A Sneak Peek at What.cd’s Project Gazelle

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A few months back, project Gazelle was announced by What.cd, a new tracker suite for private BitTorrent sites. The first trials of it in Alpha have now started, and the big question is: How does it shape up?

When we reported on the new project back in November, some viewed it with skepticism. However, just over 3 months later, the test site is now up and running and the admins were kind enough to give me a tour of the new system. At first glance, it doesn’t seem all that difference from existing TBsource based sites, which will ease transition for site users.

Speed, however, has been greatly improved over older codes, as well as hardware impact. Its developers estimate that a site running Gazelle can handle approximately twice the number of users that an existing TBsource based site can, on the same machinery, meaning sites can either add more users, or reduce server costs. Contrary to earlier beliefs, a tracker will be offered with the project when it goes public, meaning that everything needed to create a site will be included in one easy package.

How easy is that package to use, though? For the user, it’s very easy. Many people have got used to uploading a torrent file, then having to re-download it before they can start seeding. It’s annoying, and often confuses first time uploaders. Now, if the private flag is applied when the torrent is made, no re-download is needed. It may be a little touch, but it’s one that helps.

Other small touches include tagging, by genre, or style, or whatever the site wants to allow. For films, it means the likes of ‘Rush Hour’ can be tagged ‘comedy’ and ‘action’, allowing easier navigation, and avoiding those questioning niggles of ‘is it more comedy, or more action’ that existing genre-based category systems cause. Having found the title you want, other versions of the same item, in differing formats can be found there too. Again, all this is customizable by the site admin.

Admin tools also seem easy to use, and manage, with less frustrations. Modifying the code to fit the particular needs of a site will also be relatively easy. That’s not to say it’s going to be for everyone. If you’re looking for a small site, then something along the lines of Diferior may be better.

As for downsides, well, it’s an alpha product at the moment, so there are still a lot of bugs to be worked out. Existing TBsource themes will not work with Gazelle, but i’m told they should be fairly easy to create for anyone with experience in making themes. However, it is a positive step moving tracker software forward. The torrent world has needed an easy to use replacement for the aging TBsource, and Gazelle seems like it will fit the bill. How it actually behaves in practice, and the experiences of those starting to deploy it from scratch, are something we will have to wait and see about. Yet, for only 4 months work, it is showing phenomenal potential.

Screenshots


Gazelle's FrontPage
Multiple formats are easy to deal with
An artist profile, including a bio and links to all their torrents
A sample request for an upload
the new layout of the message system
For the admins out there, the control panel

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