Civil Netizen

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Civil Netizen is a P2P file sharing platform that can be used to share large files up to 4 Gigabytes in size privately with friends. It does not host your file or upload it on your server, but allows you to share files straight from your hard drive using your and your friends’ bandwidth for upload and download.

Want to share large files with your friends? While there are dozens of free file sharing/hosting websites that have sprung up all over the place, very few of those allow for the uploading of really large files (e.g. 700 megs+). Civil Netizen, on the other hand, offers a very nice maximum file size of 4 gigs.

How it works: download the Civil Netizen local client from the website, then use it to upload your file. Upon completion you will be prompted to download a “receipt”, which is a file that contains a code that your friends/recipients that will need to be able to download. Any recipient(s) have to download the Civil Netizen client and use the receipt (or code) you provide them in order to download (you can email it to them, IM it, or use whatever means you like). You have to have Civil Netizen running on your internet-connected machine to have file transfer enabled.

Here’s what I like about this app:

  • Pause/Resume: Local client provides ability to pause/resume downloads (which, you might imagine, is simply a necessity for large gigabyte-sized files).
  • Firewalls: Will automatically circumvent restrictive routers/firewalls, which be a problem in some situations such as work settings. Although some situations may be so restrictive as to prevent Civil Netizen for function, I can say that for me personally my work setting is usually a headache but Civil Netizen worked instantly and without intervention around my work firewall, even as it gave me a warning message that “for this beta release, pickup and send may not work reliably for you”.
  • Encrypted transfers: all transfers is, to quote “secured end-to-end between senders and recipients using 128-bit AES encryption”.
  • Ads free: unlike, say, Pando, which does the same thing.
  • Interface: Nice client interface, drag and drop.
  • Crorss platform: Windows, Macs, and Linux versions available.

How this app could be even better:

  • Creates a parcel on the hard drive that is a duplicate file: for example, if you share a 700 meg file, this program will create another 700 meg “parcel” file in “C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersDocumentsNetizenShared Parcels”. It would have been so much better if the parcel file somehow referred to the original rather than needlessly taking up valuable space on the hard drive (especially if the file is large).
  • Parcel expiration: a parcel, once setup, will expire after 356 days (I think) have lapsed. And although it is possible to renew it I am not sure why it is designed to expire at all given that the file is hosted locally on users machines. This is quite a needless variable thrown into the mix if you ask me.

I tried this app on a 700 megs movie file and both myself and my recipient were very happy with the download and upload performance (although I might add that we both had really good connections). Aside from the generous 4 gig maximum file size, there are 2 reasons why I really like it (a) no need to mess with firewalls and routers in most cases, and (b) encrypted transfers, meaning you can share whatever you like without worry.

Version tested: beta release 8

Compatibility: Windows (2000/XP), Linux, Mac.

Go to the program home page to get the latest version (approx 4.2 megs for the Windows version).