Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Good, now if only we could have bitorrent baked in...

EDIT: I mean baked in in the browser like tor, not baked in tor. Although interesting, it's really not my priority.

Firefox recently whitelisted a bunch of p2p protocols so that they can be used by browser extensions. One of them is the Dat protocol [0], which is similar to BitTorrent but has better support for mutable data and random access [1]. It's far from being "baked in", but it's a step in the right direction.

[0]: https://docs.datproject.org/

[1]: https://docs.datproject.org/faq#dat-vs

We always could do that with extensions since JS is turing complete and has access to the network. Webtorrent is a thing after all.

The issue is not technical. It's just a chicken and egg problem. Most won't use bittorent unless it's stupidely easy to do. Remember that the average user don't know what an URL is and doesn't open new tabs willingly. Since they are the majority, they drive cost and benefits, so we must include them.

> We always could do that with extensions

You couldn't, until Firefox 59. Before that, protocol handlers were not allowed to handle links to Dat/IPFS resources [0].

And while I agree with your comment regarding the chicken and egg problem, there are still some technical issues. As the shadowbanned sibling comment says, extensions don't have access to UDP/TCP sockets, meaning that you will need to run a gateway on your machine. See e.g. what dat-fox [1] does.

[0]: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/WebExtensions/ma...

[1]: https://github.com/sammacbeth/dat-fox

> You couldn't, until Firefox 59. Before that, protocol handlers were not allowed to handle links to Dat/IPFS resources [0].

You could, kind of, before Firefox 57 (or at least, at some point). Implementing nsIProtocolHandler/nsIChannel/etc. correctly was difficult (and probably not from JavaScript), and distribution problems meant nobody did it.

No, not nobody. OverbiteFF was implemented in nearly exactly that fashion, and 100% JavaScript.


But, not possible anymore (without tricks).

True, I remember looking into that and it was all a bit of a mess.

> and has access to the network

It does not have access to TCP or UDP sockets.

Opera had built-in Bittorrent (this feature is now removed, probably after Opera became rebranded version of Chromium).

Well, removed insofar as it was never reimplemented when the browser UI was rewritten from scratch, but yes.

Nope, I wouldn't want to have to keep the browser open all the time just because I'm downloading a torrent.

Chrome extensions [1], and Firefox WebExtensions [2], can have background scripts that can continue running even when the browser window is closed. So in theory, with a p2p filesharing extension, you may not have to keep any browser window open or even minimized.

[1] https://developer.chrome.com/extensions/background_pages

[2] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/WebExtensions/An...

So when you download something that is not a torrent, you close your browser ?

Hey Sametmax, big fan of your site.

Apart from the existing ecosystem of content, are their any reasons you want BitTorrent over ipfs?

Everyone on tor AND ipfs... Now that would be something.

Thanks :)

I think IFPS needs a little more field testing before being set in stone. Indeed, if you bake in something in the browsers, then those implementation will be the boundary of what is practical to do. So any innovation will then be constraint by the browsers release and good will.

IFPS is a young tech, it needs time to evolve yet.

Tor and bittorrent are now quite mature.

This works today: https://webtorrent.io/

It used WebRTC which is also encrypted. So gets you some privacy.

I know. Check my other comments.

It's nice, but not nearly good enough.

>"IFPS is a young tech, it needs time to evolve yet."

Could you share your concerns about IPFS in its current state or what you see as its limitations? Thanks.

Honest question: is bittorrent even still a thing?

Last month I download 2 linux ISO with it for work. This month all the seasons of the pretender for fun.

Facebook used to deploy their code using bittorent. I doubt it has changed.

A lot of blizzard video games update using bittorent as well. If you play Starcraft 2, you use bittorent.

Streaming services like stremio are basically bittorent. After netflix, it's my main source of video content.

If you want to download the internet archive, that's the saner option. Same if you are a pentester, as a lot of heavy leak or hash db are so huge only bittorent makes it practical. Too expensive to host for one small actor. It's also more resistant to take down notice.

We talked a lot about RSS lately, and how to revive it, while in comments people said it actually never died. Bittorrent is a lot like that. Great tech, great standard, it works flawlessly and fill its use case perfectly.

The only reason it's not more adopted is because it's not in the browser by default. Otherwise the hosting benefit and the dl speed is such that it would be an instant hit.

Blizzard games no longer use BitTorrent but a proprietary http-based protocol called ngdp. BitTorrent was causing a lot of issues with firewalls so users were disabling it, so they had added http mirrors to them... And then CDNs became a thing, the rest is history.

I'll be happy to give more details on ngdp if you are curious.


Here, I pulled my docs for ya:


They basically created their own git protocol + virtual filesystem, optimized for asset patches inside large compressed binary files. I wish they'd open source it.

That was interesting to poke through.

Related discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13140257

It definitely still is. And with the concept of private trackers, it's not really a simple thing to turn off. Companies like IP Echelon tend to automatically bully US/cloud users, but in general they're IMHO far from killing the network. The only problem is that there's fewer and fewer torrent search engines...

tameme.fr is my new fav.

If my movie library is of any indication, yes it’s definitely still a thing.

(And before you say anything, I do pay for Netflix and have video included in my Amazon Prime membership - none of which had those movies)

It is. For both legitimate and nefarious uses. Bigger software/game devs still use bittorrent to distribute patches and updates—World of Warcraft is an example.

If you are asking about torrents and pirate community, then yes - it is alive and well.

However it is usually through VPN, not Tor.

Torrenting through Tor overloads relays, increasing latency and throttling bandwidth for other users. Also, it's unworkably slow. Just use nested VPN chains.

Of course it is. It didn't go away because you don't use it.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact