What.cd is riddling the BitTorrent community on its frontpage: “What begins with a G, ends with a E, and can run at 50 miles per hour?” Unless you’re a fan of Animal Planet, you’re going to wonder what’s gone on at what.cd. The answer is Gazelle, a reference to what.cd’s new Project Gazelle.
The project, so named according to one of the developers because “It’s sleek, fast, and generally awesome” (and ironically, commonly targeted by predators) aims to be a new tracker script that would make even high volume sites run smoothly. Currently, what.cd, like most others, is based around the ageing TBsource, a site template with a large number of holes, and little documentation.
Whilst some might think that it would be easier, and perhaps quicker, to update and close the holes in the existing code, the development team had other opinions. “You’d think so, but in the end, it would take 10 times the manpower, and much more time than it would take to rewrite it. The TBSource code is scary – there are no comments, things on one page can be implemented differently from those on another page.”
The overall aim is to produce a torrent site that will be faster for end users, easier to use for site administration, able to use optional modules, and allow a lot more users on the same amount of hardware as a TBsource system. As one developer explained “The ‘catch up’ feature on the forums, as found in TBsource, runs 2 queries per post. As we have it, that is over 80000 queries each time a user loads the page. Our sourcecode has this down to 2 queries”.
They are not alone in these attempts, back in late June the popular UK TV site UKNova also moved away from TBsource, also moving to a system based around XBTT. However, there are currently no plans for UKNova to make their system public as yet. Project Gazelle aims for a closed beta within the next 6 weeks, and will be implemented on what.cd when it is stable enough to do so. Eventually it will be released to the public, under either a GPLv3 or AGPL license. However, warned one of the development team, “some of our tools, such as cheater evasion, will not be included in the public version of the source, for obvious reasons.”