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FrostWire for Desktop, a GPL file sharing client and media player.

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Hi there FrostWire Hacker

FrostWire is a file sharing client and media management tool that was made using lots of cool open source projects. It was born from the legendary LimeWire Gnutella client, but it's evolved a hell of a lot since then.

FrostWire no longer supports Gnutella,** it's a BitTorrent client, an Internet Radio client and Media Player.**

Unlike most BitTorrent clients out there, FrostWire focuses on searching files and tries hard to make it as easy and convenient as possible to users.

Old FrostWire users were used to the Gnutella experience (searching for single files), so FrostWire makes use of BitTorrent a little differently to make it simple for them.

FrostWire will connect to all the major BitTorrent indexes of the internet and pre-fetch torrents (via the Azureus DHT or via HTTP if it can't find it on the DHT), it will then index locally all the available metadata that's indexed by the torrent file, as the user searches, the local index gets better and better to yield richer and instant results.

This makes FrostWire a very powerful client that will help you find the rarest of files on the bittorrent network, sometimes it will find files that even the best BitTorrent indexes won't yield in the search results.

The main software architecture (how things are organized) depends on the late LimeWire 4,

-   The BitTorrent power comes from the Azureus project (aka Vuze)

-   Media playback comes from the *mplayer* project

-   The good looks and skinning system comes from the Substance skinning
    project (which we've had to maintain on our repo to make it fit
    FrostWire needs)

-   HTTP interaction comes from the Apache Commons project

-   The search is built using the awesome H2 database and Lucene indexes

-   JSON parsing comes from google-gson, and so on and so on.


Introductions aside, here's how you build this.

Make sure your CLASSPATH, JAVA_HOME and your PATH variables are set correctly.

Example on a Ubuntu system's .bashrc file:





Must build problems are usually solved by having those environment variables set correctly. If you are a Windows or Mac user the process is fairly similar.

  • Try having the latest JDK available (OpenJDK or Sun's JDK should do it - As of this document it can be built using Java 1.7)

  • ant

  • GIT to clone, check out the project to your machine.

We recommend using Eclipse as your development environment.


git clone
cd frostwire-desktop/
git pull

This will pull the latest changes and automatically merge them with your local copy of the repository.


Be sure that you're in the project root, else then execute :

cd frostwire-desktop/

If you're already in project root, simply execute :

ant clean


Then run the project with :



  • "My environment variables are fine, my requirements are met, there's an error during the build."*

    It's very hard that it happens but we might have pushed out a broken build.

    If you do have any issues building, please yell on the comments of the offending commit log at so we can address the issue right away.

    If the build is not broken, hit us up at the Developer Forum


Location Contains
core/ Search, mp3 parsing, Json Engine, mplayer integration.
gui/ Everything the user sees on screen is here.Like Java Swing? this is probably a great place to learn more about it. If you're going to be adding new UI elements make sure you put them inside com.frostwire.gui.* (Most of the stuff on com.limewire.gui are legacy code from LimeWire) Good starting points to see how it all works are the * files. Being the McDaddy
components/ This is the new school of thought in the process. Everytime we create new functionality we try to make it self containable and we put the code inside a component folder. Two good examples are the azureus core, and the core code for the Library which is kept under "alexandria" (in honor to the Library of Alexandria)
components/resources This is where most graphical assets are stored.
lib/jars This is where we keep pre-compiled jars from projects we don't maintain.
lib/jars-src This is where we keep the sources of those third party projects. We do this because we hope one day we'll be accepted into debian or ubuntu and it's a requirement that your packages can be compiled without any binary dependency. This also helps us help those projects, sometimes we fix bugs that affect us and we send patches back to those projects. Also on eclipse it's awesome to be able to browse the source of those dependencies and to step-by-step debug to see what the hell those developers were thinking.
lib/messagebundles Where we keep the translation files.
lib/icons Where we keep the FrostWire launcher icons for the differentoperating systems.
splashes/ Where we keep all the splash screens for each major version of FrostWire. There are tools there to build the splash.jar and to build a collage of pictures with all the splashes for a release.


If you're using Eclipse, we suggest you use the "eclipse.formatter.xml" on your project. We try to stick as much as we remember to the Google Java code style except for a few things we don't like because we all work on eclipse and we do have monitors with over 1200 pixels of width.


5 Object Oriented Programming Principles learned during the last 15 years

Basically, Keep it simple and try not to repeat yourself at all.


If you want to contribute code, start by looking at the open issues on

If you want to fix a new issue that's not listed there, create the issue, see if we can discuss a solution, if you already have one the best way to proceed is to:

  • Fork the source.
  • Clone it locally
  • Create a branch with a descriptive name of the issue you are solving.
  • Code, Commit, Push, Code, Commit, Push, until you are done with your branch.
  • If you can add tests to demonstrate the issue and the fix, even better.
  • Submit a pull request that's as descriptive as possible.
  • We'll code review you, maybe ask you for some more changes, and after we've tested it we'll merge your changes.

Repeat and rinse, if you send enough patches to demonstrate you have a good coding skills, we'll just give you commit access on the real repo and you will be part of the development team.


Main Website

Frostwire Forum

Git Repository at

Twitter @frostwire



FrostWire Team Last updated - February 3rd 2014 15:44:50 EST

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