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BitTorrent Closes Source Code

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the taking-my-toys-and-going-home dept.

Software 390

An anonymous reader writes ""There are two issues people need to come to grips with," BitTorrent CEO Ashwin Narvin told Slyck.com. "Developers who produce open source products will often have their product repackaged and redistributed by businesses with malicious intent. They repackage the software with spyware or charge for the product. We often receive phone calls from people who complain they have paid for the BitTorrent client." As for the protocol itself, that too is closed, but is available by obtaining an SDK license."

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In related news... (4, Funny)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165159)

"There are two issues people need to come to grips with," BitTorrent CEO Ashwin Narvin told Slyck.com. "The genie is back in the bottle, and the cat is back in the bag."

Sorry, I just thought that was funny. If you RTFA, though, it sounds like the sky isn't falling just yet. The client, which was closed source before, is still free (as in free beer), and the protocol is available to anyone who asks for it.

Re:In related news... (1, Insightful)

weak* (1137369) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165227)

In further related news, nobody gives a fuck because everybody likes utorrent better anyway (I go as far as to run it in WINE and it's still slicker than Azureus.).

Suddenly feeling pretty vulnerable without my fire coat...

Re:In related news... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165307)

And uTorrent belongs to Bittorrent(company) and always has been closed source.

Re:In related news... (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165313)

though utorrent was acquired by these guys and likely will now be following the same route.

Re:In related news... (4, Informative)

starwed (735423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165429)

But utorrent has always been closed source.

rtorrent pwnz (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165585)

get rtorrent
http://libtorrent.rakshasa.no/ [rakshasa.no]

with adsl2+ i could get >1meg/s with hundreds of connections, totally stable and only used around ~1%cpu time on a p3 933.

use gentoo and -O3 it too.

Oxymoronic: thief cries thief !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165507)

Oxymoronic: thief cries thief !!

Torrents are for stealing !! Get use to it !!

If you prefer, if you stick your ass out in a gay crowd, expect to be porked sooner or later.

Re:Oxymoronic: thief cries thief !! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165717)

worst post of 2007 so far

Re:Oxymoronic: thief cries thief !! (0, Troll)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165761)

Agreed.

This guy probably thinks that computers are just for porn and that college is just for drinking.

Re:Oxymoronic: thief cries thief !! (3, Funny)

zaxus (105404) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165955)

This guy probably thinks that computers are just for porn and that college is just for drinking.

They aren't??? It's not???

Re:Oxymoronic: thief cries thief !! (4, Informative)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165901)

Torrents are for stealing !! Get use to it !!
Blizzard uses an early version of the bittorrent code for their "Blizzard Downloader", I am told. Anything that reduces the download time of something I've paid for, like the online BC upgrade or update patches seems like a win to me.

It's a pity they're going closed source, but it wouldn't be unfair for Blizzard to toss a few gold pieces back their way given all the money Blizzard is making.

Re:Oxymoronic: thief cries thief !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165951)

That's a Dennis Miller bit. He said "sore" rather than borked. Borked is a lot more funny. Thief crying theif crying thief then. Muwhhahaha

Microsoft (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165171)

I blame Microsoft for stealing the idea.

What does F-O-R-K spell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165189)

It spells "open source is all the fun of evolution, without having to die if you are the loser"

Not RTFA? Read this at least. (5, Informative)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165191)

So basically BitTorrent bought uTorrent and is staying closed source (as uTorrent is now). Q: How will this impact the BitTorrent open source development community as a whole? A: There will be no impact to the BitTorrent open source development community. We are committed to maintaining the preeminent reference implementation of BitTorrent under an open source license. Although the latest documentations won't be published for the world to see, an aspiring BitTorrent developer or a hardened coder can still obtain the specifications on the latest protocol extensions by obtaining a SDK [slyck.com] license.

Re:Not RTFA? Read this at least. (5, Informative)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165315)

Not exactly. The only mention of an SDK on the Bittorrent site is part of a "device certification program" [bittorrent.com] , that would undoubtedly involve paying Bittorrent in exchange for licensing their now proprietary information and some offical seal of approval. There is no mention of open source projects being able to see/use any changes in the protocol. Luckily, I assume that most bittorrent trackers (public or private), will ban any incompatible official client if the protocol does change, rather than adopting the official client and abandoning all of the others.

