Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

A year after the previous release, a new Tribler version was released recently and it includes new features, bug fixes as well as work towards anonymous streaming (using a built-in Tor-like network).

Tribler 6.3.1 Ubuntu

For those not familiar with Tribler, this is an open source, decentralized peer-to-peer client based on the BitTorrent protocol, supported by EU and Dutch research funding. The application includes features such as wiki-style channels, video-on-demand (watch videos while you download them) and more and is available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.

Like other BitTorrent clients, Tribler features a search box you can use to find content however, the search results come directly from other peers, without using a central server and this makes it immune to government anti-piracy attacks (the application will continue to work if the torrent trackers are pulled offline), claims an article from dailymail.co.uk.

Anonymous BitTorrent

The Tribler team wants their application to use truly anonymous streaming with the help of a built-in Tor-like network which routes all data through a series of peers - "Tribler users then become their own Tor network helping each other to hide their IP-addresses through three encrypted proxies", notes TorrentFreak.

"Adding three layers of proxies gives you more privacy. Three layers of protection make it difficult to trace you. Proxies no longer need to be fully trusted. A single bad proxy can not see exactly what is going on.

The first proxy layer encrypts the data for you and each next proxy adds another layer of encryption. You are the only one who can decrypt these three layers correctly. Tribler uses three proxy layers to make sure bad proxies that are spying on people can do little damage."

Tribler Anonymous downloading
Automatic anonymous 50MByte test download using new Tor-like protocol / Tribler 6.3.1

Tribler doesn't anonymize streaming yet (except the 50mb test download included in this release). The plan is to achieve anonymous streaming with version 6.4 and anonymous seeding starting with version 6.5. Check out the Tribler roadmap and the "towards anonymity" page for details.

Tribler 6.3.1

The latest Tribler 6.3.1 includes various bits which should eventually lead to anonymous streaming in a future release:
  • Tor-like anonymous tunnel building, based on UDP;
  • Support for Cell,Create,Extend, and Ping Tor protocol messages;
  • Diffie-Hellman session key exchange;
  • Real-time crawler for bandwidth performance (inspired by metrics.torproject.org);
  • decentralized directory service for Tor-like routers;
  • automatic anonymous 50MByte test download using new Tor-like protocol;
  • no general anonymous downloads yet, trial-only.

Besides this, the latest Tribler 6.3.1 includes the following changes:
  • A year of bug fixing, polishing and performance tweaking;
  • thumbnail navigation:
    • single-click streaming from main screen;
    • channels can now optionally be browsed by thumbnails;
    • Youtube-like GUI composed of user-generated images;
    • Prepares the way for remote control navigation & operation.
  • complete rewrite of the elastic database engine (the dispersy overlay):
    • use of Twisted frameworks instead of our custom event-handlers;
    • less reliance on master bootstrap servers (new discovery community);
    • improvements in NAT puncturing efficiency;
    • faster data synchronization between Tribler peers.

Install Tribler in Ubuntu / Linux Mint

The Tribler downloads page (see below) offers Ubuntu deb downloads however, to get automatic updates, I recommend using the WebUpd8 Tribler PPA. To add the PPA and install Tribler in Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10 / Linux Mint 17 and derivatives, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/tribler
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tribler

Tribler is also available in the official Ubuntu (14.04+) repositories, but it's an older version.

Download Tribler

Download Tribler - binaries available for Ubuntu, Windows and Mac OS X (source files are also available)

Arch Linux users can install Tribler via AUR.