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Author Topic: Is the Bitcoin client ever going to be usable?  (Read 2015 times)
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August 03, 2011, 05:21:59 AM
 #1

Right now I have been waiting over 2 minutes for my Bitcoin client to start up. I will finish this forum post before it loads, in fact. The client takes over 50 meg of RAM. It doesn't include an encrypted wallet. You want to know why the price of Bitcoin has gone stale? It's because the one and only client has become unusable. This would be unacceptable and a fork would occur with any other piece of software, yet for some reason the "trust" issue has prevented any new client from gaining ground. Can someone please deliver? I'm pretty sure there are several of us that would donate 1-5 BTC for an actual usable client.

EDIT: (3/11/2013) In hindsight, I was very rude here. I apologized later on in the year when a number of usability improvements came about.

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August 03, 2011, 05:25:59 AM
 #2

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=15276.0

Working on improving usability...

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August 03, 2011, 05:38:01 AM
 #3

Here's the problem I have with every single alternative client:
NO DOWNLOAD LINK

Until that little seemingly-insignificant problem gets fixed, I'm not sure exactly what we are supposed to do here other than cheerlead that an alternative is being worked on. I want a link to a Windows client I can download and use immediately. I want it to take significantly less RAM, and I'd prefer that it encrypt the wallet.dat.

No offense, it's just ridiculous that we're now over two years into Bitcoin's implementation and we still don't have anything that even remotely resembles something usable. I'm astonished there are actually clients that require the entire block-chain to be created when there don't need to be. Oh, and btw, it took 2 days for the entire block-chain to download on a 50 meg connection. WTF?

EDIT: (3/11/2013) Again, I was rude, but this was a legitimate problem at the time.

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August 03, 2011, 05:45:30 AM
 #4

Well I have no problems building an exe for you or working on other stuff to make the client more 'usable' for you.

However I have my own list of priorities at the moment; if you want things to go your way instead of mine, you'll need to pay for my time. PM for info.

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August 03, 2011, 05:48:27 AM
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Well I have no problems building an exe for you or working on other stuff to make the client more 'usable' for you.

However I have my own list of priorities at the moment; if you want things to go your way instead of mine, you'll need to pay for my time. PM for info.

He's right though - it does no good for people to create all of these great tools if they need to be compiled.  The need for compilation eliminates 98% of people from ever being able to use them.
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August 03, 2011, 05:56:54 AM
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He's right though - it does no good for people to create all of these great tools if they need to be compiled.
I'm not saying he is not right. A binary release is planned. On the other hand, building a binary for something like bitcoin is fraught with issues. You really want to guarantee that it is safe.

So you need to be able to make sure your compilation environment is 100% clean, maybe have a few people build it and make sure the result is the same. Then you can sign it and release it.

It requires a significant time investment from the person(s) doing it.

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August 03, 2011, 11:38:57 AM
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Can the thread be moved somewhere else? This forum is for actual technical discussion, not complaints.
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August 03, 2011, 11:51:09 AM
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Can the thread be moved somewhere else? This forum is for actual technical discussion, not complaints.
Tech support would probably be the right forum.

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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August 03, 2011, 03:09:43 PM
 #9

Here's my bounty: 3BTC, or over 4 days worth of my mining.

I'd like a client that...
...uses 15 meg of RAM or less from startup to idle.
...takes up less than 1 gig of hard drive space.
...loads up in less than 10 seconds.
...has a windows binary.
...contains an encrypted wallet or at least allows you to change the wallet.dat name.
...optionally removes the alert/shutdown functionality as detailed here:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=898.0

Others are welcome to join this bounty, or, if someone has a reasonably-similar bounty, I'll join theirs.

If you are working on an alternative client, don't take offense at what I'm saying, you haven't been working two years on this. I don't know if feature-creep has made the client unusable or what, but I'd like a client I can use on a spare much older PC separate from my regular computer. This way I know I have a reasonably-secure environment. I really don't feel like I'm asking for the world, and I think whoever did this would gradually replace the existing client assuming they have a good reputation already.

That alone be worth far more than my 3 BTC.

