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Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The first version of Soulseek Isle is now available here. Here's a short Q&A to try to explain what it is we're trying to do and what you should expect:

Q: What are the differences between Soulseek Isle and the regular Soulseek client?

A: Virtually nothing, except that the Isle client logs on to the new Soulseek Isle server, which runs on separate resources from the main server, and so is expected to have considerably less users, but at the same time, it's also expected to be a lot less congested than the main server.

Q: New server? Why?

A: We've reached a roadblock. The main server already simultaneously supports more than sixty thousand users and we just can't figure out any other ways to make it take more without becoming congested. This in turn affects the server's ability to process new logins, and probably even worse, severly restricts its ability to distribute searches. Testing and profiling the server software is extremely difficult because it's very busy 24 hours a day. So the next natural choice would be to start branching out, start creating new servers. Soulseek Isle is the very first step in that direction. While it is only a tiny patch over the original Soulseek client, we're hoping it would prove useful in starting the separation process.

Q: Wasn't the new server hardware supposed to take care of this?

A: Yes. It didn't. We're not sure why but even if it had, the solution would've only been temporary.

Q: So is this going to be like Napster, where people can't find each other because every person is on a different server?

A: Only to a lesser degree. Soulseek's always aimed to group users by areas of interest. When we started out, the system revolved entirely around the subject of electronic music. Everyone was interested in more or less the same thing, and on the whole the environment felt friendlier and more accommodating. As Soulseek became more popular, much of that was gone. That's something that we're hoping to have back once we successfully branch out.

Q: You said you wanted each server to be topic-specific. What's the "Isle" supposed to be specific to?

A: Nothing at the moment. Again, this is just the very first step in our branching out process. Personally we hope it would become the server of choice for people interested in electronic music, but there's no telling how things would turn out for the Isle. Once the Isle takes in a more specific direction, we'll designate it as such. In the meanwhile we're planning on taking advantage of the smaller, more manageable Soulseek environment to develop new features to better support a multiple server environment.

Q: Didn't Soulseek use to have multiple server support?

A: Yes, and it's going to be a lot like that again pretty soon.

Q: What if I'm not interested in anything specific, but just like to get files files files?

A: You would eventually be able to switch between servers as you wish. Besides that, Soulseek's generic selection of files was never its strong side.

Q: Can I run the Isle client at the same time I'm running the regular client?

A: Yes. The Isle client uses its own folder and registry settings. That also means you'd have to reenter your information into the Isle client once you install it, as it uses its own configuration files. Or, you can copy all *.cfg files from c:\program files\soulseek to c:\program files\SoulseekIsle before running the Isle client.

Q: Isn't the Isle client just the test client with a slightly different tray icon?

A: Yes.

Nir 7:24 PM

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