At a Glance
The pristine cleanliness of SoulSeek would alone make it the first choice among P2P programs. It is Open Source, whose proponents approach software development not simply as a task, but as a calling to create free software that shall go out unto the world to spread digital delights among all. It, along with Azureus, a Open Source bitorrent project, are the only two P2P programs I feel comfortable using without having first backed up my disk drive and sprayed Lysol into the crevices of my computer.
But?here's the really good part?SoulSeek has two features that are even cooler than cleanliness. One is a queue that tells you exactly how many other users are waiting to download the same files. Lines stretching out to the hundreds are not uncommon, but neither are the same songs that have no one at all waiting to download them. Which do you choose? If you need a further hint, check out the average download speed column for the swiftest transfers.
The other great feature is that with a right click you may select "Download Containing Folder." This simple, brilliant gem of programming lets you download with a single click all the songs in another user's folder, which ordinarily equates to a complete album. Do you want more? Try Wishlist. Fill it with those songs and artists you can never seem to find. Check back a few nights later, and like a cobbler befriended by elves, you'll find SoulSeek has spent its spare time looking for those elusive tunes. It all makes SoulSeek such an original, clever program I'm astonished it hasn't been imitated again and again.
I know. You're looking for a catch. There are two, of sorts. If you insist on downloading songs that are continuously in loaded queues, send the developer a five-dollar donation, and you'll get cuts to the head of the line for 30 days. The other catch is that this is for music only. If you want software or movies, it's back to the seamy side of town.