Tumbleweed at Vuze as Torrent Client Development Grinds to a Halt

Since its launch in 2003, Vuze has been one of the most visible clients in the BitTorrent scene, but there is concern among users that something might now be amiss. After years of constant and swift development, Vuze development ground to a halt in April, breaking the steadfast monthly update pattern. No one from the team has yet offered any explanation.

Back in the summer of 2003 when torrenting was still in its infancy, a new torrent client hit the web promising big things.

Taking the Latin name of the blue poison dart frog and deploying a logo depicting its image, the Azureus client aimed to carve out a niche in what would become a market of several hundred million users.

Written in Java and available on Windows, Linux, OSX, and Android, Azureus (latterly ‘Vuze’) always managed to divide the community. Heralded by many as a feature-rich powerhouse that left no stone unturned, others saw the client as bloated when compared to the more streamlined uTorrent.

All that being said, Vuze knew its place in the market and on the bells-and-whistles front, it always delivered. Its features included swarm-merging, built-in search, DVD-burning capabilities, and device integration. It felt like Vuze was always offering something new.

Indeed, for the past several years and like clockwork, every month new additions and fixes have been deployed to Vuze. Since at least 2012 and up to early 2017, not a single month passed without Vuze being tuned up or improved in some manner via beta or full versions. Now, however, all of that seems to have ground to a halt.

The last full release of Vuze (v5.7.5.0) containing plenty of tweaks and fixes was released on February 28 this year. It followed the previous full release by roughly three months, a pattern its developers have kept up for some time with earlier versions. As expected, the Vuze 5.7.5.1 beta versions followed but on April 10, everything stopped.

It’s now three whole months since Vuze the last beta release, which may not sound like a long time unless one considers the history. Vuze has been actively developed for 14 years and its developers have posted communications on their devblog archives every single month, at least as far back as July 2012. Since then – nothing.

Back in May, a user on Vuze forums noted that none of Vuze’s featured content (such as TED Talks) could be downloaded, while another reported that the client’s anti-virus definitions weren’t updating. Given past scheduling, a new version of the client should have been released about a month ago. Nothing appeared.

To illustrate, this is a screenshot of the Vuze source code repository, which shows the number of code changes committed since 2012. The drastic drop-off in April 2017 (12 commits) versus dozens to even hundreds in preceding months is punctuated by zero commits for the past three months.

Of course, even avid developers have offline lives, and it’s certainly possible that an unusual set of outside circumstances have conspired to give the impression that development has stopped. However, posting a note to the Vuze blog or Vuze forum shouldn’t be too difficult, so people are naturally worried about the future.

TorrentFreak has reached out to the respected developer identified by Vuze forum users as the most likely to respond to questions. At the time of publication, we had received no response.

As mentioned earlier, torrent users have a love/hate relationship with Vuze and Azureus but there is no mistaking this clients’ massive contribution to the torrent landscape. Millions will be hoping that the current radio silence is nothing sinister but until that confirmation is received, the concerns will continue.

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