As I was away on a little vacation when Opera 8.02TP was released with support for bittorrent, with rather limited means to update the blog and not to mention download/test the latest Opera, my chance to be among the first to tell about it dwindled fast. So I’m not going to tell you Opera includes bittorrent – you already know that by now. But I did manage to read a bit more or less informed articles about the news in newspapers, news sites and blogs.
It was a bit fun to see the different takes on the inclusion of bittorrent in Opera – seems there are many ways to show what you think about it. Here you get everything; some tells the plain facts about what Opera offers, some feel it’s more important to tell there is a Firefox extension planned to do bittorrent. Some make the point that bittorrent is used more and more by companies as a way to offer their files for download (legal use) while tabloid press may love that Opera include “pirates’ tool”.
Now, even those who stay away from the pirates angle can be thinking about the fact that bittorrent is popular among those who illegally share copyrighted material. Several torrent sites have been closed down, and not everyone’s too happy about the tool itself either, claiming it was made to share copyrighted material by illegal means. Where does this leave Opera? In trouble?
Some feel that Opera shouldn’t be too surprised if the police in fact did turn up on their door step, exactly because of the actions of RIAA, MPAA and the cases in the court systems. Most doesn’t worry though, and with good reason. True, it’s possible that useful tools can be deemed illegal (or something along those lines) if they’ve been made with illegal use as the (main) reason, but Bram Cohen – the creator of bittorrent – has kept his path clean that way by always stressing the positive sides of legal use, not illegal use. Even Microsoft is testing the water by getting their toes wet with Avalanche, their own file sharing model in bittorrent style. (OK, that MS does something doesn’t mean it’s legal, obviously, but still…)
So basically, while sensationalists may like to stress the piracy angle of bittorrent, it really is a nice tool for effectively sharing files in an economically sound way. This makes it attractive for companies as a way to offer their files for download, and more and more companies are discovering this and makes use of torrent files as an alternative.