back to article Opera chief: history will silence Unite doubters

Undeterred by the media backlash against Opera Unite - the web-browser-meets-web-server contraption unveiled last month - Opera chief executive Jon von Tetzchner says that ten years on, the world will look back on its debut as a seminal moment in the history of the web. "Some people see Unite, and they understand. With others, …

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Linux

WTH?

"I don't think that would do very much for us," he explained. "The reason to do open source is for marketing purposes. But with the complexity of what we're dealing with, it's not a good idea.

"Mozilla is more or less focusing on desktop browsers and that's complex enough. We are, at any given time, dealing with more than a hundred different deliveries, because we're not only doing desktops. We're doing mobile phones. We're doing set-top boxes. We're doing cars. We're doing game consoles. We're doing all these things. And handling that complexity is extremely hard. And I think that requires fairly good control over the piece of code."

"Too Complex for Open Source" is he saying. That if they released the code for Opera. It would contain code for Opera Mobile and wherever else Opera is.

Is he having a joke?

You release those as seperate distributions.......

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Hang on...

does this Unite thing mean I (or more probably someone else) could write an app to mimic something like facebook (which maintains connections ("friends") with other Unite users) all while leaving my personal details, photos and such like on my machine far, far away from the filthy grabbing of user generated content that facebook and their ilk can do what the hell they like with once they've got their greedy little mits on it???

If so... someone write a plugin for FireFox that does the same... Opera are a bunch of f*cking whingers!!!

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It's Opera

no one cares

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Anonymous Coward

On the castro.

"told The Reg this week during a sit-down in our San Francisco offices.", the 'offices' been a private booth at the Blue Oyster Bar.

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@Hang on...

Thats exactly the point, imagine your website with your data, controlled by and licenced to you.

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It's so complex

That half the time Unite doesn't work.

The file server is so stable that someone once nearly managed to download a file from me, though I have to admit that the wheel re-inventing chat room doesn't crash quite so often.

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Welcome

Not bad a product, but the Apache reference? Puh-leese

Comparing that Unite thinggie with Apache is preposterous. Boa, thttpd or null httpd, more like. And even these comparisons would be quite a bit of a stretch. And if you are enough of a techie to successfully use a toaster, you shouldn't have too much of a problem with putting up a simple website using these. Now making it bulletproof is another problem, which is quite well addressed by Opera. On the other hand, they get to decide what you can or cannot put online...

Also, the Unite stuff has this "all-in-one" scent bound to attract non-technical people. Every separate bit can be performed better (and more flexibly, more privately, etc.) by standalone apps, but I reckon Unite's services will be enough for most, and it's a one-step install... oh irony, wasn't that the main point in Opera's complaint against IE bundling? (OK, Opera is not quite the monopoly that MS is, but still... Apache should sue!)

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Silver badge

Subbing

"But this kind of service will be very prevalent in the future... And if we sit town in ten years time, you'll say 'Yes, this was a big deal. Not everyone saw that in the beginning.'"

Should be;

"But this kind of service will be forgotten in the future... And if we sit down in ten years time, you'll read it in a nostalgic feature of 'top 10 whatever happened to' in a PC rag"

Wake me up when the non-existent fad passes. I'd hit snooze but it'll be a whole 9 minutes before the alarm goes off which isn't long enough.

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::rolls eyes::

"But if you're technical enough to do this from Apache or anything else, one, there's no problem with that, and two, you're probably not going to understand Unite anyway."

1) Aw, gee, thanks for your permission. Idiot.

2) In other words, techies with a clue grok that Unite is about marketing, not technology.

As for their product being too complex to be FOSS, all I can say is that is probably why the BSD and Linux kernels work as poorly as they do, and on so few devices ... I'll leave it there.

This guy really isn't trying to endear himself to the techie community, is he?

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Boffin

'Complexity' means its crap code

And Jon von Tetzchner knows it.

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FAIL

Excuse me?

"But if you're technical enough to do this from Apache or anything else, one, there's no problem with that, and two, you're probably not going to understand Unite anyway."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

*wipes the tears away from eyes and takes a breath*

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Not going to understand Unite even if your more then capable of setting up Apache.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

What a jack ass. And he wonders why not only do people shun Opera but they also think hes an asshat.

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Anonymous Coward

Too complex for open source?

