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Bittorrent To Replace Standard Downloads?

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the sharing-the-load dept.

The Internet 591

Max Sayre writes "Have you ever tried to download an operating system update only to have it fail and have to start all over? What about patches for your favorite games? World of Warcraft already uses Bittorrent technology as a way to distribute large amounts of content at a lower cost to the company and faster speeds to all of their clients. So why haven't they replaced the standard downloading options built into any major OS? Companies like Opera are including the downloading of torrents in their products already and extensions have been written for Firefox to download torrents in-browser. Every day Bittorrent traffic is growing. Sites like OpenBittorrent already exist and DHT doesn't even require a tracker. So why isn't everyone doing it? Is it finally time to see all downloads replaced with Bittorrent?"

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Frosty... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780688)

First Post! My first first post...

I could swear.... (1, Offtopic)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33780766)

I call shenanigans:

I know I've seen first posts by "Anonymous Coward" before.

You explained it. (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#33780700)

When torrent support comes equipped on all the major browsers, it can take off.

Until then it's a tool for nerds to get their porn faster.

Re:You explained it. (4, Insightful)

smartr (1035324) | about 4 years ago | (#33780874)

I can see this really taking off in the office I work at... Oh wait... Is that a giant truck of bandwidth clogging the private network? You're using the VPN to host torrent files? Ring Ring, the customer wants to know why is the internet so slow.

Re:You explained it. (4, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 years ago | (#33780996)

Hell, I'm on Shaw Cable in Canada, and if I don't limit my upload bandwidth to 5 kb/s, my download bandwidth drops to sub-50 kb/s. But if I do limit it to 5 kb/s, then download speeds go way up to over 200 kb/s.

And yes, they advertise that I should be getting an order of magnitude greater speed than this...

Re:You explained it. (3, Insightful)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 years ago | (#33780902)

Why the hell would it have to be in all the major browsers, when the ability to open files with external apps has been around for a decade, if not longer.
Just so you know, there have been Firefox addons for torrents for several years and Opera baked in right into the browser over 5 years ago.

Re:You explained it. (2, Funny)

kwerle (39371) | about 4 years ago | (#33780916)

Until then it's a tool for nerds to get their porn faster.

11+ Million World of Warcraft players can't be wrong...

OK, the porn market is bigger than that - but the porn torrent market? I wonder.

jigdo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780702)

look into it

The bigger question is: (3, Interesting)

pizzach (1011925) | about 4 years ago | (#33780704)

Why aren't linux package managers using this instead of just leaching off of college servers and the like?

Re:The bigger question is: (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780784)

Because linux distros are a private and discriminating authority that like to kick regular old joe smoe from accessing updates for his computer system. Decentralizing the updates gives them no control over their own distro. That is why some actually pay for a linux distro so they have a private line to the devs and a monetary obligation for them to not be a jackarse. Seriously hate those linux support groups, seems every time you try to customize a program yourself or delete some system files someone chimes in "You shouldn't do that you know" and just spamitty spam spam away insulting you.

But another reason they don't use bittorrent is so you can update your system while still torrenting at fullspeed because most have more download speed than upload.

Re:The bigger question is: (5, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about 4 years ago | (#33780818)

There was apt-torrent, but that project appears to be abandoned.

The thing is probably that there is no pressing need. There are many educational facilities that are are willing to provide mirrors for such things, so there's no real reason to implement a system to borrow user's upstream bandwidth.

Re:The bigger question is: (5, Insightful)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | about 4 years ago | (#33780864)

Because for security updates, this allows users to find others who don't have the latest patches yet. Just imagine the people watching leecher IPs every time a new remote exploit is patched...

Re:The bigger question is: (2, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | about 4 years ago | (#33781004)

There's no reason the tracker couldn't limit the peer visibility such that only a few trusted seeder's IPs would be given to leechers. That is, each leecher would see an artificially low number of seeders, only seeders that were trusted. The client would then intentionally not use DHT or other mechanisms to find other peers.

For non-security or low priority updates, full tracker support could be allowed.

Re:The bigger question is: (2, Interesting)

blueg3 (192743) | about 4 years ago | (#33781048)

That's essentially the same as not using bittorrent. If you can't see arbitrary peers, your peer-to-peer system isn't very effective.

Re:The bigger question is: (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#33781044)

Ok silly end user question but with weak checksums could you inject your own code into a build and have it accepted?

