Users want a Linux port of uTorrent?

uTorrent for Linux? It's what users seem to be demanding. Whats wrong with the native solutions already available?

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 – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Agent_Smith says:

    Not for me. When I came from winblow$, yes, I used uTorrent for a while, it was really superb. But the open source counterparts did catch up with uTorrent (if not surpassed it), then, I would say that noobs don’t know Transmission, which is the DE FACTO BT client for me…

    1. chew says:

      I agree, I love transmission, use it on both the Linux and OSX side, as Goblin mentioned, it does “exactly what they say on the tin” and that`s all I personally need.

      Looks cleaner too

  2. QUASAR says:

    I use deluge or ktorrent =)
    no need for this obscure client

    1. openbytes says:

      Yet to the windows user uTorrent seems to be the must have…why?

      I don’t know about anyone else but when you consider the src is closed, imagine how much money a film company would pay for uTorrent to collect IP’s and data on material shared…..

      I do wonder how uTorrent makes revenue (enough to sustain itself) Maybe someone here could answer that?

  3. Because UTorrent is a lot nicer than Transmission of Deluge or KTorrent. Better bells and whistles (performance is no different). I’ve used the Mac and Windows versions, and yes, the Linux Torrent clients look clunky next to UTorrent.

    Solution? Improve the Linux Torrent clients. I have no doubts that every singe person who asked for UTorrent on Linux has tried the default client for their distro first, and found them wanting. You have to give the customer what they want.

    1. Debianero Rumbero says:

      @The Mad Hatter

      uTorrent is nicer than Ktorrent? Maybe in your dreams!

      1. openbytes says:

        Can there be such a thing as nicer? In respect of my small amount of BT use, I find I click on the torrent file and bingo! it opens in transmission and enters the swarm. It then downloads to the directory of my choosing……

        I fail to see how anything can be “nicer” than that. Like I say maybe Ive missed out on something uTorrent offers, but since Transmission, Deluge or any other native Linux client does exactly what its supposed to do – download files via a bittorrent protocol, I am at a loss to see how anything could be “better”….. and if the answer is merely “eye candy” then I think it signifies a worrying beginning of ex Windows users moving to Linux and demanding eye candy over simple functionality….a disturbing thought and Ive said before that Windows turning in to a binary slug was largely the fault of the Windows end-user.

        Lets hope Microsoft holds on to those customers and maybe a reason why Linux should pride itself on a low market share – thats why its better.

  4. anon says:

    “The source code, design, and structure of µTorrent are trade secrets.”

    So is Flash but they made a Linux port….why doesn’t uTorrent. Transmission is better anyway.:)

    1. openbytes says:

      “So is Flash but they made a Linux port…”

      Yes but last time I checked Flash wasn’t being facilitated to download (in many cases) copyrighted material in a world where law firms would be very interested in getting hold of that information for potential court cases/settlement letters. The point was, if a package such as uTorrent is closed src, what gaurantee’s does the end-user have that their BT habits might be being passed on to interested parties?

      but I think Flash is seen as an “optional extra” whereas a BT client for some is expected as a default packaging, if due to popular demand that package was closed src (especially in light of the plethora of open source clients) I wonder what the reaction of the Linux community as a whole would be?

      1. H Dee says:

        “Yes but last time I checked Flash wasn’t being facilitated to download (in many cases) copyrighted material”

        Doesn’t matter what purpose I may have for an application … it could be used in an ‘internal/external corporate network” to share information with other ‘internal people” or media licensed under a creative commons license to be freely transmittable for the whole world. The application is agnostic. How you apply it is your business.

  5. Yep, better bells and whistles, just like most Linux users thing KDE has better bells and whistles than Gnome, even though they both do the same things. Azureus would be a good option for UTorrent users, or at least it would have been if they hadn’t have taken it closed, renamed it Vuze, and added all of the garbage on the front end.

    Another option would be Miro, though most people don’t realize it’s a torrent client.

    1. openbytes says:

      I personally don’t like KDE, never have. Infact Gnome fell out of favor with me a long time ago.

  6. openbytes says:

    Quote “Doesn’t matter what purpose I may have for an application … it could be used in an ‘internal/external corporate network” to share information with other ‘internal people” or media licensed under a creative commons license to be freely transmittable for the whole world. The application is agnostic. How you apply it is your business.”

    Sorry, maybe you understood, generally I would agree with that but in the case of uTorrent many people are using it to infringe copyright in a world where law firms are chasing them for fines……if the src is closed and people are putting faith in the product, how can they be sure what information is being recorded? The point was (and was rather a tongue in cheek remark) how much would that information be worth to a law firm or similar and if the src is closed who knows what its doing….

    I have no issue with closed src (since I facilitate it myself) in the case of Flash, its hardly used in something like copyright infringement, so it wasn’t mentioned…..and on the subject of Flash, what would be the alternative if you absolutely had to have Flash? uTorrent is different since there are so many viable alternatives.

  7. openbytes says:

    @ H Dee (which I hope is no connection to Mr Dee – Andre Da Costa’s alias on Cnet)

    Quote “Doesn’t matter what purpose I may have for an application … it could be used in an ‘internal/external corporate network” to share information with other ‘internal people” or media licensed under a creative commons license to be freely transmittable for the whole world. The application is agnostic. How you apply it is your business.”

    Again you miss the point, we know what the majority of uTorrent users are facilitating it in the main, check out a swarm of the latest Hollywood release. Of course you can use uTorrent for legitimate purposes and of course my observation does not apply, but as I said for those THAT DO infringe copyright with uTorrent, due to its closed nature, how do they know what information is being collected and what would that information be worth to a law firm chasing copyright infringers for fines…..

    I hope you understand now, Ive said it three times.

  8. devnet says:

    I think people like the degree of control that uTorrent gives them over their torrents. You can’t match it with any Linux client.

    1. openbytes says:

      But like what?

      Like I say Ive had little contact with the BT protocol and find that Transmission satisfies that small requirement, but what feature does uTorrent offer that the rest don’t and has that feature been suggested to the devs of the native Linux clients?

  9. I use deluge or utorrent=)
    no need for other clients

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