uTorrent installs cryptocurrency miner on user computers

In today's open source roundup: uTorrent installs Bitcoin mining software. Plus: DistroWatch reviews Sabayon Linux 15.02, and Everyday Linux User reviews LXLE 14.04.1


uTorrent angers users with mining software

uTorrent is a popular BitTorrent application that has angered some users by installing a Bitcoin mining application on their computers.

Sean Keach reports for Trusted Reviews:

BitTorrent client uTorrent has come under fire from users after it emerged the software’s latest update comes bundled with Bitcoin mining software. The piece of software, named Epic Scale, is a Bitcoin miner that purports to use your ‘unused processing power to change the world.’ According to one user, the software is ‘easily noticeable by the increased CPU load when the computer is idle.’

Unfortunately, the problem lies in the fact that users say they weren’t asked they wanted the software to be installed, although it must be noted that the uTorrent team flatly denies that silent installs have occurred.

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The report about uTorrent caught the attention of redditors and they shared their thoughts in a long thread:

North7: "What's worse is the rep from utorrent in that thread. That is exactly how you don't do customer service. When a customer says they are experiencing something you don't say, "well we tested that so you must be lying", in so many words. And when multiple customers say the same thing and you still react that way, you have a big, big issue. Goodbye utorrent.

StrawRedditor: "I'm surprised they did this actually. Anyone familiar with the counter-strike scene probably knows that ESEA (A league that has their own anti-cheat) got caught doing the same thing. That anti-cheat program was mining bitcoins without anyone knowing. There was a big class-action lawsuit that they lost, and they had to pay out to replace peoples video cards and such since the program was having them run at 100% for extended periods. "

Occamslaser: "I stopped using it around a year ago."

Master_clown: "I use transmission and you can even set it up so that you can add torrents remotely from your phone much like utorrent. My favorite alternative and super light weight. Deluge is also awesome, but I prefer transmission. Also, transmission comes preloaded on a lot of Linux distros, which is a good sign."

Soul_Rage: "Switched to Deluge after some comment a few months ago. It's everything uTorrent was supposed to be. No non-sense functionality and nothing more. Have Transmission on my work laptop, and it's equally minimalistic in the right ways."

More at Reddit

Update: I received an email from Kevin Fu at BitTorrent. Here it is in its entirety:

There have been some wild claims on this development, in lieu of fact check.

To reiterate on what has been said publicly, we've reviewed this issue very closely and can confirm there is no silent install happening. It's something we're continuing to monitor, but this is likely users accepting the offer during install.

We've seen screenshots out there in press and otherwise (from folks who went through the installation process), showing the prompt provided.

As we've said, like many software companies, we have partner offers in our install path and our policy is that they are strictly optional. We aim to work with partners that would appeal to our tech-forward user base. This is the case with Epic Scale; they are lite-coin based and charity focused. They have a great story and you should consider having a look.

In terms of user complaints in our forums, we always take these claims seriously. We highly value our users, they are a passionate and tech savvy group. In the last 24 hours we have received less than a dozen inquiries out of several million offers.


Sabayon Linux 15.02 review

Sabayon Linux offers Gentoo in a rolling release distribution. DistroWatch has a full review of Sabayon Linux 15.02.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

Were I to try to sum up my experience with the latest Sabayon snapshot in one word it would be: buggy. Putting aside for a moment my aborted attempt to install 15.02 and waiting until the 15.02.1 release was made available, there were several aspects of Sabayon that just did not work for me. The SteamBox console, Steam on the desktop and exiting the media centre were at the top of my list. Though it did not happen frequently, on a few occasions I was unable to logout of my account or shutdown the computer from within KDE. The Rigo package manager regularly nagged me to update packages, though there never seemed to be anything new to download. When I first installed Sabayon, the system installer finished and left me in the Fluxbox environment and any attempt to shutdown Fluxbox caused the installer to launch and start the installation over again.

My feelings toward Sabayon would be more positive if I felt the distribution was successfully bringing something new or special to the table in exchange for the headaches it caused. At first I had thought having a console-like Steam interface or media centre might be nice, but neither of these features worked for me. All in all, Sabayon provided me with a fairly average KDE desktop experience, with the occasional glitch and frustrating package management.

The Sabayon project claims to provide an experience that offers bleeding edge software on a reliable platform. However, my experiences from this past week suggest that the two characteristics are mutually exclusive. Reliable and bleeding edge do not go merrily hand-in-hand, sooner or later the cutting edge catches up with us and causes problems.

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