Switching torrent client

I don't know about you but once I've found a way to do something I tend to stick with it. If it works OK why should I change it? It's probably because I'm lazy. Or that I don't want to be bothered. I have so much to think about anyway that my brain is totally overloaded. I don't want to spend time and brain power on learning something new when I have something that already works.

But recently I've tried to be a little more open to new solutions and to learn new ways of doing things. I think it started sometime during 2003. For some reason I told my supervisor that I was using Pine as my email program (it's a text based program, dating back from the 80's). I thought it pretty hard-core to use it. But my supervisor wasn't impressed at all. He told me that technology has improved, that better alternatives exists and that it can be very productive to switch. Which I did. And I haven't missed Pine since.

After that I've been trying to learn the lesson from my supervisor. I shouldn't be afraid of learning to do new things as they can help me a lot. Usually new tools help to boost productivity. One such switch I made about a year ago it from CVS and Subversion to darcs. Maintaining my code is now a joy compared to before.

So where am I heading with this rambling? I'm heading for the day before yesterday. I made another switch. A switch that I am particularly happy about. I switched torrent client.

I've been using Azureus for some time and I have been quite happy with it. It is a feature packed client that also sports plugins which means endless of functionality. Nice of course. But then I read about a torrent client at digg.com which a lot of people there seemed to like. It was called uTorrent. Since so many people seemed to like it I decided to check it out. From what I read it seemed to be a very small client with very modest resource consumption. So I downloaded and installed it. Once I had installed it and tried uTorrent it took me less that a minute to decide to uninstall Azureus. While Azureus has a lot of nice features it is also rather bloated and resource hungry. It takes the computer for quite an exercise. Not so with uTorrent. It's binary is only 130kB! Can you believe that?! It takes up very little memory and is blazingly fast. You won't notice that you're running it in the background. And despite having such a small footprint it is packed with features. It has everything I ever needed when downloading or seeding torrents. The switch to uTorrent was not only easy, it was liberating.

Discovering uTorrent also gave me some hope about current and future software. A lot of programs nowadays are rather bloated and resource hungry. Why is that? When I was programming in assembler on my c64 we could squeeze in a lot of functionality in just a couple of kB. Now, I don't claim that we should always program with resource efficiency in mind. Correctness and programmer productivity are more important. But I often find that making a program small makes it easier to make it correct and can often boost my productivity. There need not be a tension here. I think many programmers and companies have things to learn here. There's a blogpost at zdnet about this which uses uTorrent as an example.

Finally, the switch to uTorrent wasn't made any more difficult by the fact that Ludvig Strigeus, the author of uTorrent, is an old student of mine. :-)

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