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TorrentFreak is a blog dedicated to reporting the latest news and trends on the BitTorrent protocol and file sharing.
The website was started in November 2005 by a Dutchman using the pseudonym "Ernesto Van Der Sar". He was joined by Andy "Enigmax" Maxwell and Ben Jones in 2007. Regular contributors include Rickard Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party. The online publication eCommerceTimes, in 2009, described "Ernesto" as the pseudonym of Lennart Renkema, owner of TorrentFreak.
According to Canadian law scholar Michael Geist, TorrentFreak "is widely used as a source of original reporting on digital issues". Examples are The New York Times The Guardian, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, or the Flemish newspaper De Standaard.
TorrentFreak's contents are free content under a Creative Commons Attribution license.
On August 17, 2007 TorrentFreak reported that Comcast had begun throttling its upload bandwidth, specifically against BitTorrent users. This made seeding, which is an essential part of the BitTorrent protocol, effectively impossible. It was later determined that Comcast was using Sandvine products which implement network traffic shaping and policing, and include support for both blocking new and forcefully terminating established network connections. Comcast has denied these claims whenever they have been asked to comment. A guide, for customer service representatives when asked about Comcast's BitTorrent throttling, was leaked to The Consumerist on October 26, 2007.
3.3.1 (Build 29963) (July 19, 2013) [±]
OS X for Intel
1.8.4 (Build 29561) (April 3, 2013) [±]
1.16 (Beta) (June 19, 2013) [±]
3.0 (Server alpha; build 27079) (May 29, 2012) [±]
3.3.2 (Beta; build 29944) (July 15, 2013) [±]
3.4 (Alpha; build 29972) (July 23, 2013) [±]
µTorrent (or uTorrent; commonly abbreviated as "µT" or "uT") is a free-of-charge, ad-supported, closed source BitTorrent client owned by BitTorrent, Inc. It is the most widely used BitTorrent client outside China (where Xunlei is more popular.) The "µ"(Greek letter "mu") in its name comes from the SI prefix "micro-", referring to the program's small memory footprint: the program was designed to use minimal computer resources while offering functionality comparable to larger BitTorrent clients such as Vuze or BitComet. The program has received consistently good reviews for its feature set, performance, stability, and support for older hardware and versions of Windows.
The program has been in active development since its first release in 2005. Although originally developed by Ludvig Strigeus, since December 7, 2006, the code is owned and maintained by BitTorrent, Inc. The code has also been employed by BitTorrent, Inc. as the basis for version 6.0 and above of the BitTorrent client, a re-branded version of µTorrent.
µTorrent is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Android. A µTorrent Server is also available for Linux. All versions are written in C++.
Out of general discontent with bloatware, Serge Paquet suggested to Ludvig Strigeus that he should make a smaller and more efficient BitTorrent client. Strigeus began to conceptualize the plans for the program's development, which, at the time, did not include making the client feature-rich. After initially working on it for about a month during the last quarter of 2004 (the first build is dated October 17, 2004), mostly during his free time before and after work, Strigeus ceased coding µTorrent for a year. He resumed work on September 15, 2005, and three days later, the first public release (version 1.1 beta) was made available as freeware, and began generating feedback.
On March 4, 2006, PeerFactor SARL announced the signing of a six-month contract with Strigeus for the development of "new content distribution applications on the Web." PeerFactor SARL is a relatively new company formed by former employees of PeerFactor, which was a subsidiary of the French anti-piracy organization Retspan.
Ludde stated that his coding for PeerFactor SARL was to use his expertise at optimization of the BitTorrent protocol to create a .dll which PeerFactor SARL intended to use as part of a distribution platform for files in a corporate setting. At the time there was some speculation that μTorrent may have been modified to spy on users on Peerfactor's behalf, however to date (even following μTorrent's acquisition by BitTorrent, Inc.) no evidence has been produced to support these allegations.
On December 7, 2006, µTorrent was purchased by BitTorrent, Inc., as it was announced on their official forum.
