WinMX was created in 2001 by the Canadian based Frontcode Technologies as an OpenNap client, feeding off the success of Napster.
In the early part of the decade, WinMX v2.60 was Froncode's most successful release. As of 2007-08, WinMX v2.60 is still used by many OpenNap users. Mid 2002 saw the release of WinMX v3.0, the first time FrontCode had moved away from the OpenNap only model to include a decentralised network of their own.
WinMX v3.0 never gained a great deal of popularity during its short lived existence, it wasn't until the release of WinMX v3.30 in late 2002 that WinMX began to make a name for itself as a true P2P network. Soon afterwards, WinMX v3.31 was released, and this remained the latest release for several years.
WinMX v3.31 boasted OpenNap capabilities in addition to its own WinMX Peer Network (WPN), and a vast array of settings which made the 'sharing' experience easy for the end user. It also had a robust chat system which saw the network holding over 2,000 chatrooms at any one time.
What was unique about WinMX was its search abilities. Until the recording associations maliciously populated the network with fake media files, the search and download facility was extremely user friendly, and enabled multi-source downloads which allowed for very fast download speeds. The production of several third party addons such as Mx Monitor and Metis chat client were popular among users, and added to the experience.
After several years of inactivity, many in the WinMX community were beginning to write WinMX's obituary. One administrator of the Slyck.com community claimed to have conversed with Frontcode president, Kevin Hearn, on several occasions, and maintained a firm stance that a new version of WinMX would be released.
On February 12, 2004, the Slyck.com administrator was proven to be correct, and Frontcode Technologies released a beta version of WinMX v3.52. As it seems, a v3.4 was either bypassed or never left the studios of Frontcode Technologies, quite likely a similar fate occurred for v3.50 and v3.51. The new version seemed to concentrate more on the chat systems within WinMX rather than any fundamental changes to the P2P functionality. Some were disappointed by this, but most took it as a welcome sign that there was still life in the old dog, Frontcode Technologies.
Later in the year, beta 4 of WinMX v3.54 was released. This proved to be the final official release of the WinMX software.
WinMX managed to fly under the radar for several years, despite ongoing disputes between the RIAA, ARIA with Kazaa's Sharman Networks. However, in September 2005 Frontcode closed down the WinMX Peer Network after the RIAA finally issued a cease and desist letter.
While officially, WinMX was closed, members of the WinMX community made ongoing efforts to resurrect the software to its former self.
Two patches were made available by community groups; the WinMX Group .dll patch and the the MXPie patch.
The WinMX Group .dll patch connects to 10 unique peer cache servers, and has functionality which blocks media cartels, and also removes fake files, which were prevalent in the latter part of WinMX's tenure, from WinMX search results. The WinMX Group .dll patch has WinMX bundled with it.
The MXPie patch, which connects to 4 unique peer cache servers, like the WinMX Group .dll patch, also blocks media cartels, and achieves this by making use of a bundled PeerGuardian Lite package which automatically updates. The MXPie package requires that WinMX is installed separately after the patch has been installed.
By battye, with help from p2p-sharing-rules - December 19, 2007