Re:The bigger question is: (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 4 years ago | (#33780910)

i would think security.

Re:The bigger question is: (5, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 4 years ago | (#33780918)

I would like a solution that combines metalinks [wikipedia.org] (one file that contains multiple urls for a download plus the checksum) with Bittorrent.
A client could start a http download from one server, and a bittorrent that requests pieces for the latter chunks. You can also make multiple http request with a offset these days, on another http server or the same one.

This could even be built in magically into http browsers: if the file size is > 50MB, ask the cloud if there are nodes for the given url. That is provided you have a checksum like with metalinks. Appearantly metalink already features this possibility: http://www.metalinker.org/ [metalinker.org]

Re:The bigger question is: (5, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#33780974)

The file sizes of most Linux packages are simply not big enough to warrant the use of bittorrent. The 32 bit x86 kernel(usually one of the biggest packages in a distro) is only about 32 megs or so. By the time you downloaded the tracker, found your peers and actually started downloading something you could have had the whole package d/led already. Most big universities and research institutions have to host the files anyway(for internal updates), its not all that difficult to extend the download service to the general public. Not to mention the fact that in order for the torrent to be effective you would actually have to retain the packages after installation which can quickly become a huge pain in the ass.....

Re:The bigger question is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780976)

See DebTorrent [debian.org]

WoW uses BitTorrent? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780706)

The more and more I hear about how WoW rapes your pipe and your wallet, the more I wonder how people are willing to pay for it.

Re:WoW uses BitTorrent? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 4 years ago | (#33780774)

Blizzard uses BitTorrent for patch download.

Game play doesn't use a ton of bandwidth, as for wallet, its pretty damned cheap.

2.99€/£8.99 per month, 3-month subscription costs 11.99€/£8.39 per month and six month subscription costs 10.99€/£7.69 per month.

  - $14.99 per month for a month-to-month recurring subscription
  - $13.99 per month for a 3-month recurring subscription
  - $12.99 per month for a 6-month recurring subscription

Thats rape?

Re:WoW uses BitTorrent? (-1, Offtopic)

linhares (1241614) | about 4 years ago | (#33780820)

The more and more I hear about how crack rapes your pipe and your wallet, the more I wonder how people are willing to pay for it.

Re:WoW uses BitTorrent? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780826)

In Soviet Russia, my pipe rapes your MoM.

nah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780708)

um... NO

Take it a step further... (5, Interesting)

dominion (3153) | about 4 years ago | (#33780710)

Combine this with social networking to allow/deny access to your files and I think you've got a game changer. Files which require no server, and which are unknown/unavailable to anyone who doesn't need to know about them. I could share my mp3 collection or movie collection with only my friends list, which would be much more along the lines of fair use (like tape trading).

Re:Take it a step further... (3, Insightful)

rHBa (976986) | about 4 years ago | (#33780970)

Isn't this what private trackers do already?

Yes, they require a server (tracker) to limit access to members only but that functionality would just be shifted to the social networking site.

If you're planning to do this without a tracker then how do you prevent people outside your friends list from joining the torrent (assuming they manage to find a copy of the .torrent file)?

If you have friends list big enough to make bittorrent worth while it's quite likely that someone will leak the torrent file to someone they trust who may share it with someone else THEY trust etc, etc...

File size (4, Insightful)

gringer (252588) | about 4 years ago | (#33780714)

Why? because for small files (as I expect most software updates would be), downloading directly is quicker and safer.

Re:File size (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780786)

Why? because for small files (as I expect most software updates would be), downloading directly is quicker and safer.

Safer? Bittorrent already has built in checksumming which most people don't do with regular downloads anyways. By that metric alone I'd say the BitTorrent is safer than a regular download.

Re:File size (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780950)

In the case of OS patches, when you download directly you aren't broadcasting to the world that you have an unpatched security vulnerability.

Re:File size (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780956)

Because when you download directly instead of torrenting a file, you aren't basically shouting to the world "HEY I DON'T HAVE THE NEW SECURITY UPDATE YET! ANYONE HAVE THE NEW SECURITY UPDATE?"

Data Caps (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780720)

Those of us stuck in New Zealand or Australia still have data caps to think about. If every download was a torrent there would be a lot more overhead eating into our precious data caps!

Please, think of the Kiwis.

