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August 30, 2007
Writing about web page http://technology.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn12565&feedId=online-news_rss20
As part of my subscription to New Scientist, I get a free online subscription too, which I choose to manage via their RSS feeds and Google Reader. One of the articles I saw today was an interesting modification to the BitTorrent protocol that has come out of Harvard, and is encapsulated in the Tribler program.
The modification itself is quite interesting; taking the BitTorrent etiquette of giving back to the swarm what you download (i.e., maintaining a share ratio of 1.0), and the practice of blocking leechers (who have a share ratio far below 1.0) carried out by some private torrents, the Tribler guys have created a bandwidth credit system. You actually trade bandwidth: uploading "earns" your bandwidth, and downloading is classed as "spending" your bandwidth. Thus, if you don't upload, you can't download. The creators hope that content can be distributed as fairly and efficiently as possible (cf. the ISPs' current issues with high-bandwidth applications such as video).
Not only this, but looking briefly into the client program's features, it has collided head-on with the socially-networked world of "Web 2.0". A recommendation system based on a "collaborative filtering algorithm" highlights torrents that you are likely to enjoy. It also provides you with a one-stop shop for everything required to use your torrents - no more hunting the 'net for the right codec, Tribler has got it covered.
Sounds good, but I'm not sure I'm ready to switch from Azureus yet. Not on my PC, at least, which has enough power to cope with Azureus' memory-hogging antics, but Tribler might be worth investigating on my now-rather-underpowered G4 iBook...