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Azureus Adding “Content Layer”

Postby Malicious Intent » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:41 am

Azureus, the ever popular Open Source BitTorrent client, is due to announce the addition of a “content layer” to the software at OnHollywood 2006.

OnHollywood sells itself as “where cutting edge technology from the backstreets of Silicon Valley meets Hollywood’s digital media revolution.” It is a two and a half day event that provides, “an open environment where top digital entertainment and media entrepreneurs meet the big-time studio, telco and consumer electrics executives.”

Earlier this year, Azureus won the first ever SourceForge Community Choice Awards. Based on the voice of the SourceForge community, Azureus took the best overall winner prize.

Figures from GetAzureus.com show that the client has been downloaded more than 115 million times and currently has more than 1.1 million users connected.

Slyck.com caught up with Alon Rohter, Azureus cofounder and software engineer, and Gilles BianRosa, Chief Executive Officer of Azureus, to get an exclusive preview on next week’s announcement.

“We're addressing probably the number one complaint we hear about Azureus: ‘ok, I installed the thing, where do I find some good content for it?’,” Alon Rohter, Azureus cofounder and software engineer, told Slyck.com.

Azureus are developing an integrated platform, or “content layer”, to help their users share, discuss and interact with media.

Anybody will be able to post content to the new platform and promote it within social or interest groups. The ultimate popularity of the content will be based on user votes and feedback.

“We want to aggregate people around hi-def, high quality rich media, because that's what Azureus does best,” Gilles BianRosa, the Chief Executive Officer of Azureus, explained to Slyck.com. “We think of it as a platform. You can do plenty of different things with it, whether you want to share content with 5 friends or family, or whether you want to share your snowboarding stunts with a community of thousands.”

There is a multitude of video sharing sites already offering simple ways to share holiday and snowboarding footage, but BianRosa reasons that they are only useful “if you want a three minute lo-res video, for a quick laugh-break while you are at work.”

“We believe the Azureus user experience, both for content owners and viewers, will be superior,” he said.

Research carried out by Azureus estimates that more than 10,000 movies are produced each year in the U.S., but 90% never find an audience.

"This is an exciting time for the Azureus community as we have the opportunity to help little known but high quality digital entertainment productions to come to light, created either by movie professionals or digital video hobbyists," BianRosa is quoted as saying in the company press release. "Azureus' vision is to lead the digital entertainment revolution by providing the best solution for media content owners to reach out to a young, Internet-savvy audience in a safe and cost effective way.”

It all sounds very glamorous, but µTorrent brings content to their users with the simple addition of search box for the major torrent indexing sites.

Rohter defended, “[We are offering] high quality and easy to find content, easy to interact with and share, legal to download, guaranteed availability – it is much more than just search.”

Large movie studios and record labels will not be targeted for the project, as the Azureus team do not believe that they are ready yet. “You're not going to see Star Wars or Batman quite yet,” joked Rohter.

Azureus hope to one day profit from the content layer, but no potential charges or methods of payment have been seriously analysed. The only current policy on DRM is, “No DRM if we can get away without it, we all hate DRM ourselves.”

BianRosa explained the lack of direction: “We want to focus on creating a really cool, new user experience. That's our focus. If we are successful, then as a company I don’t doubt that we'll be able to generate revenue to make this user experience even better.”

The content layer will be Open Source and fully integrated with the Azureus BitTorrent client.

Slyck.com accused Azureus of adding unwanted features and making bloatware, to which BianRosa reacted, “That this is precisely the point. We want to streamline the user experience. Who doesn’t hate bloatware? … More features clearly doesn’t mean more unwanted features, in my opinion. These products address different needs.”

The new content layer will not affect the functionality of the BitTorrent layer. No filters or other measures will be introduced to block traffic objected to by the owners of the media using the content layer.

“The Azureus team is quite excited about this project, and we've gone through great lengths to make sure our users will love it too,” Rohter promised.

A full preview of the new Azureus will be held at the Top Innovator Demo program at OnHollywood 2006, held May 2 - 4 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.

Public testing of the software will begin soon afterwards, ready for the full release during the summer. No dates have yet been finalized.
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Postby shulkman » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:56 am

My first thought as I started reading this was "bloatware". I'm glad to see the slyck had the same thought and has already addressed it. I must say that no matter how great Azureus says these new features will be, I feel it will be adding too much unneeded junk to the program. Azureus is a bittorent client, not a multimedia powerhouse/amazon.com/netflix child of Frankenstein. They need to keep the resources used and bandwidth wasted to a minimum, or they're gonna lose a lot of users over this.
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Postby Nick » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:59 am

Good article, Mike, very good.