Re:Data Caps (-1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#33780756)

So get another ISP! There's always thousands of ISPs in all areas of the world. Competition ensures that at least some of them follow good practices. Get with the times, man.

Re:Data Caps (4, Informative)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 4 years ago | (#33780788)

Every ISP has data caps in those areas. It's not an isolated thing.

Re:Data Caps (5, Funny)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#33780830)

Competition, man. It solves all. There's probably hundreds, if not thousands, of ISPs in his area alone that offer an unlimited data plan. They're just invisible!

Re:Data Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780884)

There is no competition in New Zealand. There are only 4 million people here, and Kiwis don't complain nor demand something for their money.

Re:Data Caps (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | about 4 years ago | (#33780894)

I can't figure out if you're retarded or trolling.

Re:Data Caps (5, Informative)

ThatOtherGuy435 (1773144) | about 4 years ago | (#33780906)

He's making fun of people who believe without evidence in the invisible hand of the free market with regards to broadband competition in the US.

Re:Data Caps (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | about 4 years ago | (#33781008)

So I guess I am the retard. Thanks!

Re:Data Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780898)

Unfortunately, we have "reverse competition": the ISPs try to out-do each other to gouge the consumer, and the authorities do nothing.
It's the same with cell providers, banks, gas stations, you name it.

One ISP will see what another ISP is getting away with, and jump on the bandwagon.

Reverse competition.

Re:Data Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780926)

Bullshit, there is no such thing as competition in any market, there are just oligopolies that fight over trivial things occasionally.

Re:Data Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780994)

Competition, man. It solves all. There's probably hundreds, if not thousands, of ISPs in his area alone that offer an unlimited data plan. They're just invisible!

In New Zealand (Have a look where we are on a map); unless you are a corporate and spending $10k/mo+ you cannot get flat rate broadband from any ISP in this country (unless you want to be rate limited to 64kbps once you cross some arbitrary threshold).

It all has to do with all our international bandwidth being tied up on the Southern Cross Cable (unless you use satellite, and that's even more expensive), as the owners of that charge by transferred data, not available bandwidth.

Every ISP either has to buy from the SC Cable, or lay a few thousand miles of cable themselves across some of the stormiest seas in the world which is not cheap (otherwise they all would have come with the ~$100 Million to do it.)

Re:Data Caps (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780798)

No, there aren't, and no, they don't.

Re:Data Caps (1)

xiando (770382) | about 4 years ago | (#33780872)

So get another ISP! There's always thousands of ISPs in all areas of the world. Competition ensures that at least some of them follow good practices. Get with the times, man.

Yeah. Right. Like anybody is willing to move to another continent to get a faster internet connection. You may not beware of this, but New Zealand and Australia are actually islands.

Re:Data Caps (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780922)

You are an idiot.

Everyone is bitching about lack of competition in last-mile market and all you can come up with is "always thousands of ISPs in all areas of the world". Where I am, there is exactly 1 (ONE) ISP. In the major metropolitan area 15km away, there is exactly 3 (THREE)
    1. cable
    2. DSL
    3. microwave link - kind of expensive and doesn't scale for large number of customers

It makes sense... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780726)

... and the anecdote is right on. BUT... if it includes the word "torrent", it's frowned upon.

Sadly, too many people are uneducated/misinformed and they don't know the real statistics.

Snap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780730)

0 seeds, 0 peers. FFFFUUUU--

Re:Snap. (2, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | about 4 years ago | (#33780768)

Nah, 0 seeds, 3790 peers (all on 99.9%) ... DOUBLE FFFFFUUUUUU

Why? (4, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33780738)

Because Bittorrent has a reputation issue, for one. The MPAA and RIAA attack it and call it the reason they are losing money (instead of their failing business model).

Large companies don't want to have to deal with the previous hassle, and even though the load might not be much for individual computers, if everyone on a company network was bittorrenting, other traffic would be interrupted (even on 2MB DSL, bittorrent interferes with my connections to many popular IM services and I don't even run it full throttle during the day).

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

xiando (770382) | about 4 years ago | (#33780806)

Because Bittorrent has a reputation issue, for one. The MPAA and RIAA attack it and call it the reason they are losing money (instead of their failing business model).

Try running a perfectly legal BitTorrent tracker. You will find that the MPAA/RIAA criminals both DDOS your server and spam your ISP with DMCA crap regarding files you are not tracking and never heard of. They really dislike BitTorrent.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Dayofswords (1548243) | about 4 years ago | (#33780844)

MPAA said the same thing about the VCR.

