The makers of the multi-network open source P2P client Shareaza just released a new version with working chat functionality as well as a bunch of other bug fixes. Shareaza users can simultaneously use Edonkey, Gnutella, G2 and Bittorrent to download and share files with the world.

Shareaza has a somewhat tumultuous history. The client caused quite a stir when initially released because Shareaza's original developer branded its P2P network as Gnutella2 - something that didn't really go over well with the Gnutella developer community. Efforts to replace Gnutella with Gnutella2 however quickly lost steam, and Shareaza's development stalled while various Bittorrent advanced rapidly.

Shareaza got back into the spotlight two years ago when its website was taken over by the company behind the music industry-sanctioned P2P client iMesh. It's still unclear how exacly iMesh got hold of the Shareaza domain, but it has been using it to distribute its own software under the Shareaza name ever since. The company also trademarked Shareaza, to which the Shareaza community responded by reorganizing under the new name "Panthera Project."

But guess what? It wasn't supposed to be. Shareaza's Wikipedia page alleges that a former member of the team sabotaged the Panthera Project page, erasing the client's Wiki and forum and even trying to take down content from Sourceforge. As a result, Shareaza isn't associated to the Panthera Projet anymore.

That's a whole lot of bad luck for a P2P client with a small but dedicated audience. Shareaza actually used to be one of my favorite P2P clients under Windows, so it's good to see them back on their feet, doing what developers are supposed to do: Release software updates, instead of fighting with shadowy companies and disgruntled former team members.

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