Tempting to say that the rather transparent commercial aspirations of Azureus are relatively redious news, but this will come as a bit of a wake up call to those in London at the moment trying to secure deals over their "garden walled" P2P network plans.

Whilst I'm no great fan of Az, it's good to see them making plans for the future. I suspect they won't be quite as anti DRM when the chips are down and at a time when they find themselves at the negotiating table, but only time will tell.
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Postby Nuttyguy » Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:07 am

this new version they speak of, im assuming its a complete remake. If they were smart, they wouldnt run it off of java anymore. The reason it takes up so much RAM is due to Java.

I know java is an easy way to make it cross platform, but theres others ways.

I tried it a couple times, but even on my computer with a gig of ram, I still noticed a huge slowdown of everything. I tried uTorrent, and havnt turned back yet. Id love to try out this new version, I just hope their smart about it.
Last edited by Nuttyguy on Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby zim » Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:08 am

well... there goes azurueus...

it will be dead in a year.
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Postby AussieMatt » Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:12 am

Several of the so called Walled Gargen p2p networks did anounce last year that they where proposing a "Comsumer Injestion" platform where customers could upload user gererated content ,that is either Ad supported or for a fee .
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Postby lufc » Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:21 am

Sounds like another sell-out to me.
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Postby Fartingbob » Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:58 am

Its trying to be like a business expanding its portfolio (yay for business 5p34k), but i think AZ should stick to the basic idea of getting your torrents to you, and showing lots of fancy things about the torrent and swarm. This seems to be a move more akin to kazaa than to an open source torrent client.
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Postby SlyckScratch » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:15 am

At the risk of repeating myself for the 1000th time, inflicting serious damage to file-sharing is not the sole preserve of the legal system.

Maybe Allied should extend his graveyard thread to include a sort of P2P purgatory? A place where the law finds it morally more difficult to attack you. A place where you declare your intentions to clean up your act, wipe away the stains of piracy, start issuing press releases and generally get into the corporate swing. And move entirely away from unlicensed - aka illigitimate - file-sharing for good, straight away.

Well soon at least. Soonish. Well, sort of an overlap situation really - we need to build up a userbase of legitimate users, not the naughty ones though. But they are allowed to mass beta test our software. And while they're doing that we'll get them immersed.

Think of it as a conversion process from free, to not free. Unless of course JUN's contacts want to sponsor everything. In which case, as you were - everything's free again.

I wonder who'll win this race - Azureus or uTorrent?
I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' To tell the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement - but as I deal in English, the most powerful language in the world with subtle nuances that may blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' Well do you punk?
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Postby movieguy » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:19 am

BitComet .66 just released????
Im a uTorrent man myself
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Different perspective

Postby z0rkzer0 » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:38 am

Obviously, I appear to have read this article with a different perspective than most of you. Upon reading it again, I still think it's a good idea.

Sounds to me like Az is trying to provide a distribution outlet for non-Hollywood movie-makers to get their product out. Much like the music industry, it's hard for truly independent and creative people to get a foothold against the cartels. If this is what they're trying to accomplish, I say Bravo!

I look forward to learning more details about this effort.
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Postby OhMyGod » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:56 am

shulkman wrote:My first thought as I started reading this was "bloatware". I'm glad to see the slyck had the same thought and has already addressed it. I must say that no matter how great Azureus says these new features will be, I feel it will be adding too much unneeded junk to the program. Azureus is a bittorent client, not a multimedia powerhouse/amazon.com/netflix child of Frankenstein. They need to keep the resources used and bandwidth wasted to a minimum, or they're gonna lose a lot of users over this.


I completely agree, but this is a good article. Azurues has too many features already, its just too hard for an average file sharer to understand how to use all of these unnecssary features. I can get the same download speeds with uTorrent and BitComet without all of these unnecessary features and Java's ram issue. I still can't figure out why someone would stick with Azureus when there is uTorrent and BitComet.

Thanks. :D
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Postby AussieMatt » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:01 pm

Jun's Business Model is to provide Ad supported content.

So we are kind of back to square one where p2p started off with Adware, this time instead of giving you pop up ads they will embed commercials in shows they have the permission to distribute with commercials that are targeted to your Google searches and personalised preferences .

ABC next month will allow streaming of shows like Lost or Desperate housewives that are ad supported in an online experiment wand I'm sure they will try to present users with a survey asking their advertising preferences .