Can we go back to not giving a fuck what the MPAA thinks?

No (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 4 years ago | (#33780742)

No, it won't replace standard downloads, if nothing else because bittorrent is "best effort", and there's no guarantee that the client receives a file within a certain time frame. And for small and medium files, the overhead of BT severely slows down the access.
Yes, it's useful for large files. No, it's no 100% replacement.

And that's the beauty of internet in a nutshell -- there isn't one solution that fits all, but lots and lots of tools and standards that can be used and adjusted to the specific needs. So stop looking for The One And Only Way.

Re:No (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#33780780)

"and there's no guarantee that the client receives a file within a certain time frame."

But that applies to regular downloading, too. It depends on the server location, its connection speed, your connection speed (which isn't always constant), and how much traffic the server is getting at the time.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 4 years ago | (#33780836)

But you can control those factors. A VPN with a CIR, for example.

And even when you can't control it, you still can estimate much better. A 1:1 download that's doing 150 kBps for the first five minutes from a server with plenty of bandwidth isn't likely to drop to 15 kBps for half an hour and then pick up to 300 kBps.

If I need a large file, I look for a http download first, and only if I can't find that do I go to bittorrent. Because BT is usually going to take longer, and is always impossible to estimate. My boss wants to know how long it's going to take downloading a DVD, not "hopefully half an hour, possibly by tomorrow".

Re:No (2, Informative)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#33780868)

Yeah, I know a bittorrent download is largely unpredictable, but I was just pointing out that, to an extent, so are regular downloads.

Why not? Here are some reasons... (4, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33780744)

1) because I'm a leech.
2) because I don't want legal liability FOR DISTRIBUTING if I download a file that unknown to me is illegal, e.g. a software package from overseas that someone inserted illegal-in-my-country pornography into the binary. Yeah, I'll take the risk for possession but not for distribution.
3) because my employer's lawyer made me say #2 when it comes to company machines.
4) because I prefer to get my bits from the official location. Yea, I know a checksum should be good enough but I'm old school here.

Seriously though, I can see torrents overtaking web- and ftp- downloads as the primary method for distributing large, popular files. However, there will always be customers who refuse to share and who refuse to get data from any source that doesn't have a reputation for quality and isn't blessed by the original publisher.

Oh, and seriously, I'll be fine using torrents to download things like well-known linux distros. I trust modern checksums. I probably won't use them for low-demand files or smaller files though.

Re:Why not? Here are some reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780944)

You forgot

5) Prevent companies from abusing the mechanism since they no longer have incentives to limit the size and frequency of updates.

For example, they might no longer research the best algorithm to compress a patch ($200 of engineer-time to them), even though that would save $10k in overall user bandwidth.

Re:Why not? Here are some reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780992)

5: A college student like someone else mentioned. Some are lucky, they have seeders on their segment. However, most colleges do their best to stomp out P2P, some even banning proxy server URLs and using NAC to install anti-proxy software on all PCs attached to the dorm network.

6: A cellphone. There are cases where one might need to use a 3G connection and if one isn't lucky to be grandfathered by AT&T, they will end up paying a pretty steep price for those 4-8 GB "Linux ISO images".

7: In general. Here in the US, bandwidth is actually shrinking. ISPs are not upgrading infrastructure, and the only thing they are actually adding are additional fees. What is going on with tethering where every cellular provider is converting to a throttling or per meg model after "X" amount of data is starting to happen with landline ISPs (phone/cable).

Re:Why not? Here are some reasons... (1)

Barny (103770) | about 4 years ago | (#33781042)

Yup, No2 is the killer, say your browsing your fav porn site, you see a nice movie you want to watch, click download. Later after watching the first 2 sec of it you find it to be rather illegal in your country (due to whatever reason) you delete it. Too late, you were not only in possession of but were also a distributor of...

I would love this. *Is on a college campus* (1)

IB4Student (1885914) | about 4 years ago | (#33780746)

Thanks to all of the people here torrenting on the network, I can usually get over twice my normal download speeds on major things that I torrent, due to there being seeders on this huge network.

