Among the best alternatives to Napster, Bearshare is built on the powerful peer-to-peer technology of Gnutella, which doesn't depend on centralized servers. However, unlike Gnutella, which is notorious for being very difficult to use, Bearshare has a relatively user-friendly interface. Furthermore, the program has a large fanbase, making it easier to find more obscure files. All the search options are very nicely laid out, and you can search for all different types of files, although no bitrate is displayed, so it's hard to judge the quality of the audio. Since there's no centralized server, your initial connection may be slow, and be careful when selecting files you want to share, or you may find yourself unwittingly exposing your entire hard drive. On the plus side, you can issue multiple searches at once, and like Napster, you can compile a list of files from a specific user. However, be sure to read the licensing agreement completely, because by keeping the software free, you also download a bunch of removable but hidden apps.


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