Of course you could also go purchase these shows off iTunes for $1.99 or download them via Bittorrent for free, but when you can download\stream them from the source for free why bother .
Last edited by AussieMatt on Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby LaX » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:02 pm

Its kinda like a 5 star hotel suite and a common 2-3 star hotel room. You dont need all the extra luxury, but people still live in hotel suites.

Though I wouldnt mind Azureus cutting off some things and allow the user to add them back if they want it. To me, building on is usually better than having it all.
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Postby Ronny » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:14 pm

Sounds like a great idea for an optional plugin. But if they're trying to make Az into an all-singing all-dancing do-everything platform, then I'll just go back to uTorrent.
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Re: Different perspective

Postby Fartingbob » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:19 pm

z0rkzer0 wrote:Sounds to me like Az is trying to provide a distribution outlet for non-Hollywood movie-makers to get their product out. Much like the music industry, it's hard for truly independent and creative people to get a foothold against the cartels. If this is what they're trying to accomplish, I say Bravo!

I look forward to learning more details about this effort.

Yes, it would be nice for a central place where anybody can upload there own material and spread the word. But why should that be included in a torrent client? Why not just have a website with torrent links? This is what it seems like they want. something much like loads of sites already out there, but only for AZ users.
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Postby Andu » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:31 pm

Is it just me that was kind of reminded of the eMule content db at first? Until I noticed that they expect to make some kind of profit there and want to integrate it into the client itself.

I'm interested in seeing the implementation before I decide if it's a good or a bad thing.
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Postby Allied » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:45 pm

µ.
Allied's Review:
Recommended: LimeWire | Ares | Shareaza | eMule | KCeasy
Not Recommended: Morpheus | Kazaa | eDonkey2000 | Manolito | iMesh
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Postby blargh » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:08 pm

Whoa, just when you thought that Azureus couldn't get any more fatter, they turn around and surprise you more!

I initially loved AZ, but had to drop it because of it's heavy weight. Months passed, I tried a buttload of clients, all equally crappy (at one point, I was even trying out the standard client.. yeeeech!)

Then µTorrent materialized out of thin air, and I haven't looked back since.

But, this new (commercialized) step might be the thing that forces the many users into other alternatives, people don't want their BT client to display ads, nor do they want it to handle DRM either. (notice how they don't actually DENY that they would put DRM in? they just said that they didn't like it... interesting)
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Postby Fartingbob » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:13 pm

blargh wrote:(notice how they don't actually DENY that they would put DRM in? they just said that they didn't like it... interesting)

“No DRM if we can get away without it, we all hate DRM ourselves.” That sounds like they wont put DRM in unless forced (and then if the thing ends up being user voting based, all DRM stuff will disapear quickly from sight.
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Postby IceCube » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:35 pm

Scratch? MI? Didn't we have a rule against fanboyism? :roll:

After wading through all the uTorrent fanboyism, it almost sounds like they might incorporate vidcasting/podcasting (at least early on) much like the iTunes music store feature of the same thing. This replication of the iTunes feature has been demanded by a lot of users for quite some time and it appears as though the Azureus team will finally do that. Yes, there are search engines for vidcasting (loads of them actually) but they aren't RSS'd in such a way as to be built into a program (as you can see with the iTunes music store)

It looks interesting, but I don't know how easy it would be for them to put in MPAA-type material on there. I'm betting it'll be some time before that happens, but putting in vidcasts won't be so hard as vidcasters won't mind having another means of spreading their content.
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Re: Different perspective

Postby z0rkzer0 » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:51 pm

Fartingbob wrote:But why should that be included in a torrent client? Why not just have a website with torrent links?

Why not? If it impairs performance, or impedes functionality, I agree with you. If it doesn't, it's much more convenient built right into the client. Plus, it's less susceptible to Hacks, DDoS, and the other attacks that agents of the establishment will launch against it. :)
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Postby nJectid » Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:20 pm

I can see a connection growing between Azureus and a little program know as KaZaa?? How long will it take to release a AZ-Lite version?

I really like the current Azureus the way it is, even with the huge amount of memory required by java. But as some of you have already stated, this is a program that should stick simply to protocal. I don't think anyone was asking for advertisments on this client. This is going to use more memory, as well as cpu and network bandwith. I personally think this a step in the wrong direction.
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Postby Anonymous » Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:26 pm

Why did they do this? They had the best bittorrent software availiable..........
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Postby MrFredPFL » Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:31 pm

“We're addressing probably the number one complaint we hear about Azureus: ‘ok, I installed the thing, where do I find some good content for it?’,” Alon Rohter, Azureus cofounder and software engineer, told Slyck.com.


i find that statement very difficult to believe.
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