BitTorrent gets decentralized

The latest iteration of the cross-platform Tribler BitTorrent client offers a “revolutionary decentralized” approach to file sharing.

To be sure, Tribler – which does not require a central server – also features instant file searching/storage, video streaming, advanced spam control and personalized content channels, all in a single app.

As Ernesto of TorrentFreak explains, the new version of Tribler effectively eliminates the Achilles’ heel of P2P technology: dependence on central servers that are prone to crashes and can be (forcibly) taken offline.

“With the combination of P2P-based search, torrent downloads and moderation, BitTorrent sites have been almost rendered obsolete. Although we don’t see torrent sites going away any time soon it’s ‘assuring’ to see that there are alternatives,” writes Ernesto.

“Tribler’s cutting edge technology allows users to search for torrents and download files without the need for any central server. [This is] a ‘revolution,’ not only for BitTorrent but for P2P in general.”

It should be noted that the Tribler project is currently funded by EU grants, which has prompted a wave criticism from those who believe that taxpayer money shouldn’t be used to promote P2P efforts.

However, Dr. Johan Pouwelse, leader of the Tribler endeavor at Delft University of Technology, says that the funds allocated to the project are being put to good use.

“Tax payer money is going into Internet research, which happens to use a very powerful technology called BitTorrent. That’s [clearly] different,” Pouwelse told TorrentFreak.

“On a wider scale a few hundred million euros of research money is being spent on making computer networks more robust and improving video streaming. [Now], I [personally] think that is money well spent.”

Pouwelse added that his team hoped to “shape the future” of Internet-based video delivery, which would eventually stream across a variety of devices. 

“Our architecture has unbounded scalability and in principle can work on all TVs, phones and other devices in the world simultaneously.

“A lot of the algorithms and Open Source code we write ends up in Tribler. Roughly 6 other universities or organizations contribute code regularly to Tribler. It’s by far the largest science-driven P2P effort around.”