[Libtorrent-devel] Feature request: user-agent switching

Charles Clark cmc at stegosaur.us
Tue Aug 29 03:53:19 UTC 2006

| From:     John Hernandez <jph at jph.net>

| Sad for a few seconds, perhaps, until you easily "fix it" by exposing
| the ineffectual attempt to "ban" it in the first place.  The most
| popular client out there is also open source, so IMO there's little
| risk.  If trackers escalate, it would likely be based on code to detect

I know of private trackers that I use which seek to ban certain
clients, including some well known "cheater clients" and some
other clients which are not intentionally cheating but which
return bad stats or leak information to dht networks. They do
not rely on the id string to identify and ban those clients from
their tracker. Most clients, while being in protocol compliance
during their exchanges with the tracker, have some unique
behaviors which can be detected.

While rtorrent and many other open source clients can be source
hacked to report a non-standard id string, I think there is real
risk of being perceived as a cheater client by making the
forging of the id string a user level preference. I am sure many
tracker staffs would take a dim view of this, with the real risk
being that rtorrent is vigilantly banned.

Most private trackers have some sort of policy that if you do
things like fake the id string of your client they will ban your
userid/email address and your IP. So in the case that the author
makes this change and my favorite trackers don't like that and
ban the client, and then I "fix" the string to look like
uTorrent and they detect that and ban ME, then I've not only
lost the ability to use rtorrent, but my ability to use my
favorite trackers. Even if I could get my IP changed and get a
new tracker login somehow such that they didn't know it was me,
that would be quite a hassle for something that didn't have to
happen in the first place. Sounds like a bad idea to me.

And what is the only upside to this? That you can use rtorrent
with some trackers that have banned it, assuming they don't try
to detect the id string forgery? Aren't those trackers within
their rights to say they won't accept rtorrent? Making this
chance only supports "cheating" of some nature, even if you or I
would consider the objective (being able to use rtorrent, since
there is no fundamental problem with it) righteous. I don't
think using "outlaw" client methods to get around "jerk" server
behavior makes sense in the torrent context. I don't think it is
the same thing as the web browser issue.

| actual broken behavior or protocol non-compliance.  That would be a step
| in the right direction.

The correct step in the right direction would be to convince the
tracker owner/maintainers that rtorrent or recent versions of
rtorrent shouldn't be banned. This is probably not going to
happen, I understand.

Charles Clark | cmc at stegosaur.us

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