Every now and then I post questions on www.techguy.org when I’m having difficultly with something computer/networking related. It was a good place to get your feet wet when aspiring to become a grade A guru and occasionally pull your hair out if you wanted to get into a civil debate with someone about politics.
Recently, I posted the following in their Networking forum:
I have a new Linksys/Cisco router WRT54G2 v.1 with the latest firmware installed. I currently use port forwarding for things like VNC and SSH into my home PC. However, every time I try to set a new rule (for both TCP and UDP) up for bittorrent, the bittorrent clients I try say the port is closed. I’m using an Ubuntu Linux system, and both Transmission and Deluge will say the ports I select are closed, even if I change the port numbers and do another test. So I’m just wondering if anyone has encountered anything like this before and might have an idea of what could be causing this problem.
The thread was alive for a matter of seconds before a moderator locked the thread and replied with the following:
Please read the rules. We will not help with P2P apps.
I was surprised to see this happen, and that’s probably because I use www.ubuntuforums.org more often than any other forum for technical assistance. Linux people like me approach the controversial topic of bittorrent a little differently… I decided to send the moderator a private message to let him know what I thought about his decision:
Sorry for violating the rules. However, I would argue that I did not ask a question pertaining to P2P applications at all but a question strictly about networking problems with a Linksys router. I should also remind you that bittorrent is a common protocol used for the transfer of free, non-copyrighted information spanning from GPL licensed open-source software to free music or movies released under the creative-commons license, which is becoming more popular. There is nothing inherently illegal about using bittorrent (the protocol), but it would seem the moderators of techguy.org hold a contrary consensus that I feel they should consider revising in recognition of the legitimate and legal uses of bittorrent.
The above comment and any replies received in any form will be posted publicly on my blog. Thank you for your time.
I got a reply fairly fast. Here’s what it said:
We cannot and will not assist in the illegal downloading of software through P2P applications, and that includes any impediments offered by networking components to such downloading. Any legal uses of such software are few and will unfortunately need to be included in this prohibition.
The policy has been in place for quite some time now and will not be changed.
Thank you for your concern,
I like his use of the word “prohibition”; like bittorrent is some sort of drug paraphernalia. I also noticed Mr. Elvandil happens to be Microsoft MVP and a die-hard Windows user who is probably adverse to anything of value that isn’t proprietary. This is just my own opinion as he is ignoring the fact that millions of people use Linux and a large portion of us download and share our Linux ISO files (for burning to CD) via bittorrent, among many other things 100% legal to share. It is a world he is unfamiliar with or in denial about.
Fortunately in the world of Linux it’s recognized that bittorrent itself is not illegal at all and I was glad to see a helpful reply in ubuntuforums.org within minutes; a reply that made me realize that sometimes I can be a completely narrow-minded person, too. ”Did you check your host-firewall?” Why… NO! So I opened my firewall manager Firestarter and sure enough saw blocked events taking place on the port I told my bittorrent client and router to use. All I had to do with allow inbound traffic to take place on that port. Talk about overlooking the obvious!