[BitTorrent] Playing with BT protocol extensions

Bill Cox bill at viasic.com
Fri Dec 31 09:22:40 EST 2004


There's quite a bit of talk about extensions to the peer protocol, but I
don't know of any clean way to test them.  For example, there's talk of
trackerless protocols, and I'm ready to do a slave repeater extension.

We could use an modified handshake strings with something other than
"BitTorrent protocol".  This is probably ok, but if the peer does not
support the new protocol, he'll close the connection, and possibly not
allow a reconnect.

I think a better way might be to use one of those unused bits in the 8
reserved bytes in the handshake message (I think that's why there there
in the first place).  This would allow far greater flexibility in
testing potential extensions.

However, it's Bram Cohen's protocol, and he should be allowed to define
any official extensions.

What I'd like to do is have official support to use one or two of the
unused bytes for testing unofficial extensions.  These bytes would be
forever reserved for testers of new peer protocol extensions.

I don't care which bytes these would be, but how about the last two?  In
theory, these arrive last, and are the least valuable.

If we can agree on this, all we have to do is announce to this group
that we're testing an extension, and reserve a bit.

Just in case this idea gets support, I'd like to say now that I need on
of the bits for the slave repeater extension.  I'll take bit 7 of the
last byte.


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