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Examining Bittorrent 451

Posted by michael
from the systemic-problem dept.
ToyKeeper and other wrote in with this: "The Register published a detailed analysis of BitTorrent traffic and user habits today, focusing on four aspects: availability, integrity, download speeds, and ability to withstand flash crowds. BitTorrent carries 53% of all P2P traffic (or ~35% of all 'net traffic), and this paper helps explain why. Also included are data about torrent lifetime, network poisoning, response during downtime or attacks, and lots of pretty charts. A few performance problems are revealed, which will hopefully be addressed in future p2p systems." The original paper (pdf) is available.
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Examining Bittorrent

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  • 35% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mistersooreams (811324) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:22PM (#11126889) Homepage
    35% of all 'net traffic

    That's enormous!

    I guess this proves that BitTorrent is the perfect vector for the largest files, be they Linux distros or movies (public-domain movies, of course). As the article says, BitTorrent is not perfect and will probably be surpassed in the future. But the fact that 35% of all 'net traffic is being carried by one program is simple awesome, and a great credit to BitTorrent's creators.

    Also, with such a volume of traffic, surely it would be impossible for an **AA sniffer to track it all? Or at least, your chances of being caught and sued are pathetic small.

    All of this is great news for BitTorrent. Long may it continue!

    • Re:35% (Score:2, Funny)

      by WizardRahl (840191)
      "Or at least, your chances of being caught and sued are pathetic small." I guess sacrificies have to be made. You going to volunteer?
    • Re:35% (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:38PM (#11126964) Journal
      I have the complete statistics:

      35% = BitTorrent
      40% = Spam
      15% = Slashdottings
      10% = Porn Browsing
      • Re:35% (Score:3, Funny)

        by Doctor Crumb (737936)
        what about porn that is downloaded using bittorrent?
      • Re: 35% (Score:3, Insightful)

        Retry:

        35% = BitTorrent
        35% = other P2P (the article tells you this)
        5% = plain old FTP (just a random guess of mine)
        2% = email / instant messaging
        23% (the remainder) = other (newsgroups?) / plain browsing, of which a significant portion might be pr0n.

        (All numbers about as accurate as the results of a Slashdot poll ;-)

        Slashdottings may be fun to note, but significant amount of all internet traffic? Don't think so. The low number for mail is because there may be lots of spam, but it's not that big

    • to BitTorrent's creators.
      You mean BitTorrent's creator (Bram Cohen)? That makes this even more amazing that one person is responsible for all this traffic. I wonder if he will ever be personally sued for creating this software...
    • pr0n ...ok 64% *maybe*
    • Also, with such a volume of traffic, surely it would be impossible for an **AA sniffer to track it all?

      The **AA don't use sniffers, so it doesn't matter.

      Or at least, your chances of being caught and sued are pathetic small.

      If you assume that torrents follow Zipf popularity and the **AA are only going after the top ones, your chance of being caught is pretty high if you have some mainstream tastes.
    • by Guspaz (556486) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @11:55PM (#11128035)
      It all comes down to two things: knowing where to host, and how to maximize your availability.

      35% of all net traffic belongs to BitTorrent traffic. The corresponding web and traffic tracker required to power that is inconsequential.

      I used to run NovaSearch.net, which was for a time the official search function of Suprnova.Org. I made up roughly half of all their traffic, something on the order of 300k pageviews per day by the end. Availability was indeed a large problem, and always my primary concern. However, my possible availability was much higher than actual availability. By this I mean that Novasearch had the POTENTIAL to be available much more than it was, due to reliance on Suprnova.

      When SuprNova went down, NovaSearch (usually, often it could be used as an out-of-date cache when Suprnova was down) went down too, because it didn't get updates. That accounted for most of my downtime, very little of it was actually from issues relating to NovaSearch itself.

      Despite all this, NovaSearch, during it's primary operational period, relied on only one dedicated server (A second was added for static content later on, but for transfer cap reasons, not actual bandwidth or load). This highlights the primary problem with Suprnova in regards to their reliability, they rely on donated mirrors, and that reliance has caused them to use an insufficient architechture (Last I heard the core of Suprnova was one single dual xeon server). Had they instead chosen to use a clustered solution that they managed themselves, combined with hardware firewalls and DDoS mitigation technology, the availability then and now would be significantly higher.