Re:Not RTFA? Read this at least. (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165357)

The SDK may be targeted at development of hardware, however anyone getting it will still gain access to the protocol.

Re:Not RTFA? Read this at least. (3, Informative)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165377)

From the article:
However this will not be the case, Ashwin told Slyck.com. Although the latest documentations won't be published for the world to see, an aspiring BitTorrent developer or a hardened coder can still obtain the specifications on the latest protocol extensions by obtaining a SDK license.

"I don't think we've ever said no" to an aspiring BitTorrent programmer, Ashwin said.

Re:Not RTFA? Read this at least. (4, Interesting)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165449)

It's still a matter of what you, as a developer, can do with the protocol. Obviously, part of the SDK licensing agreement will be that you can't just publish it for the world to see, or be allowed to incorporate it into an open source project (or probably even a third party closed source project).

Re:Not RTFA? Read this at least. (5, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165797)

Oh big deal. In a big fit of irony, the SDK will hit Bit-torrent within minutes. At the end of the day, Bit-torrent is mostly used for piracy, so Bit-torrent, Inc, of all organizations, should realize that this is an absolutely useless attempt at who-knows-what.

Alternately, all of the open-source clients could develop a separate protocol that they would all implement in parallel to the official one. A fork of sorts, but expect all clients to end up supporting both/all when all is said and done.

other open source clients? (1)

zmokhtar (539671) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165195)

Does anyone know how this will impact other open source clients such as Azureus?

Re:other open source clients? (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165251)

Affect them? Hardly at all. Let's face it, other teams have grabbed the ball and are running with it. The official Bit Torrent folks are going to have to work to stay at all relevant, "premier reference implementations" aside.

Re:other open source clients? (5, Insightful)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165329)

Does anyone "know" how it will impact other clients? No, we don't "know" that, however, a reasonable estimate would be "not much, if at all."

utorrent may be the single most popular BT client as TFA claims (OTOH, most of the peers I see are Azureus and Ktorrent. I don't know if that's just because I'm in the odd niche of only doing legal stuff over BT (no, it exists, really Linux and *BSD ISOs), or if most people are using those, I don't know.

Either way, what I expect will happen if they go totally closed will be much like what happened with SSH. After the official SSH became closed and proprietary, the OpenSSH project picked up where they had left off, and while SSH is still in business and has a product line, OpenSSH took over the market and is now far more popular, on both the client side and the server. If BT totally closes everything off and makes the protocol incompatible with open versions, I think we can reasonably expect to see the open source version fork and take over the BT market.

Re:other open source clients? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165411)

utorrent may be the single most popular BT client as TFA claims (OTOH, most of the peers I see are Azureus and Ktorrent. I don't know if that's just because I'm in the odd niche of only doing legal stuff over BT (no, it exists, really Linux and *BSD ISOs), or if most people are using those, I don't know.

What, do you really think a Windows-only client might be underrepresented in Linux ISO download swarms? Shock, horror!

(I use Azureus on Linux and uTorrent on Windows, and among people I know, the latter is very popular, though many people use Azureus on Windows as well. In my personal opinion, uTorrent is a fine piece of software; it's a shame it's closed source and Windows-only.)

Re:other open source clients? (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165611)

Does anyone "know" how it will impact other clients? No, we don't "know" that, however, a reasonable estimate would be "not much, if at all."

The problem being that when one company has near monopoly, and in the eye of the public is indistinguishable from the product, they can close source, then change the specs (even if the spec is published), and the open source alternatives won't be able to compete.
This is partially because they'll always play catch-up, and partially because they won't be able to improve the specs themselves -- if they do, they'll become incompatible, and crushed by the product everyone uses.

Example of just this effect: RTF, which Microsoft bought back in 1990. Open source RTF readers are usually several versions behind, and anyone expecting to read RTF documents no matter what version have to use the latest Microsoft products to do so. This is not what the situation was like back when RTF was still open (despite being proprietary), and DEC let anyone see the coming changes.

And that's the best case scenario. The worst case scenario is if they close the specs too. That, of course, will kill them in the end, but in the mean time it's going to cause lots of grief.

It was only a matter of time.. (5, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165213)

.. the moment Bit Torrent was commercialised and started playing with the big TV guys this was bound to happen. I'm just surprised it took so long.

