Just about any experienced BitTorrent user will tell you that public trackers are not a recommended resource for software (mininova, isohunt etc.). And because they’re public, (and allow access to anyone) they’re fair game for anyone wishing to create and upload any torrent containing just about anything. This carte blanche approach opens the door to purposefully harmful torrents & bad software releases. We’re seeing more and more of this all the time - torrents containing malware, viruses and trojans are quite commonplace and can be found on all public trackers. What’s worse is that public torrents are essentially unmoderated, and bad torrents are not only allowed to be uploaded and shared, but are allowed to proliferate and remain in the community.
Private BitTorrent sites alleviate (and even eliminate) the problems associated with bad torrents, and remain a trusted source amongst the ’software scene’:
1. Piracy Pyramid. — Private sites are closer to the top of the piracy pyramid, and many have direct access to the ’scene’ through FXP boards, topsites & IRC pre-channels that announce the release as it happens. Proper ’scene releases’ will not contain malicious files, so members can expect high quality torrents as a result.
2. Moderation. — Private sites not only restrict who is able to upload, but they also actively check and moderate the releases on their trackers. Most will boast that 99% of new torrents are completely ‘good’, and if any are found to be bad releases, they’re promptly deleted from the site. Above all else, good reputation is paramount to survival in the private torrent circuit.
Most private trackers have a category specifically designated to software releases; however here’s a few that specialize in appz:
APPZ / SOFTWARE TRACKERS
— OPEN? - NO.Members: unknown.Ratio: 1.0 / 1.0.# of Torrents: ~1,900.Features: AppzUniverse is quickly becoming a highly-coveted site to have membership to - and for good reason. Strictly focusing on new release appz software & dox for Windows and MacOS, they have a decent selection of 3D graphics and web dev torrents, as well. Invites are given to upstanding members fairly often - a 1.0 ratio with 20GB upload grants 1 invite. Presently closed for new signups; however, they open briefly on the first of the month for new members. This can also be bypassed by “donating” to the site for instant access.
http://brokenstones.cn Closed 29/06/08
— OPEN? - NO.Members: 5,000 (registered).Ratio: varies.# of Torrents: ~5,200.Features: Brokenstones is known throughout the private circuit as the premier source for all things Mac-related, although there’s a decent selection of music, graphics and dox (tutorials). BS has great pre-times on their Mac software releases. NOTE: See “Vortex Network” at the bottom of this page - it’s a great new Mac tracker.
— OPEN? - Sometimes.Members: ~45,000.Ratio: 0.6 / 1.0.# of Torrents: ~7,000.Features: GFXNews caters to all-things graphics! If you’re into 3D graphics appz, docs & tutorials, this is one private site you need to check out! Inactive accounts are pruned regularly, and they’re (usually) open for new signups on the 2nd and 3rd day of each month. GFXNews has some rather unorthodox sharing ratio rules - be sure to check out their FAQ once logged in (see ‘Rules’ below).
— OPEN? - YES.Members: 3,100.Ratio: varies - see ‘Rules’.# of Torrents: ~1,000.Features: BT-Trove is a private tracker dedicated to graphics apps, documents, tutorials, with a great selection of 2D and 3D models, photos & textures for all of the major graphics software (SoftImage, Maya, 3DSMax, AutoCAD). BTTrove is a little tricky - site is in ‘forum-style’ but there is a ‘Torrent Search’ link that has additional torrents. Browse around.
Music Appz/Production Trackers
— OPEN? - sometimes.Members: 75,000+.Ratio: 0.5 / 1.0.# of Torrents: ~6,000.Features: AudioNews is a forum-style BitTorrent site focused on everything audio-related including appz, sample libraries, virtual instruments, sheet music, presets, e-learning and MacOS-related releases. Torrents are accompanied by in-depth additional information (see ‘info’ screenshot below). Inactive accounts are pruned regularly, and they’re (usually) open for new signups on the 2nd and 3rd day of each month. If you’re heavy into PC audio appz and accessories, AudioNews is a must-have BitTorrent tracker!