In other words, the codebase is a GIGANTIC CLUSTERFUCK because it's full of silly cross-platform code that doesn't need to be there and they're afraid of the reaction.

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Open Source is for marketing purposes?

No, it's for allowing more people to contribute back to your source code making a better product. Something that Opera isn't interested doing in as they're too busy complaining about the Internet Explorer logo.

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Bronze badge

Story of the internet

"If so... someone write a plugin for FireFox that does the same... Opera are a bunch of f*cking whingers!!!"

That's pretty much how the browser war works.

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Megaphone

re. Open source

Whille I'm not sure of the complexity argument I see no good reason to open source their most valuable asset. Maing browsers is what they do for a living. And judging by the binary size and functionality code bloat isn't a problem.

As for Unite I think he [Jon von Tetzchner] has a point: the real implications will take take time to manifest if ever. I think it is impressive that the individual user has complete control over their own data.

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I fully agree that Unite is revolutionary

It's putting back your data where it belongs: on your PC.

No more Facebook selling your photos to who knows whom. No more school superintendant or recruiter demanding you give them your login info. No more outage for millions when one server goes down.

I'm sure Unite still needs a fair bit of tweaking and develoment. But having your own social website, with widgets, custom apps... is worth it.

And remermber, Opera is not MS: their security is better. I wouldn't trust MS to do that, and Apple wouldn't do it anyway, since it doesn't help them sell any content. Unite is a true, old-school, user-driven thing.

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I love the idea of this...

still gonna try to build something with OpenBSD and Apache though

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FAIL

Opera Unite

I'm glad Opera is there to provide competition, but I've tried Opera, and I hate it. It's not the browser for me, and if given the choice between Opera or nothing, I'll take nothing every time.

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FAIL

what a fail

Perhaps Opera has a good idea but I tend to agree with other posters its still Opera with its low single digit penetration so making big inroads is not going to be cake. Also Opera is not doing itself any favors by having this arrogant toolbag promote the "Next Big Thing". How you rollout something is almost as important as the technology itself and I have to give Opera a big fail on this so far. If I had to bet I would guess Opera won't be the next google five years from now.

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W

@ jake

"This guy really isn't trying to endear himself to the techie community, is he?"

No. I don't think he is. I think that might be the point though.

Looks like he's aiming to fall into the middle ground. Between the hassles of a geekalicious diy website or other homemade sharing solution at one end of the spectrum. And the hassles of posting your life on the web2.0 flickr/picasa/deviantart/youtube/vimeo/twitter/facebook/last.fm/myspace/delicious/digg/blogger/wordpress cloud at the other end of the spectrum.

Unite seems to be pitched at those who _don't_ want to bone up on HTML, & Apache & NAS setups etc or _don't_ want to to 'go public' or 'social' or use p2p, but _do_ want to share photos, and files etc with family and real life friends.

And after viewing the Unite vid clips on their site, I can see where he's coming from. It looks like a boss idea.

Basically seems to boil down to being something that lets you easily turn portions of your PC into a remotely accesible NAS. And/or saves me faffing and uploading a bunch of photos to picasa/flickr. Instead I can just arrange MY files on MY machine as desired, set the folder to share, email the link to my folks.

Simples. I plan to give it a whirl.

But whether it turns out to be decent or not, Opera still come across as overly whiney in relation to this IE installation malarkey.

The open source comments are plain odd. I understood open source to stand for transparency and a wider net of feedback into the development, rather than being about 'marketing'. Although, to be fair, it's their code and company and their perogative over what they do with it.

Finally, to the overly snippy folk: why the hate? Opera is a capable browser and it's nice to have some options that don't come from MS or Google.

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oh dear god....

Hey, I am a staunch opera fan, but,.... the chief is now sounding like an old war veteran, under the delusion that they are still in the war years, with a lot of power at their command....

- not the full ticket, he seems to have lost it, the tiny share must have addled his brain into thinking he is the best ... " hey our market share recently increased by 50%!!!! "

Sorry, that means it went from 2% to a massive 3%....

and a lot of forum members are saying why can they not work on actually fixing the compatibility issues, not this unite that only a small percent will use....

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Jobs Horns

@zerofool2005

No he isn't having a joke. being open source is just a marketing trick.

