Azureus Review

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Multiple torrent downloads
  • (5 more, see all...)

The BitTorrent protocol is used more and more often by people and organizations around the world. Companies are using BitTorrent protocol as a method for releasing their products. Because of the increasing BitTorrent protocol usage, torrent clients sprouted like mushrooms. Azureus is a torrent client that has been available since the beginnings, when there were available only two or three clients. The first version of Azureus was released around May 2003 (if I remember correctly) and has been continuously supported and updated until the present day. Many would think that being developed for this long, Azureus is a very good, almost perfect torrent client everybody should be using. Is this true? Maybe¬Ö

When it comes to using BitTorrent, Azureus offers an incredible amount of flexibility. This full-featured torrent client has a lot of functions which will make everyone's life easier while downloading through BitTorrent. And if its features aren't enough, Azureus also has plugin capability, which allows you to use any of the additional plugins found on its homepage.

Unfortunately, Azureus is a Java application. This has been the main reason for complaints from users over the years. Because it depends so much on the Java Virtual Machine, Azureus' performances will increase or decrease based on how JVM is installed and configured on each system. This means that no mater how many developers work on it or how much time they spend improving it, it will still crash, freeze or use a lot of resources on a system with bad configured Java.

Azureus is available on most of the Linux distributions but if you choose to install it by yourself, it should be a tricky process, especially if you don't already have Java installed. When I've tried to install Azureus, I was lucky enough to already have jdk1.5.0_09 installed on my system, which Azureus found and used properly. At the first run, Azureus opened a configuration wizard. First, it asked me to choose a language to be used for menus and so on. I was impressed by the large number of languages available. In the next screen, I had to select my proficiency from Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The beginner would only allow access to all the basic functions needed to download torrents. The Intermediate option would allow me to upload my own torrent files, besides the usual downloading, while the last option, Advanced, would allow me access to network settings. I chose the Advanced option because I'm behind a firewall and must manually set the port number that has been forwarded and so on. The next screen allowed me to select my Internet connection type and upload speed. The next screen was the one I've been looking for, NAT/Server port. Here I could choose the right port that has been previously forwarded on my network router. Moreover, there was a function to test the port, which reported successfully. The final screen allowed me to select a destination folder for downloads and that was it. I clicked Finished and Azureus finally started.

The first thing I did was to load up a torrent file. I've pressed the Open button and a rather large window popped-up. Here I had to select the torrent file, its mode (queued, force started etc) and the location to save the data. Wait a second, I remember setting this in the configuration wizard, it shouldn't ask for it again. Anyway, the bright side is that next time you would be loading a torrent file, the location will be saved. Moreover, if the torrent had multiple files, I could choose which files I want it to download and which not to.

Finally, Azureus started downloading my torrent file. The basic information was shown right next to the torrent name, such as size, download speed, ETA and so on. For advanced information, I would have to right click on the torrent and click Show details. Extended information would be shown in a new window, such as tracker and status, peers, and A LOT more. From the same window, under the Options tab, I could set the maximum upload and download speed, upload slots and connections.

After the torrent had finished downloading, it was automatically moved to Seed section where it was made available for other users downloading that same file. Of course, I could stop it at any time if I wanted to. More options regarding that torrent could have been set by right clicking on the torrent name.

Next, I started looking through the menus and found some quite interesting and useful stuff. For instance, from the Tools menu, I could remove blocked Ips that were banned automatically for sending bad data or manually, by me. The Statistics option will show some quite impressive graphs for download and upload speed, as well as for Cache and Distributed Database.

Finally, in the Tools menu, I found the Options function, where I could customize all Azureus' functions and features. The options window is divided into two sections: categories to the left and their options to the right. The options here can be basic, intermediate or advanced, depending on what proficiency one chooses at the first run but basically, here, one can set the minimum/maximum upload and download speed, whether to automatically hash check or not the downloaded data and many more. In this same window, the plugins are also configured.

Azureus has a nice function for installing new plugins called Installation Wizard. This wizard will list all the available plugins, download them using Update agent and install them. This feature will save you a lot of time searching for plugins and trying to install them. Another thing worth mentioning is that I've installed around 5 plugins and it never asked for a restart.

Finally, and this is not an Azureus specific problem, but a general one for torrent clients: the ports set in Azureus must be opened in order for file transfers to work properly. Also, if you are behind NAT and don't have access to your network router, then you're simply out of luck. You will have download and upload speeds a lot lower than normal. This is called in the world of torrents being connectable (or not). Azureus has a plugin called UPnP which is supposed to automatically forward ports on UPnP enabled routers.

The Good

Azureus is a full-featured BitTorrent client and the ability to expand its functionality through plugins means that you can get it to work exactly the way you want. It's a platform-independent Java application which will run on any operating system with Java installed. It can be configured for beginners, as well as for advanced torrent users.

The Bad

There's a major drawback to running Azureus: the amount of resources it requires to run. On a quick test, it used almost 10 times more RAM than a C++ client, using the same torrent file. Moreover, if your Linux distribution doesn't come with Java pre-installed, getting Azureus to work won't be an easy task. Being such a flexible and full-featured program can be overwhelming at first.

The Truth

Azureus is one of the first torrent clients available and being developed for so long is surely obvious through its features, functions and flexibility. It can easily be used by a beginner, as well as by an advanced torrent user. The only drawback Azureus has is its required resources. Being such an advanced application written in Java will take over all your RAM.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 3
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 
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