Interview with the KTorrent developers

by Rudd-O published 2007/04/25 13:54:51 GMT+0, last modified 2013-06-26T03:24:19+00:00

Today, Rudd-O.com talks with the KTorrent developers in an exclusive interview.

Hi there, LinuxToday readership. Welcome. Let me steal ten seconds of your time and ask you to Digg this article. This site is undergoing a Digg traffic storm as I write this, and I'd love to see if it can handle two simultaneous storms. Thanks. Now, back to our regular programming...

One of the most hotly debated topics about the Internet today is, without a doubt, BitTorrent: the most popular peer-to-peer network protocol today. Why is it controversial? Because clients (applications) for BitTorrent file transfer proved to be first choice of people sharing and downloading movies and music from the Internet.

Today, it's almost unimaginable not to own a BitTorrent client. And KDE users don't need to resort to third-party clients, because there's one BitTorrent client that fits snugly into their desktops: KTorrent.

Instead of exploring the trite angle of copyright infringement myself, this time I give you an interview with the men behind the program: Joris Guisson and Ivan Vasić. They've done an awesome job, so the least they deserve is public recognition -- and we're pleased to have them as guests today.

So, without further ado, the next page has the interview.

Ivan and Joris, up close and personal

Tell us a bit about yourself. We'd like to know the men behind the tech. What do you do for a living. How old are you. Married? Children?

Ivan Vasić:

I'm 25 and I'm a computer science student from Serbia. I'm also currently working at one IT company in Serbia called PakomInternet. No, I'm not married and I don't have children :) Besides my interests in programming and linux, I'm playing saxophone and guitar in a few bands here in Serbia.

Joris Guisson:

I'm a nearly 25 year old Belgian. I'm an embedded software engineer working for Siemens. Mostly working on routers with VoIP functionality. The routers have all the usual router features like DSL, Ethernet and WLAN, but on top of that you can plugin a couple of analog phones and use those to call via the Internet.

Which is a fairly interesting job, the routers run linux, wasn't really sure I could find an interesting linux job in Belgium when I got out of university.

How did you get involved with KTorrent? Were you the one who sprang to life?

Ivan:

Few years ago, I was looking for a good BitTorrent client to use with my linux system. Some popular clients did not suite me but there was some native KDE client called KTorrent I decided to check out. Application was at its early phase of development (if I remember correctly, at version 1.0) and I had a few ideas how to improve it. I did not want to bother Joris so I decided to write some patches myself. After writting a few, I was really surprised to see my name in about dialog and I realized I'm finally contributing to KDE and opensource community. Ever since, I'm coding whenever I find the time.

Joris:

I started it, Azureus was a bit heavy for my tastes, and I noticed that KDE was lacking one (I'm not really sure if KMLDonkey supported bittorrent at that time). And I was looking for a new hobby (for some reason I grew out of computer games), and so I embarked on a project to make a bittorrent client for KDE.

Does KTorrent development influence your everyday life?

Ivan:

Not that much. We've created a nice little community around KTorrent so I'm really proud to work with all those people. Yes, it does require some extra time but it's worth it.

Joris:

It certainly helped understand things a lot more, I know a lot more about networking since I started KT. This certainly helps me in my job. KT also improved my coding skills.

What are, in your opinion, the major features and advantages of KTorrent over other BitTorrent clients?

KTorrent at its best

KTorrent downloading a set of torrents

KTorrent showing a torrent’s detail view

KTorrent searching Mininova for Heroes episodes

Ivan:

Well, to name main and the obvious one that KT is native and lightweight KDE client that integrates with KDE desktop. I really love KT interface. Multiple tabs are something that I've always missed in other clients. We've also integrated some usefull features like search, upnp, ipfilters etc... I think that the main KTorrent feature is that it's based on users requests. When you design an application based on proposals from lots of people - you can't go wrong.