On September 18, 2007, BitTorrent 6.0 was released, which is a re-branded version of µTorrent. As a result, BitTorrent 6 is closed-source (unlike BitTorrent 5.x and before, which were open source software).
Support for Magnet Links (URIs) was added in version 1.8, released on August 9, 2008. Magnet Links were designed as an alternative to traditional tracker torrent files and became popularized when sites such as The Pirate Bay included native support for the format.
Features present in µTorrent include:
µTorrent is shipped as a single stand-alone compressed executable file, installed at first run. Recent versions have included the ability to install themselves on first run. Small executable size is achieved by avoiding the use of many libraries, notably the C++ standard library and stream facilities, and creating substitutes written specifically for the program. The executable is then compressed to roughly half of its compiled and linked size using UPX.
µTorrent is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
The first test version for Mac OS X, running on Mac OS X 10.5, was released on 27 November 2008.
On September 2, 2010, the native Linux version of µTorrent Server was released. Firon, an administrator of the µTorrent community forum, said that they had been working on this project for a few months prior to the release as it was the most requested feature for some time. This release is intended for users who are seeking a fast command-line interface based BitTorrent client with a remote web-based management. They also mentioned that a full featured client with a GUI is a work in progress. He also said: "This is a native Linux port and is known to work on Ubuntu 9.10+, Debian 5+ and Fedora 12+. Others may work, but they are not officially supported. Kernel 2.6.13 or newer required. 64-bit host systems currently have some problems, so 32-bit only for now. For trackers who whitelist, the user agent is "uTorrent/300B(build#)(server)". The peerid is identical to the Windows 3.0 client. They share version numbers because of a common codebase."
Currently μTorrent supports Windows XP or newer and Mac OS X 10.5 or newer
In early versions, Strigeus had built in a web redirection via nanotorrent for search queries entered through the search bar that displayed advertisements in a frame on the web browser. Some users thought this suspicious because tracking could be implemented by recording the IP addresses of those downloading/receiving the advertisements, and the search functionality could easily be used to track user queries through whichever web-interface the client is going through to execute the search. After a short trial period, the advertising was disabled, mitigating possible concerns.
A later version of the software has, instead of ads, a "search all sites" feature, which is a keyword-based search bar that delivers listings of torrent files at different trackers. A frame at the top displays advertisements (server-side) in the browser when the search function is used. In version 1.5, no ads are present in the program itself.
As of build 463, a redirect bypass feature became available in the Advanced options.
As of version 1.8.2, the µTorrent installer gives the user the option to download and install the Ask.com toolbar. This is done on the first run of the program and the user may explicitly opt out of this feature by deselecting it. The developers stated the addition was needed for funds to continue development. In late 2010, this was replaced with the Conduit Engine.
In late 2010, some controversy arose with a release of µTorrent which included adware in the form of the Conduit Engine, which installed a toolbar, and made homepage and default search engine changes to a user's web browser. A number of users reported that the installation was made without the user's consent. There were some complaints that the adware software was difficult to remove. In 2011, µTorrent bundled the Microsoft Bing toolbar.
On July 15, 2011, BitTorrent announced that they would offer a paid version of µTorrent called "µTorrent Plus". This new version would offer extra features, such as integrated file conversion, anti-virus and a built in media player. On 6 October 2011, the Pre-alpha of µTorrent Plus was released to an invite only community. As of December 2011, µTorrentPlus 3.1 Stable is now available for purchase and download.
In August 2012, BitTorrent announced the addition of advertising in the free version of µTorrent which could be individually dismissed by users. Due to response from users, a few days later, the company stated that ads could be optionally turned off. Starting from version 3.2.1 ads can actually be disabled manually from tools menu.
Starting with uTorrent version 3.2.2, the software also contains in-content advertisements described as "Featured Torrent". It is possible to disable the "Featured Torrent" by selecting Options>Advanced, searching for the parameter offers.sponsored_torrent_offer_enabled and switching the value to "False". The program must be restarted in order to remove the advertisement.
