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Monday, March 02, 2009

I use this: Vuze - outstanding BitTorrent client

Before I begin, I want to state categorically that this is not about how to use BitTorrent nor what files you can get with BitTorrent. You can get that information elsewhere.

Vuze is a BitTorrent program to handle file sharing with that protocol and works on both Windows and Mac OS X. (I think there's a version for Linux too.) It's written in Java, though, so the non-native code causes the program to run slower than natively written programs would.

In spite of its poor comparative performance, I still choose it over other (Mac-based) BitTorrent clients. Vuze gives three reasons for using its software:

  1. intuitive design
  2. free HD content within the Vuze network
  3. subscribe to RSS feeds
I've never really found a need for those three reasons (the first one is debatable). Instead, here are my top three reasons for using Vuze instead of another BitTorrent client.

1. Download only the files you want
Often times, a single torrent file will be actually a collection of files. But there are times when you don't want to download all of the files. That's especially useful if the final download is gigabytes in size, but all you need is a file that's 1MB big.

When you open a torrent in Vuze, you're instantly shown all of the available files in that torrent. You can then choose to download all or select the ones you don't want. Buttons are available to select all or select none, which are useful when you want to include or remove one or two files from the list.

2. Rename files inside Vuze
This is a feature that's difficult to find in other BitTorrent clients. Instead of waiting for a download to complete before renaming it in your file system, Vuze lets you rename the file immediately. When the download begins, you'll find the file with your specified name. That's very useful for personalising your downloads, especially when you have a lot of downloads with similar names.

3. Specify unique settings per torrent
As you would expect to find in BitTorrent programs, Vuze lets you specify the number of connections and speed of each torrent in your list. But Vuze goes a step further from this global setting. For each torrent, you can further specify its maximum upload and download speeds.

For example, you may specify in the program's Preferences that each torrent can have a maximum upload speed of 20KB/s. But then, you decide that one particular torrent isn't very important, so you want to lower its upload speed. Vuze allows you to do that. Right-click (or Control-click in OS X) on the torrent, then select Advanced --> Set Upload Speed, and enter your desired upload speed, e.g. 5KB/s. Ta-da! While all of the other torrents upload at a maximum of 20KB/s, this particular one will be stuck at 5KB/s.

There are some other features that I like about Vuze, but those are my top three reasons for sticking with it rather than another BitTorrent client.

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