For years the majority of all BitTorrent users have relied almost exclusively on the services of The Pirate Bay. Even those who never actually visited the site have done so, since more than half of all the publicly available torrents were tracked by the Swedish tracker.
The Pirate Bay’s prominence has been the Achilles’ heel of BitTorrent. If the tracker should fail today, hundreds of thousands of torrents would begin to slow down significantly or stop working entirely. With the upcoming sale of The Pirate Bay this weakness has become even more salient.
Good and stable alternatives are needed, and luckily some of the leading figures in the BitTorrent community realize this. Last week we already reported on OpenBitTorrent, a free service that is already tracking 1,828,973 torrents for more than 20 million peers.
Still, replacing one tracker with another wont add much redundancy. The founder of BTjunkie and another major torrent sites came to the same conclusion and decided to launch a tracker of their own – PublicBitTorrent. Similar to OBT, PublicBT uses the Beerware licensed Opentracker software.
PublicBT goes live
“Me and others felt that too much of BitTorrent tracking relies on one group and we would like to share some of that responsibility,” BTjunkie’s founder told TorrentFreak. “If anything were to happen to TPB, hundreds of thousands of torrents that are only tracked by TPB could be lost,” he added.
PublicBT has just launched, and although the site was almost entirely copied (without authorization) from the OBT website, it is operated independently. To get the ball rolling all torrents on BTjunkie will soon be updated with the new OBT and PBT trackers, BTjunkie’s founder told TorrentFreak.
Operating a standalone BitTorrent tracker, especially one that tracks millions of peers, can be a costly project but is a prerequisite for the BitTorrent ecosystem. It’s good to see that more BitTorrent site admins stepping up to take responsibility.