Faster? (1)

nacturation (646836) | about 4 years ago | (#33780754)

World of Warcraft already uses Bittorrent technology as a way to distribute large amounts of content at a lower cost to the company and faster speeds to all of their clients

Lower cost, for sure, but it is not faster. The fastest download is when you're downloading from a single server that is able to fully saturate your connection. Even better if this server is situated directly within your ISP as is the case for some content delivery networks (Limelight I think does this). Having to negotiate individual connections with hundreds of peers around the world and incurring the associated lag and protocol overhead can't even compare.

Re:Faster? (3, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33780796)

"...that is able to fully saturate your connection."

Yeah, like this always happens. Not.

Scenario: 1st day of release of a new popular file.

Either the vendor prepares well and works with content-delivery networks so you and everyone else on the planet can download the file while saturating your network, or vendor doesn't.

If he doesn't, everyone gets throttled and/or some people are told to try again later.

A torrent option would help distribute the load and cut out the bottleneck.

Re:Faster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780816)

Then there's the fact the Bittorrent protocol itself is a burden on the network at large, forcing thousands of routers more strain than necessary so a few people save a couple bucks.

It only costs a few pennies for Netflix to serve a movie on it's Instant system, so companies like Blizzard are really just incredibly cheap bastards who's (literally) penny pinching is hurting the Internet as a whole.

Re:Faster? (1)

kc8apf (89233) | about 4 years ago | (#33780958)

That really only scales up so far. It's actually quite difficult to saturate a 1gbps, let alone a 10gbps or 100gbps, link with a single stream. Multiple streams work around some of the problems and allow the full link to be used.

Protocol trouble Re:Faster? (1)

kwerle (39371) | about 4 years ago | (#33780980)

The way I see it:
If the protocol were improved a little bit, and ISPs were a little smarter, then everyone wins. If the protocol allowed preferred connection to big nearby pipes (and I know that some clients try to do that) and there was a way to really relay/cache/siren feeds (like http proxies), then ISPs *could* watch for 'hot torrents' and cache them to fee them to their customers at high speed - thus reducing their out of network costs (because they are feeding the data, themselves) and improving their customers' download speeds (by not going out of network), then 'torrent could absolutely rock.

I know that's a lot of if's and would require intelligent ISPs - so let's make an ice-skating date in hell. But it could rock and be more efficient for everyone...

Re:Faster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33781050)

Bit torrent generally is faster. Sure, it has more overhead, but other than that is splits the content up through multiple pipes in the backbone. Instead of thinking of your ISP as one pipe coming to your house think of it as many different 10gig+ pipes coming into your ISP. Those backbone pipes do fill up from time to time. So with bit torrent if one pipe becomes to saturated another pipe will take more of a hit. This might only be realistic if you have a 100+ megabit/s connection coming into your house, or you're downloading cross continent, but speeds like that are not that uncommon, especially in the future. I get around 130megabit/s download from Comcast right now to my house no problem. When dealing with multi gig servers the speed increase using bit torrent really shows itself (with using a ram disk or ssd. bt fragments like no tomorrow).

Bit torrent is the future. You can argue against it today but the faster your connection becomes the more of an advantage bit torrent has.

Governmental Policies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780758)

When I was going to school they had to block the bittorrent downloads for people playing WoW because it was a commercial entity using a governmental funded school network. The way the rules(ToS) were written, that is illegal. Hence, they had to make it use the normal methods of downloading from their servers. Private business using the network for their benefit or something.

Only if there's good seeds (2, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | about 4 years ago | (#33780762)

That's the one real problem with BitTorrent. If nobody is seeding the file, nobody can download. If the servers that would be hosting the data were instead used as no-limit seeders, that might make BitTorrent a more viable system for "real" downloads.

Re:Only if there's good seeds (4, Informative)

talsemgeest (1346555) | about 4 years ago | (#33780928)

Most modern bittorrent client support web seeds, that is using an http-hosted file as a seed for the torrent. Ad the speed from that server to the other people who are downloading and you have much better speeds than if you were to simply download straight from the server. Add to this all the other bittorrent features, like resuming a broken download, and improved error checking and you have a very powerful downloading strategy. Just take a look at burnbit: http://burnbit.com/ [burnbit.com] which takes a normal hosted file on the internet and turns it into a torrent. Everyone wins!