Malicious software re-packaging is a lame excuse too.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165241)

1st law of open source: "The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources." So why complain people are repackaging and selling the software when it is explicitly allowed in the open source definition?

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (1)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165255)

So why complain people are repackaging and selling the software when it is explicitly allowed in the open source definition?
Because it gives them an excuse to close the source.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165279)

RTFA. They aren't closing the source, they are purchasing uTorrent and keeping uTorrent's source closed. They will still be releasing an SDK. They will still support the old client. They're just moving on to work on a closed source project.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165327)

don't be a nigger.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (5, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165367)

RTFA. They aren't closing the source, they are purchasing uTorrent and keeping uTorrent's source closed. They will still be releasing an SDK. They will still support the old client. They're just moving on to work on a closed source project.
Sure they're releasing a SDK... but under what license? Yes - they're maintaining the Open Source client... with a protocol that they hint they will be leaving behind. Want to keep up? Get the SDK. Again - under what license?

No. It doesn't sound like business as usual to me.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (5, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165437)

> Yes - they're maintaining the Open Source client... with a protocol that they hint they will be leaving behind.

One difference. They don't operate any of the servers people actually use. Unless they can convice the server operators (most of whom they can't legally even admit exists, which will make negotiations somewhat awkward) to adopt their closed protocol, who will notice any optional dead protocols their 'official' but little used client supports?

At this point someone simply needs to write up a formal documentation of the protocol as it currently exists and submit it to the W3C, at which point the wire protocol is pretty much settled. And go ahead and pick a new anme because you can bet your last dollar they will pull the trademark crap the second they realize they are being written out of the picture.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (5, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165581)

At this point someone simply needs to write up a formal documentation of the protocol as it currently exists and submit it to the W3C, at which point the wire protocol is pretty much settled. And go ahead and pick a new anme because you can bet your last dollar they will pull the trademark crap the second they realize they are being written out of the picture.
There seems to be echoes of SSH in this story. Granted - the history of SSH involves some distinct differences (for example, Tatu Ylönen submitted SSH to the IETF as a standard which set the grounds for "SSH" becoming hard to restrict despite SSH,Inc.'s annoyance at the "OpenSSH" name). But one can't help to wonder if this will pan out the same way; the last BitTorrent OSS release becoming a springboard for continued development that competes if not completely overshadows the originator's own efforts.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165831)

The term "bittorrent" has pretty much become a generic term by now so if someone wanted to fight it they'd probably have a good chance in court. Too bad it'll be very costly.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165941)

One difference. They don't operate any of the servers people actually use.

What servers? BitTorrent is peer-to-peer. The only server that comes into play is the tracker. Once the tracker tells peers where to find other peers, it's up to the peers to determine how to communicate.

If most people use the new and improved closed source BitTorrent client (and let's be honest, uTorrent is already the client that people use), you're going to wind up with no one to download from if you use the old protocol.

The entire point behind BitTorrent is to reduce the role of the server. The server doesn't have much of a say in the data transfer. The peers do. If the majority of peers only speak the new protocol, anyone using the old protocol will effectively be unable to download anything, even if the trackers themselves don't change.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165577)

The question will be whether or not the protocol itself needs to be licensed. The SDK is potentially irrelevant, since technically you can write your client from scratch if you have the spec. But if they close up the protocol (or change it often enough) and want to give you a black box to play with the other kids, it's game over.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (2, Insightful)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165371)

They are not "releasing" an SDK. They are making one available for licensing under currently unknown terms (the article didn't say and I was unable to find any licensing terms using the website's horrible search function). The excuse the article gives for keeping uTorrent's source closed is the repackaging mentioned by the GP, as I mentioned. As for supporting the old client, I'm unable to find anything that indicates it will be upgraded to support changes in the BT protocol.

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165397)

It seems to me that the BitTorrent company is now the one with malicious intent.

Open the spec, guys!

Re:It was only a matter of time.. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165935)

A very lame excuse.

Ashwin told Slyck.com that by keeping the source closed, it creates a "certain amount of distinction" between the official client and maliciously repackaged software.

Can anyone explain to me how that creates ANY amount of distinction?

Certainly, I know that whatever BitTorrent I use is legitimate, because it came straight from the Ubuntu repositories. With the new version, that's impossible, both legally and technically -- uTorrent was and is Windows-only.

