As a BitTorrent n00b myself, I decided to start with BitLord, the client that most people tell me is among the easiest to use. There a couple other clients waiting in the wings that are more feature-laden, but have a steeper learning curve as well. I’m riding this curve with you, so be patient as I share information that I’m picking up along the way.
Oh, if you’re new to BT as well, take a look at yesterdays’ BitTorrent primer.
Acquisition and Installation
My first stop after pumping my BT-savvy friends for info (thanks Arni) was BitLord.com. Version 1.01 is the current stable version, which was a quick 1 1/2 meg grab. This is for Windows XP only, though there is a beta Vista version for those of you who haven’t upgraded to XP yet. The site also has a short FAQ, as well as support forums, (which seems to have more ‘naked celeb’ posts than anything else) and what they call “The BitLord Show”. I watched the first few minutes of the current show, and was treated to a movie clip of people involved in “furry” sex, and an extremely irritating “host” who made Chris Pirillo seem mellow. I don’t recommend it.
BitLord has about 12 languages available, including, oddly enough, Polish and Thai, and is free for home use. There are ads within the program, however, and there is an ‘XXX Chat’ button that opens a window of webcam links to, yes, XXXchat sites. They gotta pay the bills somehow, I suppose. Parents, no worries, No X rated material can be had, as far as I can tell, without coughing up a credit card. The install wizard is simple and functional. Make sure the ‘associate with .torrent files’ is checked. Checking the ‘View Readme’ box did not work, the readme file did not open.
Features and Use
As I was told, BitLord is simple to use. Within seconds I was downloading files. The first thing you need to do is find a .torrent file. The torrent file gives your BT client the info it needs to locate and acquire the files you want. BitLord includes a search feature to find your .torrent. Once found and opened, the rest is pretty automatic. You can get your .torrents anywhere, though, from a friend, any website, newsgroups, anywhere. Your BT client will interpret the .torrent to grab your stuff wherever it is. After you download, resist the temptation to shut down the client right away, preventing anyone else from getting the file from you, the way you got it. This, friends, is the spirit of BitTorrent. People who download without hanging around and seeding are looked upon with disdain by the general community, and tied with epithets like “Leechers”. In addition, if everyone leaves after getting the whole file, at some point there will be nobody left with the entire file, leaving everyone else up shit creek.
Creating a .torrent file to share your own content with BitLord is as simple as clicking ‘create’. You choose your file or directory and click ‘ok’. If you’ve selected a large file or set of files, there’s a delay, would be really nice if there was some kind of status window during this time, as the program appears to hang during the process. Once created, your torrent file has to be uploaded to a website, where the .torrent file are organized and displayed for download. Rules for uploading .torrents vary by site, and many .torrent sites require membership.
There are a great many websites and trackers out there, which brings us to one of BitLord’s downfalls. It works well, and is a good client to use to get the hang of the protocol, but apparently it doesn’t adhere to the community’s standards of statistic reporting, so many of the ratio-based trackers will not communicate with it, preferring to block the client rather than foul up the data on the network. However, public, open trackers are unaffected.
I experienced some interface quirks that eventually resulted in my shutting the client down and restarting. Portions of the UI would disappear. Odd.
For this reason, now that I, and hopefully you, have a grasp of what’s going on now, we’re going to move on to another client that is considered worthy of the ‘big boy pants’. µTorrent.
BitLord behaved fairly well, did not seem to require much in the way of CPU power, and after 12 hours of running, held just over 40,000K of memory. A bit high in my opinion, but as I’ve no other BT clients to compare it to at this point, we’ll just reserve judgement for now. BitLord includes an uninstaller, which worked well, leaving only a few registry entries, as is the norm.
Pros: Free, simple, no setup
Cons: Not universally accepted, minimal support, GUI issues, sex chat ads.
Also, for those of you who’d like to do more detailed reading, here’s a pretty good BT resource. It’s not client specific, more of a general info page. Enjoy!