BitTorrent, the popular file sharing program, has been spruced up with a new user interface and queuing features. Version 4.0 of Bram Cohen's official BitTorrent client, the first major upgrade since 3.4.2 in Spring 2004, also remembers what users were doing before a restart. The feature allows users to more easily pick up where they left off.

BitTorrent, developed in 2001 by Cohen, speeds file transfers by segmenting content and downloading parts from multiple users according to who offers the highest available bandwidth connection. Files are found not through the application itself but through links (trackers) on websites. These trigger the code to download the content, grabbing files where possible from peers rather than the initial server. The system is designed to optimise download performance.

Over recent months the Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA) has set its legal rottweilers on BitTorrent server operators in a bid to prevent the misuse of the technology to distribute ripped DVDs. The technology itself, which has many legitimate uses in making it easier to distribute large files, has not been targeted.

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