We knew this already. There is no honor among thieves. Even on the net. Especially on the net.

We are just now seeing are what I was already expecting to see for a long time already: new improved software that flaunts the already questionable motives behind the use of other older software. In particular, torrent clients that don’t obey the rules.

Available on the net are two new rock-the-boat bittorent clients, one that fibs, and another that outright lies. Mga salbahe. They are so new there aren’t even wiki entries on them as of this writing, only mentions among the torrent community sites and a couple on the tech blogs like Wired‘s. (I won’t provide links as bloggers normally do in this case – you find these bad boys on your own if you want to. I won’t help you. It’s bad enough more and more people are knowing about them from Wired, Digg, Slashdot and other sites and aggregators. And then taking advantage of them and striking while the iron is hot.)

BitTyrant, an Azureus-based bittorent client, prioritizes the faster peers, and shares mainly with the big boys with the most bits; laggard peers are relegated to the bottom of the pile. This allows for faster downloads at the cost of being anti-social – and contrary to the entire philosophy that this variety of peer-to-peer file sharing is based on.

Not quite evil, BitTyrant is getting there, since more and more folk are getting in on the action. The fact that the creators, the comp-sci department of the University of Washington, made it cross-platform Java, means it lets everyone in the door. Proof of concept my ass.

What is evil is the other bad boy on the block, BitThief, which does what its name says – it takes without giving; it downloads without sharing upload. It steals among other thieves, and is the worst kind. It outrightly lies to the system and creates stories about itself: it announces itself over and over when you start a download, and continually pretends to be a new peer with nothing yet to offer, even if it’s already got the lion’s share. And worse yet, it isn’t just anti-social – it’s deliberately rude and jumps the line on the queues by ignoring the obligatory half-hour announce interval. It’s pure evil – it also opens 500 simultaneous connections rather than the more socially acceptable 80 or so. What the hell – ? BitThief, thy real name is Hannibal Lecter.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve used BitTyrant to try it out, and it works as advertised. Wonderfully. But as I thought about it more, I realized what it meant for the whole jury-rigged, already morally-questionable enterprise known as torrenting. As I did some more digging online, I was horrified at the implications.

BitTyrant and BitThief are the beginning of the end. If more and more people take advantage of these, and of the other clients like them that will inevitably come, the good times will effectively be over, and the fragile peace and times of brotherly sharing will be broken. The house of cards will fall. Love thy neighbor? Feh. It’s bad enough some people are doing what they are doing with this whole peer-to-peer phenomenon, but to have this sort of thing? Ano bahhhh?

PWiT is officially against software like these, and in the strongest terms. Unless the trackers make a unified, concerted effort to ban these clients, this good thing we’ve had going will be just a memory.

Well, it was too good to be true anyway.

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