The Participatory Culture Foundation just released version 1.1 of the Miro client wich, among other things, features a completely overhauled Bittorrent implementation. From the Miro blog:

"With this update, Miro is truly a powerhouse for torrent feeds, if I do say so myself. Torrents are still a difficult and mysterious technology for many users, despite the huge bandwidth savings they provide to publishers. We aim to make your torrent experience seamless at worst and invisible at best."

Miro used to be based on an implementation of the original open source mainline client that has been developed by Bittorrent founder Bram Cohen. This client is unfortunately not really up to date anymore when it comes to advanced features and configuration possibilities.

One example: The mainline client doesn't support UPnP port forwarding. This has been especially problematic for a client like Miro that aims to have a more mainstream user base that doesn't know how to configure routers, resulting in many Miro users downloading torrents without opening the right ports in their firewalls and then complaining about slow downloads.

The client's developers have switched over to the libtorrent library with this release. Holmes Wilson from the Participatory Culture Foundation explains:

"It's fast, it does port forwarding with UPnP, supports trackerless, and it supports encryption (a big deal for certain ISPs that throttle Bittorrent). It also let us give users more control over torrent behavior, like setting upstream and downstream caps."

He thinks that libtorrent will help Miro to get more users, and, over time, even more and better Bittorrent features. Says Wilson:

"libtorrent is an active open source project that has lots of participants, so Miro will benefit from all the changes they make going forward (and if we make fixes or improvements, all the libtorrent projects will benefit)."

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