      Tracker reliability is a much lesser problem. Torrents can easily survive short to medium tracker downtime just by the shear momentum of the users. Once they have a peer list, they can continue communicating with those peers even with the tracker down. And the widespread adoption of various unofficial additions to the BitTorrent protocol have further improved that. One such improvement that enjoys almost universal support among third-party BitTorrent clients is the multi-tracker protocol, which effectively allows trackers to be clustered so that even if all but one of the trackers for a torrent is down, it can continue normally.

      Anyhow, this is a long post that sort of went off on a tangent and started rambling, but I thought that I should put a few words in because of the role I played.
  • Legal Torrents (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:27PM (#11126921)
    aside from movie and music piracy there are legal uses for bittorrent p2p too, like when Linux distros are released the demand is much greater than the file servers can handle and thats where bittorrent plays an important role, i prefer to get my Linux ISOs via bittorrent because it helps others get their ISOs too, for example FedoraCore-3 was released and it came on 4 CDs plus a fifth rescue CD making for a HUGE download, and also offered resume so if you have to log off or have a network problem you don't lose all that data and have to start your download over...
    • Another legal use is World of Warcraft's update system, which is BitTorrent based.

      I hope Blizzard has a plan B for next year, when all the major ISPs (in the US anyway) are forced to block BitTorrent traffic.
    • i prefer to get my Linux ISOs via bittorrent

      How does a moderator verify that this isn't a fake distro? Or do you go back to the site and verify all the checksums after the d/l?

      • BitTorrent's protocol is built around the idea of SHA-1 hashing everything in sight. This is both to avoid corruption and to prevent fake dataa. Assuming SHA-1 is secure, then it will be impossible to fake the distro without also faking the .torrent file. If you can fake the .torrent, then you could have faked the distro via traditional means as well, so it's no difference.
      • Through the md5s on the distro's webpage.
    • being offered for download via bittorrent. World of Warcraft and Anarchy Online, both major MMORPGs are are distributing their client software via Bittorrent.
    • by Ghostgate (800445) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @08:10PM (#11127108)
      There are also sites that list legal torrents, try File Soup [filesoup.com] or Legal Torrents [legaltorrents.com] for example. These are just two that I remember offhand, I'm sure there are many others as well. Remember, BitTorrent, like any other P2P application, has plenty of legitimate uses. Don't get sucked in by the *AA propaganda machine (not directed towards the parent, just saying that in general).
    • Re:Legal Torrents (Score:5, Informative)

      by koreth (409849) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:02PM (#11127343)
      There are other big legal downloads available via BT as well. For example, I set my web server up as a seed for the Project Gutenberg DVD-ROM and CD-ROM images [gutenberg.org], about as legal a set of files as you can get. So far I have served up over half a terabyte of those two images to people. I also seed a couple freeware games and some Creative Commons-licensed video to the tune of a couple hundred gigabytes of traffic, not a single byte of illegal or unauthorized content there.

      Hosting the 3.85GB Gutenberg DVD image would be a bit costly for the Gutenberg folks. Without BT or something like it, it would be much less convenient for volunteers like me to help them out by spreading the load around.

  • by vincob (247090) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:31PM (#11126936) Homepage
    There is such a powerfull distribution mechanism in P2P network, if only the studios/majors/etc would understand it and use it instead of fighting it, their market could explode, while having no distribution costs, their custermers would provide the distribution mechanisms.

    But I'm afraid they are not going to get it in time.

    My dream about a P2P PVR:
    http://www.oberle.org/blog/2004/08/02/a-p2p-video- recorder-box/ [oberle.org]
    • by FFFish (7567) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:11PM (#11127392) Homepage
      Oh! how I long for the day when they finally realize I want to pay for the entertainment I watch!

      The fact is that their business model is d.e.a.d.: I have become an extremely selective media user. I refuse to purchase cable television; the cost is an order of magnitude more than the value I would receive. The same applies for movies; I do not derive fifteen dollars worth of enjoyment from all but a few very exceptional films (and the commercials at the beginning are, in fact, a significant reduction in their value).

      I rely exclusively on torrents and rental DVDs for my television entertainment now. I get the benefit of selecting the time and location (I use a laptop) of viewing. There are no commercials, saving me ten minutes of annoying, aggravating brainwashing, and at "free," the price is sweet.

      If the producers would simply skip the distributors and make it easy for me to pay them directly, I'd actually be willing to flow some cash their way.

      My price points are:

      Family Guy: probably a buck an episode if the quality of humour remained as surreal, unexpected, and edgy.

      Scrubs: about the same, especially if it helps them avoid becoming maudlin.

