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BitTyrant - The Selfish BitTorrent Client

Postby SlyckTom » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:43 am

BitTorrent is far from perfect. Download speeds can be dirt slow, files are sometimes unavailable, and often times this community is the last place to look for on demand entertainment. To supplement these shortcomings, many file hungry netizens find themselves spending upwards of $20 a month for Usenet access. Paradoxically, those accused of ‘stealing’ content likely spend considerably more than the average iTunes user for entertainment– albeit from unauthorized sources.

The growing popularity of Usenet – or the newsgroups – represents a technological quantum leap backwards when compared to the sophistication of BitTorrent. Unlike BitTorrent, which blurs the lines of Internet elitism, Usenet is the exact opposite. Usenet is composed of hierarchies – both literal and figurative. Each Usenet user fills a specific role – those who download content and the providers who post the material.

That’s the way Usenet distribution has worked since day one and everyone leaves at the end of the day happy. Downloaders are not expected to post material, nor are they encouraged to. Although seemingly easy, posting material to the newsgroups is done by the Usenet equivalent of a professional, who intimately knows the nuances of doing the job right.

With this system, most Usenet users download at maximum bandwidth. There’s no appreciable upload bandwidth to be concerned about, no swarming, no sharing – just pure, unadulterated downloading. If the end user wants to download a file immediately – there’s no other place, not even BitTorrent, that can provide that kind of demand.

BitTorrent is an entirely different system. In the BitTorrent universe, all users act as part of a swarm. In other words, as the end user downloads a file, the client is immediately forced to upload as well. The BitTorrent protocol enforces this with the use of ratios. The more an individual uploads, the better the download performance. This works very well for the higher bandwidth capacity portion of the BitTorrent community; however those with limited upload speed often feel very differently. A maxed upload often leads to miserable performance, not only for obtaining files but general Internet use as well.

To circumvent this sometimes timely and annoying situation, a series of inventive and sometimes ingenious ‘spoofing’ techniques have appeared. Although there are a variety of techniques, the bottom line is to fool the BitTorrent community into believing the client has uploaded far more than in actuality – thereby increasing download performance.

No one likes a cheater though, not even the evil-doers that occupy the file-sharing landscape. Yet the situation does reflect a serious problem within the BitTorrent community, and one that has yet to be satisfactorily dealt with. However, the folks over at the University of Washington think they may be onto a potential solution.

The ‘solution’ is a BitTorrent client named BitTyrant, a ‘selfish’ application based on the open source Azureus client. Far from an end-all solution, it provides an interesting alternative to the current one size fits all ration structure.

“BitTyrant differs from existing clients in its selection of which peers to unchoke and send rates to unchoked peers,” BitTyrant’s FAQ states. “Suppose your upload capacity is 50 KBps. If you’ve unchoked 5 peers, existing clients will send each peer 10 KBps, independent of the rate each is sending to you. In contrast, BitTyrant will rank all peers by their receive / sent ratios, preferentially unchoking those peers with high ratios. For example, a peer sending data to you at 20 KBps and receiving data from you at 10 KBps will have a ratio of 2, and would be unchoked before unchoking someone uploading at 10 KBps (ratio 1). Further, BitTyrant dynamically adjusts its send rate, giving more data to peers that can and do upload quickly and reducing send rates to others.”

Say what? After skimming through the FAQ and the lengthy academic <a href=http://bittyrant.cs.washington.edu/#papers target=_blank>paper</a>, many BitTorrent users may exclaim, “It’s just another cheat client! Ban it!” Just one second though...

BitTyrant doesn’t quite deserve such immediate belittlement. In fact, it should be commended for at least attempting to explain and remedy ratio problems for low capacity clients. Additionally, there is no cheating or falsification with the BitTyrant client – nor does it aim to lessen one’s upload bandwidth in exchange for massive download consumption.

<b>OMG Slyck, isn’t BitTyrant just another leech client? The FAQ even says “adjusts its send rate!!11111"</b>

It does say that, but there’s a whole lot more going on here. Most efforts which aim to cheat BitTorrent do so with very little technical, theoretical or practical back up. The folks at BitTyrant could have easily just have started “BitTyrant.com”, thrown some Google ads up, spammed some forums and called it a day. But it’s important to note how this academic effort separates itself from just another BitTorrent hack.

The effort behind BitTyrant is not to defeat or throttle uploading. In fact, it contributes to the swarm like any good BitTorrent client does. Rather, its purpose is to enhance the downloading performance of the average client.

