BitTyrant: The “Selfish” BitTorrent Client

BitTyrant is a new "selfish" BitTorrent client based on Azureus. The developers claim that it speeds up downloads by up to 70% by connecting to the peers that have high upload speeds, and peers that give you the best send / receive ratio.

BitTyrantBitTyrant is based on the Azureus 2.5 code. While inspecting the contents of the application I noticed that even though its icon is different from Azureus’, it is still named “Azureus.icns”.

BitTyrant is selfish because it focuses on the optimal speed for the individual, although it might hurt the overall performance of the entire swarm. The key idea is: selecting peers that give you the best overall download speed. This is done by adding two features to the client.

1. It connects to peers that give you the the most data back. So invest a small amount of upload speed, and get the most back.
2. It connects to peers with the best upload speed.

Selfishness might work for a single person, but if everybody starts to use BitTyrant, performance will decrease. So, as the makers of the client put it: “When all peers behave selfishly, average performance degrades for all peers, even those with high capacity.”

It is clear that BitTyrant will optimize the speed for a single user if only a few use the client, but the makers of the client also found that peers with less bandwidth available will be worse of. In their research paper we read:

“We found that BitTyrant improves performance for all peers that use it. Nevertheless, in practice, BitTyrant will hurt the performance of individual swarms as high capacity peers reach a point of diminishing returns and are incented to either withhold their upload contribution or invest it in other swarms. Low capacity peers do not enjoy such a luxury. As the majority of peers have low capacity, they will see degraded performance compared to BitTorrent today.”

Just like Azureus, BitTyrant is cross-platform due to the nature of Java, the platform independent language it’s coded in. Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows versions of the client can be downloaded from the BitTyrant homepage, but I don’t recommend that you do.

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