      Regenesis: a couple bucks an episode, but that's going to plummet if they don't start wrapping up some of the damned stories. Too many loose-ends, unless they're going to all come together in one brainfucking twist that scares the living bejesus out of me.

      The trick, really, is to ask me to pay after I've seen the episode. Sometimes I've been hurting from laughing at, say, Family Guy. Hit me up then and I'd throw a wallet at you: give me more, damn the cost!
    • There is such a powerfull distribution mechanism in P2P network, if only the studios/majors/etc would understand it and use it

      As someone who as lived this conversation many times with these people, the RIAA has nothing to gain from P2P, except, if they are lucky, a quick and painless demise. These people thrive on controlling the means through which people acquire entertainment. P2P, and the Internet in general, provide a far superior alternative that they don't control.

      RIAA = Dinosaurs
      Internet = Ma

  • Bartering? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:32PM (#11126940) Journal
    the downloaders of a file barter for chunks of it by uploading and downloading them in a tit-for-tat-like manner to prevent parasitic behavior. Each peer is responsible for maximizing its own download rate by contacting suitable peers, and peers with high upload rates will with high probability also be able to download with high speeds.

    Does this actually work? I find that when there are limited seeds, those first in line essentially transmit as fast as they recieve, and increasing upload doesn't really affect total speed much. When there are lots of seeders there's plenty of bandwidth to go around so it's always fast. Does anyone notice that restricting upload significantly affects download speed?
    • Re:Bartering? (Score:3, Informative)

      by RandomJoe (814420)
      The only effect I've noticed is when I forget to tell my firewall to let BitTorrent connects through to my computer. Then I see a HUGE decrease in speed. Other than that, adjusting the upload bandwidth seldom seems to make a difference. I have a cable connection, 4Mb/512kb, and even throttled down to 50-100kb outbound I'd still frequently see the incoming connection at 2.5-3Mb. On the occasions when torrents were slow, cranking it all the way up (minus a bit for overhead) didn't help speed it up any. I
    • Re:Bartering? (Score:2, Interesting)

      Usually you do not get the best download speeds from seeders, but other peers that are interested in what you got. With good upload speeds you are more likely to be unchoked by fast peers who are downloading from you.
    • Re:Bartering? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jameth (664111)
      Very many people are effectively required to cap their upload. I'm on a cable connection where, if I don't cap my upload at 10kbps, it drops my download to staying near 6kbps when it hits 16kbps down (I stop it at ten so everything doesn't die while I use the other portions of the internet, such as the web).

      And, no, it doesn't do anything to your download speed. Yeah, I usually only average 30kbps down, but I also commonly get around 150kbps down, which leaves me with better-than-realtime download of compr
  • BT is great, but: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ATAMAH (578546) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:32PM (#11126941)
    There are a few things that i would count as it's downsides. For instance, once the object that is being distributed been downloaded by the masses - you won't get a decent speed downloading it. So unless you grabbed it while it was "hot" - you will have to deal with much lower speeds. Also i often find that i upload almost as much as i download, not being greedy or anything, but here in New Zealand broadband is still capped either on speed or on traffic. And quotas are pretty stingy, counting both uploads and downloads... but that is more isp/country specific i guess:)
    • Re:BT is great, but: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ToyKeeper (17042)
      The things you're complaining about are not BitTorrent's fault. They are simply the nature of peer to peer traffic. The total amount uploaded, by necessity, equals the total amount downloaded. And the people doing the up/downloading are just regular people like you. If your ratio is less than 1.0, that means someone else is donating their bandwidth to make up for what you didn't share.

      If you don't want to share, don't use P2P systems. Get your files some other way.

      As for getting things while they
    • Yep (Score:3, Funny)

      by Wesley Felter (138342)
      For instance, once the object that is being distributed been downloaded by the masses - you won't get a decent speed downloading it.

      You're right; HTTP is so much better, because when something is being downloaded by the masses from a single Web server you get about 0 bytes/s.
    • "So unless you grabbed it while it was "hot" - you will have to deal with much lower speeds."

      Well, ya. When there are fewer people uploading the file, you are going to have a lower download. Worst case it should be 1:1 with ftp or http. Best, case, it is exponentially faster than that.

      A smarter algo for capping upload/download for when the 'rush' has passed might be in order. But if you missed the rush initially, ofcourse your speed is going to be slower, fewer people are uploading the file for you.