The author of µTorrent wrote in 2005, "I usually say 'you torrent' because it looks like a u", and offered "microtorrent", "mytorrent" (as "my" is the Swedish pronunciation of the Greek letter µ) and later "mutorrent" as alternate pronunciations.
The symbol μ is the lowercase Greek letter Mu, which stands for the SI prefix "micro-" meaning "one millionth"; it refers to the program's small footprint.
The traditional English pronunciation of the letter μ is /ˈmjuː/ (as in the English word 'mew'), derived from its Classical Greek pronunciation (impossible to represent accurately with "sound-alike" respelling, since English lacks the close front rounded vowel [y]). The corresponding Standard Modern Greek pronunciation is , much like the English word 'me'.
Original development was performed by Ludvig Strigeus ("ludde", from Sweden), the creator of µTorrent. Serge Paquet ("vurlix", from Canada) acted as release coordinator, and had intended to work on Linux and Mac OS X ports. He maintained the µTorrent website and forum up until the end of 2005, but is no longer affiliated with µTorrent.
Development after the purchase by BitTorrent is performed by developers Adam Kelly ("AdamK"), Arvid Norberg ("arvid", author of libtorrent), Greg Hazel ("alus"), Jan Brittenson ("CodeRed"), Richard Choi ("rchoi"), Ryan Norton ("RyanNorton") and Venkat Naidu ("naiduv") among others at BitTorrent Inc. Strigeus remains as a technical consultant.
Other tasks continue to be performed by ongoing contributors. Giancarlo Martínez ("Firon", from Puerto Rico) maintains the µTorrent forums and FAQ. Carsten Niebuhr ("Directrix", from Germany) developed the original µTorrent Web User Interface which is now maintained by "Ultima".
μTorrent has been praised for its small size and minimal computer resources used, which sets it apart from other clients. PC Magazine stated that it "packs an outstanding array of features" in 2006 and listed it in their 2008 "Best free 157 software tools". It was also in PC World's "101 Fantastic freebies". The website TorrentFreak.com said it was the most feature rich BitTorrent client available, later summarizing a 2009 University of California, Riverside study which concluded that "uTorrent Download Speeds Beat Vuze By 16%" on average and "on 10% of [the 30 most used] ISPs, uTorrent users were downloading 30% faster than Vuze users". About.com said it was the best BitTorrent client available, citing its small size and "minimal impact to the rest of your computer's speed." Wired.com said its "memory footprint is also ridiculously small". PC & Tech Authority magazine (Australia) gave it 6 stars (out of 6). Lifehacker.com rated it the best BitTorrent client available (Windows) in 2008 and 2011 (Windows and Mac). CNET.com gave it 5 stars (of 5) saying it features "light and quick downloading".
In November 2009 52 million users were reported to be using the application, and in late 2011, 132 million.
According to a study by Arbor Networks, the 2008 adoption of IPv6 by µTorrent caused a 15-fold increase in IPv6 traffic across the Internet over a ten-month period.
The software is available in the following languages:
Vuze (previously Azureus) is a BitTorrent client used to transfer files via the BitTorrent protocol. Vuze is written in Java, and uses the Azureus Engine. In addition to downloading data linked to .torrent files, Azureus allows users to view, publish and share original DVD and HD quality video content. Content is presented through channels and categories containing TV shows, music videos, movies, video games, series and others. Additionally, if users prefer to publish their original content, they may earn money from it.
Azureus was first released in June 2003 at SourceForge.net, mostly to experiment with the Standard Widget Toolkit from Eclipse. It later became one of the most popular BitTorrent clients. The Azureus software was released under the GNU General Public License, and remains as a free software application. However, the Vuze software added in more recent versions is proprietary and users are required to accept these more restrictive license terms in order to install current versions of the BitTorrent client.
Azureus supports the following Azureus Platform specific features:
Azureus also supports the following cross-interface features:
Since version 3.0, Azureus starts with the main Vuze interface, designed to promote Vuze content. Here, users can browse media on the Vuze Network, share torrents with friends, and chat. Everything from the classic UI is still available, although hidden, under the Vuze interface (see below). Vuze requires a registered account to gain access to certain content on the Vuze Network.
