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Newest version of uTorrent has Bitcoin mining offer during install (utorrent.com)
301 points by benbristow on Mar 6, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 186 comments

A plug for GPL/MIT Transmission (windows version http://trqtw.sf.net/ )

If you want to avoid ads and bundled spyware, better to use up-to-date FOSS instead of years-old unsupported versions of uTorrent.

Also Deluge is worth looking at: http://dev.deluge-torrent.org/wiki/Download

I use Deluge and am very happy, I have been recommending it for non tech-savvy friends and they don't have problems with it, so that's nice (while installing uTorrent by them usually ended up with installing adware)

Deluge is great, especially since it's an option for Windows as well, but qBittorrent seems more stable to me and is cross-platform as well.

Deluge is fantastic.

Better yet, Transmission allows you to run the torrent client/daemon on a server and only GUI on your computer (there's even an Android app somewhere). Or you can just go with rTorrent, and control it over ssh.

That way you use bandwidth where it's cheap and don't tax your, often battery-bound, local device.

If you use rtorrent, check out Transdroid, it's a pretty nice Android frontend. The main advantage is that you can simply open a magnet link with it, and it'll automatically push it to rtorrent, instead of having to copy-paste between the app and your SSH client.

I tried to set up Transdroid on multiple occasions, both with commercial seedboxes and ones that I've set up my self - to no avail every time. Right now I use instead Flud on my phone, Transmission on my laptop, and rtorrent on a DO droplet for when I want to quickly download something (and then stream it over ssh + cat + mplayer).

Have you followed the tTorrent RPC setup [1]? As long as you have that working, it's just a matter of configuring the hostname/port and authentication in Transdroid.

[1] https://github.com/rakshasa/rtorrent/wiki/RPC-Setup-XMLRPC

That DO setup is really interesting. Care to elaborate?

I install rtorrent on the droplet, and open the torrent (which I scp onto the box) or magnet.

  apt-get update
  apt-get install rtorrent
  rtorrent file.torrent // use ctr + q to quit
Then I

  ssh user@host cat movie.mkv | mplayer - 
on my laptop. I use an existing droplet most of the time, however you could easily set up a new droplet each time with tugboat for example - you don't need to install anything extra or do any more setup after rtorrent for this to work. Although you should use .rtorrent.rc if you're going to be doing any serious torrenting, you can just get away with running rtorrent in screen if you want to seed for a bit.

This works fine for most usage cases, however you can't go forwards/backwards in my experience, and the stream will fail if you experience network issues - you'll need to download the whole thing from your droplet to your local computer if that happens.

How do you benefit from this over using a seedbox from a dedicated seedbox host? Is it just because you use droplets that you've already spun up and are using for other things?

The cheapest seedbox I've used that was usable was 10$ per month. You're definitely paying for the support and the time they put into making sure everything runs smoothly. With DO I already have droplets that are running well under capacity most time regardless, so there isn't any added cost. Also, if you want to just download a torrent, you can launch a droplet and delete it as soon as you're done - which will cost a couple of cents at most.

Regarding network issues, increasing the mplayer cache can help. I always increase -cache and -cache-min when I'm streaming.

For bettering the mplayer experiences (but quite a bit more involved setup), perhaps one could use a web server like nginx which can server byte range requests. Better to also configure it to only do HTTPS, with some self-signed certificate.

I haven't tested it, but I believe it should work.

I would imagine the steps would be something like this:

1. Create droplet. 2. install rTorrent. 3. Setup any additional services/software you require (i.e. ruTorrent, SSH, etc.). 4. Create snapshot.

I honestly don't see much benefit to this setup other than the fact you can pay for droplets on an hourly basis, and not run the droplet constantly.

Or you can run a web gui on the server and connect to it's web interface

Yes, transmission-daemon's web interface is the shit. Lets me use my VPS as a mini "seed box".

qBittorrent ( http://www.qbittorrent.org/ ) is another popular free one available on most platforms.

I've been using it for few years now. It has 'Download in sequential order' which basically allows you to start watching video just after starting download.

This breaks the torrent model...but it's so damn convenient. There's quite a few torrent clients who refuse to implement this.

Couldn't there be an in-between? Does anyone around know enough about the implementations of sequential download?

I only need the sequential download to proceed a little bit faster than playback. After that, bandwidth should be used to re-assert the (future) health of the torrent, so that segments at the end continue to have enough seeders.

Yes. I'm the original inventor of "swarmstreaming". If done correctly there is actually an increase in efficiency, especially if some of the users aren't watching the whole stream.

Why does it break the torrent model? Does it rely on having a "randomized" block download order?

The idea of a torrent is that if you're only missing the last 5mb of a 1GB file, that's all that gets downloaded. If you're downloading in sequential order, the last parts of the file are going to be less well-represented than the first parts. Not much of a problem if it's well-seeded, but they're not always well-seeded.

Oh how many times have I tried to download a file where the most complete seeder only has 95% of the download because all the people who had finished dropped off.

For high efficiency the rarest piece that you are missing should be prioritized. Of course it only matters for torrents that doesn't have many seeders. As long as only a minority of peers are streaming the swarm should be able to bear it.

To be fair I think this could be made better by integrating the media player buffer with the torrent client. While ever it's able to keep the media client fed it should also try either download random blocks or maybe more intelligently fetch the blocks with the least availability.

On Windows I like the quite light Halite client.


If you want to avoid ads and bundled spyware, better to use up-to-date FOSS instead of years-old unsupported versions of uTorrent.

