LimeWire is a Peer-to-Peer data sharing program that runs native on Mac OS X,
Mac Classic (8.1 or later), Linux, Unix (Solaris) and Windows (95 or later). LimeWire
Basic is available for free at www.limewire.com, while the LimeWire Pro version is available
for $18.88 as a download and for $38.50 (limited supply) on CD. The Pro version claims
"Better search results, Turbo-charged download speeds, Connect to more sources,
Guaranteed no ads or nagware, Special PRO only skin, Personalized support via email,
and Free updates for six months." I have had previous experience with LimeWire
Basic. This review is of LimeWire Pro, version 4.2.6.
I would strongly suggest that any prospective user / buyer of LimeWire first review
the web site prior to download or purchase. Peer-to-Peer data sharing programs basically
go out on the web and look for files, according to your search criteria, on other
people's computers. File types in the main menu include "Any Type, Images, Documents,
Audio, Video, and Programs." When found, the files are downloaded over the Internet
to your computer. As you can imagine, there can be problems and issues. Files are
not guaranteed to be good, uncorrupt, or even what they say they are, so it's "Downloader
Beware!" You may inadvertently download ANY kind of file, including pornography,
so you must be careful, especially if children have access. Software titles are also
shared, and you may end up downloading retail software, thereby making yourself vulnerable
to violating software copyright laws. LimeWire is a very fast and efficient Peer-to-Peer
file sharing program, and it is amazing how much information is willingly shared
on the internet.
- Mac OS X (any version)
or Mac OS 8.1 or higher (Note that the Mac OS 8/9 version is frozen at version 4.0)
- Any Macintosh computer
with the above OS
- Internet connection (the
faster, the better)
- 7 MB of hard drive space
(potentially more depending on what you are downloading)
This review was conducted on an Apple 500MHz G4 Cube running OS X 10.2.8 and on a
1.5 GHz G4 Aluminum PowerBook running OS X 10.3.6.
Download and installation were very easy and straightforward, and took very little
time. The download is a .zip file which unzips to a disk image (.dmg) file, and the
installer window opens up on your desktop. Just double-click the installer and LimeWire
installs quickly and simply (it will overwrite a previous, older version, if you
have one). I then took the LimeWire program icon, which is installed in my OS X Applications
folder, and dragged it into the dock, where the Lime icon is ready whenever you need
it. When you click the icon, LimeWire starts up and displays the main LimeWire Open
Once the main LimeWire Window is open, which takes about 30 seconds on a 500 MHz
G4 to connect to the internet, (see Pict 1), you get a LimeWire "Tip of the
Day" (enabled by Default) and you will see three main tabs across the top.
LimeWire main window
tab is selected by default, and the search window is where you'll do most of your
file searching in LimeWire. On the left side is a double-column window that allows
you to select the type of file you are looking for: Any Type, Images, Documents,
Audio, Video, or Programs. Below the search types is a "filename" input
field and then a "Search" button.
I have been looking for an old rock and roll tune from the sixties titled "Laugh
Last," so I clicked on the "Audio" button. Changing the search type
also changes the search input fields. As soon as I clicked on Audio, instead of a
filename field, three other fields showed up for Title, Artist, and Album. There's
also a Genre popup menu that can be used to filter the search. For even more refining,
you can click on More Options, and enter criteria for Track, Type, Year, and more.
I typed "last laugh" into the Title field and clicked the Search button.
Note, the word order doesn't affect the search. In fact, the criteria fields appear
to be as helpful reminders of what to search for more than anything else, because
the resulting search seems to combine all search criteria.
The center main window shows all of the internet "hit" results as they
are found (see picture below). It includes information about the file such as the
file Name, Type (mp3, wma, aiff, etc.), Size in KBytes, relative Speed of the source
(Cable/DSL, Modem, T3, etc.), Bitrate of the music file on playback, relative Quality
(4 star rating), and "#" which indicates the number of peers who currently
are sharing that identical file.
Example of Search Hits
The more peers sharing,
usually the faster and more reliable is the download. For example, if there's only
one peer, and that peer disconnects before your download is completed, your download
is halted and you'll have to wait until other peers are available. If there is a
high number of peers sharing, then a few can drop off, but your download will continue,
jumping from one peer to the next automatically without interruption. LimeWire does
an amazing job of continuing downloads from one peer to the next.
The left window changes to a "Filter Results" window showing Genre, Artist,
and Album hits from the internet. Clicking on one of the Filter Results windows will
filter the center main window to display only that filter result type of file. If
you see a file that looks like the one you're looking for, highlight the file with
your mouse and click "Download" under the center window. A lower center
window will open, showing the status of the download. You can select quite a few
files to download simultaneously (default is 8, but you can increase it in Preferences),
and when you exceed the limit, they will Queue up and download when others complete.