      Perso
    • There is no rule saying a seeder has to be slow, it can be just as fast as a normal web server. However some people like to run seeds on things like a modem. Try someone like 3dgamers.com, they use BT to distribute files. Their seeders are nice n' fast so if no one is downloading, you get a fast transfer. However, unlike notmal HTTP, if lots of people are downloading something, you still get it fast since you all help each other out.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:33PM (#11126943)
    ...ability to withstand flash crowds

    How about the ability to withstand lawsuits? Isn't that more important than flash crowds?

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:33PM (#11126945) Journal
    A few performance problems are revealed

    Yeah, performance problems should be fixed, but fix the name too. Name the next generation P2P client something like FuckTheRIAADickheadCunts. It would be interesting to see it get mentioned in the news each time RIAA sues something related to that P2P network. Call the "servers" instead "ejaculators" or something worse, and go on like that to introduce terms that violate various taboos. Soon enough, it can't get mentioned in the news anymore and (...now I get to my point, and now you will understand I'm not crazy, now you will see how this idea will triumph and free information once and for all...) RIAA's plans to scare customers by getting sue news in the newspapers won't work anymore!

    HA HA HA!

    Are you listening RIAA!?

    We have you now!!!

    THE NERDS HAVE YOU!
  • irony (Score:5, Funny)

    by bitspotter (455598) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:51PM (#11127021) Journal
    The irony is that a web site dedicated toward serving a p2p protocol expressly designed to rememdy the slashdot effect gets slashdotted.

    So why don't they just use Bittorrent to distribute their mirrors?
    • because bittorrent isn't efficient enough to handle things like www traffic and html pages. Nor does it combine well with mysql+php or database-driven sites.

      I think the next big step (generation?) is going to be a protocol that can handle www-style traffic, and can somehow work with databases. Doing this through natural-load balancing and identity hiding(anonymity), etc.

      Bittorrent can do the load balancing, but it is too chatty for doing things like www that require a lot of updating, etc. Not like big fi
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2004 @07:51PM (#11127023)
    As a solid, upstanding citizen of the United States (a country which has the best government that money can buy), I firmly believe in strongly adhering to all the laws of this fine country.

    That's why I always go to thepiratesbay.org.

    They are located in Finland, of course, where US Copyright Law doesn't apply. So it's legal for them to offer files for downloading.

    And, of course, in the US it's legal to download files. What is illegal is to offer more than $1000 worth of them for uploading.

    So, please, let us all keep our Bittorrent downloads legal, folks. Thank you. ;)
    • They are located in Finland, of course, where US Copyright Law doesn't apply. So it's legal for them to offer files for downloading.

      No, it's probably illegal for them to do so under Finnish law. Your statement is rather dumb. It's akin to saying that because laws in the US prohibiting murder are not in effect in Finland, that you can murder people freely over there. That's not how it works.

      And, of course, in the US it's legal to download files.

      Downloading is a form of reproduction, and reproduction is
  • by for_usenet (550217) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @08:04PM (#11127077)
    Anyone have a .torrent of the article ?
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @08:26PM (#11127178) Homepage
    Only 9,219 out of 53,883 peers (17 %) have an uptime longer than one hour after they finished downloading. For 10 hours this number has decreased to only 1,649 peers (3.1 per cent), and for 100 hours to a mere 183 peers (0.34 per cent).
    Which explains why I frequently get DHCP IP addresses that are polluted with constant BitTorrent checks on various ports for days afterwards. The previous IP owner downloaded, dined and dashed. (And probably came back right after changing IPs and started his next download feast.)
  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @08:35PM (#11127214)
    Bittorrent did more than get the swapping strategy correct, it fixed the social psychology of p2p. Before, you traded files with other faceless users. This meant you had little investment in the uploads of others. People would join the network and not share files, cap their upload speeds, etc. Generally, this made downloading a slow and painful process. (Not to mention that it was difficult to tell if two similarly named files are the same ... there's too much diversity to get a good spread in file sources).

    But Bittorrents have organized around websites. These sites typically require registration and monitor the share ratio of users. Users can no longer leach. There's social stigma attached to it. Also, you have some investment in making sure others have a copy of the file. If you liked it enough to d/l it, you probably want to share. Better yet, the action of the users of the site are focused on the same files, so resources are allocated fairly. Generally, it works better all around.

    This leaves out the boost in nerd status of those who have large share ratios and upload lots of torrents. That helps with file availability too.
    • While I think there's some of what you mentioned in regards to the uploading, I think the real reason it has been as successful as it has is because for the average user, there is no way out of capping upload without hurting download. I know you're trying to look on the positive side of things, but I think this is a slightly more realistic reason.

