uTorrent probably ranks as the most popular torrent client on the web and at any given time (and on any swarm) you can almost guarantee that the majority of peers/seeders will be running one version or another of it. I think its fair to say that for most Windows users uTorrent is the first port of call for those wanting a user friendly, trusted client for file sharing.
It was quite interesting then, that due to an article on Torrentfreak, I visited the “Idea Bank” of the uTorrent developers and saw that the most popular request (by far) was for a Linux port.
Now in my opinion Linux has been well catered for in respect of Torrent clients. You have Transmission which for many distro’s is the default package of choice. You also have Deluge, which is another fantastic client and both do “exactly what they say on the tin”. So why the request for a Linux uTorrent port? Could this be a sign of users migrating from Windows to Linux and wanting a familiar package? Could it be that uTorrent offers something which both Transmission and Deluge don’t? or is it something else?
Heres a comment from a user on the “Idea Bank”:
I’d love to see a native linux version of uTorrent that doesn’t require something like Wine to run.
Why I wonder, are they using Wine to run a Windows binary client software when there are native alternatives? Could it be as I said above that new migrations from Windows are wanting packages they are familiar with?
Heres another one:
Yes, it would be quite nice to have µtorrent without using wine in Ubuntu.
So lets say for a minute that many Linux users are choosing to run uTorrent through Wine, I wonder then how many people in any given swarm are not actually Windows users afterall? Its often said that torrent stats (which comprise of many hundreds of thousands of users) are a good way of seeing trends in OS deployment, like Ive said before, I think this could signal that there are actually many more deployed Linux systems than the Microsoft advocates would want you to believe and I repeat that which I said in a previous article that with all the coverage and comments on Linux, it tends to suggest that the Microsoft faithful’s 1% stat is a little wrong.
The fly in the ointment?
The only issue I can see is this; Lets say that uTorrent gets a Linux port. Lets also say that it becomes the torrent client of choice for the vast majority of users (as it has on the Windows platform) and lets also say that it is included in the default packaging of the “big name” Linux distro’s. How will the FOSS community sit with the fact that uTorrent is not open source? Would the Linux community as a whole be happy with the idea of closed source packages included in big name distro’s due to pressure by a large section of their user base?
Taken from uTorrent’s FAQ:
Is µTorrent open source?
No. It is not likely to become open source.
Its possibilities like this which I have always held as a reason why I don’t want mass migration away from Windows to the Linux platform. If Linux is to get a wave of disillusioned Windows users, we have to keep in mind that they will bring their demands (and their voting power) to a platform near you which has been going quite happily without Windows users turning up after finally working out that PC does not just mean Microsoft. Now please don’t get me wrong, I am happy that anyone would want to come to Linux after a Windows experience, but what these people need to remember is that Linux/FOSS is != Windows/Microsoft, Linux should never be looked as the OS of choice only for it to still depend on 3rd party Windows apps. Linux and FOSS are unique (and for me) better in their own right, why should we lust over anything Windows offers either natively or via 3rd party apps?
I know I have taken this to the extreme with many “ifs” and personally I use a combination of closed and open source products, but I can’t help wondering why (presumably Linux users) are desiring Windows binaries when there are already a plethora of alternatives available natively.
Maybe its because I rarely use the BT protocol and consider it a dying tech in respect of the “warez” scene (mark my words the future will be Usenet) or maybe Ive merely missed something absolutely wonderful about uTorrent? or indeed running Windows binaries in the face of native Linux solutions?
And finally here is something for the conspiracy theorists…. If uTorrent is the default choice of millions in a BT client and uTorrent src is not available, who is to say what exactly is in that src and what exactly its doing with your BT habits? – Food for thought or time to put the tin foil hat on? I’ll let you decide. I wonder how uTorrent sustains itself with revenue? From the EULA:
The source code, design, and structure of µTorrent are trade secrets.
I wonder……. 😉
Goblin – email@example.com
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