Featured Freeware: Vuze

Formerly the feature-rich Azureus, Vuze pushes Azureus' BitTorrent foundation in a media-heavy direction. You may not like the new look, but it's hard to argue that it's not looking forward.

Formerly the feature-rich Azureus, Vuze takes Azureus' BitTorrent foundation and builds on top of it a network for video discovery and user-created video publishing tied together by social networking.

From XML torrent options to IP filters, firewall tests to UPnP plug-ins to baked-in social networking, Vuze isn't breaking new ground--the original BitTorrent client has gone this path, too--but it is doing it in an innovative and attractive way. When you install the program, you're faced with a Web 2.0-style interface from which you can get a general overview of your torrents and Vuze's latest media. Users can drill down with the "On Vuze" tab for more videos, the Library tab for your downloaded content, and the Publish tab to send your video torrents out into the wild.

The Advanced tab is now the home of the torrent client controls and is basically the old Azureus interface and options. There's still a configuration wizard, an easy-to-use torrent maker, and dozens of ways to set your statistics logs so you can track download speed and performance. Vuze is an even bigger resource hog than Azureus was, but it's the new features and look that may turn some older users off the client entirely.