BitTorrent P2P Network Clients for Beginners

February 11, 2009

in applications,digital media,file transfer

by David Hakala

If you are planning to get into P2P (peer-to-peer) BitTorrent networking, you will be shopping for a client program to do your downloading and manage your shared files. There is an awesome comparative list of Bittorrent Clients on Wikipedia. But let me save you a lot of trouble.

Only two Bittorrent clients are several lengths ahead of the rest in market share: Vuze (formerly Azureus) and uTorrent. Each attained its leading position solely through “word of Web” recommendations from happy users, so it’s pretty safe to bet they are the best of their breeds.

If you are a Windows user, you want uTorrent, which has 13 percent of the total P2P client market. Vuze, with 5 percent of the market, runs on many different operating systems, so it is the right choice if you don’t use Windows. But Vuze (9.4 MB download) requires the Java Runtime Environment (JRE); both are resource hogs. uTorrent is a much smaller, lighter client (only 264 KB!) that won’t bog down your Windows system as much as Vuze will. Both clients are fully-featured Bittorrent clients that get the job done efficiently.

But Vuze has added a lot of eye candy to promote its “Vuze HD Network,” a proprietary video content network that is trying to find a way to make P2P pay. Some HD content, mostly short clips, is available free of charge. Some content is offered “for rent,” meaning it stops playing a certain time after you download it. Some is sold outright, or rather “licensed for home use only.”

uTorrent is not trying to “legitimize” P2P networking. It’s just trying to be the fastest, smallest, most popular Bittorrent client. Its market position confirms the old adage, “You get what you want by giving other people what they want.”

uTorrent screen

uTorrent screen

What uTorrent’s developers want is more people using Bittorrent technology. That’s because uTorrent is developed by Bittorrent, Inc., the inventors of the Bittorrent protocol. Bittorrent, the company, makes most of its money by licensing its technology to firms that want to move large masses of data between many points quickly and cheaply. Most of those customers are mass entertainment companies. So it’s in Bittorrent’s interest to promote the use of Bittorrent technology by consumers. What consumers use, the entertainment providers will buy.

David Hakala has perpetrated technology tutorials since 1988 in addition to committing tech journalism, documentation, Web sites, marketing collateral, and profitable prose in general. His complete rap sheet can be seen at

{ 1 comment }

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