File sharing is fun and easy–and it has legal uses–but many P2P
programs come with unwanted guests in the form of adware, spyware,
or worse. Zultrax P2P is a free program (there is a ‘Pro’ upgrade
available) which has no such baggage.
The program installs easily, though users may need to make
adjustments to their firewall or router to get full use out of it.
The website offers guidelines on how to do this for many of the
most common configurations, but as with any such adjustments, the
user is strongly cautioned to be sure they know what they are
doing, lest they expose their system to invaders.
Use of the program is simple and intuitive, though the interface
has that chunkily charming ‘Visual BASIC’ look to it. You may open
search tabs (up to 10 in the free version) to look for sound files,
video, software, or more. It is possible to filter searches on
several criteria; for example, if you are looking for an audio file
you know is several megabytes in size, you can filter out smaller
files which are most likely trojans or viruses.
Searching brings up the major flaw with this software–the network.
It uses two, Gnutella and its own proprietary Zepp network. Because
it is a small program with few users, there are fewer files to be
found. For example, a search for “Linux” under software revealed
only 50 hits after 15 minutes of searching. By contrast, Shareaza
showed over 400 hits in about three minutes. However, when actually
downloading, I found Zultrax to be quite fast, faster than the
competition for files of similar size. This is a notable benefit.
The Zepp network has some useful features. It uses falsification to
distort the apparent data being sent, making it slightly harder to
spy on users. It uses measures to try to detect programs spying on
the network and lock them out. These features might make it
preferable for users in nations where government monitoring of file
transfers is likely.
The freeware version of the program has only minor limitations–a
maximum of 200 search results and secondary priority in terms of
network traffic as compared to the Pro version. Users who find
Zultrax to be their P2P program of choice would benefit from the
upgrade; casual users will probably be quite happy with the fully
functional freeware version.