These days the “average user” is hard to quantify, there’s a myriad of platforms, distro’s P2P packages etc. I think the requirements that are applicable to the “average user” no matter which platform they run, would be; surfing, email and bit-torrent.
Here’s where Wyzo steps in, to provide surfing and a bit-torrent client in one package. Since Wyzo is built upon Firefox code, there can be no doubt its solid, stable and fast. The company behind this package Radical Software, say the following:
“Wyzo’s long-term aim is to make web browsing smarter and more enjoyable. Wyzo makes use of existing pioneering browser technologies (including the Mozilla Firefox open source core) to extend the usability of the browser by developing unique and innovative media features that lets users download and manage all forms of media from a single application.”
Noble sentiments, but how does it fare? In a coming article I am documenting my week of XP (due to having to use an XP netbook on holiday) and since Wyzo has yet to have a Linux release (coming soon according to the site) I thought I’d take this opportunity to review the Windows version which I think is nice because I’m running it on limited netbook resources and its performance will be a testament to how tight/fast the system really is. For Mac users, there is already a version out there and for people who like the idea of a BT Browser add on, then the firetorrent is available as a plug in/add on for FF.
I wont go into much detail about stability and conformity since I think those are a given due to it being built upon Firefox code. Instead I will focus on the speed in which it operates in a netbook environment. For this review I will be comparing to Chrome which I chose to run on the netbook since I found IE lived up to its reputation on the net being sluggish almost to the point of unusable (IMHO)
Start-up time for Wyzo is far faster than IE, about the same as FF and c slower than Chrome. Memory wise, its footprint was slightly more than double that of Chrome, and it shows. Every operation I performed in Wyzo was slightly slower than the nippy Chrome, and whilst my week of XP has not afforded me the time to try out other browsers (of which I’m sure offer even faster operating times than Chrome) I must say that I was very happy with Chrome. But this is an article about Wyzo not Chrome, so I will continue by listing some of the features that Wyzo offers and these are the features that I consider are the “selling points” for Wyzo.
1. Firedownload – this apparently speeds up downloads by using (where available) multiple sources for the file. In my experience Ive always achieved my best speeds with direct downloads, a hit and miss experience with the BT Protocol and a reasonably good IRC download rate (for the most part) so Ive yet to see any worth in this feature. Thats my experience, yours may be different.
2. Firetorrent, a built in BT client intended to make torrent downloads easier (more on this in the conclusions)
There are many more, and you can read about them here: http://www.wyzo.com/about/
and in more detail here: http://www.wyzo.com/features/
On a note about features, its worth keeping in mind that with the current ones offered and promise of more (under the umbrella of providing a complete surfing experience) I would be very surprised if performance did not suffer slightly as a result. Maybe not so much on the desktop, but on a resource limited netbook IMO it is bound to have an effect.
Maybe its partly due to my shortage of time in looking at Wyzo. But I’ve yet to see any benefits over anything else out on the market. Take the Firetorrent feature, I found it just as simple and slightly quicker in performance to simply use a combination of Chrome and uTorrent, which, as far as the user is concerned offers exactly the same functionality (IMHO)
Certainly when the Linux version is released I will be looking at this package again and who knows I may discover something unique here which would be worth me considering as a possible option on my distro. I suppose the one advantage of Wyzo is that your browser and Torrent client are packaged together, which is one of the reasons I championed Thunderbird (being that it covers RSS/Newsgroups/Email under one roof) although is that enough to use it on this netbook instead of Chrome? IMO – no since on selection of torrent file in Chrome, the uTorrent client opens up automatically anyway.
It is also worth considering that when this hits Linux, most distro’s already package a BT client (in many cases Transmission) so it does beg the question, what type of user is this browser trying to “win over”.? Certainly in my case I use torrent very rarely and even then only to try out the latest Linux distros which Ive found from usually faster sources from the distros own FTP site. I’ve been long of the opinion that since bittorrent was “twisted” by copyright infringers, the appeal and usefulness as a protocol has deminished and its reputation tarnished (IMO)
For the Wyzo homepage, visit here: http://www.wyzo.com/
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org