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Opera bakes in BitTorrent

There's a P2P protocol in my browser

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Opera has released a version of its web browser with the BitTorrent client built in. Users clicking on a Torrent file will see the file load in Opera's traditional Transfer window, so for most file transfers, there's no need to install a third-party BitTorrent client. To Opera, it's simply another MIME type, like Gopher and Usenet before it.

We asked Christen Krogh, Opera's VP of Engineering if he feared a "chilling effect" from the Supremes decision to bounce the MGM vs Grokster case back down the legal chain.

Not at all, it seems.

"We're not encouraging people to share copyright material. The P2P networks have encouraged actively copyright rights reserved material, but that's obviously not the case with us."

Opera itself will join the groundswell of legitimate distributors by offering releases of its browser as a Torrent file. Why bother, you think, when it's still only 3.7MB - not much larger than a handful of FireFox plug-ins? Well, the company did see its servers grind under the load when it released Opera 8 recently, which clocked up 600,000 downloads on its first day.

Missing is the trackerless part of the protocol. For now, says Krogh, it's enough to "do the basics". ®

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