BitTorrent at War With VoIP? Hardly

The Internet is close to a meltdown, according to The Register. The culprit, according to author Richard Bennett, is the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent, which introduced a new type of file transfer with its most recent alpha version. BitTorrent clients have long been using the TCP protocol to facilitate file transfers, but now uTorrent is moving to UDP, a protocol that is very popular for streaming media, VoIP and other real-time transfers. This will essentially lead to torrents eating up all of the bandwidth available for VoIP, according to Bennett, who calls uTorrent’s UDP transfers a “net-killing feature.” Read More about BitTorrent at War With VoIP? Hardly

µTorrent Comes to Mac in Beta Form

If I’m using stuck using Windows for whatever reason, I’m probably using µTorrent. It’s fast, lightweight, and far superior in almost every way to any of the other, more bloated Windows clients. That said, I still prefer Transmission overall, and that’s what I use on my Mac machines. I love them both, for similar reasons, but luckily I’ve never had to choose between the two, since they weren’t available on the same platform. Until now. µTorrent Mac Beta has been released and is shattering my carefully divided reality.

I had to fight a little reluctance, and remove my Transmission icon from my dock so it wouldn’t see my betrayal, but I managed to download and install the new beta. I have to admit, µTorrent’s icon is very appealing. Score one for the newcomer. It also opened very quickly, revealing a minimal, Mac-friendly, attractive user interface. So this is what temptation feels like.

With the proper ports forwarded in my firewall, and running one after the other, not simultaneously, I found download speeds to be roughly the same in both applications on my test file, a (legally) free audio book of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. Both feature individual file prioritization, speed limits, peer information, and ratio monitoring and automatic stopping of seeding at customizable ratios. After I performed my brief test, I had to ask myself: would µTorrent unseat Transmission as my go-to torrent client?

There are a few reasons why it won’t. First, I really like Transmission’s automatic resizing of the application window to fit active torrents. It may be a minor feature, but I’m nuts for it. Can’t go back. Second, the Transmission icon can be badged with upload and download rate, while µTorrent’s cannot. That at-a-glance access to rate information saves me a lot of time in obsessive application window switching. Finally, Transmission supports remote control, groups, speed limit scheduling, and has an auto-add function for a folder you specify. That’s a lot of “finalies”, I realize, but I don’t want to overdo it with the feature listing. It’s probably the product of having been an actively developed app for far longer than µTorrent has, but Transmission still wins nonetheless.  Recent Windows-switchers will have a familiar face to greet them when they cross over though, and that’s always a good thing.

Vuze Takes A Gamble With New Client

Vuze Inc. is introducing version 4.0 of its BitTorrent client later this week in an effort to both win back hardcore P2P users and broaden the overall user base of the file sharing protocol. Vuze 4.0 features a completely revamped interface, a new (and actually pretty clever) subscription mechanism, as well as the option to search third-party torrent sites like Mininova. The application continues to offer access to Vuze’s own content platform, albeit in a slightly less in-your-face kind of way. The content patform, now called Vuze HD Network, is also shifting directions.
Vuze 4.0 is an interesting piece of software, if only because it shows how difficult it is to monetize P2P. Competitors like BitTorrent Inc. have tried and failed to convert users into paying online video customers. Vuze is now taking a gamble by going back to its pirate-friendly roots, hoping to convince both its users and content owners to give free and ad-supported P2P-downloads a chance. It’s risky — but it may just be the only thing that works.
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