Opera Builds BitTorrent Into Browser

    July 7, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The popular high-speed file-sharing tool BitTorrent has been embedded into a test preview of the Opera browser.

Opera discovered a need for more efficient distribution of its signature browser product when it release version 8 earlier this year. Opera’s VP of engineering, Cristen Krogh, said Opera 8 downloads had a huge impact on their network.

Opera Builds BitTorrent Into Browser

“The massive response, with more than 100 downloads per second, dealt a technical knock-out to Opera’s servers. With BitTorrent, users would have had an alternative download mechanism,” he said.

Now, after having been in Opera’s sights for a year, BitTorrent has been embedded into the Opera browser client. The company emphasizes that this is strictly for preview purposes only, not a full release.

Opera Builds BitTorrent Into Browser

Opera clients with BitTorrent support may be found for Windows, Mac, FreeBSD, and Linux operating systems.

BitTorrent’s creator bills the technology as a free speech tool. It provides a cooperative distribution model for content, especially large files, that allows downloaders to help other downloaders acquire them. Each person who demands content also supplies that content to others.

Some overly enthusiastic users have interpreted the “free speech” part to mean “make illegal copies of movies and software packages available” instead. It’s an unfortunate abuse of a very useful technology, but one that demonstrates the impatience and frustration people have with now-outdated content distribution models when better models are available.

Opera cautions people on its BitTorrent information page not to download illegal or copyright infringing material. The company also advises users to be aware that some torrent files carry malware, and should make certain their antivirus and other security packages are up to date.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.