LimeWire is a peer-to-peer file sharing client for the Java Platform, which uses the Gnutella network to locate and transfer files. Released under the GNU General Public License, Limewire is free software. It also encourages the user to pay a small fee, which will then give the user access to LimeWire Pro.
Written in the Java programming language, LimeWire runs on any computer with Java Virtual Machine installed. Installers are provided for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and RPM-based Linux distributions. Support for Mac OS 9 and other previous versions was dropped with the release of LimeWire 4.0.10.
LimeWire uses SHA-1 and tiger tree hash cryptographic hash functions to ensure that downloaded data is uncompromised. Although researchers have identified possible vulnerabilities in the SHA-1 algorithm, because LimeWire does not rely on SHA-1 alone, these vulnerabilities do not have many adverse implications for LimeWire's verification of downloaded files.
Limewire offers the sharing of its library through Digital Audio Access Protocol. As such, when LimeWire is running, any files shared will be detectable on the local network by DAAP-enabled devices (eg. iTunes).
Limewire Pro w/ special pro-only skin.
Lime Wire LLC, the developer of LimeWire, distributes two versions of the program; a basic version for free, and an enhanced version sold for a fee of US$18.88 (£9.78) which, as the developers claim, offers faster downloads. This is accomplished by facilitating direct connection with up to 4 hosts of an identical searched file at any one time, whereas the free version is limited to a maximum of 2 hosts. Prior to April 2004, the free version of LimeWire was distributed with a bundled program called LimeShop (a variant of TopMoxie), which was considered by computer security experts to be spyware. Among other things, LimeShop monitored online purchases in order to redirect sales commissions to Lime Wire LLC. Uninstallation of LimeWire would not remove LimeShop. With the removal of all bundled software in LimeWire 3.9.4 (released on April 20, 2004), these objections were addressed.
Since it is free and open source software, LimeWire has spawned several forks, including LionShare, an experimental software development project at Penn State University, and Acquisition, a Mac OS X–based Gnutella client with a proprietary interface. Researchers at Cornell University developed a reputation management add-in called Credence that allows users to distinguish between "genuine" and "suspect" files before downloading them. An October 12, 2005 report states that some of LimeWire's open source contributors have forked the project and called it FrostWire.
LimeWire was the first file sharing program to support firewall-to-firewall file transfers, a feature introduced in version 4.2, which was released in November 2004.
The current beta version of LimeWire incorporates a rewrite of Limewire's handling of metadata and now includes BitTorrent support.
Controversy and legal issues
LimeWire Pro running on Windows XP with a black skin.
According to a June 28, 2005, report in The New York Times, Lime Wire LLC was considering ceasing distributing LimeWire due to the outcome of MGM v. Grokster. On September 25, 2005, it was reported that Lime Wire LLC was working on a version of the program which will refuse to share files that lack valid license information. Neither of these events occurred, and as of April 21st 2007, it is still possible to download LimeWire and share copyrighted files.
On August 4, 2006, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued LimeWire, alleging that it was profiting from unauthorized downloads. On September 25, 2006 LimeWire countersued the RIAA for antitrust violations.
On May 12, 2006, the BBC reported that "Limewire" and "Lime wire" were among search terms likely to return links to malware from an Internet search engine.
CA Anti-Spyware (formerly PestPatrol) flags LimeWire as spyware, and also detects Kazaa as being installed on computers with LimeWire.
In addition, some have mistakenly posted private personal copies of business documents on LimeWire which are available through standard searches. Some found documents include credit checks, tax records, cancelled checks, and other documents stored in a variety of formats. This has opened the door to identity theft. Attorneys have cautioned several companies, including mortgage lenders, real estate agents, attorneys, contractors, and others, that the use of LimeWire by employees opens them up to significant liability.