Joris:

KDE integration is nice for KDE users. it's not just the fact that KT feels and acts like a KDE app, but we also use KDE technology like KHTML which makes our search plugin possible. Not many clients have an integrated torrent search.

KT is a lot lighter then Azureus, and has more features then the mainline bittorrent client. I'm not really familiar with other clients, so I can't make a comparison with those.

Interview continues on the next page.

How do you feel about the debate that seemingly pits BitTorrent technology authors vs. copyright owners? What about copyrights themselves? Do you support copyright reform, and if so, to what extent?

Ivan:

I hate the fact that BitTorrent is a synonym for copyright infringement, but that's just the way it is. I don't read the stuff, and I don't get too much excited about this.

Joris:

Bittorrent is just a way to transfer files from one computer to another, there are plenty of legal uses for it. I don't think there has been an attempt to kill it of by suing bittorrent client authors, so for us developers it's pretty safe from a legal point of view. (Not living in sue happy USA is also a bonus :-)

Piracy is a phenomenon which will always be with us, it's just so easy to copy digital content and distribute it over the internet. It's not going away anytime soon, no matter how many people the RIAA sues, no matter how much DRM they put on the latest storage technology.

The music industry will have to live with it, my guess is that they will probably just disappear, or become a very limited marketing industry which works for the artists directly. Which is probably a lot better then we have today for both the music listeners and the artists.

I'm also hoping TV will evolve to a more on demand thing, currently I just download the shows I'm interested in. Maybe that is wrong, but why should I wait until some idiot TV channel boss decides it might be a good idea to show the stuff I'm interested in.

What I would like to see is to be able to have all TV shows and movies produced in the world, accessible to everybody from their couch, you want to see the latest battlestar galactica episode, you just press a few buttons on your remote and it starts playing on your TV. We have the distribution network in place today, it's just completely illegal, and not as user friendly as I would like to see it.

I certainly think copyright and other forms of intellectual property need some reform, the term is way to long and software patents need to go in the US. I don't think going all the way and abolishing it, is the right way to go. But I'm in favor of limiting it, in my opinion there is no need for terms like life of author + 70 years, let the authors kids and grandkids make their own money instead of leaching of their ancestors.

What should we expect in the future of KTorrent?

Ivan:

We have some really nice features for KTorrent 2.2. Some great UI changes in my opinion. After that we'll be focusing on KDE4 port and that will be the real fun :)

Joris:

The biggest thing on the horizon is the port to KDE 4, which is second priority at the moment until 2.2 is released, then we will fully concentrate on the KDE 4 port this summer, hopefully we will have something by the time the first public releases of KDE 4 are coming out.

The big things I would still like to get into 2.2 are:

  1. Per torrent speed limits
  2. SOCKS proxy support
  3. Continuous disk space checking (the current development version only checks when a torrent is started)

It is possible that some things are shifted to the KDE 4 port, I don't want to drag on 2.2, it has to be out before the summer so we can focus on the port during the summer.

Do you think KTorrent should be included in the KDE Network package? What are KTorrent's chances of becoming the most widely used BitTorrent client among desktop Linux users? Would you like that if it happened?

Ivan:

Ah, I would be really, really pleased if this would happen. BitTorrent is widely used protocol these days and KTorrent has matured so I think it would be great to be included in KDE network!

Joris:

I don't know, I don't see much benefit in being included in the KDE network package.

Don't know if that (ed.: most popular BitTorrent client in Linux land) can be possible, I guess it might be possible. it's not really something I aim for, it would be nice, but I'm not gonna lose any sleep if we are not king of the linux hill

Do you have a blog? Any other way me and our readership could follow your life?

Ivan:

There's a blogger-wannabe page that I've created on http://ktorrent.blogspot.com/ but I somehow lost track of it. I'll try to be more active in the future.

Joris:

I don't have the time for blogs, and I don't think most people would be interested in my life.

Thank you, guys. It's been a pleasure hosting your thoughts!