You can still download the BitTortent souce... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165215)

Via Bittorrent.

So.... (3, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165233)

What's the name going to be for the upcoming auto-encrypted open-sourced fork of Bittorrent?

Ryan Fenton

Re:So.... (5, Funny)

MalusCaelestis (172079) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165361)

Ryan Fenton? That's a strange name for a protocol...

Re:So.... (3, Funny)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165461)

Maybe, but that's just to throw off the authorities.

Re:So.... (1)

krelian (525362) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165871)

Following the tradition of free software products its name will probably be something like "Kabuke" "Gposho".

Re:So.... (4, Funny)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165937)

OpenRyanFentonKabuke.

And rather than going from version 0.9 to version 1.0, it will go from 0.9 towards 0.9.1.16rc(NaN-Inf) without ever getting to 1.0. Just you wait...

Done and done! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165971)

Where can I find the .ryanfenton for the latest Heroes episode!!?!?111@!!

Re:So.... (4, Interesting)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165433)

What's the name going to be for the upcoming auto-encrypted open-sourced fork of Bittorrent?
This is where it could get ugly. uTorrent is the most popular client, at least according to the article, and it's closed source. If the protocol is forked and modified enough to be incompatible with the older protocol versions, there's going to be some fragmentation. Anyone using uTorrent wouldn't be able to connect to people using the new protocol. uTorrent users would have to switch to a new client if its developers refused to update its protocol. Or worse, uTorrent users might continue to use uTorrent while everyone else uses the new protocol, causing nasty fragmentation.

Re:So.... (1)

set (19875) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165489)

how many of the utorrent users (and torrent users in general) would you consider to be savvy enough to know about these things? i really think enough are that the switch could be done. of help, of course, will be the pira...er...private trackers who will almost certainly stick to the open protocol. it's time to leave bram and his bullshit behind.

RTFA and I'm confused (1)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165235)

The article seems to be going in two or three different directions. I don't much care what happens to the "official BitTorrent client," be it what I downloaded the first time I tried BT, or the new Torrent incarnation.

I haven't used an official client in a very long time and I've never used Torrent. I use a client called "burst!" which hasn't been updated in more than a year. It works just fine for me right now, but I'm curious as to whether or not that's going to continue. I sense that the headline for this article is inflammatory, but if further development of BT clients is going to require an SDK license, is that going to lock out older open-source clients which are no longer being actively developed?

Whoops... (1)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165299)

Apparently the "u" that I copied out of charmap got swallowed by the lameness filter, or something. "Torrent incarnation" and "never used Torrent" should read "uTorrent incarnation" and "never used uTorrent," respectively.

Re:RTFA and I'm confused (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165345)

I'm confused by their product description of "Bittorrent 6.0" - No hardware configuration - reduced hassle of fast downloads. How can their program forward ports on my router for me... sounds bogus.

Re:RTFA and I'm confused (3, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165405)

Hm, it seems to be referring to UPnP (which I have vehemently disabled on my router).. but I wonder if they have any idea what they're talking about [bittorrent.com] . If you can't accept incoming connections that just means that your client initiates all transfers of data, not that you're completely incapable of uploading. Good clients like utorrent (and apparently not Bittorrent 6.0) will give/trade data without being asked if there's available upload bandwidth. Not the best for efficiency (though I should think it'd at least volunteer less-available data first) but it gets you a high ratio nonetheless.

bit3h (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165243)

If only... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165245)

Wouldn't it be great if someone could create some kind of license that allowed free access to the source code, but provided grounds to sue malicious companies that attempted to take that code and include it in closed source proprietary products without giving anything back to the community!

Oh, wait...

Re:If only... (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165277)

Yeah ... sounds like the Bit Torrent folks just shot themselves squarely in the foot. I doubt the Azureus developers, for example, have any need whatsoever for an SDK, official or otherwise. It's just a protocol people, nothing more, and it's far too late to close it up.

So.... (5, Funny)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165253)

So I wonder how long it will be before the source is out on the Pirate Bay...