— OPEN? - sometimes.Members: 21,000.Ratio: varies.# of Torrents: ~3,600.Features: Another great tracker for all-things-audio, including VST instruments & plugins, Mac audio appz, samples/libraries, audio docs & tutorials. Presently closed to new signups, new registrations usually open on the first of every month (inactive accounts are deleted after 42 days). Don’t want to wait? You can always “donate” for instant access. Invites are handed out regularly to qualifying members.
Another great thing about ProAudio is that members can earn “karma” just from seeding torrents, which can be converted into upload GBs (for improved ratio). Users need not fear being able to maintain a decent ratio or not being able to upload at high speeds.
— OPEN? - occasionally.Members: not known.Ratio: 0.9 / 1.0.# of Torrents: ?.Features: Not much known about this audio tracker - registrations are presently closed but you can “donate” for instant access. Keep checking their homepage. Curent Open Registration Dates: 1st to 4th Of Every Month.
— OPEN? - sometimes.Members: ~3,700.Ratio: 1.0 / 1.0.# of Torrents: ~2,200.Features: AudioTracer is another Pro-Audio tracker with some amazing torrents - AudioAppz, Samples, MIDI, Presets, Instruments, Audio ISOs, full DVD libraries - and they boast a large selection of Mac audio appz torrents as well. Check their site for more info on when they’re open for new signups.
Trivia: AudioTracer is home to the largest torrent I’ve ever seen - FXPansion.BFD.v2.0 (605 GB).
Other Notable Software Trackers
OPEN?: Yes — A public tracker that features nearly 400 Linux (TUX) torrents.
OPEN?: Yes — A Russian site with mostly English releases (and English titles). Not exclusively a ’software’ tracker but more than a third of its’ 3,000 torrents are appz/games.
OPEN?: Yes — Home of Linux-related torrents; TUX is open to the public. Presently lists 725 torrents in a variety of *nux categories.
OPEN?: Yes — Although not specifically an appz tracker, there’s a decent selection of software & games (mostly for Windows).
OPEN?: Yes — Mac-Torrents is a public tracker with 1,450 torrents. If you can stomach a steady barrage of full-page advertisements (it happened to us 3 times in one minute), then go for it!
A great new Mac/Apple tracker to replace BrokenStones. Over 1,900 torrents and 11,000 users in the first week! Read the full review here.
Great post, as usual.
Apps is the one thing I would really love to have access to a private tracker for. As you describe the risk that someone has tampered with a release and injected malware is much smaller there.
Sadly, all of us who don’t have access to such trackers have to take our chances. I still hope this problem will be solved by a database secure hashes of some sort. I wrote about that in an earlier comment: http://filesharefreak.com/2008/02/01/advanced-searching-for-copyrighted-content-part-iii-nfo-websites/#comment-439
But now I’m thinking that the private bittorrent trackers are really the people that could create such a database. Their uploaders have all the content. And when creating the torrents they already calculate a form of secure hash. I don’t know the details but I think it is SHA1 for blocks of data rather than individual files. Maybe the bittorrent software could also be changed so that it automatically adds secure hashes for each separate file? Anyway, the private sites would only need to also calculate separate hashes for all the releases and post them at some place like nforce.nl . If a few major private trackers banded together they could easily pull this off.
I guess the problem is that they don’t have any incentives to do so. But I hope they will do it as a favor to the rest of the file sharing community. Most of them probably started out on public trackers like the rest of us. And lets face it: malware like trojans doesn’t only hurt those who are first infected. Because often infected computers become zombies that infect others or are used in attacks. And the damage caused by malware costs society in general a lot of money so its in everyones interest to stop it.
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vortex is NOT great!
new mac tracker
Is there any tracker for engineering software?
bttrove registration open now be fast.