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Official BitTorrent Developer Releases Trackerless Client
May 19, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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Earlier this month, Azureus introduced a new beta client with DHT (Distributed Hash Table) layer support. Many touted this as a "trackerless" BitTorrent network. Two weeks later, the creator of BitTorrent, Bram Cohen, released the latest official version of his client, fresh with "trackerless" support.

However, it should be realized this does not necessarily mean the BitTorrent network is becoming "trackerless." The word "trackerless" is used for simplicity’s sake. The BitTorrent protocol has not been altered to accomidate this layer.

What has been altered is the addition of the DHT layer that works on top of the BitTorrent network. The DHT layer employs a network of clients that work together to create virtual indexs. This virtual index then becomes the "trackerless" component. In reality, there are still trackers, however the responsibilities of a single web-based tracker has been instead distributed to various clients.

DHT layer support does not necessarily mean traditional trackers are becoming extinct. "Trackerless" clients are still in their infancy, and web-based indexing sites will most likely remain the standard for some time to come.

Below is the press release from BitTorrent.com:

BitTorrent Goes Trackerless: Publishing with BitTorrent gets easier!

As part of our ongoing efforts to make publishing files on the Web painless and disruptively cheap, BitTorrent has released a 'trackerless' version of BitTorrent in a new release.

Suppose you bought a television station, you could broadcast your progamming to everyone in a 50 mile radius. Now suppose the population of your town tripled. How much more does it cost you to broadcast to 3 times as many people? Nothing. The same is not true of the Web. If you own a website and you publish your latest video on it, as popularity increases, so does your bandwidth bill! Sometimes by a lot! However, thanks to BitTorrent the website owner gets almost near-broadcast economics on the web by harnessing the unused upstream bandwidth of his/her users.

In prior versions of BitTorrent, publishing was a 3 step process. You would:

1. Create a ".torrent" file -- a summary of your file which you can put on your blog or website
2. Create a "tracker" for that file on your webserver so that your downloaders can find each other

Create a "seed" copy of your download so that your first downloader has a place to download from

Many of you have blogs and websites, but dont have the resources to set up a tracker. In the new version, we've created an optional 'trackerless' method of publication. Anyone with a website and an Internet connection can host a BitTorrent download!

While it is called trackerless, in practice it makes every client a lightweight tracker. A clever protocol, based on a Kademlia distributed hash table or "DHT", allows clients to efficiently store and retrieve contact information for peers in a torrent.

When generating a torrent, you can choose to utilize the trackerless system or a traditional dedicated tracker. A dedicated tracker allows you to collect statistics about downloads and gives you a measure of control over the reliability of downloads. The trackerless system makes no guarantees to reliability but requires no resources of the publisher. The trackerless system is not consulted when downloading a traditionally tracked torrent.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Clients
BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Inc.
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Software

You can download the latest version of BitTorrent here.

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