Users upgrading from previous versions will automatically keep the classic interface. For those who are installing for the first time or re-installing, it is possible to bypass the Vuze layer by going to Tools->Options, Interface->Start, and selecting "Classic Interface" from the Vuze UI Chooser. From version 18.104.22.168 users can customize the installation to use the classic interface.
The main noticeable difference between the classic interface and the Vuze interface is the header and footer. In addition, Vuze Network features are unavailable.
While downloading a file under the classic or advanced interface, the user can view several different statistics including:
Azureus also offers a range of plugins including (but not limited to):
A complete list can be seen here
Azureus was first released in June 2003 at SourceForge.net. The blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates azureus) was chosen as the logo and named by co-creator Tyler Pitchford. This choice was due to Latin names of poison dart frogs being used as codenames for his development projects.
In 2006 "Vuze" was released as an attempt to transform the client into a "social" client by a group of the original developers forming Azureus Inc., shortly to be renamed Vuze, Inc. A Vuze-free version of Azureus was released along with Vuze during the beta period. The releases used version numbers 3.0, while the Vuze-free versions continued with the 2.5 release numbers. The first reaction to the change was met with confusion, because of this. In addition, some of the developers voiced opposition to the idea of completely transforming the client.][ Starting with an unknown version, Vuze was coupled with Azureus. Soon after, "NoVuze" modified versions were released on The Pirate Bay, and as of September 15, 2008, are available for versions up to 22.214.171.124. On June 16, 2008, the developers of Azureus/Vuze decided to stop releasing versions named Azureus, and complete the name change with the release of version 3.1. The client engine however, remains unchanged as Azureus.
Up to version 126.96.36.199, Azureus was distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL); beginning with the version 3 distribution, the license presented upon installation changed. While it still states that the "Azureus Application" is available under the GPL, completing installation requires the user to agree to the terms of the "Vuze Platform," which include restrictions on use, reverse-engineering, and sublicensing. As with many similar licenses, the Azureus licence includes a prohibition on use of the software by people "under the age of 18." Allegedly, the TOS only applies to the website, vuze.com, and not the software, however the actual TOS include the application as part of the platforms.
Vuze has received Softpedia Editor's pick award, having received an editor score of 4 out of 5 from two reviews: One in 23 November 2005 and another on 7 February 2012. Softpedia has categorized Vuze as ad-supported, because, according to Softpedia, Vuze changes or offers to change home page and search and to install a promotional component not necessary for the program to function.
In February 2010, What.CD and Waffles.fm decided to ban the use of Vuze and Deluge.
Vuze includes built-in support for Tor, an anonymity network. The onion routers are run by volunteers using their own bandwidth at their own cost. Due to the high bandwidth usage caused by the BitTorrent protocol, it is considered impolite and inappropriate by Tor community members to use the Tor network for BitTorrent transfers. By default, the Tor exit policy blocks the standard BitTorrent ports.
Orbit Downloader is a download manager for Microsoft Windows. One of the main features of the program is its ability to grab and download embedded Flash Video files from sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Metacafe, etc. Orbit Downloader also accelerates downloads by acting as a peer-to-peer client, utilizing bandwidth of other users.
Orbit Downloader supports downloading from HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, Metalink, RTSP, MMS and RTMP protocols. Orbit Downloader supports Internet Explorer, Maxthon, Mozilla Firefox and Opera web browsers.
Orbit Downloader is an advertising-supported product since it may change the web browser's homepage upon installation and also offers to install software that are not critical for its operation.
Recently Orbit Downloader has begun to display built-in Ads inside the program main window at the bottom left corner and also display ads when download finishes dialog box appears.
The latest version attempts connections to two Vietnamese IP addresses that no longer are active. The application attempts to open multiple simultaneous connections to those IP addresses, exhausting all network resources which are available. The TCP connection does have a spoofed source IP, indicating it is a possible malicious DOS attack/attempt.