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August 03, 2011, 03:22:38 PM
 #10

You might want to look into porting the Android client to windows. It ticks all the low-usage boxes, though I don't think it's  a full P2P node (but that might not be an issue).

...optionally removes the alert/shutdown functionality as detailed here:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=898.0
Hasn't that been removed a long time ago?

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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August 03, 2011, 04:15:10 PM
 #11

Okay, I'll look into it.

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August 03, 2011, 05:00:58 PM
 #12

Hasn't that been removed a long time ago?

"Safe mode" was removed. I think it should be put back. The alerts can still put a message in the status bar, though IMHO it should be a popup alert.

Currently the client doesn't have any good way to inform users of upgrades beyond this mechanism, which isn't good news for a network that relies on global consensus and has already had several bugs that require users to upgrade for the good of the network.
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August 03, 2011, 08:30:57 PM
 #13

i'll throw in 3 BTC for bounty as well.  we need to move this project forward quickly before it disintegrates.
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August 03, 2011, 11:05:16 PM
 #14

I'm planning on making some usability improvements to the client when I get some spare time (probably next weekend).

Given the number of people on the Newbie forum asking about 'where are my bitcoins' and the issue seems to mostly be a non-downloaded blockchain, the first addition I'm going to code up is to make the little block display in the bottom right corner more useful, so it displays more of a 'progress' than just a number.  This can be done in two ways:
 - by looking at the timestamp of the client's last received/stored block chain head and comparing that to system current time or timestamp of last received message and using this to try and make an guesstimate of the time remaining still to download.
 - by looking at the start_height response to the version query and assuming that this might be the block head

I think just giving the average user the ability to know pretty quickly that they are not at block head would solve a lot of the issues I often see on the Newbie forum.

Will

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August 04, 2011, 02:34:27 AM
 #15

"Safe mode" was removed. I think it should be put back. The alerts can still put a message in the status bar, though IMHO it should be a popup alert.
Yes a popup alert would be fine. Or a banner "There is a new version available!" like some software has.

corner more useful, so it displays more of a 'progress' than just a number.  This can be done in two ways:
 - by looking at the timestamp of the client's last received/stored block chain head and comparing that to system current time or timestamp of last received message and using this to try and make an guesstimate of the time remaining still to download.
 - by looking at the start_height response to the version query and assuming that this might be the block head
Both are implemented in the Qt UI. It does not even show the raw block count anymore except as a tooltip, as it is a useless number out of context...


Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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August 04, 2011, 03:45:20 PM
 #16

I'm planning on making some usability improvements to the client when I get some spare time (probably next weekend).

Given the number of people on the Newbie forum asking about 'where are my bitcoins' and the issue seems to mostly be a non-downloaded blockchain, the first addition I'm going to code up is to make the little block display in the bottom right corner more useful, so it displays more of a 'progress' than just a number.  This can be done in two ways:
 - by looking at the timestamp of the client's last received/stored block chain head and comparing that to system current time or timestamp of last received message and using this to try and make an guesstimate of the time remaining still to download.
 - by looking at the start_height response to the version query and assuming that this might be the block head

I think just giving the average user the ability to know pretty quickly that they are not at block head would solve a lot of the issues I often see on the Newbie forum.

Will
Maybe even simplify it to a red-light green-light thing, with more details if you click on it.
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August 05, 2011, 12:01:11 AM
 #17

It just took 12 seconds for the Bitcoin client to start up :|

What's 50mb of RAM these days? Less than 1/20th of a gig of ram? Who has less than 2GB these days? :S

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August 05, 2011, 06:28:48 AM
 #18

It just took 12 seconds for the Bitcoin client to start up :|
Yes the startup duration is a problem at the moment, not the amount of memory usage.

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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August 05, 2011, 06:36:47 AM
 #19

It just took 12 seconds for the Bitcoin client to start up :|
Yes the startup duration is a problem at the moment, not the amount of memory usage.


How hard would it be to throw in a loading screen? Hell, you could sell ads on it.

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August 05, 2011, 06:47:46 AM
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How hard would it be to throw in a loading screen? Hell, you could sell ads on it.
I have implemented a loading screen.

But speeding up the startup is still a goal.

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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