Why is it better to use up-to-date FOSS if the older version of uTorrent works fine (better even, in my experience)?

What if that version of uTorrent has an exploitable bug, or embeds an exploitable library (openssl)? In a network-facing situation you absolutely need to be using up-to-date software.

That article is 7 years old...

Because any vulnerabilities in obsolete software will likely stay unknown and unfixed?

Because one day it might stop to; actually it "will".

What makes you think that? The torrent protocol would need to fundamentally change to completely stop the older versions from working. I don't see that happening.

The environment it runs in (your PC, operating system) changes over time. Yes, backwards compatibility is a big priority, but eventually something is going to fall out of compatibility. It's also known as bit rot.

The last good version of uTorrent actually fails to run under Windows 8 64-bit for me.

I'm running uTorrent 2.2.1 on Windows 10 Tech Preview 64-bit just fine.

And when it does, I can switch. For now, the older version of uTorrent works quite well and is RECOMMENDED by the trackers I use.

I'd love to hear a rational explanation from a private tracker operator as to why those recommendations are made. I understand banning misbehaving clients but the vast majority are fine.

Not always true, for example FileZilla installer (at least some of them) is bundled with adware: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=88499507

This kind of thing is what makes it difficult for me to recommend open source software to my Windows using friends and clients. My sister was looking for an alternative to Paint Shop Pro for the simple graphics she does, and she didn't want to pay for the next version if she could get something free. Without thinking, I suggested Paint.net, as I've always enjoyed using it over The Gimp on Windows. She went to getpaint.net and, of course, ended up with nothing but adware because the guy behind Paint.net is a talented but very greedy individual[1]. I should have instead pointed her to ninite.com and told her to download Paint.net there. Now she won't trust Paint.net no matter where it comes from, which is a shame because for what she needed it was more than enough.

That's only one of several cases where I've recommended a truly good, open source or freeware app for Windows, to have the person become angry with me for sending them on a spyware-laden wild goose chase. From now on I just offer to install the app they need for them, using ninite.com instead of the original source. And it shouldn't have to be that way.

[1] http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/23234-can-paintn...

Yeah, this is kind of a disaster. The non-Windows FOSS communities actually function as communities, where if you try to do something like this you get blacklisted, and there's an expectation of doing it for the sake of contribution.

Windows users do not constitute a "community". So if something's zero-financial-transaction-"free", it may still be bundled with exploitware and negative-added-value software.

paint.net is not FOSS [1]. IIRC it used to be, but it was made proprietary at some point.

[1] http://www.getpaint.net/license.html

Well, I never called Paint.net "FOSS". I referred to "open source and freeware" later though.

You should recommend a free Operating System to your friends and clients, instead of just providing them with piecemeal software recommendations on Windows.

I do in some cases. I've actually converted a couple of old clients to Debian and showed them how to maintain it for what little they used their computers for, and effectively lost them as customers because they stopped having issues with their computers. I see that as a good thing though; I probably gained twice as many new clients on their word of mouth recommendations alone.

But it's not for everyone. Most of my clients in the past have had specific commercial software requirements, so I wouldn't even bring up switching platforms. These days it's easier, as everything is moving to software as a service and web apps, and they are already used to running their home office from their iPad or Android tablets. Still, I make sure that my end goal is to offer the best value to my client, not push potentially unfamiliar and net-cost-ineffective solutions based on software license alone.

Upvoted for ninite, which I hadn't heard of before.

doesn't sourceforge bundle crapware with their installers as well?

It appears to be opt-in (on the part of the uploader). http://sourceforge.net/blog/advertising-bundling-community-a...

To be sure you can append "?nowrap" to the end of any SF download page so http://sourceforge.net/projects/trqtw/files/latest/download becomes http://sourceforge.net/projects/trqtw/files/latest/download?...

Deluge works with Windows and has been popular for years. Its what I use.


qBittorent is great. I started using it about 2 years ago not because I had an ideological problem with utorrent, but because it had much better performance on my laptop. For some reason utorrent would utilize 100 percent of my hard disk speed, and freeze my PC.

I've tried Transmission (on Linux) and Deluge, but I prefer the more familiar and simpler interface of qBittorent.

My only gripe with it is that in utorrent I could sort the torrent column by "last finished" or something like that. In qBittorent it's harder to find the last torrents that you downloaded, which can be annoying when you have a few dozen in the list.

I use Deluge at the moment. Last time I tried Transmission I remember there wasn't any official support for multiple watch folders.

Is this still the case? If not, I'd like to give Transmission another try.

I've switched to Tixati because of that kind of thing.


Deluge forever.

Why does the headline say "Bitcoin mining offer during install" when the posts in the forum talks about silent install of crapware?

The crapware in question is a bitcoin miner.

My point was, why does the headline say "offer" when it is not offered but silently installed. Sorry for the poor articulation.

Oh sure, it's an offer -- you just can't refuse it.

No... you can.

The problem is they use reverse psyc, hidden triggers, double negatives, etc.

For example, I can't remember if it was Downloads.com or SourceForge, I recently almost installed Vosteran because the option to deselect the "extra awesomeness" was hidden in "Advanced Install" section and I had clicked on "Normal Install".

I've also seen plenty of "Accept Offer" with "Decline Offer" next to it, greyed out like it was disabled.

Plenty of examples exist of them TECHNICALLY giving you an opt-out - but hiding that opt out in every way imaginable.