The argument doesn't scan.. (4, Insightful)

Paranoia Agent (887026) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165273)

I'm a bit confused by this. Isn't this what licenses are for? Why not just sue the people selling and profiting from your open source product for breaking the license? It just seems to me that the reasoning doesn't make much sense. There are plenty of examples of people selling closed source software that's "free" to people who don't know any better(like Kazaa) and are less tight-fisted with their money than I am. It seems to me that decisions like this don't scare off someone someone who wants to resell your program to make a buck, doesn't help someone so incurious as to not wonder if there is a free version of the software they are being asked to buy, but does hurt the person who just wants the source for their own reasons. Am I wrong?

Re:The argument doesn't scan.. (4, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165369)

I'm a bit confused by this. Isn't this what licenses are for? Why not just sue the people selling and profiting from your open source product for breaking the license?

Because that's not enough to constitute infringement of the license. People are welcome to repackage and resell GPL software. But they also need to consider trademark issues. They can call the software almost anything they like, they can claim that their product is just like another, but if they claim that their product is the other one, then the original company can take them to court and sue their euphemisms off.

And that, of course, is why claiming that GPLed software is open to this kind of abuse is the reddest of red herrings. Trading on someone else's good name is well covered in the laws of most countries, and the GPL has exactly zero impact on such abusive practices.

Re:The argument doesn't scan.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165495)

Maybe you should at least try to understand basics of Free Software licenses before posting about how it should work. Your post is very inaccurate and shows that you have no clue how Free Software or Open Source software licenses work. Please do not spread this misinformation.

Re:The argument doesn't scan.. (2)

Paranoia Agent (887026) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165691)

I was asking for help understand which is why I asked. Maybe you should understand how basic speech works before snarking.

Who cares? (4, Interesting)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165275)

The company that owns the BitTorrent trademark is not the arbiter of the protocol or anything else. Do they even own that trademark?

Note that they opposed the addition of encryption, and they were completely ignored. BitTorrent, the company, is entirely irrelevant.

Shutting the gate after horse has bolted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165319)

Who cares, right?

Bittornado (2, Interesting)

urikkiru (801560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165325)

http://www.bittornado.com/ [bittornado.com]

There, that should tide us over for a while.

SDK license (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165343)

And good luck trying to find the information on their site that tells you how one can obtain an SDK license.

Not a good move (4, Funny)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165359)

"Welcome to obscurity, gentlemen. We hope you enjoy your stay. To ease your transition, we've assigned a personal guide for the both of you. Heidi, please call Mr. Fanning and let him know his group is here."

GPL (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165383)

Isn't this what the GPL is for?

Re:GPL (4, Informative)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165633)

The GPL cannot keep the original author from changing the license and closing the source nor can it prevent the protocol from being closed either.

The only thing it can do is keep that source (the version that was under the GPL) available to the open-source community. Which, btw, can be accomplished by any other open-source license. Btw, they have already done this.

Basically, we're in the exact same situation now that we would have been if it was GPL'd.

Huh? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165395)

While the BitTorrent client and the latest protocol may not be published, therefore technically closed source, the protocol is still open. The details of the protocol extensions, including all the latest revisions, are still available to whoever wants them, providing they obtain the easily obtainable SDK license. BitTorrent's recent move isn't going to make everyone happy, but those wishing to help develop the BitTorrent community probably won't notice much of a difference.

Sure...okay. It's closed, but it's open. Sounds like a statement coming from a government bureaucrat. I guess I wasn't too far off [slashdot.org] . Software has too many licenses. I'm not about to pile this one on.

"C'est la Vie"

Time for someone to code a better alternative. (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165399)

New torrent alternative needs to distinguish phony crap and drm.

editors? more like lamers. (2, Informative)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165443)

From TFA:

"Q: How will this impact the BitTorrent open source development community as a whole?

A: There will be no impact to the BitTorrent open source development community. We are committed to maintaining the preeminent reference implementation of BitTorrent under an open source license."
Slashdot editors, you are fucking retarded.

Re:editors? more like lamers. (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165651)

-1 Troll? Moderators on crack. Parent is on point.

editors? don't forget taggers. (3, Interesting)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165857)

While we're at it, let's point out how wonderful some of those tags are.

This story is tagged "lame" and "bastards" among other things. So yeah, if I'm interested in looking up info on OSS software being closed, I'll be sure to look for articles tagged "lame". That imediately makes so much sense to me, and you guys clearly know what good tagging's all about. Tagging's a great way of expressing opinions on entire stories without having to own up to them. You don't even have to have to LEAVE A FUCKING COMMENT WITH A USER NAME.