INVASION! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780790)

the only way all downloads could do that would be by forcibly stealing bandwidth from their clients. which i see as an invasion of my rights, to you know, leech mercilessly from your(provider) pockets. of course it would be nice to get platinum status for 50mb of stream a month or something the likes.

similarly, what you suggest dear man, is communism

it's only stealing if... (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33780814)

It's only stealing if it's done without my permission or under duress.

If it says "would you like to be nice and share your bandwidth and download the torrent, saving us bandwidth in the process" and you say "yes" instead of clicking "no, use conventional download" then it's not stealing.

Re:it's only stealing if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780870)

"would you like to be nice and share your bandwidth and download the torrent, saving us bandwidth in the process"

or "hell no i already paid you with my money so that you could buy your own bandwidth and not make me pay again for it!"

Firewalls (1)

harryjohnston (1118069) | about 4 years ago | (#33780794)

I gather BitTorrent can't be easily used from behind a firewall, which makes it of limited use in corporate settings at present. As well as built-in support from the major web clients, we'd also need support from the major http proxy servers.

Re:Firewalls (1)

xiando (770382) | about 4 years ago | (#33780848)

If you're being a firewall which blocks _outgoing_ connections then you're in some environment where you are not going to download any files whatsoever anyway, and you're probably better off using snail-mail. People with proxy-only access to the outside world are not relevant when it comes to downloading files beyond HTML.

Re:Firewalls (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 4 years ago | (#33780914)

People with proxy-only access to the outside world are not relevant when it comes to downloading files beyond HTML.

Oh? I regularly download DVDs and CDs through a proxy, no problem. For non-unique downloads, it's even lightning fast because of caching.

Re:Firewalls (2, Informative)

harryjohnston (1118069) | about 4 years ago | (#33781006)

According to my understanding of BitTorrent, the client needs to be able to accept incoming connections as well as outgoing ones. See for example Brian's BitTorrent FAQ and Guide [dessent.net] .

Also, we use a proxy server for outgoing requests from all of our teaching labs, and we have no trouble downloading stuff. The proxy server is perfectly capable of keeping up with our internet connection. It's not as though it has to do any hard work, all it does is relay data from an incoming TCP connection to an outgoing one.

Inertia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780800)

Downloading is "just there", is point-and-drool easy and (mostly) "just works". Bittorrent takes a modicum of knowledge, effort and understanding to install and operate and most of the time offers no big advantage. Hence until bittorrent is "just there" as a trivial point-and-drool option people will continue to use the old method.

This is essentially the same reason so many people run "old" software and hardware long past it's expected replace-by date. It's there, it works, so why change?

Many years ago... (2, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#33780822)

I recall really hoping that a new distributed file transfer protocol would become standard in browsers. For one thing, it could virtually eliminate large loads on smaller servers caused by flash crowds (more colloquially known as the slashdot effect).

What I had envisioned is that every webclient currently displaying a web page would effectively act as a seed for the content (including pictures, embedded videos, etc) that the browser has loaded from that page for as long as the user has that page open, radically reducing the load required by the webserver where the original data was hosted when a lot of people want to see the content at the same time.

Of course, it never happened.

Re: Lets even make the brower make tea and such (1)

xiando (770382) | about 4 years ago | (#33780938)

I recall really hoping that a new distributed file transfer protocol would become standard in browsers. For one thing, it could virtually eliminate large loads on smaller servers caused by flash crowds (more colloquially known as the slashdot effect).

Why does everyone seem to want everything to be in the fscking browser? Applications already grow to huge amounts of bloat until they can send mail. What is wrong with having the browser open filetypes in some preferred stand-alone application which does the job and does it well? I really don't see the point in having some poor joke of a BitTorrent client built into my web browser when there are so many good stand-alone apps readily available.

Damnit! I got 1Gbps and now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780838)

I'm expected to use it pumping out data to the rest of you slowpokes?

Damn you EPB! Oh wait, 1 Gbps...who cares, suck it down bitches, you know you like to swallow my fat pipe!

If this gets mod points, I'm slapping myself.

CDNs are cheap, NAT makes it hard (3, Interesting)

Chaostrophy (925) | about 4 years ago | (#33780842)

A start up I know of started out using peer to peer, but it was too much grief to get people to download a plug in, and then get it to set up port forwarding through their firewall, and at the price of CDNs these days, you are just not saving enough money for it to be worth while.

Now, when we get IPv6, and HTML5, perhaps it will be a different game (no NAT in IPv6, no need).

