subscription service.

Overseen by US-based LimeWire, the open-source LimeWire software comes in free and pro versions. The latter costs US$21.95 and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

LimeWire's ongoing dominance is surprising for a number of reasons. Two generations of college students -- often characterized as the most avid filesharers -- have graduated since its release. Indeed, today's college freshman would've been just 10 years old when LimeWire was first released.

Moreover, LimeWire long relied solely on the slower Gnutella network, which made it less suitable for exchanging large video files such as high-definition TV shows or movies. LimeWire only recently released an upgrade that lets users search and exchange files via BitTorrent.

Finally, like Napster, LimeWire has faced several lawsuits from music companies and the RIAA -- though unlike the former, LimeWire has survived them all without a major shutdown.

Nevertheless, LimeWire last month signaled its intention to, like the company behind BitTorrent, go at least partly legal. It launched a beta version of the LimeWire Store where users can buy music online, similar to Apple's iTunes store. Unlike iTunes, however, the LimeWire Store sells its music without DRM copyright restrictions.

Meanwhile, uTorrent's share nearly quadrupled over the course of the year, from 3 per cent in September 2006 to 11.3 per cent in September 2007. The BitTorrent client was the third most popular client, with 4.6 per cent market share.

BitTorrent -- the system as a whole, including both the network and the BitTorrent client -- has been heavily hyped in the past several years as a way of sharing files, especially large ones, due to its more efficient distributed technology. Besides BitTorrent, other popular desktop software that allow users to connect with others in the BitTorrent network include uTorrent, Azureus/Vuze, BitComet, BitLord and BitTornado. Those programs collectively held 28.2 per cent of the P2P market last September.

But the Gnutella network, to which LimeWire users connect, also remains the most popular, with 40.5 per cent of the market. Other Gnutella software in the report's top thirteen includes BearShare and FrostWire.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?