C'mon, at least post AC, dickheads.

The Explaination Makes No Sense. (2, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165453)

"Developers who produce open source products will often have their product repackaged and redistributed by businesses with malicious intent. They repackage the software with spyware or charge for the product. ... As for the protocol itself, that too is closed, but is available by obtaining an SDK license."

The risks are great and I don't see a pay off.

As one person has already pointed out, too much of the wrong thing will isolate and destroy them [slashdot.org]

.

Going non free will also make their problems worse. The malice described is a problem that free software creates. The only reason crackers and MAFIAA can get away with charging people for spyware derivatives is because Windoze and the clients are not free to begin with. Real free software can be packaged by distributions like Debian, which assure the user the software has been checked for malware by an impartial third party. The further away from that model they get, the more problems they will have. The dirtbags will go right along with what they are doing and their life will be easier.

Re:The Explaination Makes No Sense. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165485)

Freedom's a scary concept to some people.

Re:The Explaination Makes No Sense. (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165541)

Going non free will also make their problems worse.

Or rather, it goes against everything people like you have been preaching to people like me for the last ten years, and it's a little inconvenient.

The only reason crackers and MAFIAA can get away with charging people for spyware derivatives is because Windoze and the clients are not free to begin with.

Ooooh, you're going to blame this on Microsoft as well? Surely you jest!

Real free software can be packaged by distributions like Debian, which assure the user the software has been checked for malware by an impartial third party.

"Use my warez and all will be well. Sign up for the dogma too, and no one gets hurt"

The further away from that model they get, the more problems they will have.

One of the things Stallman and company have not managed to fully explain is how exactly I'm supposed to hunt down the "dirtbags" that take my GPL'ed code and repackage it like... well, BitTorrent. Or Audacity. Never mind adding spyware or whatever. If there's enough of them I'll spend more time in court than at the keyboard writing code contributing to his dream. Why not just use a BSD-style license if what I'm trying to do to begin with is help fellow developers, and just spare myself the post-release gastric discomfort?

You seem to know so much about this and how "M$ Windoze" is evil. Maybe you can clear that up for us? But please avoid the "well if everyone does it then there won't be any problems", because the chance of that happening is about as good as you learning to spell "Microsoft" without dollar signs. Copyright reform is still a long way off.

Re:The Explaination Makes No Sense. (1)

roadkill-maker (523041) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165811)

the internet is hard :(
http://gpl-violations.org/ [gpl-violations.org]

GPL, BSD and dirtbags. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165815)

One of the things Stallman and company have not managed to fully explain is how exactly I'm supposed to hunt down the "dirtbags" that take my GPL'ed code and repackage it like... well, BitTorrent. Or Audacity. Never mind adding spyware or whatever. If there's enough of them I'll spend more time in court than at the keyboard writing code contributing to his dream. Why not just use a BSD-style license if what I'm trying to do to begin with is help fellow developers, and just spare myself the post-release gastric discomfort?

I'm not sure why you would mind if someone repackaged your software as long as they did nothing wrong with it.

The Free Software Foundation recommends that you give your copyright to them to make sure that no one uses your software to harm others. They have been very successful at getting companies to live up to the terms of the GPL. There is nothing much you can do about spyware additions other than force GPL release of code, so that those additions can be seen and removed.

Releasing under a BSD license gives your fellow developers freedom, but also allows them to add malware that can't be seen and removed. M$ loves your code. If that does not cause you discomfort, you have not thought through what they are doing to you or what they think of you. [slashdot.org]

I don't see the big deal with this (1)

rnmartinez (968929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165459)

If they will give out sdk's as easy as they state then its not so bad. I know so many of my MS user friends always complain that there torrent programs are full of spyware etc...

Maybe this can shutdown some of these sketchy clients, and hopefully open alternatives can continue. Although I guess someone could just take the code from an open solution - maybe this just makes it a bit more difficult.

Re:I don't see the big deal with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165571)

Maybe your MS user friends could take five minutes, if even that, away from their complaining and do some research. They will then find a BT client that is free from bad things.

If they are not going to take the small amount of time to research, then they deserve the bad things that happen to them. It is not like we are telling them to learn a new operating system or even a new version of Office. It is a simple bit of research for a program that allows them to use .torrent files.