If Firefox users benefit from it being open source, where is the forked version that doesn't have all the bloat, memory leaks and TerribleBar™? Why do so many people moan and moan and moan abouyt the changes to Firefox and wait for them to change things in future versions instead of changing it themselves and distributing those tweaked versions? People install and moan about Firefox and its featureset just the same as they do with IE. And just like IE they just sit there waiting for the mothership to fix things. I thought the whole point of Open source was that there was no mothership, that you didn't have to mindlessly follow the beat of one company's drum?

Being open source means nothing to any normal person, it's just a marketing trick to motivate all the nerds who hold software up as a religious substitute into spreading the word for free.

Open source - written by you, for you, for free, for money for us. Think of that fact the next time you count all the zeros in Mozilla Inc's CEO's salary.

And as for the people moaning about the comparison between Unite and Apache, you're *exactly* the kind of person he's referring to in the article. You're such nerds that you can't fathom how anyone's grandmother couldn't open a CLI window and configure Apache. You are not the audience, now move along and stop *worrying* about Opera all the time...

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re: I fully agree that Unite is revolutionary

So you have to keep your PC running just in case granny wants to show her friends some pictures of her grand kids? Apart from tree hugging power use concerns, that's a security nightmare. Ever running PCs make for nice bot farms. Nothing provides better security than encouraging people to turn off/disconnect their PCs when not in use.

If you really think your photos etc are so valuable that FB is going to sell them then you're either a brilliant photographer (and should probably have a commercial website) or you're deluded.

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Grenade

@ Anonymous Coward

"You're such nerds that you can't fathom how anyone's grandmother couldn't open a CLI window and configure Apache"

Don't the Windows builds of Apache have a GUI (i use lighttpd on *nix and abyssws on win so i wouldnt know)

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Uptime?

@Martin 6

"Thats exactly the point, imagine your website with your data, controlled by and licenced to you."

Yeah but it also has to be provided and maintained by me. I predict uptime of about 50%.

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Two other thingies, pointed out by my wife.

Let me preface this by stating that my wife isn't technically inclined. She's a horse trainer, and teaches riding. She's damn good at what she does, but views computers as black boxes that allow her to get her message across to a larger audience than she could otherwise reach.

So ... I'll let her type it ...

I don't want other people in my PCs. Nor does my ISP. The contract clearly states that I'm not allowed to run server software. That's the first point.

On the bright side, my ISP has given me plenty of space to host my web site. Using FTP to upload files allows me to take advantage of their always-on servers. There are plenty of HTML authoring tools out there that allow people like me to write and up load web pages (my husband usually takes care of that, but I can and do make changes). Sharing pictures and or video this way is trivial, and a lot more friendly than sending them via email. With no third party needed. That's my second point.

I see no reason to even try Unite.

(That's probably the only time SWMBO'll ever post here ... She does read occasionally.)

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FAIL

"don't have to upload"

"you can take a look right here on my home machine' and you don't have to upload"

eh?

1. Web server on your machine

2. Moms machine requests a file on your machine

3. ???

4. File magically appears on Moms machine!

If anything, this means that you have to "upload" the content over and over and over?

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Anonymous Coward

I can already do this

And I don't need Apache or Unite.

TeamViewer, and I can control who comes onto my PC and what they see.

Sorry Opera, well behind the times, nothing revolutionary, won't change the Web, that'll change long before Unite takes off.

+do we not get into an anti-competition legal morass with this?

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Paris Hilton

It's a cracking little tool

I set up a system on release day to test it and have been using it ever since, it's a good simple peice of software that runs on a tiny Eee box with extremly low run cost and no down time to date. Why does everyone sound so scared of point and click software??

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FAIL

NAT Hell

Unless Opera intend to tunnel traffic between every user and every other user, then this will make no significant impact in most of the world because it won't work in most of the world without port mapping. A lot of home routers still don't support UPnP/NAT-PMP, for christs sake.

Get IPv6 out there, then we'll talk.

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WTF?

Millions of desktops?

"... many questioned whether putting an addressable web server on millions of desktops was a recipe for security disaster."

Surely some mistake... you meant hundreds, not millions, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Thwanggggg!

I've got no problem with a webserver for dummies. I reckon that's a reasonable idea......

But did nobody tell them that the dummies are all behind ADSL.