    • MAKE MONEY FAST: INVENT HARDWARE-BASED BITTORRENT

      The only reason I stop BitTorrent: because I need the drive space. (Were I a gamer, I'd stop it during multiplayer games.)

      Invent a harddrive/router/torrent/video client. Use a bog-standard router with all the usual lan/wan/wlan/firewall/etc stuff. Add code to set port for torrenting (Azureus style).

      Add hardware interface and code to support torrent client and single-line LCD interface. Hardware is bog-standard. Code will allow deletion of only those
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2004 @08:45PM (#11127254)
    from right below figure 4: In order to test the integrity of meta-data, we donated to Suprnova an account for hosting a mirror. By installing spyware in the HTML code, we have registered each .torrent download and could have easily corrupt the meta-data. We conclude that using donated resources for hosting meta-data entails substantial integrity and privacy risks.
  • It would really suck if BT were banned - that would prevent everyone from making any downloads. Think of how much free bandwidth there would be - over 1/3rd of all internet activity vanishing because of a BT ban! Wow!

    A month ago, a few days after I innocently downloaded a file, I received a letter from my ISP telling me to delete the file because they received a compliant on a copyright violation. It stated that future complaints of infringement would result in my (or rather my landlord's) information bein
  • by danila (69889) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:24PM (#11127441) Homepage
    The study shows how vulnerable BitTorrent is to failures of Suprnova mirrors and trackers. Kill a large .torrent host and you effectively kill the network. Kill a large tracker and you severely cripple it. In comparision, ed2k network is much more resilient to attacks.

    First, you don't need servers to distribute ed2k links. A short ASCII string effectively replaces a large .torrent file that needs to be hosted on a large server. You can send an ed2k link by e-mail, IM or post it on Slashdot. Furthermore, ed2k has excellent search capabilities - both via servers (very fast and very efficient) and via distributed Kad[emlia] system (fast and efficient). With the ability to check the filenames and comments for a certain file, you are relatively safe against fakes even when you can't use verified links. Of course, here I deliberately ignore the fact that both networks need "community portals" to inform users about released files, to provide forums for discussion, etc.

    Second, the servers play only a secondary role, even if many servers would go down, that would have a small impact on the network because of source exchange. And using Kad it's even possible to operate entirely without servers.

    I do not hate BitTorrent, really. Even though I am a long time eMule user and even though I am very annoyed by the apparent popularity of BitTorrent here on /. and elsewhere (as if other networks don't exist), I still don't hate BT. Actually, I tried it again recently and was very satisfied with the download speeds. I don't wish BitTorrent bad. But with the recent developments with police raids on torrent sites and ed2k link sites in Europe the networks will be tested and I am not sure BitTorrent is best prepared for it. Suprnova appears to be safe because of its geographic location, but it still remains a single point of possible failure. I don't think ShareReactor was as critical to the edonkey2000 network.
    • by Soul-Burn666 (574119) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:16PM (#11127669) Journal
      Ah! But that is EXACTLY what was in mind when BT was written. BT was originally meant for speeding up LEGAL downloads when flash crowds appear. Therefore not needing anonymity on the tracker and can exploit the advantage of a central server to maximize traffic. In mind was that if an illegal file is tracked on BT, the website could be easily sued and the tracker taken down.
      Moreover, all those people that say: "please seed after you finish! Don't be a leecher!" are thinking in standard P2P terms, but this is NOT what BT was written for. It was written to aid standard http downloads, as numerous sites already do.
  • Interesting stats (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fizzl (209397) <fizzl@NOSpaM.fizzl.net> on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:26PM (#11127452) Homepage Journal
    Here's a link for the central internet exchange for Finnish ISP's to link together. Coralized FICIX stats [nyud.net].

    Compare the stats from week ago, and today. Guess what changed?
    Most telling is the last graph indicating traffic for the whole year.
    The largest Finnish torrent site, Finreactor got busted by [p2pnet.net] Keskusrikospoliisi [poliisi.fi] (roughly the same as FBI of USA).

    I guess they weren't sharing just Linux images ;P
  • 1. Is it possible, perhaps, for a P2P oriented website? Of course, this would call for a new protocol, years of trial and error before widespread acceptance (if ever), but imagine what this could do for the internet as a whole - bandwidth itself wouldn't be a big problem any longer.

