I’ve come across a number of free Torrent related resources recently that I wanted to mention: BitTyrant, Bitlet, ShareControl Classic, I2P, and Tribler.
BitTyrant: this one is a torrent client based on Azureus. Dubbed a “strategic BitTorrent Client that improves performance”, BitTyrant promises an average of 70% faster downloads based on testing on “more than 100 real BitTorrent swarms”, and in some instances has achieved a threefold increase in download speeds.
It does this by being picky over which peers to interact with; it gives more of your finite uploading capacity to those users provide more bandwidth. Note that BitTyrant does not change how much data is uploaded, just which
users receive the data. I’ve been testing it for a while now and while I’m certainly happy with its performance, its far from clear whether/how much its performance is better than my previous client (Azureus).
You might have sensed a Darwinian “survival of the fittest” aspect to BitTyrant that threatens to leave users with low bandwidth in the dust, which is something to think about when using this program. The makers of BitTyrant content that it is merely fair (“if a user is downloading at 30 Kbps, they should upload at 30 Kbps”), and that by rewarding more efficient users the entire community achieves faster downloads.
BitTyrant was developed as a University research project. Its developers have written a research paper the subject of maximizing performance and conserving upload contribution, and its effects on the community of users that is downloadable here: pdf.
BitLet: this is a web-based Torrent client that can download a Torrent file for you if you provide it with the Torrent URL.
The obvious benefits of doing this are:
- If you are using a computer that doesn’t have a Torrent client installed
- You can point Torrent-challenged friends who can never figure out how to download torrents to this web service and it just may be the solution to their rare Torrent-downloading needs
- You can use it to download torrents in places (work, school) where p2p and/or Torrent clients are blocked.
Bitlet requires that your browsers has the JAVA VM plugin installed.
ShareControl Classic: this program checks a download directory for a file or file type and, once found, immediately moves it to another directory. Although I haven’t actually tested this I can think of two uses for this program:
- Let’s say you are downloading something you shouldn’t (say the latest Hollywood blockbuster) and want to limit your participation in downloading/uploading it to the smallest window of time possible, you can use ShareControl to monitor the download directory, and once your .AVI file fully materializes ShareControl can immediately move it into another, safe directory.
- If you are concerned that whatever you are downloading might contain malware, and do not want to actively share/propagate it until you have a chance to check it out, you can use ShareControl to move it for you until such a time as you can get it checked.
I2P: is an “anonymous network layer” that allows anonymous data transfers over the Internet. There are a number of Torrent client options that work with I2P to provide anonymous Torrent filesharing; I2P itself comes with I2PSnark included, while other options include I2PRufus, and Azureus with the I2P plugin installed. For instructions on how to set up anonymous Torrent clients check out this Ghacks article.
UPDATE: the I2P service seems to have been discontinued.
Tribler: I mentioned this one in my recent Free video resources article, but will quickly mention it again. Tribler will search YouTube, Liveleak, and the torrent network for video files and will act as a recommendation engine for available video files that it thinks you might like based on your viewing habits.