Re:I don't see the big deal with this (3, Insightful)

krelian (525362) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165899)

If they will give out sdk's as easy as they state then its not so bad.
I am sure it will be easy if you'll agree to the TOS which will be probably require you to implement the protocol including all it's features like say... DRM?

This will become (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165471)

The "new and improved" RIAA approved BitTorrent protocol. This is the official one that won't be throttled by your ISP. Full of DRM goodies for Hollywood to control.

The difference (2, Informative)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165493)

There is a difference, here. uTorrent has always been closed, so it's not the client that's being closed. What people are or should be worried about are changes to the protocol. Hopefully, we won't see BitTorrent 6.0+ clients being blocked from trackers other than BitTorrent.com's tracker because of a silly change in the protocol that disrupts clients using v5 and earlier. Unfortunately, this means that if Bram, Ludde, and company engineer some wicked addition to the protocol that drastically improves it, the open source community will either 1) not have access to it or 2) have to reverse engineer it.

Additionally, only the main BitTorrent.com tracker would have access to tracker-side protocol updates. So, this then means that the only benefit of using the mainline client is when downloading from the BitTorrent.com tracker!

Is BitTorrent pigeonholing itself; is it forming its own niche within its once-large niche?

O/T (4, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165623)

This is very off-topic, but, about your sig: The last time I clicked on a .cx link on Slashdot was a long time ago, and it's going to be a long time until I do it again...

completely lame... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165525)

"Developers who produce open source products will often have their product repackaged and redistributed by businesses with malicious intent."

I guess he's never heard about pirated Windows with rootkits. What a lame excuse for closing up the source code. He'll be eating those words when hacked uTorrent clients start popping up, and open source clients wind up overtaking the market.

OSI (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165555)

Evidence that companies are starting to see that, like communism and socialism, open source is doomed to fail by the greed and human nature.

uTorrent, BitTorrent... (0)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165683)

Am I the only person that uses BitLord?

Re:uTorrent, BitTorrent... (1)

the_greywolf (311406) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165859)

Probably. Everyone else has already figured out that it comes with spyware and violates the protocol and hammers trackers enough to get banned at all of the private trackers.

It's a sin to use anything except the latest Azureus, libtorrent, or uTorrent.

Although, apparently, soon it may be also a sin to use uTorrent since it's not Free.

Re:uTorrent, BitTorrent... (2, Informative)

set (19875) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165877)

probably. bitcomet [bitcomet.com] is the same client without the ad-crap.

I can only hope... (3, Interesting)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165721)

That my fellow community developers will take this opportunity to drop the BitTorrent protocol. Time to develop something better.

It's time we address it's critical failure... that you can see which IP's are trafficking in which files. There has to be an obscure way in which people can just exchange data blobs. Where the blobs are interleaved or multiplexed with data of other files and you don't know and can't know with all practicality what a particular blob contains until you finally collect enough blobs to reconstruct your data file. There are more blobs to be collected for a particular file for data redundancy but you only need to collect so many of them to recreate the data set. Meanwhile sure you downloaded more data then you needed to for that particular file but all the blobs you downloaded are still in demand from other people because of their relevance to other data sets. And you can safely continute to server those files because you don't necessarily know what multiplexed data they contain. Blobs also mutate and remix over time as to which combined data they contain.

Re:I can only hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165911)

For bonus points, the new protocol and its implementing clients should put users squarely into the ISP protections of the DMCA (not filtering content and not responsible for content, IIRC)

Not Entirely Accurate and Not Entirely Catastophic (2, Interesting)

spoonboy42 (146048) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165759)

From the article itself, it appears that, since acquiring uTorrent, a closed-source C++ BitTorrent client for Windows, Bittorrent, inc. has decided to keep it closed source, and also to make it the new "mainline" BitTorrent. The old "mainline" client, which is open-source, written in Python (with wx for the graphics) and is generally cross-platform, last I checked, will continue to be maintained as a "reference implementation", but might not always track the latest protocol updates to uTorrent. Full documentation on the protocol will apparently come with an "SDK license", which they claim is "easy to get".