    2. the average download speed of 240 kbps O_O. I've been working with 30-50kbps on average, and I have my ports opened too. Could it be my smutty upload speed?

  • by burris (122191) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:37PM (#11127491)
    This paper and all of the recent news articles that provide an estimate for BitTorrent protocol traffic use the same source. A single slide in a presentation by someone from Cache Logic shows BT using 1/2 of all P2P traffic at a "tier 1 ISP." Other sources cite P2P traffic at 66% of all 'net traffic. Therefore, BT is 33%.

    I think any estimate made without measurements at many major routers would be suspect. While there is no doubt that BT is quite popular, the evidence presented thus far for the amount of traffic using BT protocol is extremely flimsy. I would take it with a grain of salt.

    burris
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:37PM (#11127493) Homepage Journal
    The real breakthru for distributed P2P tech will come when someone publishes a BitTorrent content distributor that can be plugged transparently in front of an HTTPD. So I hit http://www.whatever.com , and get my HTTP response, with cache and timing headers intact. But behind the scenes, the "www" host is really the entry point to a distributed server network, a pool of interconnected "torrent" servers that transparently balance the traffic throughout the capacitance of the protocol network. Those servers actually tap the "real" HTTPD behind that network only to check for updated content, which is distributed to the network on demand, to be passed through to requesting clients. The clients speak only HTTP, and can't tell the difference between the real HTTPD and the distributed network proxies.

    As long as I'm asking Santa, I'll be more specific. That "www" host has its DNS resolved by the nameserver at whatever.com , which hands out IP#s of the other "torrent" servers distributed around the "Web". torrent servers get the IP# of the real host at whatever.com, so they get content. There are problems: HTTPS requires each serialized object requested/replied to be encrypted with/for the actual private key of the requesting client, unknown until the request is made. And "CGI" or other dynamic content creates a huge space of permuted object states. But, Santa, Google figured out how to deal with all this in a centralized datacenter, and they're damn fast. Get the elves on this, and children around the world will sleep with visions of sugarplums streaming to their download directories.
  • by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:51PM (#11127553) Homepage
    I have a few comments on your analysis of the BitTorrent protocol... My main criticism is that you are analyzing BitTorrent in combination with pirate web pages as a P2P file sharing system, when BitTorrent's real purpose is to be a file DISTRIBUTION system.

    BitTorrent is designed to replace and enhance the performance of a standard http or ftp download server. Where even ten simultaneous downloads can slow the performance of most inexpensive server setups to a crawl, BitTorrent can easily handle ten thousand or more, and in this it is an enormous success.

    One necessary element of a true BitTorrent distribution is a dedicated seed server. This server ought to be always working, and should have a significant amount of bandwidth behind it; I'd recommend 30KB/s minimum, but more is better. You complain that seeders are "punished" and this is why torrents die, but while long-term seeders are nice, they aren't necessary. It is better for me as a content distributor to allow people to close their torrent and play with their new download as soon as they'd like to. Having torrents die off when interest fades is an artifact of misuse of this specification.

    You worry about pollution on Suprnova.org, and so do I; there's no reason why it wouldn't exist. But as BitTorrent was normally intended this isn't a problem at all. People visiting Blizzard's website to download content via BitTorrent (actually Blizzard uses a modified downloader, but the concept would be the same if users received a standard .torrent file) would obviously receive a genuine .torrent file, and the data in that file verifies the data received in the download. It's only torrent file redistributors like Suprnova.org where you'd need to be concerned about pollution.

    You're also concerned about tracker availability. I recommend content distributors run their own trackers, which is an easy task given the numerous types of trackers available, including script-based trackers. There's no reason for a tracker to go down unless the web server goes down, in which case no one would probably be able to get a copy of the .torrent file anyway, and a standard download would also be blocked.

    As a sharing method BitTorrent indeed has some deficiencies, but it simply wasn't designed for that. That BitTorrent is being misused for that purpose only testifies to its effectiveness. Perhaps a sharing system with elements taken from BitTorrent will someday arise; I know Suprnova.org is attempting to create one with "Exeem". But please don't badmouth BitTorrent. :-)
  • by Darth Muffin (781947) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:03AM (#11128070) Homepage
    Okay, so 35% of net traffic is Bittorrent. 53% of P2P traffic is Bittorrent, that means 66% of all net traffic is P2P, right? Last I heard, 66% of all net traffic was spam. Therefore, 132% of all net traffic is P2P and spam and nobody is using the net for anything else (which means you're not really reading this).

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