I doubt it's a bitcoin miner. Probably some altcoin. Bitcoin mining is not profitable on CPU anymore, no matter how many general purpose CPUs you have at your disposal (fair approximation).

It's profitable if you use other people's computers and don't pay for the wasted electricity. It's straight stealing though.

Depends on what you mean by profitable

For a modern top of the range CPU you can expect maybe ~5MH/s (likely even less)

If 1 million people install utorrent and have their processors mining constantly, you can expect a daily profit of about $14

As far as I know uTorrent has hundreds of millions of users, it's not going to be amazingly profitable, but still significant revenue. (I don't see any recent figures, but they were at 150m monthly users over three years ago.)

It could be a Bitcoin miner put in by people who don't understand how worthless that would be.

See: How people have found miners running on compromised NAS boxes and even DVRs.

yeah, Litecoin actually

Notice how the EpicScale website[1] says nothing about what percentage of bitcoin profits goes charities. The uTorrent installer is by far the worst I have encountered - there must be 4 or 5 offers you have to click through and each one has a different way of tricking you like a tiny checkbox in the text which must be checked before pressing forward, or having to press a button that looks like one that takes you back a stage to progress without installing.

1. http://www.epicscale.com/

That company deserves a place among in the top scumbags list. The one and only purpose of this malware masquerading as charity is listed on the site as if it was an afterthought "(including cryptocurrency mining)" .

They also have stuff bundled in the mac installer, but without the check boxes (last time I tried..) that bundle in crapware.

At this point, I've moved to just using an rtorrent interface on a server.

What is wrong with the state of software on Windows? Whether it is download pages containing 4 or 5 Download links that are really just ads or "partner downloads" for crapware, it's just really difficult to get software on Windows.

Chocolatey, https://chocolatey.org/, "Package Manager, somewhat like apt-get, but built with Windows in mind". This will be the package manager bundled with Powershell in Windows 10, I think.

Still, I prefer standalone installers. Neither Ninite nor Chocolatey offer choice of a location for installing a package, and I prefer to keep large/IO intensive apps installed on my HDD, not on a tiny SSD.

OneGet [1] will be included in W10, probably with Chocolatey as an optional package source.

A big thank you to @fearthecowboy over at Microsoft/Outercurve for sticking with OneGet since it was called CoApp.

[1]: https://oneget.help/

Curious what advantage that gives. Isn't quickly loading big programs what SSDs are for? That's why I got one. A program shouldn't be writing to its program files folder if you're worried about large amounts of data building up there.

I keep all my games on a huge, slow 2TB drive rather than an SSD because SSDs are expensive compared to HDDs, and they're also smaller. And modern games are big. I keep Windows on the SSD and the big files on the HDD.

I had some troubles with putty using chocolatey. It didn't install it 'traditionally', instead executables were added in a weird places and linked back to the PATH. Other than that chocolatey was quite enjoyable.

I prefer choosing my own install location as well. For me, Portable Apps works well for several different applications. No worries about something quietly installing spyware and, since the applications are portable, I can put them in my Dropbox and have them available across my many different Windows machines.

Plus, I really appreciate the simplicity of having the install / uninstall of programs involve moving folders around. One less thing which could potentially break one day.

Steam can be configured to install applications wherever you want. Hopefully they'll have feature parity in this department.

Try ninite, https://ninite.com/

The problem is the culture of freeware and shareware is so engrained that it was impossible for them to truly get their app store online. As a result, even people writing good software have to compete with free software that's embedded with spyware/adware, and the average user has no idea. So they're given an option of something "completely free" that does what they want, or something they may have to pay $5 or $10 for. The choice for them is easy, because they don't know any better.

Windows is not very user friendly like that. ;)

I stopped using uTorrent a while ago because of all the bundled crapware like this.

I switched to qBittorrent[0] and haven't looked back. It has a similar UI.

0. http://www.qbittorrent.org/

Me too! Abandoned utorrent when it started with ads; every release since seems to be a new low. Hopefully this'll penetrate their user base enough to make them take stock because it seems like they've basically got away with crapifying a once-great client.

How low can they go? Find out when you download v3.4.3 - utorrent with "visual ad enhancement"* brought to you by Superfish!

uTorrent has been crapware for a long time now and I'm not sure why people support it. Since people are plugging their favourite alternatives, my current favourite by a long shot is qBittorent[1] which is open source and natively supported on Windows/MacOS/Linux/FreeBSD.

[1] http://www.qbittorrent.org/index.php

I reverted to version 2.X (don't remember which one exactly). Anything beyond that is crap.

My brother swears by Tixati:


I've been using uTorrent 2.2.1 Build 25302 [0] for a couple years now on Windows and it works great. The installer still has a few crapware offers that you have to click off, but if you turn off update checking the client will never bug you again. To install it on Windows 8, I had to disconnect from wifi and set Win7 compatibility mode on the installer.

[0] http://www.oldversion.com/windows/utorrent-2-2-1-build-25302

Tixati's the one I switched to once I got enough of utorrent becoming more and more crap-filled with each new release.

It's ugly as sin and the interface is a clusterfuck (even without the "haXXorz" green-on-black they use for their screenshots), but aside from that it's lightweight, does the job well and is very, very flexible.

Since uTorrent 3 has "ads" in it (uTorrent Plus offer in the app), I reverted to 2.2.1 and never upgraded anymore.

It seems like BitTorrent doesn't know how to make money: $40.8 Million in 3 Rounds from 3 Investors [1] and 178 people [2] working there are not enough.

