BitTorrent: now available for iPhone

March 4, 2008 // 8:49 a.m.

Tags: #bittorrent #core #hack #iphone #transmission

In what must rank among the most pointless exercises in the history of hacking, an enterprising – and, presumably, bored – programmer has succeeded in shoehorning the Transmission BitTorrent client onto the iPhone.

No, really.

The client – most recently seen in the 8.04 'Hardy Heron' Ubuntu Linux distribution – is most commonly used to download large files via the BitTorrent peer-to-peer system on a computer connected to a broadband line. Even on a fast line downloads can take many hours to complete when there are few seeds available, so it's not exactly the sort of app that springs to mind when you're talking about on-the-go use.

Nevertheless, iPhone hacker 'core' has chosen to spend his time cramming a command-line version of the client on to his iPhone, and it even works. Sort of. The application appears to crash when downloading files over the phone's EDGE connection, although WiFi use is a trifle more stable. And, let's face it, unless you're on an unlimited-use package with a really generous Acceptable Use Policy then you're going to be wanting to use WiFi wherever available anyway.

Stability problems aren't the only reason the client might not be the iPhone's killer app: due to the constant data transfer – and associated continuous use of the radio transceiver – your battery is going to take a major hit.

So, it's a BitTorrent client for a mobile, but you need to be within range of a WiFi base station. Oh, and you should probably plug in to the mains as well. Wait, why don't you just use a desktop?

Novel use of the iPhone is to be applauded, but I can't help but feel this is more of a boast than a practical hack.

What's your opinion: a useful thing to have on your smartphone, or is BitTorrent unsuitable for mobile use in this way? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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