Well, first of all they ARE doing a few things that contradict the spirit of free software. Their main client app will be closed source, and although the reference implementation will apparently continue to be free, protocol docs require you to acquire a special license. A few years ago, these moves would have tightened Bittorrent inc's grip on the world of bt clients in general.

Now, however, the landscape is different. I can't produce statistics for all torrent users in general, but when I take a look at my peers in my preferred client, KTorrent [ktorrent.org] , there seems to be a near dead-heat for most popular client between uTorrent and Azureus [sourceforge.net] (also open source), with certain alternative clients like Transmission [m0k.org] , Bitrocket [bitrocket.org] , and KTorrent [ktorrent.org] making frequent appearances, as well (and all 3 of those examples? also open source). Although uTorrent certainly remains a big player, it doesn't confer upon BitTorrent, inc. the ability to dictate major compatibility-breaking protocol changes by fiat. The fact that the main implementation of BT was open source to start basically stops things from being ruined by more restrictive licensing now.

What's the negative of closed source in this case? (2, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165771)

Out of curiosity, what exactly is "wrong" about them closing the source in Bittorrent's case? I mean, if it was an OS or something where security was critical I could see a problem. But really the only "benefit" I saw from the source being available was a bunch of clients that just leeched without sharing their bandwidth.

I know it's not the Slashdot party line, but not everything benefits from open source. Perhaps more importantly, this sets a bad precedent for companies that want to release code. If they ever have to pull back they have a PR mess on their end. Most PR flacks will just say not to release code to begin with.

Re:What's the negative of closed source in this ca (5, Insightful)

k3vlar (979024) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165867)

It wasn't about clients that leech bandwidth, it was about clients with great interfaces, and additional management methods, such as uTorrent or Azureus' web management. In my opinion, the mainline client was so lacking in features that I considered it to be unusable. Bittorrent owes some of it's success to the fact that there are so many great clients for people to choose. If you're looking for simple, try uTorrent or Transmission. If you need advanced features, try Azureus. People like this kind of choice. It saddens me to see this, as it means that clients might eventually become less compatible with closed-source revisions of the protocol, and we'll lose some great file-sharing software.

Re:What's the negative of closed source in this ca (1)

Nushio (951488) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165869)

Lets assume for a moment, that they decide to implement in Protocol v6 new ways to track you down. You wouldn't know that, since the protocol is close-sourced, would you?

Thats just one of many possible things that close-sourcing the application would do.

the protocol can't be reprotected (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20165821)

AFAIK, if a protocol is not patented, the only protection available
is trade secret, which evaporates when published. I'm not sure they
can pull it back now.

It's similar to the reason you can't really protect the definition of a
programming language, even though lots of companies act like you can
and the industry largely plays along.

Heh heh. (4, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165849)

There's a trap waiting to happen.

If they merge uTorrent (non-free, closed) with the older "BitTorrent 5.0" (open source, free), hell's going to break lose if there's any GPLed patches in the open source that Bram didn't make.

GPL applies to even "lowly" patchers and debuggers code, as it does to the 10klines per day guys.. (joke)

Im ready for a torrent of gpl-violations

Must ... resist ... pun ... can't ... (5, Funny)

Mind Socket (180517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165933)

Talk about closing the gate after the source has bolted!

Sorry about that. Truly, deeply sorry.

The reason people pay for repackaged OSS (1)

mirshafie (1029876) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165981)

"There are two issues people need to come to grips with. Developers who produce open source products will often have their product repackaged and redistributed by businesses with malicious intent. They repackage the software with spyware or charge for the product. We often receive phone calls from people who complain they have paid for the BitTorrent client."

People pay for repackaged malicious open source softare because they're used to proprietary software. They're used to a. pay (MS Office) b. see ads (Windows Live) and c. the closed nature of what runs on their hardware (IE, Ipods etc).

Open source does matter, even for people who are much too ignorant to actually realize it themselves; because it is part of the software culture and it directly and inevitably affects the user's approach to software in general. I can't believe a statement like the one above can pass as OK. And people just shrug and say "well Torrent was always closed anyway". Shame on you!

In related news, KTorrent [ktorrent.org] just got even better.

Looking forward to spending more time with family (5, Funny)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#20165999)

> Q: How will this impact the BitTorrent open source development community as a whole?

A: Once word gets out about our RIAA backdoor, Azureus is going to kick our ass. Ummm... you better not print that.
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