It's a tragedy that this company can't leave the startup hangar yet, mainly based on Bram Cohen's great contribution to Internet protocols.

And we can't forget the uTorrent free version embedded flash control that consumes more than 10% of the CPU in Windows.

[1] Crunchbase [2] LinkedIn

It's a product whose primary market is people who prefer not to pay for things.

It's a shame. It's great for all kind of stuff. Doesn't WoW distribute their game via torrent?

Not via utorrent, it's baked into their launcher.

I remember "Norwegian broadcaster NRK embraces P2P, sets up own torrent tracker" (2009) [1], so the torrent protocol for distributing content is a good alternative for studios.

Probably now, torrent is a loaded term.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/media/pda/2009/mar/10/p2p-pirate-...

Research consistently shows that 'pirates' spend more on media than the general public.

Exactly. I've even disabled its ads.

Utorrent and bittorrent are different companies.

Edit: I was wrong. It is owned by bittoreent. I thought they would not be this scummy.

utorrent was purchased years ago to become the mainline client, due to name recognition they still offer it as a separate brand.

Are they? www.utorrent.com says "© 2015 BitTorrent, Inc." in the footer.

It's because it's a protocol, not a search engine.

It's designed to exist independently of any one entity. How the hell were they expecting anyone to pay for the very idea of P2P/DHT file sync?

Sort of like wondering why Google isn't making any money off Hadoop because they wrote that BigTable paper.

I've always wondered if there was a way to monetize uTorrent. The userbase is predominantly people who don't want to pay for digital goods. So they're not going to pay for your software, and it's a pretty hard space to sell to advertisers. You're essentially left with companies whose reputation is so bad, that being associated with illegal downloads doesn't negatively affect their brand.

Somebody needs to start a service that lets you pay for the movies you download via BitTorrent.

Torrented movies are better in pretty much every regard as compared to DVD/BluRay. No ads, no unskippable videos telling you not to pirate the disc you just bought, no 2 minute unskippable disc title intro, etc. Double click the file and it plays the movie.

That's worth paying for. I'd pay for that over Disks in the mail from Amazon if it were possible to do so. If there was a service that let me paste in a .torrent, pay $10, and have them forward it to the studio, life would be good.

Instead, we get iTunes, which somehow manages to make the movie watching process more painful than DVDs.

Being able to get subtitles for anh film is another benefit vs iTunes etc.

Have you used uTorrent recently? They've had an unshrinkable ad area in the main window for a while. Torrent sites are full of ads too; I'm willing to wager that there are plenty of advertisers willing to put ads up in non-traditional spaces. It's not going to be Proctor&Gamble, but revenue's getting made for sure. Not to mentioned the "bundled" crapware being discussed.

Hence my last sentence...

Perhaps one could pay for the content that he/she downloads with cpu time and RAM temporal storage, something akin to a distributed dropbox.

A friend of mine worked on a project that tried to do distributed RAM temporal storage circa 2005. The company went under because after 4 years 6 engineers couldn't get it to reliably work even though they controlled most of the participating machines. This is a very hard problem.

"RAM temporal storage" - what exactly do you mean by temporal storage? I've never heard the term before.

Basically the idea is to do long-term storage in short-term memory (RAM) by distributing the storage across many machines. One one machine you shouldn't store stuff you want stored long-term in short-term memory (RAM) because as soon as the short-term memory loses power the data is gone. RAM temporal storage attempts to mitigate this problem by duplicating the data across many many machines so that if one machine powers off, the other machines still have the data.

This is sort of a holy grail of distributed computing because it could allow people to elastically donate their storage similarly to how people donate their CPU cycles to Folding@Home or GPU cycles to BTC mining. The idea is that a lot of your CPU cycles (for example) are wasted because you aren't doing anything on your computer, so you can donate those cycles to Folding@Home. You could do something similar with RAM, but RAM is different: if I decide to run a program and start using my CPU cycles again Folding@Home can just push computation to another machine. But if I decide to reclaim RAM from a distributed computing system to run a program on my machine, then whatever the system was storing in RAM is lost, and if they need that, they a) need to have it duplicated elsewhere, and b) need to know how to retrieve it efficiently from a network of computers any of which may or may not actually have the data. This has proven to be a very hard problem to solve in practice.

Why does it need to be monetized?

Because Bittorrent inc bought it for (I assume) a decent sum of money and now they are desperately from the looks of it, trying to recoup on their investment.

From an end user perspective it sucks, but like others have mentioned there are lots of FOSS alternatives, I'd wager Transmission is the most popular.

That's really dumb, bad for users, bad for the environment and without clear benefits to uTorrent.

Why? Because ASICS that's why.

To illustrate. A Macbook Pro bought a few years ago costs $1200 today. Its CPU will get you 1.8 megahash per second. It uses about 250 watt at max CPU.

Meanwhile, an ASIC today costing about $350 will get you over 1 million MH/S and its max watt usage is about 590.

Considering uTorrent isn't specialized mining software, and considering you'll only use about 25% of CPU or so (and that is way too much itself), you're looking at being able to run about 10 million megahash per second on an ASIC for the same cost of running 2 MH/S on a MBP.

Now consider that this ASIC is available to you and me, and that even better ASICS are used by mining farms in China with access to electricity that's 2x - 4x cheaper than what you're paying at home, purchased at factory prices even lower than the $350 I mentioned above.

