BitTorrent is the handiest tool for file-sharing ever created, but the client program itself is frustrating. It’s tough to configure, relies on Python, has different nitty snags on different systems, and it doesn’t always play nice with the rest of the system. Particularly if your version of Python is newer than your version of BitTorrent.
And until now, you couldn’t just click-n-save like you can an FTP file or some webpage element. You have this big process of grabbing the torrent seed, starting the client, checking to see if there’s any seeders, setting your upload-to-download ratio… I know it’s necessary in order for the system to work, but it seems like more hassle than it’s worth.
Enter AllPeers, the Firefox embedded BitTorrent client. This dandy little plug-in works like any other Firefox plugin, and allows you to use BitTorrent from the browser! If you set the preferences to use AllPeers as your default file handler, downloading a torrent becomes just like an FTP download, as far as the interface goes.
You can also upload, of course. You can still set your upload-to-download ratio, and also set up a network of friends to share files with. According to this interview, it’s the social-web aspect that AllPeers hopes to harness, perhaps looking forward to building up a social network of users over time.
To test it, I went to PirateBay and grabbed the old Doom2 game. Yes, I originally bought a copy of that game when it came out, and I also selected it for being an old file likely to only have a few seeders. Nevertheless, the file torrent downloaded painlessly at my top bandwidth rate.
AllPeers is a sharp-looking plugin with a clean design. It adds a toolbar and some buttons to Firefox, but nothing too intrusive and you can easily disable these. It is also fast and ran without a hitch, even while browsing other pages in other tabs while the downloading was going on.
Give it a try if, like me, you thought BitTorrent clients are too cumbersome.
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