NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, October 2002
by Matt, Los Angeles, CA

I found a REALLY GREAT alternative to KaZaA-and it's NOT on another network. Nope, it's not BearShare, not Morpheus (certainly not the horsepucky of a sold-out version) and absolutely not (not not) Spy-Ware!

That's right, you heard me, it's a P2P file-sharing program and IT IS N-O-T Spy-Ware! (For those of you who think using all caps is considered "shouting" and, thus, rather rude, I have to say that some things, such as the above news, are truly worth SHOUTING about.

Here's the KaZaA Story
Apparently, some guy got really ticked off about all the ad-ware and spy-ware piggy-backed on top of KaZaA. The spyware came with little to no explanation in the supposedly all-inclusive explain- all EULA that KaZaA requires you to agree to before it installs. Now, KaZaA kinda explains things, a little bit, and even offers you the option to opt-out of some of the spy-ware and ad-ware.

But KaZaA does not explain that other bits are going in anyway, whether you like it or not. And you must agree to it in order to use the program. KaZaA's plan rather miffed Our Hero, and he set about to teach them a Lesson.

The results of his efforts-"KaZaA Lite"-is a spyware-free, ad- ware-free, and even Banner-free version of KaZaA. Not surprisingly, it's some-how 100% compatible with the Sharman P2P file-sharing network, even if it isn't 100% compatible with Sharman's wishes. To Sharman and KaZaA I say tough ****. (Note to Editor: you might want to edit that for publication, but I refuse censor myself). If you want to squeeze the Sharman (pun intended) go to http://www.kazaalite.com and download KaZaA Lite. It works, and it really, really, REALLY isn't spy-ware.

Here's What Happened
When I installed KaZaA, Ad-Aware (http://www.lavasoft.com) immediately jumped to Full Red Alert Mode, detected something like 28 spy/ad- ware components, and started running Ad-Aware. For some reason Ad-Aware kept quitting then restarting, causing me to wonder if something in KaZaA was trying to get rid of it. Or, at least, shut it up for a while. ("No-no. Not now! Go away! Ssssssshhhhhhhh!") I shut it off for the duration of the install process, then used KaZaA for a bit to see if I liked it.

Turns out, it's exactly like the pre-chicken-**** sell-out version of Morpheus, and it even sucked in my old Morpheus download files, and continued them... Wow!

Unfortunately, it's loaded, bogged-down with heaping helpings of ad- & spy-ware. OK, I thought, it's time to get rid of all that.

I quit KaZaA, and ran Ad-Aware, which then proceeded to have what seemed to be an epileptic seizure. This time it reported something like 60 spy/ad-ware components, which I then did Very Bad Things to, terminating them with extreme prejudice. When the deed was done, I re-booted and started fresh. I tried running KaZaA again and got the message, "You have un-installed a component that KaZaA needs to run. The program will shut down now so you can re-install it."

Here's the Lite
Next, I tried installing KaZaA Lite. Ad-Alert didn't notice a thing, and installation was a breeze. I ran Ad-Aware it merely burped, reporting only one component, which the EULA explains, in advance, is a bogus file to fool KaZaA into thinking itself to be a fully-functioning advertising sever. I put the file in the "Ignore" list and moved on. As I mentioned before, the program works like the Morpheus of olde, sucking in my old Morpheus downloads (kazaadownload*.dat files) and (where available) continued downloading them.

But-and here's where the gleeful shouting comes back into play- THERE WERE NO ADS! There were NO ad-banners, there was no constant annoying flicker of MSIE popping up with annoying pop- up, pop-under, hidden, system or read-only-if-you-can-find-them ads. In fact, in the entire time I've used the program (three days since I installed it) I only had one pop-up Internet Explorer window. And, thanks to Zone Alarm, it couldn't find the ad it was supposed to open.

I'll update anyone that wants to know what I think after I've used it for a while longer. I just thought everyone would want to know right away. All the benefits of a full-service P2P file- share network, without the ads or spy-ware. Who'da thunk it? Check it out at http://www.kazaalite.com.

Matt is a Los Angeles based Kaza Boycotter and a member of the Pasadena IBM Users Group.

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