<b>U know that’s not possible! Ban it!</b>

And what purpose would banning an academically oriented BitTorrent client serve? Remember, BitTyrant is an experiment – not some commercial venture. Much like any file-sharing network, there are givers and leechers. A majority are leechers – even in BitTorrent – who simply stay on long enough to get what they want and then vanish. The “altruists” or the givers, make up the smaller percentage of a typical P2P network. Being the “selfish” BitTorrent client that BitTyrant self-proclaims, it works by exploiting this vast generosity.

BitTyrant looks for two things, a favorable ratio and a high upload capacity client. BitTyrant tries to mitigate the sometimes very time consuming and performance degrading situation of spending hours uploading, while receiving very little in return. Simplistically, BitTyrant looks for the best performing peers and deprioritizes those clients that would otherwise yield poor performance.

BitTyrant is already off to a rough start, having already been banned by two indexing sites. The creators already admit that a BitTorrent community filled with BitTyrant would probably degrade the network – however this is a research application and this scenario is nearly impossible. For research and academic purposes, BitTyrant brings a breath of fresh air into an old debate long swept under the rug.
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Postby Dazzle » Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:28 am

Not being a "pure BT client or die" type of user I think the speeding up of exchanges between clients that have the facility and capability to do so is common sense, in the digital marketplace having the official client tied to the old "convoy theory" for file exchanges is bad news for all, this represents a sensible leap forward in my opinion.
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Postby Gott » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:43 am

I don't understand this.
From all I know almost every bittorrent client already has a tit-for-tat system that doesn't eliminate cheater but at least rewards honest clients.
SlyckTom, you describe BitTyrant almost like it is the first and only Bittorrent-Client that rewards honest clients and that's plain wrong, pretty much all of them do.
BitTyrant is just one with a much stricter and complicated approach to the problem.
And yes, I think you can consider BitTyrant a leech client! Because with its approach to eliminate cheaters it abuses the tit-for-tat system that is currently used by all non-leech clients.

"The creators already admit that a BitTorrent community filled with BitTyrant would probably degrade the network"

This means that the whole idea is seriously flawed and I think this simple sentence is the best reason for all trackers and clients to ban that client.

Maybe you should read about ]Game Theory and Tit for Tat. BitTyrants approach seems plausible on first sight but is seriously flawed. The current implementation is less complicated but more effective on the long run.
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Postby Overnet User » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:48 am

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Postby WarezNewz » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:42 am

That thread is locked now. Backwards and forwards. I'm getting dizzy. Whatever

BitThief is a BitTorrent client developed by the Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory in Zurich that manages to download torrents without uploading. Overall the downloads rates are a bit slower than with other clients, but on well-seeded torrents the performance of BitThief is comparable to any other client.


BitThief - It gets no more selfish than this
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Postby Fartingbob » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:24 am

WarezNewz wrote:That thread is locked now. Backwards and forwards. I'm getting dizzy. Whatever

BitThief is a BitTorrent client developed by the Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory in Zurich that manages to download torrents without uploading. Overall the downloads rates are a bit slower than with other clients, but on well-seeded torrents the performance of BitThief is comparable to any other client.


BitThief - It gets no more selfish than this

How utterly pointless. No leech wants to download slower, so its not aimed at them. And no honest BT user would want it, because why not upload? It seems to have succesfully made a client aimed at just about nobody.
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Postby BillyGates » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:31 am

I always wondered why Azureus and uTorrent appeared 'stupid' and in small swarms uploaded at equal rates to any client regardless of much much data they uploaded to you.

From a 'fairness' sense, I like the way it sounds like this client acts... it will upload more to people that send you more...

Maybe this client will help Azureus or uTorrent tweak their algorithms to more benefit people that upload more, which would encourage people to upload at higher rates and would effectively increase swarm speed as people would notice greater download speeds with greater upload speeds.
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Postby propman » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:45 am

"That’s the way Usenet distribution has worked since day one and everyone leaves at the end of the day happy. Downloaders are not expected to post material, nor are they encouraged to. Although seemingly easy, posting material to the newsgroups is done by the Usenet equivalent of a professional, and intimately knows the nuances of doing the job right. "

LOL!! Well, there goes yet another mouthful of coffee all over the monitor and keyboard! With all due respect, what world are you monitoring your Usenet on? :-)
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Postby Fartingbob » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:00 pm

propman wrote:
SlyckTom wrote:That’s the way Usenet distribution has worked since day one and everyone leaves at the end of the day happy. Downloaders are not expected to post material, nor are they encouraged to. Although seemingly easy, posting material to the newsgroups is done by the Usenet equivalent of a professional, and intimately knows the nuances of doing the job right.