What does it all mean? It means that if you run a Macbook Pro at today's hashrate for 30 years, 24/7 at 100% of CPU, you will earn $0.07.

So just think about what uTorrent is doing to you. If they took 50% of your CPU for the 8 hours you use your device each day the next year, they'd make 1/25th of a single penny, and that 50% extra CPU would cost you about $20 in electricity, and reduce the lifetime of your computer.

This idea would have been brilliant years ago, before ASICs. Today it's one of the dumbest ideas in the world. It can cost your users tens of dollars, slow down their computers, reduce the lifetime of their hardware and generates virtually no money for you in the process.

Even with 1 million Macbook Pros running this year round, they'd make $700 while generating tens of millions in extra electricity costs.

If they think that 1 million users opening their app every single day and running it for 8 hours to generate $700 is a lasting business model, then I think that's very telling of where uTorrent is headed. I say that even if it didn't cost users 50% of their CPU and a few dollars a month in the process.

-- quick edit: Bitcoin would actually be a very interesting usecase for torrent technology. You could for example attach a bitcoin address to each torrent packet. Then a torrent client could verify if the packet contains valid data (like normal), and automatically send a microreward (e.g. 1/millionth of a penny) back to whoever supplied you that packet. Each user could connect a bitcoin wallet and set a reward for various things he's downloading (e.g. $1 for a 1960s vintage album that can't be found anywhere, or 1 cent for the guy sending him House of Cards).

You could completely monetize seeders on a voluntary pay-what-you-want basis. And uTorrent could offer an option to send 1% of these 'donations' to uTorrent itself automatically. It'd generate a lot more revenue than mining, while costing the user a fraction, and incentivize seeding of a whole range of new content and make torrenting more popular than ever, without having to rely on centralized payment systems that would shut it down immediately.

It's just one of many ideas. I'm all for cryptocurrency and torrents, but this particular product just makes no sense.

>they'd make $700 while generating tens of millions in extra electricity costs.

uTorrent probably tens of millions of users, not one million. These users also might have decent GPUs (I know I do in my gaming machine which is my only desktop). I'm not disagreeing that this is a questionable business practice, but I think they're going to make a hell of a lot more than $700. Also this normalizes this behavior so if they switch to Litecoin or whatever coin gets hot next, they have all the infrastructure in place to generate new coins.

One of the things thats invisible to computer users is how much power they use. uTorrent is taking advantage of this ignorance. The same way the stupid "search for aliens at home" crap was installed on every university and corporate PC by irresponsible helpdesk staff. There's a larger issue here about power usage. At the very least your computer should warn you if something is eating up all the CPU and rasing your electric bill and contributing to pollution.

All the more reason to promote Deluge for torrenting duties. uTorrent is user hostile garbage.

Am I the only one to whom it is obvious that the EpicScale "bitcoin miner" is not in fact a bitcoin miner at all? For the profitability reasons enumerated in the parent, the only possible explanation is that they're doing something else (maybe altcoin mining, maybe something more botnet-y and sketchy) than mining BTC.

It is a different target audience. Anyone who seriously wants to mine knows all of what you said and probably has a place with a decent amount of ASICs running.

Immediately my thought wasn't "This is dumb because the hardware sucks at mining" it was "This is to introduce the idea into people's heads." A fraction may go on mining more seriously, or more likely buying and using BTC.

The goal isn't to get people mining, this is not some kind of educational scheme or promotion for bitcoin. The goal for uTorrent is to make money off of its users mining, and this isn't doing it. (what it is doing is screwing with its users)

If users get introduced to mining and then go and buy an ASIC that does absolutely nothing, 0, for uTorrent. That's not a business model.

99.9% of the people who do this aren't going to seriously get into mining. It just doesn't work that way and you know it.

Secondly, that's a hell of a cost to attempt to get mindshare.

Thirdly, there's no way for a reasonable person to be competitive mining these days, so the idea that more people should mine is somewhat laughable.

Look at GPU hash rates, CPUs can't compete at hash rates that much is clear.

Even GPU rates are absolute crap compared to ASICs, and that's the top-end cards used for gaming. You generally get a few hundred MH/S at a few hundred dollars, for example a GTX580 at $200 used gives you about 150 MH/S. So 0.75 MH/S/$. Compare that to ASICs that can get 3000 MH/S/$. Meanwhile the graphics card is a huge power hog, at 244 watts the GTX580 will cost you $320 in electricity if ran 365/24/7 at an OECD average.

So let's plug it into today's hashrate calculator: $0.15c, if ran for a year 100% maxed out 24/7. Imagine we lower that to 25% usage, 8 hours a day, and you get roughly 1 cent. Oh and these hashrates are growing exponentially so it's likely much, much lower.

So even if you do this year-round, you'd blow your user's graphics card in a year, generate $320 in extra electricity costs and make 15c (very optimistic estimate), and completely lock up 100% usage of his graphics card 24/7.

And that's for a decent gaming card that you can buy at $200 used today. Don't mind the millions of torrenters who use laptops with on-board shitty cards who just want to pirate Netflix.

In any case, I'm not even sure if it's relevant as I just checked the CPU rates because users in the thread mentioned their CPU went up while idle that hadn't happened before, indicating they're CPU mining as opposed to GPU mining (which is probably easier than configuring for different cards, and allows mining on computers with a decent CPU and a shitty on-board video card for non-gaming.)

So I still think it's the dumbest idea ever.

