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A Bittorrent customer is behind a language barrier * TorrentFreak

With 2.5 million daily users, BitComet is without a doubt one of the most widely used BitTorrent clients. Although most of the users are from Asia, the customer is also well represented in the west with more than 100,000 daily users in the US and UK.

Over the past few years, BitComet has added many features that go far beyond the normal BitTorrent client. It now has a full featured HTTP / FTP download manager, VIP download feature, and its own proprietary file sharing protocol that the developers call long-term seeding.

Despite the large number of implemented functions, BitComet has remained largely undiscussed in the English-speaking part of the Internet. One of the main reasons for this is that none of the 20 strong development team speaks English. After working with a team of translators today, we want to close that void and solve some puzzles by presenting our discussions with BitComet founder RnySmile.

“At the beginning I used another BitTorrent client developed in Python,” says RnySmile, commenting on his motivation to start developing BitComet.

“After torrenting all night, I noticed my hard drive was spinning like crazy and dragging away as the torrent progressed. I wondered why the developers didn’t use a disc cache to avoid the constant need for repeated read / write operations. This client also couldn’t download more than one torrent at a time. “

“As a C ++ programmer, I started developing a new client called SimpleBT, which was originally designed to easily perform torrents, introducing disc cache and the ability to download multiple torrents. This project ended up becoming much more than a simple BitTorrent client, so we eventually changed the name to BitComet, ”he added.

Today BitComet has grown way beyond the one-man operation. The current BitComet development team consists of around 20 employees, all of whom are from China. These developers are obviously adept at what they do, but the inherent language barrier has some drawbacks as well.

There was some controversy surrounding BitComet in the early years, which resulted in a bad rap among many English-speaking BitTorrent users. While RnySmile recognizes that some mistakes have been made in the past, it believes that many of the problems reported are due to a lack of communication.

“The criticism and rumors about BitComet that were spreading in the English-speaking torrent community were largely unknown to us, at least not as much as they were known in the English communities,” he says. “Since BitComet is a free software product, we didn’t have the resources to run a public relations department to serve our international users, issue press releases, and communicate with the media.”

Although BitComet now has English volunteers helping users in their native language, this type of support was largely absent for the first few years. In China, on the other hand, it was easier for the BitComet team to address concerns and respond. “We have always run a forum in China where we can post updates and users can communicate with members of the development team,” says RnySmile.

For many in the English-speaking BitTorrent community, the lack of communication resulted in a bad rap. It all started in 2005 when BitComet was blocked by several private BitTorrent trackers for ignoring the “private flag” – a feature that keeps private torrents private. Although this problem was resolved relatively quickly, the BitComet image became permanently corrupted.

In the years to come, more and more horror stories began popping up, from spreading junk data to failing to comply with BitTorrent rules. In 2007, BitTornado developer Shad0w even banned all BitComet users because the client allegedly exploited super seeds.

Around the same time, Robb Topolski, a network and protocol expert with over 25 years of experience, was investigating most of the allegations against BitComet. He concluded that the customer was not best suited for initial sowing tasks, but at the same time refuted all other claims.

“BitComet is a worthy download client that offers some beneficial features not found in any other current BitTorrent client. Some of these features are confusing and poorly implemented, but they are not harmful to a BitTorrent swarm, nor do they take unfair advantage, ”Topolski wrote.

“None of the typical allegations against BitComet that serve as reasons for trackers or users to ban BitComet have come true. My professional opinion is that BitComet’s bans are based on misunderstandings and falsehoods, not good data, ”he added.

BitComet founder RnySmile agrees with this assessment and goes into some of the rumors and misunderstandings in detail in his full response (linked below). Although the bad press was uncomfortable, the BitComet team wanted to look ahead and create a universal download application that went beyond BitTorrent.

“We wanted to make BitComet more than just a BitTorrent client. We wanted our users to be able to use one program to do all the downloads regardless of the source of the files or the protocol used to retrieve them, ”said RnySmile.

Among other things, BitComet introduced a feature called VIP Download that allows users to download torrents that are accelerated by the BitComet servers. It’s basically a private connection to a high-speed seedbox that speeds up the download process.

Another unique feature of BitComet is the proprietary file sharing protocol that developers refer to as Long Term Seeding (LT Seeding). With LT seeding, BitComet users can continue to share files with other LT seeders when the regular download is stopped. However, normal BitTorrent swarms always take precedence over LT seeding.

Finally, BitComet is also planning to introduce an anonymity function in the near future, but this is still in the works. The above, plus the integration of many other features implemented over the years, is BitComet’s greatest achievement, according to RnySmile. “It has been a long, difficult, and ongoing task to bring these new features together and create a stable product.”

One thing is for sure, BitComet is here to stay. While it steers in a slightly different direction than most other customers, with some pretty unusual features, we think the BitComet team deserves more credit than they usually get.

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The full answer from the BitComet team was too long to be published in full, but can be read here (pdf). We’d like to thank everyone who helped prepare this interview for release including RnySmile, The UnUsual Suspect, the BitComet development team, Lucy26, Kluelos, Cassie, GreyWizard and Vasy.

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