In the case of a game, you already have downloaded stuff, and can convince a fair chunk of your users to set it up.

Twitter uses it to push patches to their servers in 12 seconds instead of 10 min.

So it is part of the future.

There's A Place... (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 4 years ago | (#33780850)

There's a place for direct downloads (HTTP, whatever), but more "aboveboard" use of BitTorrent seems like a great idea; might help if it isn't seen as "mainly a pirate toy". :P

Bandwidth is getting so cheap (1)

matty619 (630957) | about 4 years ago | (#33780852)

that I don't really see this as an issue. Sure, some companies may decide to save a buck and distribute this way, but as far as updates and patches go, it just doesn't seem like its worth the relatively meager cost savings to risk pissing off your customers, either through technical issues (like NAT, or downloading from hotel environments where all but port 80 and 445 are blocked) and the negative publicity that comes with the concept of big evil companies making money via distributing their software via *your* bandwidth. I'm not saying there isn't a future for BT based downloads, but when bandwidth costs are dropping year over year, who cares?

Re:Bandwidth is getting so cheap (1)

matty619 (630957) | about 4 years ago | (#33780866)

Sorry, port 443, fat finger strikes again.

Re:Bandwidth is getting so cheap (1)

x1n933k (966581) | about 4 years ago | (#33781024)

Bandwidth isn't cheap now, but it isn't neutral either, which would quickly change the former. I think that is important, especially in the case of every-day users. Our Internet is still in the hands of the ISPs and Torrenting, legal or otherwise is not something they want to see.

[J]

BT depends on many thing. (1)

cf18 (943501) | about 4 years ago | (#33780854)

Some ISP do deep packet inspection and traffic pattern classification. With Bell Canada even encrypted BT traffic get throttled down to 30k/s.

Better suited for specific use cases (1)

bomanbot (980297) | about 4 years ago | (#33780876)

I think the way Bittorrent works, it does especially well for some specific use cases and might not work so well for other ones.

As far as I understand it, Bittorrent works very well if a lot of people want to get the same download at roughly the same time because then the bandwidth-sharing aspect of Bittorrent makes it scale better in comparison to a direct download. Thus, it makes sense to be used by someone like Blizzard for their updates, because all the players want and should get the Update more or less as soon as it gets out.

But I think it does not work as well if you try to use it for less frequented files or if you use it during less frequented times. I might be wrong here, but I seem to remember that in such cases, the protocol overhead makes the direct download the better choice.

Also (and my understanding might be shady here as well), something like using a local mirror is not quite easy to do via Bittorrent, I believe and local mirrors (for example, the ones sourceforge uses) can be quite useful and give much better bandwith.

In short, I think Bittorrent can be pretty powerful, but does not give advantages in all use cases, which might slow down wider adoption.

Faster Speeds? Yeah right... (4, Informative)

drsquare (530038) | about 4 years ago | (#33780886)

In WoW I have to disable bittorrent if I actually want to download a patch. Otherwise it saturates my connection with upload data whilst only downloading at 1% of my max speed.

Blizzard use bittorrent simply because they're cheap. Instead of using their millions in profits to provide bandwidth, they make the players smash their quotas sending data to each other. I had to install a bandwidth limiter to get Wrath of the Lich King to install because otherwise the outrageous upload speeds stopped me actually downloading anything. You'd think $15 a month would be enough to pay for enough bandwidth to allow me to download the game I've just paid for, but no they have to chase every penny...

We block BT traffic at work (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 4 years ago | (#33780888)

For many companies and schools that we manage, we have to block all BT traffic at the firewall level. It's simple to do in a SonicWall. If we don't, their Internet connection will get saturated to hell leaving high latency and dropped connections. People seem to forget about what BT does to a network. Even if you have an OC3 connection, the rest of the world will load-balance traffic over to it. It's the damned upload (serving) that kills it.

So yes, BT gets blocked. If we could just block BT upload traffic, we would prefer that method the best at the corporate level. For schools, it's always blocked for liability reasons. Period.

Heard of QoS? (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | about 4 years ago | (#33780946)

You could apply QoS policies to outbound traffic such that BT only gets left over bandwidth a.k.a. a QoS scavenger class.