The problem with this is you keep factoring the costs of a computer, or electricity or an ASIC. It's expensive or the user. But for uTorrent, that computer is free. You can't trick people into installing bitcoin mining crapware on their ASIC.

There was a similar scandal[0] in 2013 where the ESEA client (an e-sports league, and the client is required to play in ESEA matches) "infected" about 14,000 users. They were able to generate a few thousand dollars worth of Bitcoins (worth more now) over only two weeks until the miner was noticed by the community.

They have an advantage because most people who maintain a paid subscription to an e-sports league will have powerful GPUs. But compared to the size of uTorrents userbase, 14,000 gaming PCs is nothing.

In this case though, it looks like EpicScale is only using the CPU. And probably not mining bitcoins, as they never mention them specifically. Their terms[1] list "[...] various purposes, including, but not limited to, cryptocurrency mining, data processing, data analysis and/or scientific research and development."

[0] http://www.wired.com/2013/11/e-sports/

[1] http://www.epicscale.com/terms

> The problem with this is you keep factoring the costs of a computer, or electricity or an ASIC. It's expensive or the user. But for uTorrent, that computer is free.

How is that a problem in my analysis? It's important.

For example say you bought a Macbook Air and came with mining software, used 100% of your CPU and GPU and made your computer unusable. And it generated 1 penny per year in return. And it'd cost you $100 in electricity.

Would you consider it normal to say 'But for Apple it's 1 penny, for free! Your analysis is flawed because all those costs, who cares, Apple isn't paying for them, for them it's a free penny'.

Of course not. It's ridiculous. Screwing over your user is not without consequence, there is a cost involved. A moral one, for one, which if you can't express financially still matters. That is, locking up 25% or 50% of a CPU, reducing the lifetime of their CPU and costing them $20 in electricity per year is screwing over your users.

But secondly there is also an economic cost, just not directly. But indirectly in the long run, doing things like this will lead people to uninstall and avoid your product. In the exaggerated example about Apple above, it's obvious nobody would ever buy that Macbook Air again. A similar thing will happen for uTorrent on a smaller scale, and that's a cost.

And if your little scheme generates peanuts in revenue, then that cost of losing users is likely bigger than your revenue if you'd built a less intrusive scheme.

As for your example, it's from spring 2013. Spring 2013 the hashrate was about 50k, today it's 350 million. So literally, the same infected computers today would earn $1.17 in the same period, or about $28 per year. And the electricity costs would be thousands of dollars. Even if you didn't have to pay for it, a business model where you screw with your user's hardware performance, generate thousands of dollars in costs for them to make $28 is ridiculous.

Even if you scale that up from 14 thousand to 14 million users, not with heavy GPUs but average users using their CPU, it's absolute peanuts. I showed that already.

I'm not making this up. This is exactly my point, as I mentioned, a few years ago this would've been a brilliant idea, hell even spring 2013, today, not so much.

Apparently it was supposed to be opt-in and their website says they only use CPU so you were right in comparing CPU with ASICs, it doesn't make sense: https://www.reddit.com/r/techsupport/comments/2y0g43/epicsca... https://www.reddit.com/r/techsupport/comments/2y0g43/epicsca...

They should drop the cryptocurrency mining part, it just looks shady to do that when there is no real benefit as you showed. And they should make sure that opt-in really is opt-in...

Not that I disagree with you, but illustrating your point by comparing a madly cost-effective ASIC today to a madly overpriced PC several years old is a bit misleading.

That's the entire point. The point is that bitcoin mining is a lottery, and you get more tickets the more hashpower you have.

In other words, it's a competition. The average person running a MBP that's a few years old gets 2 MH/S (call em lottery tickets). But the majority of people mining are doing so with ASICs that get 1 or 2 million MH/S at a quarter of the cost of the second hand price of a MBP. That's the reality today.

The comparison between the two isn't my point. It's merely to illustrate WHY running a MBP for 1 year, 24/7 at 100% of CPU nets you a fraction of a single penny. It's because many others mine with specialized equipment.

The basic point is that if you get 2 lottery tickets and there are 100 tickets in total, that's great. If you get 2 lottery tickets and there are litterally trillions of tickets, you won't win, and over the course of a century you will earn less than 1 dollar.

That's not misleading it's literally what is happening. uTorrent's average user will generate a fraction of a penny in bitcoin revenue, while generating 10-20 dollars of extra electricity costs, while using up 50% of its CPU. These facts come from data of today's hashrate, not from analogy. I just wrote down the comparison to explain why the hashrate is so gigantic and why running millions of Macbook Pros through uTorrent can't compete with it and won't generate any real money, despite spending loads of money on electricity costs.

So basically uTorrent is abusing its users in the extreme to try and make money. It is making its users spend money on electricity (because users can not stop them) in order to make much less money through bitcoin.

I wonder if that is a new permission Apps should request -- the ability to run high intensity CPU jobs.

Anyhow, this part of uTorrent needs to be removed by the next update of Windows's built-in malware removal tool.

I know all that. My point is that in order to make a fair comparison you might as well compare an ASIC with a <1 year old desktop, instead of an overpriced several years old laptop, especially because your point still stands the same. There is absolutely no need to fudge up the numbers because ASICs outclass general purpose hardware by orders of magnitude anyway. It's dishonest and with absolutely no need for it.

As an aside, my 2 year old laptop gets 20MH/s and a latest-generation desktop CPU gets close to 100MH/s.

The point in electricity consumption stands across the board for all hardware. CPU mining is just that ineffective compared to ASICs.

