Monday, February 9, 2009

Info - History for Firefox and Bittorrent

So, if you want to see integration between Firefox or Songbird and torrents, look in fear. Here's the history that current development can look back on.
Plug for current development efforts: Ashughes on a Songbird bittorrent extension leveraging libtorrent. I should plug my own efforts, but really, has anyone installed it for testing? I'm looking at enabling early writing to disk this week, which should allow large ISO size torrents without a significant memory drain, but there really needs to be more testing or such a size may never download due to other issues. To that end, the next release (Friday?) will have the ability to log the history with each peer, so we can examine what went okay, and what went bad. For now, tests on torrents at's featured content have worked for myself up to 20 or so MB (tested on OS X & Ubuntu 8.10, FF 3); I haven't attempted higher, as I don't actually have any need of the content.

Last update: was there a first update? Probably the first Bittorrent/Mozilla attempt. Had screenshots, and mockups appear to use download manager. Had a Mailing list (I can't see it ever being used by the authors). No source, so development dead-end, and no updates since started watching it in December 2004.

Thanks to humph I've recently found this one from 2005. Result of a Summer of Code project, this extension worked with Firefox 1.5, but has a list of bugs that make it quite brittle. Lack of support for multiple file torrents would be the killer bug, as that's too common to ignore. (For bugs, see

There is nothing here. The source committed is the source of the website.

Last update: 2007 May 22 (website) May 23 (mailing list). Jump started by leveraging Mainline (Bram Cohen's original client) via PyXPCOM. Has Screenshots, and looks like seeding support. Looks like fair information feedback, and appears to have had right click support on torrent links. Looks like preferences exist (though probably not enabled). Source available (browse, download instructions) And a mailing list: Mailing list. So what's bad? No XPI (which means it can't be installed) and no updates in over year. See the last words on the mailing list - which, thankfully, were about the release of the source code.

I wonder if this will be picked up, or if there is enough to pick up. Some C source files.

Foxtorrent (Dead, blog still up)
The standard by which all other FireFox Bittorrent extensions should be measured. Reached maturity, and survived for some time. The killer is the disappearance of the Red Swoosh app which this extension relied on, which as far as I can tell, was never open source software. So this is probably a development dead end, as the only source is javascript that links to the Red Swoosh backend via http.
Hit 1.0 on 26th April 2007.
You can install a reviewed addon v1.13: (5th June, 2007)
Install a not-reviewed 2.0: (6 August, 2008 maybe)
Info on API for Red Swoosh:

According to TechCrunch and TorrentFreak, this Wyzo/Firefox extension is developed using P2P Innovative tech. Well, okay, that was in 2007, in 2008 TorrentFreak also reports it's using libtorrent. How can we tell? It has the appearance of open source, but damned if I can find the bittorrent source - and the only source code is a single snapshot. The source provided is either dated 26 March 2007 (based on the contents of the source zip) or 30 March 2007 (the log date on the subversion repository).

Honestly, I know too little about AllPeers, but it looks the most promising for open source software. The company is gone, but the developer site seems to still exist. The site reports the server is closed source, but the client is open, though I don't know what that means for ordinary torrents. I think digging through this code is where I'll be spending some spare time.

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