I recently had to get a file from the eDonkey (eD2K) network and can honestly say that it sucks.
First, for those of you who will be confused when I start throwing around terms like eDonkey, eMule and eD2k, you may want to know the differences between them..
- eDonkey / eDonkey2000
- I use it to refer to network that software such as eMule uses. However, there is also a eDonkey client made by the original creators of the network called eDonkey2000. It's generally not that popular, since you either must pay for it or use an ad-supported version.
- An open-source eDonkey client. The most popular client used on the eDonkey network. Download it here.
- Most people use this to mean an eD2k link, which is sort of like a .torrent file in BitTorrent terms.
Anyway, back to why eDonkey sucks donkey balls (har har). First, a disclaimer; yes, I have used it before, and have all my settings right. I used to use eDonkey on a more regular basis until I discovered BitTorrent and even then I thought it sucked. Sorry, but even Kazaa is better, IMO.
Why do I think eDonkey sucks? Well, I'll do a pros and cons chart, because it certainly has its pros as well. I'll throw in a few comparisons to BitTorrent, too, and Kazaa, although when I speak of Kazaa I'm technically referring to the FastTrack network it uses.
- eD2k links, which function by embedding the hash of a file into a URL so that someone can spawn an eDonkey download with their client by clicking a link on a website. (They're typically prefixed by 'ed2k://'.) This functionality is available in BitTorrent as a .torrent file, and in Kazaa as a Sig2Dat link, although Kazaa requires an external addon to utilize these.
- 'Chunk distribution', which is basically a way of redistributing a download before you actually have the complete file. I'm not 100% sure how, technically, eDonkey achieves this, but it doesn't seem to work as well as the equivalent feature in BitTorrent, which is essentially the same concept but chunks are called 'pieces' instead. There's no such feature in Kazaa.
- Many ways of searching. You can search via the server you're connected to, distributed search over several servers and the Kademlia decentralized network it uses, or using a number of web-based solutions like FileDonkey.
- It's slow as hell. Typically it takes around an hour to get anything to even start downloading, and I'm really not sure why, although I personally attribute it to lack of policing...
- ...because eDonkey doesn't really have a big 'sharing community' any more, nor a way of preventing leechers. For example, private BitTorrent sites use BitTorrent's trackers to monitor the amount uploaded or downloaded by a given user and in this way prevent users from abusing the network with leecher modifications. I think there are quite a lot of people using such mods on eDonkey. For example, once I'd downloaded over 0.5% of the file I was looking for, I had already started maxing out my upload speed allocated to eDonkey (~100KiB/s). I limited this to 30KiB/s since my download speed was less than 15KiB/s. By the time I had finished downloading the file, my share ratio was over 6.5. Seriously. That's how many people were leeching the file off me, and I wasn't even leaving it open for that purpose.
So, screw eDonkey. The other thing is that the whole thing seems to be a more seedy affair than BitTorrent. For example, consider when I set eMule to automatically connect to both the Kad network and a server. (eMule supports a hybrid of P2P, similar to latest versions of BitTorrent clients with DHT - you connect to a server, similar to a tracker, which was the original method of distribution, but you can also connect to the Kademlia - or Kad - network at the same time, which is decentralized, and works basically the same as DHT in BitTorrent.)
Yes, that is the server I was automatically connected to.
Here's the wide selection of servers I could have picked. Go eDonkey!
Oh well, I don't have much more to complain about. Just stay away from this crap network, except as a last resort. Look for stuff on BitTorrent instead.