Basically uTorrent folks are willing to turn tens of millions of dollars worth of electricity, paid by someone else, into heat just so they can grab a thousand or so of profit.

I have no idea who thought it would be a good idea. How sociopathic a person must be to suggest it originally?

I mean, the software exists to allow you to reap the benefits of other people's work without paying them. I'm not sure why this is surprising.

First of all this must be made well known, so that people will avoid uTorrent.

Second of all this is bit different from normal theft in the orders of magnitudes involved. If you steal 1000€ from someone the other person loses 1000€. In this case uTorrent guys are stealing 1000€ and receiving only 0.1€, or robbing 0.1€ and causing 1000€ worth of damage. It's like burning down a department store, destroying all the goods in it and the building, just to rob a single cash register.

If it stands across the board, all the more reason not fudge up by using an overpriced dated laptop as comparison instead of a recent desktop for instance. It would even illustrate the point better (even your "gaming" grade desktop will be orders of magnitude less efficient than a specialized ASIC).

How is it misleading? Do you think everyone running uTorrent is going to have the latest and greatest hardware specially tuned to mining Bitcoin? What we're comparing is what uTorrent could be getting versus what they will actually be getting with hardware their users actually run. Perfectly apt comparison, in my opinion. The idea is to show how useless this endeavor is.

The link doesn't work: "Account Suspended"

Their whole forum seems down.

I have rarely used torrents over the years, but my understanding is that uTorrent has been bundled with crap for ages now. I still have a really old version installed.

IIRC uTorrent 2.2 is the last usable version. I specifically search for it whenever I format my PC.

Correct, I uninstalled it after an upgrade was bundled with crapware and got deluge instead http://deluge-torrent.org/

(200m unique monthly users) * (even only a teeny percent of users accepting these offers) = considerable money for BitTorrent Inc.

I highly doubt it really mines bitcoin because with the current difficulty a typical modern graphics card can expect to mine less than $0.01 worth of bitcoin a week if left running 24/7 on full load.

Edit: what I meant is that EpicScale in all likelihood mines another cryptocurrency, not bitcoin. Especially that it seems to use CPU which is utterly useless for bitcoin mining (you won't even get $0.01 in a year with the latest i7!)

From the Epic Scale website (http://www.epicscale.com/):

How is money earned?

Solving math problems for weather prediction, physics simulations, cryptography (including cryptocurrency mining) and more has real world value. We solve these problems on behalf of our trusted partners, and donate proceeds to your favorite charities.

The key words there being including cryptocurrency mining.

It probably mines altoins and then trades them for bitcoin. With a decent GPU you can break even.


Even if we assume half load and 12 hours a day, it still adds up to real money if you multiply it by enough users.

Perhaps it could mine whatever someone wants to have calculated, instead of garbage, in exchange for that amount of money :)

They have few hundreds millions users.

uTorrent is a great client, really is, but it's been plagued with ads, bundled crapware and other "goodies" for years now. I understand software doesn't come free and the developers have to be paid, but this is tarnishing the brand now.

Good thing for them that the state of Bittorent clients is rather stale and mediocre, there's no way they would survive more competition with that behaviour.

A bit of background on µTorrent, it was written by a guy named Ludvig Strigeus (creator of well-known FOSS projects like OpenTTD and ScummVM), and was free albeit proprietary, with no adware/spyware but simply a lean (in resources) yet featurefull client which made it the de facto bittorrent client on Windows.

He then sold µTorrent to Bittorrent inc (and went on to co-create Spotify), and from there on µTorrent has gone downhill as Bittorent inc are going for bundling adware/spyware in order to get a return on their investment.

with no adware/spyware but simply a lean (in resources) yet featurefull client

I remember when it first came out it was the smallest client available, and that's why it gained a huge following - it was unintrusive and required no installation.

uTorrent 1.1.1: 82KB

uTorrent 3.4.2: 1.66MB

I have a feeling that most of that 20x(!) size increase is not due to any new features in the core torrent functionality. In fact, it appears to be the same size as the official BitTorrent Inc. client... I haven't looked carefully at the code, but just from this comparison I'd bet that it's not really uTorrent anymore but the BitTorrent client with a different UI.

That's correct! (Yes I read HN)

Heh, hej Ludde!

It's ironic given that µTorrent was always supposed to be this ultra-compact and lightweight client (it's in the name!). And it has been, but BitTorrent, Inc. have been slowly ruining it.

It's a terrible client. The only reason it's survived so long despite the owner shamelessly milking it of every penny they can is name recognition. The brand isn't being tarnished - it's being sacrificed wholesale for dollars, with the singular goal of extracting as many dollars as possible before it dies.

I suggest Deluge, or maybe Transmission.


edit: retracting Transmission recommendation because I'm unfamiliar with it's state on Windows. Looks like there are builds, but I've never used them.

I have been using qBittorrent (http://www.qbittorrent.org/) for a while and don't have anything to complain about. Perfect for my simple needs (RSS feeds, launch a program on completion).

It's not terrible.

It does it's job well enough, ads can be easily disabled via advanced settings, it works in portable mode without even having a chance to install bundled crapware, the UI does not make my eyes bleed.

A philosophical difference - I believe that being forced to jump through hoops like that just to make it usable are sufficient to make it terrible. These sorts of things are designed to make it just OK enough to use for technically inclined users, while profiting off of those who don't know better - what percent of users do you think go through the steps you list?