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Silver badge

@Unlimited

You seem a trifle confused ...

"Upload" means transferring files from a local[1] storage device (hopefully) under your control, to a remote[1] storage device not necessarily under your control.

"Download" means transferring files from a remote[1] storage device not necessarily under your control to a local[1] storage device (hopefully) under your control.

[1] "local" and "remote" are of arbitrary distance ... if you have to ask, please don't. Ta.

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Happy

Ok I haven't tried it, but...

One word.

Orb.

I can fire up a pc and share my audio, photos, films etc etc with absouloute ease, no need to stick a web server on my pc.

So what's new?

www.orb.com

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Silver badge

@barth - I fully agree that Unite is revolutionary

If you think that you'd be amazed what people can do with these computer thingies and a revolutionary new toy called the internet.

I'd be a very rich man if I had the courage to try and sell what the internet provides as basic as some new invention. I can never work out if its pure ignorance or blind greed that makes these people think they can sell something thats 40 years old as new.

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Got to agree with AC@01:23

The fact that firefox is open source means as little to about 99% of its end users as the fact that opera is closed does to 99% of its users.

Firefox == open source == hardly anyone cares

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Marketing hype works!

A pain in the **** is what it is! We have already had users at my place asking for Unite access through our firewalls, using very iffy business justifications. Hard enough to keep the plebs inside the network "wire" without this sort of thing stirring them up!

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Troll

Re: "don't have to upload"

You left out the "to a remote server" part:

"you don't have to upload to a remote server"

So no, the file doesn't magically appear on mom's machine. You just won't have to upload it to a server first.

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Troll

Re: "I can already do this"

Does TeamViewer require both parties to install a special client? With Unite, all you do is to send the other party a URL. Are you saying that TeamViewer will replace the web?

Why would we get into an anti-competition legal morass? Is Opera a monopoly? Didn't think so. Bundling isn't illegal, you know. Abusing a dominant position in the market is.

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FAIL

People are missing the point of the open-source comment

I see a lot of whining about the comment about open-sourcing being for marketing purposes.

He was obviously referring to OPERA open-sourcing the code. There would be no real purpose for THEM other than marketing. He didn't say that open-source as a concept is just marketing.

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Ah, yes, truly revolutionary

"But if you're technical enough to do this from Apache or anything else, one, there's no problem with that, and two, you're probably not going to understand Unite anyway."

So... If I'm smart enough to set up an Apache server, then I'm too dumb to "understand Unite anyway"? That sounds remarkably like Apple's marketing department.

"What we're trying to do is take something that currently is very difficult and make it easy. We're tying to give you something that you can describe to your parents or even your grandparents. And I believe we've achieved that."

So did Geocities. And look what happened to them. I'll just point out a couple of reasons this will spectacularly fail:

1) Most ISPs (such as Comcast and Verizon) explicitly state in the Terms and Conditions that you are not allowed to run servers of any kind.

2) Upstream speeds. Most ISPs provide people with relatively little upstream speed (1Mbps for Comcast cable, 128Kbps for Verizon DSL), so anything hosted on your system will be displayed to your visitor very slowly. This will be exacerbated when you have multiple people trying to request data from you simultaneously.

3) VoIP. Go ahead and host your files on your own system, then wonder why your VoIP connection is choppy and poor quality.

4) Always-on requirement. Most people don't leave their computers powered on all the time, so trying to connect to their "website" will be hit-and-miss. Some people may choose to leave their computers powered on all the time to combat this, but will probably change their minds once they realize the additional electric cost (and heat) this will cause.

5) It failed before. People don't care where their files are stored as long as it's easy to make a "home on the web". And there have been many software apps and companies that made it easy for people (Geocities, Netscape, AOL, every ISP I've ever had, etc). The thing is, it's a gimmick. People stick with it for a while, then they lose interest. Then again, considering the global dumbing-down of people in the last 15 years, this point may be nullified.

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FAIL

@jon 77

Opera Desktop is around 5% (2x that of Safari and 4x that of Chome), Opera Mobile has 95% of the mobile market, much better than Safari (iPhone), Nokia and Blackberry offerings (both Netfront I believe)

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FAIL

Upstream bandwidth?

Personally, if Opera's willing to take on the ISPs and sort out some decent connection speeds, I'm all for it. However, I'm not too sure what happens then you try to take the A out of ADSL.

