BitTorrent without centralized 'trackers', Azureus with magnets

Bram's BitTorrent 4.1.0 beta, released a couple of days ago, adds a trackerless torrent option based on a Kademlia-based distributed hash table (DHT). It follows in the footsteps of alternative BitTorrent client Azureus, which earlier this month introduced its own distributed tracker capability also based on Kademlia. Alas, these features appear to have been developed independently and are incompatible with each other.

The original Kademlia paper was published just over two years ago, and it's nearly 2 years to the day after I posted an article to infoAnarchy about the Kademlia-demonstration P2P sharing tool VarVar. Kademlia was the first DHT I could intuitively imagine working well in chaotic real-world P2P nets.

The Azureus implementation also supports the use of hash-based magnet URIs to compactly advertise specific 'torrent' control files which may be available from the peer network. I first proposed magnet URIs as a multi-application standard for website-to-local-app coordination in June 2002.

The inevitable usually takes a little while.

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