Morpheus goes open source

Just days after the sudden shutdown of its file-swapping network, software license company StreamCast Networks has announced it will release a new version of its Morpheus application, transferring the technology onto an open source software package.

The Morpheus service was originally based on FastTrack, a closed proprietary technology created by Dutch software company KaZaa (the technology is now licensed by Australian company, Sharman Networks Ltd) and used by KaZaa Media Desktop and Grokster software. The new service, called Morpheus Preview Edition, will run on an open-source peer-to-peer (P2P) technology created by Gnutella in 2000.

In a statement released on the company's web site, CEO of StreamCast Networks/Morpheus Steve Griffin said the decision to deploy a new breed of software was triggered by dual attacks affecting both StreamCast (formerly known as MusicCity)and the Morpheus application. The first, he said, was a denial-of-service attack on StreamCast's servers. A separate attack on the Morpheus software programs installed on Morpheus user's computer was also launched in the same week.

"We believe some of these attacks continue as Morpheus users attempt to connect to the old Morpheus User Network. This is why it is important to quickly deploy our new software product," Griffin said in his statement.

Griffin also said the decision to move across to open-source software was prompted by beliefs that the attacks came from the former KaZaa software.

"We believe it to have the ability to access your computer at will and change registry settings," he said.

Access to Morpheus, a file trading service from StreamCast Networks, was abruptly cut last week after users were told by the Morpheus message service to upgrade their software in order to connect to the network. However, no newer version of the software was available.

Although Sharman Networks and Grokster were distributing a new version of the FastTrack file-swapping software, StreamCast's Griffin said his service had not been offered the upgrade.

The new Morpheus technology will now give users the ability to search both the world wide web and the Morpheus/Gnutella Network, but will not connect to computers running KaZaa Media Desktop or Grokster.

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Nadia Cameron

Computerworld
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