Super-seeding is an algorithm developed by John Hoffman for the BitTorrent communications protocol.
The algorithm applies to a scenario in which there is only one seed in the swarm. By permitting each downloader to download only specific parts of the files listed in a torrent, it equips peers to begin seeding sooner.
In 2003, BitTornado became the first BitTorrent client to implement the algorithm.
Rather than claiming to have every piece from the outset, the seeder claims to have no pieces. As peers connect, the seed will inform a peer that it has received a new piece, one that has not yet been sent to any other peers. The seed then unchokes the peer and allows it to download the piece. The seed will not upload another piece to the same peer until the seed receives confirmation from other peers that the piece has been uploaded again.
The intent of strictly limiting the uploading of duplicate pieces is that a super seeder will upload fewer bits than a standard seeder would before peers begin to complete, though it does not necessarily mean that the initial seed will complete in less time. Duration until the first completion of a downloader during a super seed is limited by the upload rate of the peers connected to the super seeder. Additionally, the seed does not have global information about piece distribution, and may not be informed of a piece being uploaded if the piece is uploaded to a peer not connected to the seed (which often occurs when the seed cannot accept incoming connections). If many seeds on a mature torrent are using super seed mode, the performance of the torrent will be limited.
Super seed mode is most useful for seeds that pay for upload bandwidth by the byte. In that case, super seeding makes sense as it minimizes the costs required to seed a torrent. Additionally, when one has a low upload speed super seed is very efficient. In other cases, the benefits of super seeding are not so clear. The configuration of peers and their individual upload capacities over the spectrum of individual torrents varies widely.
Testing by one group found that super seeding can help save an upload ratio of around 20%. It works best when the upload speed of the seed is greater than that of individual peers.
The overall positive effect is not reserved only for the initial seeder, however, because the method creates multiple seeds in a more efficient manner than "average" seeding in a limited number of cases (one seeder, multiple incomplete peers). In theory, once the initial seeder uploads one complete copy of the file, multiple new seeds should emerge in a matter of minutes, thus boosting the overall uploading speed of the swarm. In practice, the results may vary for various reasons.
Super seeding transfers stall when there is only one downloading client. The seeders will not send more data until a second client receives the data. To avoid this, rTorrent continues to offer more pieces to the peers without waiting for confirmation, until it is uploading at its configured capacity. This improves the upload speed until enough peers have joined the swarm, at the cost of not being able to detect cheating peers. Vuze uses an unknown method to prevent stalling,][ but it still limits upload speed][. It is not known if any other implementations use a timeout or other solution. When uploading to a single client, it's recommended to disable super-seeding.
Burnbit is an Internet service and website that allows users to create a torrent for any file that is hosted anywhere on the internet.
The major innovation behind Burnbit is that it allows web based seeding of torrents. At the same time it also allows users to search and download torrent files.
The users only need to upload their files to a web-server. When they submit the URL to Burnbit, a corresponding torrent file will be generated which can be shared with the public. All this requires only a few clicks. The torrent file is hosted by Burnbit and made available for download. All files provided by Burnbit are by default public. If the file is mirrored on other servers, each mirror URL needs to be submitted and is automatically added to the existing torrent.
Notable users of Burnbit include the Wikimedia Foundation. The Wikimedia Foundation uses Burnbit technology to distribute the Wikipedia data dumps via BitTorrent. This enables users to get their own offline copy of Wikipedia.
The Burnbit site currently indexes more than 150,000 files. All these files have been automatically categorized.
Burnbit has received universally good reviews.
The UDP tracker protocol is a high-performance low-overhead BitTorrent tracker protocol. It uses the stateless User Datagram Protocol (UDP) for data transmission instead of the HTTP protocol (over TCP) regular trackers use. The data is in a custom binary format instead of the standard bencode algorithm BitTorrent uses for most communication.
URLs for this protocol have the following format: udp://tracker:port. This protocol is supported by only some BitTorrent clients.
The UDP tracker is better optimized and puts less strain on the tracking server. Neither tracker has any effect on transfer speeds.