Tribler: New Dutch p2p network

“Instead of the lone hacker, for the first time, it was written by a team of more than a dozen scientists,” Johan Pouwelse, one of the group, told p2pnet.


Called Tribler, it falls under the I-Share project of the Delft University of Technology’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science and will introduce, “the person behind the computer,” says Pavel Garbacki, who’s worked on I-Share’s Tribler component for the past three years.


The current favourite, BitTorrent, doesn’t save information and users remain anonymous, he says . Tribler however saves users’ historie and, “just like with MSN, with Tribler people can create groups of friends.


“So you’ll know who you download files from. These are people you can trust, and therefore you won’t get viruses, and they’re also people who have the same interests as you.”


Nor are these the only differences.


“With Tribler, the costs are much lower and downloading times twice as fast,” Garbacki promises.





Our vision is that any person should be able to use a content distribution system to spread his content efficiently to an audience of millions all over the world. We believe that Peer-to-Peer (P2P) technology can be utilized to realize this vision.


The main idea of P2P technology is that users pool resources to create a service. Because users donate resources, the content distribution infrastructure is very cost-effective. Consumers are now beginning to use the Internet to buy content, for example, music from Apple iTunes. In the UK, the BBC uses a Bittorrent-like file sharing system for TV program downloads. The Skype Voice Over IP (VOIP) software uses P2P to lower the cost of Internet telephony and became a market leader in just a few months. P2P is now the ‘killer application’ of the Internet. Figures based on actual backbone measurements show that P2P is the main Internet traffic component. Astonishingly, over 60% of all Internet traffic is now P2P.


Unfortunately, P2P is currently used mainly for the illegal spreading of copyrighted files. We believe that P2P is the future of content distribution and will mature from the current ‘wild west’ into a respectable business solution. We focus on the technical problems of P2P, and aspects of business models such as payments and advertisements are outside our scope. Many have argued that P2P will create new business opportunities, for example P.E. Geller, Kwok, and L. Lessig. Specialized content with only a small audience, such as video recordings from local concerts, regional soccer matches, and city council meetings, will suddenly become commercially lucrative.


P2P software has come a long way over the years. Skype pioneered P2P Internet telephony and Wikipedia volunteers create an encyclopedia, without authoritive/(‘central’) editors. With Tribler we are making software that has a basic understanding of human friendship, taste in content, and Internet connectivity. However, this is not production level software yet. We currently have a fully functional proof-of-concept.


The Bittorrent protocol by Bram Cohen works great and currently dominates the Internet backbone. But it still does not provide world peace and other goodies. We are improving this protocol with over a dozen people with features which go a bit beyond the original. We are extending the code from the ABC project.


For example:

  • Amazon-like recommender to get interesting files automagically
  • Double your download speed by using the upload of friends *
  • We have unified P2P file sharing with real-time P2P video streaming
  • Show the location of other downloaders with city level accuracy on a world map