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FAIL

After the cloud?

As in, *after* LTE or whatever provides LAN-speed access to the web everywhere, and all your clients are connected to all your data all the time? Yeah, I can see personal webservers coming in handy after everybody gets fed up with that.

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Grenade

Hypercard was awesome!

I don't care much for his piece-of-crap web browser or its 'revolutionary' add-ons.

But you don't dis Hypercard and get to walk away. That's just not on.

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Go

the point of Unite?

"But if you're technical enough to do this from Apache or anything else, one, there's no problem with that, and two, you're probably not going to understand Unite anyway"

I think what he's saying is that you probably won't understand the *point* of Unite anyway.

Which is exactly what I'm seeing in the comments. Lets face it, this is a community of reasonably technically minded people. Not all of us regularly configure apache servers in our spare time, but I expect most could with a few minutes worth of effort reading the instructions. Now imagine talking your non-technical friends/family through the same process.

The point of what he is proposing is taking the idea of a webserver and merging it into the browser experience, to abstract the complexities of setting up and securing a server away from the user.

Its the same as Apple took the idea of a CD ripper and merged it with a browser, a shop and an interface for portable media players with iTunes. Prior to itunes, most techy types ripped their own music, and had no issues with doing it but I'm sure people remember the wild state of rippers, codecs, and lame vs xing vs iis et al. It worked, but it wasn't ever *simple*.

After Apple saw the market and got involved, every man and their cat could rip and download music without actually knowing how they do it, they just click a button and its all done for them.

That, combined with good marketing and a clever piece of hardware made them the dominant option for the masses.

Its a very clever idea at heart, I'll be interested to see if it gets mass market interest.

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Hello 1995

Welcome back Microsoft Personal Webserver. Where have you been all these years?

Missed you, we did.

Microsoft PWS and DynDNS.org - a marriage made in heaven!

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Gold badge

Re-inventing the web, like ActiveX did.

So this Unite thingy makes stuff on my machine visible to Grandma with any serious complexity on my part or grandma's part. That would imply...

1) that the average user gets to perform no significant review of which material is exposed,

2) that the software bores its way through my NAT by itself,

3) that it is all advertised to the whole world (dynamic DNS?),

3) that it is all exposed to the whole world.

Dropping item (1) would require serious effort on my part. Item (2) is probably beyond me because I'm a n00b, right? Dropping item (3) would require that Grandma find me. Dropping item 4 would require that Grandma authenticate herself.

Step down ActiveX, Opera have just announced your replacement.

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I've got my doubts, but...

This really does just look like a P2P mechanism, that the user explicitly takes ownership of. Plus, it is just hypertext, going in and out through port 80. I'm no big fan of P2P technology, but I'm in the minority in that respect. This looks a lot easier to monitor and, potentially, control than a lot of the P2P stuff people stick on their machines. How many home users download some torrenting application off a shareware site, and then just run it - never stopping to think what illegal porn, crack warez, Jihadist propoganda and God knows what else, they have flowing through their machines?

Who wrote the torrenting application? "Who cares? Some Russian, I think." What is it actually doing? "Who cares? I get free movies and stuffz. It can't be evil, because its got a dorky name and an icon of a cartoon dog* - and it's P2P, and P2P is, like, Robin Hood, right? RobinHood never shot anyone in the back!"

At least you could take Opera to court, if they borked your PC!

*I'm not singling out any particular shareware torrenting application, here: substitute a "dog" icon, for a "frog", a "ginger moggy", a "piece of fruit", a "laughing pig on a Bicycle" or "Santa Claus" - depending on what shareware site you got the app from; whether the day of the week had 'T' in it, and how close to Christmas, it was at the time. I see them all - the laughing torrenting applications - sitting there on the desktop, grinning at me, whenever I'm called in to work out why some relative's PC has suddenly started acting strange.

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Thumb Up

Sounds like a good idea.

In a technically advanced country like Japan or the Scandinavian countries this will be good because they have broadband coming out their earholes with plenty of upload. In technical backwaters like the UK and US, broadband companies have been allowed to treat their customers with disdain, unreliable services crappy speeds.

Lets hope there are more ideas like Unite so those fuckers at the ISPs are forced to stop crippling their services.

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