Libtorrent-rasterbar Now Features WebTorrent Support In The Master Branch

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The WebTorrent protocol is similar to, but not compatible with, the regular bittorrent protocol. A specialized bittorrent client is therefore required to seed or download video files from websites utilizing the WebTorrent protocol. A feature request asking for WebTorrent support in the popular qBittorrent client has been open since 2015. Fulfilling that request has so far not been possible due to a lack of WebTorrent support in the libtorrent-rasterbar library qBittorrent and many other bittorrent clients utilize. That will change by the end of the year and make it possible, and trivial, to add WebTorrent support to bittorrent clients like qBittorrent, Deluge and Wyzo.

written by 林慧 (Wai Lin). published 2020-07-20last edited 2020-07-20

Libtorrent-rasterbar-openssl.cpp.jpg
openssl.cpp: The libtorrent-rasterbar source code is beautiful.

The WebTorrent protocol has become very popular in ways that are hard to notice. Many video sharing websites, namely all based on the free PeerTube content management system, use it beneath the hood. The WebTorrent protocol is in many ways similar to the traditional BitTorrent protocol but they are not compatible or interchangeable. None of the widely used BitTorrent clients are capable of downloading or seeding WebTorrent files.

Libtorrent-rasterbar developer Arvid Norberg has finally committed code adding support for the WebTorrent protocol used by online video sharing sites based on content management systems like PeerTube to the Libtorrent master branch. He gave this brief statement about it on libtorrent-rasterbar's GitHub project page:

"that's right. it will be in the next major release after 2.0 (which itself hasn't been released just yet)."

Arvid Norberg in a github comment on the libtorrent issue tracker

The brief statement does not mean that BitTorrent clients using the libtorrent-rasterbar library will get support for the WebTorrent protocol any time soon.

The next major libtorrent version will be libtorrent 2.0. libtorrent-2.0.0-RC was released on May 31st, 2020. The final version will not be released until early next month. The new WebTorrent protocol support will not arrive until libtorrent 3.0 is released long after libtorrent-rasterbar 2.0 final arrives.

The goods news is that the code is merged into the libtorrent master branch. WebTorrent support is coming. It is just not coming to software end-users use for quite some time. Those who have been waiting for qBittorrent to get support for WebTorrents since 2015 will have to wait a bit longer.

WebTorrent Desktop, written in JavaScript, is one alternative GNU/Linux users can use to seed WebTorrents using a desktop application while we wait for WebTorrents support to arrive in the more mature and traditional bittorrent clients. WebTorrent Desktop is severely lacking in many areas but it does work. Leaving a browser tab running PeerTube or instant.io open is another far less ideal alternative. Using a mature and fully featured BitTorrent client like qBittorrent will be a much better alternative for those who want to seed videos uploaded to PeerTube based sites when libtorrent 3.0 is released and WebTorrent support finally lands arrives in widely used desktop clients.

libtorrent-rasterbar has a homepage at libtorrent.org and the source code is developed at github.com/arvidn/libtorrent. The source code is also available on piqlFilm reels in the Arctic World Archive vault in Svalbard, Norway.

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