LOL!! Well, there goes yet another mouthful of coffee all over the monitor and keyboard! With all due respect, what world are you monitoring your Usenet on? :-)

What point do you think is so hilariously wrong that you nearly ruined a keyboard? SlyckTom isnt a usenet noob, neither am i, and i cant see what was wrong with what he said.
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Postby SlyckTom » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:02 pm

I think he reacted to my universal appraisal of Usenet posters...I should have been more specific and referred to those who know the job and do it well - and prefer that others not get involved.

I figured people would understand that is what I meant, but I guess I was wrong!
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Postby Andu » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:06 pm

Fartingbob wrote:
WarezNewz wrote:That thread is locked now. Backwards and forwards. I'm getting dizzy. Whatever

BitThief is a BitTorrent client developed by the Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory in Zurich that manages to download torrents without uploading. Overall the downloads rates are a bit slower than with other clients, but on well-seeded torrents the performance of BitThief is comparable to any other client.


BitThief - It gets no more selfish than this

How utterly pointless. No leech wants to download slower, so its not aimed at them. And no honest BT user would want it, because why not upload? It seems to have succesfully made a client aimed at just about nobody.


Hm you seem to have made different experiences than me with leechers then. There are a lot of people that don't want to upload and might even pay for that with a small amount of download speed.
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Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:06 pm

to tom and FB: it's ok. it's been at least a day since someone joined who felt compelled to tell everyone how 1337 they were, and what n00bz everyone else are.
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Postby IceCube » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:50 pm

It really does sound like the client was inspired by eMule where you upload to a user, then that user is more likely to upload more quickly back to you (ala credit system)
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Postby Overnet User » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:55 pm

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Postby EvilWizardGlick » Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:34 pm

1. Leech is an ridiculous term. Files are shared during download.
2. Private sites that allow you to pay for leech privilege don't give a shit about leeches. Frankly they leech a profit from the original uploader.
3. Many people have neither the room/the bandwidth/ nor the inclination (possibly from RIAA media propaganda scare tactics) to share.
4. I see far fewer "older" files on private sites than public sites with free so called leeching.
5. Private sites that refuse DHT actually kill file sharing. DHT is designed for faster sharing and safer sharing. But private sites put a financial interest BEFORE the overall community.
6. The newsgroup model does work and works well. Pirate Bay and Mininova work well. Files are shared both new and old. No one is given a silly demeaning name. And no one pays to circumvent private site rules ( Just how hypocritical is that make a rule then create a special paying class to ignore it).
If some people choose NOT to share so what? The majority still does. Big deal. The problem is when clients get banned for implementing good ideas like DHT. Suddenly people are forced to use a client other than their personal preference because a few facsists want to make a buck off someone elses shared file.
Realistically people have been hacking files and NOT sharing since sharing started. Look it as a department store that writes off x amount of profit to shoplifters. They know there is nothing that can be done about it except the same old-same old. So if 2k people are sharing a file and 30 ( 0r 300) choose to share ONLY until it is downloaded so what? They still shared.
Is anyone really expected to keep EVERY downloaded file on their pc indefinitely? The fact is those minimal sharers are doing no harm to a file and will be move on rather quickly leaving the die hard core to keep sharing.
That core are the ones wanted anyway. They understand it isn't about brownie points. They share to share. It isn't about profit or who has the best stats, it is because they thought other people might want this cool little file.
I'm more bothered by private sites capitalizing on that same core. For private site greed in not sharing the profit they make with the original uploader.
Which is the worse scum?
Last edited by EvilWizardGlick on Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TcE » Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:35 pm

tried the client its far from fast

on average i saw 50%+ less speed
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Postby IneptVagrant » Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:50 pm

In reference to http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=29442, I don't see any reason to ban the client when the community enforces ratios. Finishing a file earlier, doesn't let you unshare it earlier -- when ratios are enforced.

--

When ratios aren't enforced, completeing a file quicker is bad for the community.

Are users of a selfish client more likely to leave the swarm after file completion? -- contributing less than the average time uploading comparitively to the status que? The answer I beleive will be yes.

Upload as we all can aggree occurs over time. The ammount of time the average user spends in a swarm determines the total data uploaded. If that time decreases dispropotionately to the average time spent by all users in the swarm, less work is completed during this users appearance in the swarm. But the amount of work nessaccary to be completed will remain the same, so the difference in this users work will have to made up for by another user.

The question may be asked, if all users were selfish how best would we increase preformance, and the answer is to reduce the standard deviation of the average to near 0 -- have all users complete the download at nearly the same time, all users are peers for the duration of the swarm. A solution we can only apporch, never reach.

We already know those that upload faster receive disproportionately faster downloads creating a disparity between high upload and low upload users. BitTyrant only serves to increase this disparity. Its a classic case of haves vs have nots.