You can also add hosts file entries to block application ads after dumping network traffic to find the servers, you can edit binaries with a hex editor and debugger to patch out code paths. But should you need to, just to make it usable? What amount of work is needed to make it not-terrible before it can be declared terrible?

Deluge has an absolutely dreadful UX. It's incredibly frustrating to use. So many small details that have been missed which µTorrent nailed

I use deluge in an extremely simple way so I might not face the same kind of problems but I'm interested.

Can you develop?

Here's some off the top of my head. I know they're nit picking, but that's pretty much what you have to do to create a decent UX

* When you're under active torrents, select a torrent, wait for it to become unactive (ie going from downloading to done), the torrent is unselected (because it's not in view anymore) and the details of the torrent are not available. With µ if you select a torrent it's selected until you select something else no matter what states the torrent goes through and which view you're in.

* When adding a new torrent, the default destination is always the same, in µTorrent it's the last place you downloaded. When I add a torrent, the content always goes into a sub folder depending on type, it's much more likely that the last destination I used is the correct one (say I want to download a couple of music albums)

* The UI when adding a torrent is just cluttered and confusing and I have, a couple of times managed to enter the "add torrent-file"† instead of the "select destination for download" dialogue because it's such a mess

† Why is this even accessible from the prompt I get when I double click on a torrent in my file explorer? When would I ever double click on a torrent file, and then want to select a different torrent file? So unnecessarily messy.

I develop. Did not know Deluge was using Python. I might contribute one day, but doing front-end stuff is not really something I enjoy

A good windows strategy to avoid bundled crapware is to look for portable software that needs no installation.

I always try to install a new program as a limited user (sadly, most programs that come with an installer require administrative rights).

Recently i moved over to tixati as my preferred torrent client.

torrent clients haven't changed much over the years, the old version still works just as well for me. Private torrent sites require specific clients, and the old version of utorrent is usually on the list.

I've been using a server as a seedbox to avoid this hassle of having clients installed on my computer. I'm trying to keep my system to a bare minimum of installed junk.

Some MIT students founded a company called TidBit that let web publishers mine bitcoins (using asm.js) in their readers' browsers as an opt-in alternative to banner ads. They current face a subpoena from the New Jersey division of consumer affairs.


I doubt it's mining Bitcoins specifically, people in the thread only mention CPU usage so far. I found this[0] on the epicscale site, which let's you query for things like the hashrate of a Node, but it doesn't seem to work. So while not bitcoins, I would guess they are mining some altcoin rather than being a botnet or something else.

[0] http://report.epicscale.com/

"This is abhorrent!"

"What kind of monster would suck up my CPU cycles, increasing my power bill, and shortening the life of my hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of computing equipment, to make a few cents?!"

This is basically just flash ads without annoying audio coming from a mystery tab. I laud it as innovation. ;)

Also: transmission, yo.

I suggest you use qbitorrent instead which is a fork of uTorrent the site ninite has an installer for it.

Did anyone else catch what one of the Admins on the site said? >Looks like the Epic Scale software is not uninstalling as it was intended to by design.

I literally cannot stand companies that write software like this.

As a old bitcoin miner, this is a phenomenally terrible idea.

CPU and GPU mining will literally cost their users millions of dollars in electricity for the few thousand dollars they would stand to make in bitcoin mining.

Did anyone notice? uTorrent main setup file is packed by UPX and is made unpack-able by UPX itself by modifying some bytes in the packed UPX. Why would a developer do that? Point.

I remember when uTorrent was the shiny, slim, new BT client to supersede the bloated and ad-riddled Bitlord and BitComet clients.

The more things change...

Any better alternative to uTorrent? I am using it since years. Bittorrent seems just clone of it with different color scheme.

I was able to load up the page a few minutes ago, but now it says the hosting account is suspended.

Is there a relatively easy way to import all torrents from uTorrent to some other torrent client?

I havent updated utorrent since it was bought by bittorrent. What a waste of a great product.

the bittorrent suffers from the same problem? I can not tell if they are different programs, after all they are the same company and are visually identical.

BitTorrent (the client) is based on uTorrent's codebase as they are owned by the same company. Both can install malware if you're not careful.

bittorrent bought utorrent and started bundling crap with it

and BitTorrent has questionable ties to the mpaa

Hahahaha. No. No, it doesn't. It once agreed to remove content when told (ie, adhere to the DMCA) many many many years ago (ten? more?) when it had a search portal on its own web site but if you really believe that bittorrent has some kind of direct line to the MPAA to report users, you are very deluded.

Edit: 2005. https://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-and-mpaa-join-forces/

seriously? no Vuze/Azureus fans?

I'm using it, in fact I was a contributor a few years ago.

But considering that the default installer offers a ton of adware too (although you can opt-out of all of that) might not make it the best counter-example for the purpose of this discussion.

The core is open source though (GPL even), so a savy user could just download the .jar (+ libs + optionally a .exe launcher) and launch it like any other java process without all the installer crap. But that's not something most people are aware of.

Admittedly it has been 5+ years since I touched Azureus, but at least at that time it was a complete memory pig which basically made it unusable.

It works fine. Still a bit of a memory hog but we have more ram now. They're going down the path of adware/spyware too, however, you have to opt out in a convoluted way and you're still shown ads. But at least it doesn't carry a coin miner. Yet. Fingers crossed.

> you're still shown ads.

current version, classic UI, no ads: http://i.imgur.com/8nD46ab.png

qbittorrent guys. Forget that uTorrent shit.

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