As files download, they go into your "Incomplete" folder (by default),
and when they complete, they are Verified by LimeWire and placed in your "Shared"
folder (you can change these parameters in Preferences). You should be aware that
files in your Shared folder are available to other people on the internet to download
by their Peer-to-Peer software, via your LimeWire program, so you should be careful
to have only files that you are willing to share with others in your Shared folder.
You can turn this off under LimeWire preferences, by changing the Uploads Slots to
The bottom of the main LimeWire window shows how many files you are sharing (i.e.
how many files are in your Shared folder). There is also a "LimeWire Media Player"
at the bottom of the main window, so you can play an Audio file to see if it is the
one you really wanted (or you can play the mp3 files in iTunes by double-clicking
them). Note that while your initial search is ongoing, you can change search criteria
and do more searches. Each one will have its own tab with your search filename in
it on the main center window.
The right-most "Library" tab on the Main window shows the files that you
have downloaded and provides "Play List" and playback features. I do not
use the playback features much as I prefer to use iTunes, but they are convenient
on the window. The left top window shows the folders that you can look at, the "Shared"
folder, the "Saved Files" folder and the "Incomplete Files" folder.
The center "Monitor"
tab allows you to view "Incoming Searches" from other peers on the internet,
and active and queued "Uploads." On the Macintosh version of LimeWire,
if you Quit LimeWire, it immediately kicks off anyone who is downloading from your
computer and Quits LimeWire. Again, you can change this behavior under Preferences
to shut down after all ongoing downloads have completed (no new downloads are permitted
to start) to be kind to your Peers.
Although I use LimeWire primarily for music downloads, you can also find excellent
movie trailers (using the "Video" tab) and program files using the "Programs"
tab. I clicked the "Programs" tab and entered "Mac OS X," and
before long, there were almost 500 filenames in my main Search window. The "Filter
Results" change to "Media" (Audio or Programs), "Type" (such
as .dmg, .gz, .sit, or .zip) and "Speed" (again, Modem, Cable/DSL, T1,
T#, etc.). Note that many of these program files are NOT public domain, and you might
be infringing on copyrights if you download them.
Searching for Mac OS X programs
LimeWire Pro does seem
to be noticeably faster than the free "Basic" version. You can see the
speed qualify by looking down at the bottom left of the LimeWire window. The quality
that always showed up for me is "TurboCharged", and that's how it felt.
Also, version 4.2.6 has a "Resume" button under the "Search"
download window which you can click on to re-start a download (it will search for
additional sources) if it has stopped for whatever reason. Sometimes downloads are
interrupted due to internet access problem or peer shut down. In previous versions
of LimeWire, it was difficult to resume these downloads, and often unreliable. In
LimeWire Pro 4.2.6, this function is very reliable and works quite well.
LimeWire Pro 4.2.6 is an excellent program for finding files on the internet, and
I have experienced only a few problems with the program. During my review testing,
I did have the program hang once on each of the computers I tested on. The hang only
occurred when I was stressing the program with 20 or 30 simultaneous downloads. On
the positive side, under OS X it was a simple matter to Force Quit and then re-start
LimeWire. The nice thing about LimeWire is, when you re-start, it picks up where
it stopped - the incomplete files continue to download from where they left off.
Another quirk I noticed with LimeWire Pro 4.2.6, is if I try to download a file with
the same name (even if some of the letters are a different case) after one has already
downloaded into my Shared folder, it wants to overwrite the existing file, even if
the size is different. Previous versions of LimeWire treated files with the same
name but of different size as different files (e.g. you might want the same file
but at different bit rates). I could not find a preference in 4.2.6 pro to change
this behavior. To get around the problem, I had to rename or remove the first file
from the Shared folder to download the new file.
LimeWire is by far the best Peer-to-Peer file sharing program that I have used. The
LimeWire web site (www.limewire.com) states that LimeWire is "Faster
than Kazaa and No Bundled Software, No Spyware, No Adware, No Trojan Horse, Just
Pure File Sharing", and the product lives up to the claim. Files are found and
downloaded quickly using LimeWire Pro, the user interface is clean, friendly and
intuitive. The downloaded files go where you want them, and there are plenty of preferences
to change the way downloads and uploads behave. You do need to be conscious of what
you are doing, because files you download might not be what you think they are, and
you might not have the proper copyright or authority to use the program or file you
download. Also, when you allow the upload slots to be greater than zero, once you
have LimeWire up and running, someone is probably downloading from your computer
and using up your "upload" bandwidth. While the internet newbie needs to
be cautious with LimeWire (or any Peer-to-Peer program), the internet savvy will
love LimeWire Pro. It provides speed, reliability and download robustness that makes
finding and downloading files from the internet a walk in the park.
- Excellent Peer-to-Peer
file sharing program
- Fast searches with multiple
- Fast downloads
- You can download ANYTHING
(filters are provided)
- Easy to use, intuitive
- Free Basic version to
try before you buy
- You need to know what
you are doing as far as file sharing and copyright issues to stay out of trouble
- You can download ANYTHING
- Experienced some (very
4 1/2 out of 5 Mice