The paper is well versed, and accurate as I have preceived the going ons for BT and other p2p communitys. I have no doubt the client works as advertised. That doesn't mean its good, only that it is correct.

Selfish users will determine wheather the selfish client is good or bad for the community.
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Postby thejynxed » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:57 pm

Actually, what I have noticed, is that it boosted my upload speed and nerfed my downspeed. I was actually able to hit a sustained 55kb/s uprate using BitTyrant. However the downrate was less than stellar, hitting 30kb/s max (I have a 5 mbit down connection).
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Postby IneptVagrant » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:03 pm

@ thejynxed, this is a bit off-topic

Whats youre rated Upload, and check pings to a couple websites while its runnning. Pings should be 200-300 at the most, over 500-1000 indicates you are saturateing your upload bandwidth, and this in turn causes you trouble substaining download and connections. This is why 80% of your max is typically recommend limit for upload.

This saturation is dealt with readily on most BT clients, in comparison eMule will happily let you saturate your upload. Mabey BitTyrant changed some code and, sense their test platforms were never saturated, didn't notice the affect.

Edit: I ment to say my reply was a bit offtopic- not your post, sry for any confusion.
Last edited by IneptVagrant on Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby king8654 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:08 pm

1. Leech is an ridiculous term. Files are shared during download.
2. Private sites that allow you to pay for leech privilege don't give a shit about leeches. Frankly they leech a profit from the original uploader.
3. Many people have neither the room/the bandwidth/ nor the inclination (possibly from RIAA media propaganda scare tactics) to share.
4. I see far fewer "older" files on private sites than public sites with free so called leeching.
5. Private sites that refuse DHT actually kill file sharing. DHT is designed for faster sharing and safer sharing. But private sites put a financial interest BEFORE the overall community.


Go Home....

1. "In computer science and especially on the Internet, being a leech or leecher refers to the practice of benefiting, usually deliberately, from others' information or effort but not offering anything in return, or only token offerings in an attempt to avoid being called a leech." That term fits quite well.
2. Most private sites take money for DONATIONS which will give you higher ratio, but you still must upload your files due to H&R warnings.
3. This is utter bullshit. I share whatever i download 2:1 and i only have a 65kbs upload. Even when i had 30kbs i did just the same. Some people who are SCARED by their tactics employ this tatic of not sharing, but informed file sharers know the extent of the RIAA's bullshit and chug along on BT.
4. The private sites im an avid member in have files from months and months back. While not the same as Mininova holding a torrent for 2 years, after this long the seeder ratio usually gets to the point of none/1.
5. Private sites sometime dont use DHT because of the size of their site or they wish to keep everything within their users. Not using DHT on one site in your theory would hurt the speeds of that sites downloads. But as a whole it doesnt affect the speeds of say thepiratebay or mininova.

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Postby ShawnSpree » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:19 pm

This client is for the public bt sites.. Upload to the rest who doesnt throttle/cap bt speeds. And the people who usually share on public sites, usually stays and seeds. So this client rewards those and tries to act like a private bt tracker and keep track of who is sending what and how much and then adjust accordingly.
People who are in the BT scene are already unwillingly to try this, i am one of those. You cant step out of uTorrent or for others azeurus. SO this is a gimmick for the noob.
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Postby ntscuser » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:11 am

I thought it was a very well written and amusing article. I especially loved the idea that my half-baked attempts at uploading to newsgroups was the work of "a professional" :D
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Postby greatone » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:43 am

I gave this tyrant client a try on a few torrents, my download speed is slower using this client compared to utorrent. I reset my IP address after using the tyrant client then added the same torrent to utorrent. In all 3 cases DL speed was worse with tyrant. Tyrant found it necessary to connect to an insane number of seeds, creating unnecessary overhead traffic for them. This client is more reminiscent of eDonkey2000's horde feature and we all know what happened to eDonkey2000. At least they make it obvious they bite off the the Azureus client by not being bothered to replace the icons. Sorry to say, but Tom is trying to persuade us that a piece of shit isn't shit.
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Postby Praxis » Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:28 am

greatone wrote:Sorry to say, but Tom is trying to persuade us that a piece of shit isn't shit.


Tom isn't trying to do anything, its up to users to decide for themselves.
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Postby IceCube » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:11 am

greatone wrote:This client is more reminiscent of eDonkey2000's horde feature and we all know what happened to eDonkey2000.


1.Exactly how can you make the connection between eDonkey2000's horde system and BitTyrant?

2. How is it possible to associate how the client handles it's clients with why it met it's demise?
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