It is not always the best solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780900)

Bit torrent excels when you have a spike of users downloading something. That is why it is a great way to distribute content like shows or, as in the case you suggested, a RECENT releases of an OS version. I emphasize recent, because if one is obtaining a legacy version (or any other content not in hot demand), bit torrent can actually perform much worse than a straight download. Not a big deal, but something to consider.

How about a share local option (3, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | about 4 years ago | (#33780912)

Most houses have more than one PC. It is stupid that they all separately download the patches from the source.
How about an option to share patch downloads across a local network.
Nominate one machine as a master then all the other machines check with the master for their patches.
The master is responsible for contacting the source.

How to fix this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33780940)

A few things need to happen for bittorrent to take over:

1. Allow people to manually disable uploading OR somehow make bandwidth caps illegal in most of the world (yeah right). Some people just can't upload, because they have ridiculously low upload caps and they'd need to be able to disable uploading if they wanted to use bittorrent.
2. Bittorrent is built into the browser and downloading files is seamless; as long as your browser is open, it seeds your files, until you go manually clear the seed cache or move the files.
3. The need for servers is still there, the problem of dead torrents is huge. If you want to download an old file, and no one is seeding it, you're fucked. This is unacceptable for official downloads from some company. WoW can get away with it, because it has MILLIONS of subscribers many of which seed without even realizing it.

BT is blind to geography (1)

jdong (1378773) | about 4 years ago | (#33780942)

A major issue with BitTorrent is that in general, clients are unaware of geographic distance, which can cause clients to pick peers that are unnecessarily burdensome on ISP's compared to a path that a CDN-backed distribution system would've chosen.

maybe with IPv6 (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 4 years ago | (#33780962)

Bittorrent does not work well with NAT. And pretty much every end-user network employs NAT these days. Therefore, only the nerds who know how to configure their routers will use bittorrent... until NAT dies the miserable death it deserves.

Setup and Teardown (5, Insightful)

The Raven (30575) | about 4 years ago | (#33780990)

Bittorrent is great for very large files, and popular files.

But for small files it's really, really bad. Many linux patches involve downloading hundreds of small files, not one big one. Most applications are so small that the setup and teardown time for bittorrent would dwarf the download time. Any download that takes less than 5 will likely have a smoother user experience if it is not done using bittorrent.

Even ignoring tiny files, there is the issue of bandwidth limited users, the significantly higher routing requirements of bittorrent (many home routers flake out when you get 50+ TCP connections going through them), users with heavily asymmetrical connections (5Mbit down/256kbit up), and the more complicated configuration required to get a good bittorrent connection.

In short, bittorrent is nice for its niche (large, popular files), but outside that niche it is often not the best solution. Wider deployment of bittorrent technology would probably help some places, but it's not a silver bullet for all Internet downloads.

Sometimes torrents are not welcome at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33781010)

I was once a visiting scholar living in an apartment rented for me by the university. And the ISP there had a fracking policy of banning ALL p2p software on its network, including all Bittorrent clients (yes, AND WoW), skype and whatnot (even streaming stuff, if I recall correctly). Apparently, they received some DMCA notices and this was their countermeasures: a fine of $45 and disconnect. Now go figure how convenient it would be in a totally torrent-powered world...

WoW, great example there (1)

pagedout (1144309) | about 4 years ago | (#33781018)

Seriously, I think using WoW as an example here is funny. While offloading your bandwidth costs to your clients is itself a morally questionable action doing it so poorly time and time again is just wrong. WoW's distrobution method has been plagued with problems since it's inception and at least 4 versions of the patcher are acknolaged to be just outright broken. Add to this the configuration problems and issues with multiple computers NATed to the same IP and I would say it has been less then a rousing success for them. I mean really, it took many people more than 4 hours (and 20-30MB of uploading) to receive a 10MB patch no more than a month ago.

Honestly, for free things with no clear distrobution channels I see no reason that torrenting should not be used. In the case of things that I pay for, companies should just man up and pay for the bandwidth/servers themselves.

It depends on the files (1)

davmoo (63521) | about 4 years ago | (#33781020)

How I feel about this depends on the files and companies/creators involved.

If its an open source project or an independent film done on the cheap or something like that, yeah, I'd be all for it.

But if its a commercial enterprise who's goal is to simply "make money" and they have the bucks to do it themselves, like Microsoft, IBM, Apple, or even, in this case, Warcraft, my first thought is "The cheap bastards want to leach my spare bandwidth?!". In my opinion, that does not reflect well on the company.

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