Direct connect is yet another p2p file sharing program. But unlike Kazaa, it’s available on OS X, partly because it’s an open protocol so there’s a number of application developers out there writing clients and servers. It’s vastly superior to Gnutella in my opinion, both in terms of the number of results you get and the speed of downloads and uploads.
There’s a couple of different clients available for OS X. The first one was the NeoModus client for OS X which quite frankly, is a nice bit of work. Too bad it hasn’t been updated for like 2 years or so. It’s a very, very clean, sweet interface but the functionality is just sorely lacking these days. And, it’s not a very popular client with the server operators, who like to see you using a more modern client with tags, and many will kick you off without them.
The newer option is the DCGui-qt client. There’s a “native QT version” available which runs out of the box without any need for extra libraries or X11. As a Mac user you will most likely be highly offended by the user interface. It takes a bit of getting used to. It’s, to put the brightest face on it, clumsy. But, behind that not-so-shining exterior is a heart of gold. This puppy is seriously powerful.
The power is hidden away in the search window. Type in your search term into the “Search” tab and then click on the “Hubs” tab and change it to “Public Hubs”. Now go to the hubs window and make sure to update it to a fresh list. You’ll see more than 10,000 public hubs listed, many with thousands of users each. DCGui lets you search all of them in one click. It’s such a big search that it can take almost an hour to complete, but the results start showing up right away in the “Results” pane. Note that there is a trade-off for this power, currently, you can only perform one search at a time.
Using this feature it’s possible to find very obscure videos and get enough duplicate results to make a “multi-download”. This is where you are downloading from many people at once, getting a much higher speed. I can typically saturate my DSL connection and pull down files at a rate of about 150 KB/s.
The learning curve is steep. I actually gave up once on dcgui before coming back to it (and then I discovered the “public hubs” search feature). It’s under active development so we can expect more good things in the future with version 0.3.