I wrote about Klibido quite a while ago and whilst its a KDE app (being run in a Gnome environment on my rig) I have to say that I found it a good choice. Despite issues surrounding the apparent lack of development for a few years and it has no facility for .par checking, its a solid enough package that never let me down.
After receiving a recommendation for another KDE binary newsgroup reader I decided to investigate what else was available (since Im using gpar2 for my .par needs)
Since Im not a fan of KDE (Xfce is my DE of choice) I extended my search to Gnome aswell and one thing struck me, lack of choice. The Xfce desktop has a distinct lack of choice in respect of binary readers which is a shame (and I’ll go into that later)
So I present to you LottaNZB 0.5.3, a frontend for HellaNZB and a damn solid package to boot. LottaNZB is a Gnome app which allows you to download NZB with the added benefit of being an all in one par util as well. LottaNZB is currently running HellaNZB to provide access to and download from the binary newsgroups. HellaNZB seems currently stalled at version 0.13 however there are assurances by the devs that the project has not been abandoned.
LottaNZB attempts to present a more user friendly interface for access to the newsgroups.
So how does it fare? Very well actually, although the habit of running Gpar2 after a download became a little bit of a habit and one I did miss! Theres really very little to say about a binaries reader such as this, although mention should be made that it was incredibly easy to set up and run.
The all in one solution offered by LottaNZB is welcome, as is the status bars for downloads (unlike Klibido which merely lists the files and completed/decoded bytes)
I am informed that with 0.6.0 LottaNZB will no longer front HellaNZB with the developers deciding to switch to SABnzbd. So will I be switching? No, whilst LottaNZB is a great package, Im not ready to dump my Klibido and the “extra” step of clicking on the downloaded par file is of little issue to me. This is no disrespect of LottaNZB, its merely that I am used to Klibido which has yet to let me down.
You can visit the LottaNZB site here: www.lottanzb.org and for those new to the binaries, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
If you are interested in the command line package which LottaNZB fronts then you can find Hellanzb here: hellanzb.com/trac
The future of the binary newsgroups?
We’ve had many articles on the Digital Economy Bill, p2p, filesharing and whilst I don’t want this article to turn in another debate regarding what “piracy” is or isn’t, I would like to give my predictions on the future for the binary newsgroups.
The binaries have always been a bit of a mystery to the average user, I think Usenet was always seen as the realm of the Uber Geek and maybe thats why it never really got much attention in the past by the mainstream computing audience. When Limewire, Edonkey and later Bittorrent hit the mainstream, newsgroups and IRC were all but forgotten except by the tech savvy die hard or the people who saw where Bittorrent et al were headed. Well now Bittorrent has arrived and the mainstream are using it in the millions. This is why we see ACS:Law “cleaning up” in respect of copyright infringement. Its like shooting fish in a barrel.
As users see the continuing threat of civil action and see the DEB as a killer of all joy, they are looking about for other alternatives. Sure you can use a VPN, or even TOR, but at the end of the day the issue is the “sharing” and places like IRC or indeed the binaries offer no such issue for the downloader.
I think the DEB and the actions of ACS:Law will force a migration to the binaries. With packages like LottaNZB its as simple as downloading a torrent and since there is no swarm, peers, seeders involved, the download is invariably faster and without the “risk” factor of sharing. Already we are seeing an increase in NZB “trackers” which list the latest releases on Usenet.
Now whilst that may be great for the downloader, it poses a problem for the likes of ACS:Law who would have great difficulty monitoring that. Unlike a torrent where you are part of a swarm, the exchange of data takes place between yourself and your newsgroup provider, nobody else, so unless the DEB has a clause which allows a DPI free for all of a user in a “fishing” exercise to see what you are downloading, who it belongs to and if they have a problem with it, then I can’t see a civil recourse being instigated. We also have to consider that when the filesharing fines are issued, it takes into account the fact that not only you have downloaded it, but you have helped distribute it to others. With the binaries its only you receiving and you are not sending anything. A civil action (if it was possible at all) could surely only seek to recoup the cost of that one title and would hardly be worth the case.
If you are interested in reading more in relation to Usenet, I wrote about it in a previous article.
So is an old tech now to be the future of “piracy”? I think there is a very good chance. With the element of sharing removed, how will the DEB counter it? Could it possibly be an embarrassing lesson for those that sought to rush it through parliament?
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org
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