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Interview Responses From BitTorrent's Bram Cohen

Roblimo posted more than 11 years ago | from the download-popular-ISOs-without-waiting dept.

253

Here we go... direct questions and direct answers about BitTorrent, the latest big-time P2P file distribution system to hit the Internet. Bram Cohen made BitTorrent and maintains it, and perhaps, one day, just maybe, he'll even make a living from it...

1) Bit-Torrent browsing... by CashCarSTAR

Has any effort/thought been put towards bit torrent page distribution?

Specifically, a way that one can use BT to mirror webpages. A way to get around the /. effect, and as well would work wonders the next emergency that comes out (see 9/11).

Bram:

Images in web pages are very small and require very low latency. BitTorrent is designed for much larger files, which download on the order of minutes or hours rather than seconds. BitTorrent uses the significant amount of time those downloads take to try out and compare different connections. This process has inherent latencies which make it unsuitable for images on web pages.

Certainly it would beis possible on paper to dramatically reduce the cost of hosting an ordinary web site using peer transfers, but the logistical problems of handling many small files at low latency have yet to be solved, and will probably require a protocol which looks significantly different from BitTorrent.

2) Forward successful download stats to originators... by gsfprez

Many freeware/shareware folks like to keep download stats for marketing purposes, so P2P software and mirrors really irk them....

In order to foster more love from freeware/shareware distributors, could BitTorrent be made to inform the end user (me) that BitTorrent was going to send a "notice of download" (not including any personal information, such as an IP, etc) upon sucessful download (that I could preview before sending of course)?

If *I* was Warner Bros, and eveyone offered to distribute and pay for all the bandwidth for the next version of the Animatrix, while I still got to see download statistics, i'm not sure I'd even would need to provide a direct link to the 150 meg QuickTime files.

With this kind of feedback mechanism, the software/media providers get all the love - download stats, far far far less bandwidth used - and we get all the goodness - their free movies, software, freeware, data, etc. Its the ultimate mirror.

Or am i missing something?

Bram:

I'm happy to report that you are, in fact, missing something. Clients report very detailed statistics to the BitTorrent tracker, including the number of complete downloads and the total amount each peer uploaded and downloaded. If you host a file using your own tracker, all of this data is readily accessible, the same as if you hosted it via http.

By the way, many people find out about tracker statistics reporting and falsely think that hacking their client to exaggerate their upload rate will increase download speeds. Clients actually decide who to upload to based strictly on the transfer rates they experience directly; Tracker statistics are never even sent to them.

3) Comparison to other P2P... by jfmiller

As far as I can tell the genius of BitTorrent is allowing peers who themselves do not yet have a complete file to share the parts they do. With all dew respect to the effort taken, the rest is just functional glue that allows the system to work as it should.

The eDonkey protocol used the same basic premise. How is BitTorrent different to it and other P2P protocols and why did you make that choice?

Bram:

That 'functional glue' is extraordinarily difficult to get to work well. Ever-changing network conditions and very high rates of peers disconnecting produce a very thorny logistical problem. Most existing swarming implementations don't even manage to fully utilize all the upload capacity available to them.

That said, there are other decent swarming implementations. For example, the one in eDonkey is quite serviceable, and Furthurnet's works okay as well. BitTorrent handles the little details of file transfer better than all of the others, but if that were the only difference its advantage would be relatively minor and subtle.

What sets BitTorrent apart is its very robust technique for rewarding specifically the peers which upload the most, known as leech resistance. On the highest level, this prevents a long-term meltdown of the system from being caused by people running leeching clients. It also causes upload and download rates to be somewhat correlated, so peers on good pipes get decent download rates, which increases general good feeling about how the system behaves. Overnet, the follow-on to eDonkey, may start using BitTorrent's peer protocol in the future specifically for the leech resistance properties.

By the way, people sometimes run clients hacked to not upload at all and still experience good download rates. Usually this is because they're downloading a file which has been available for a while and there are many clients which have finished downloading but been left running, so there's plenty of excess bandwidth to go around. Not uploading in a swarm which is still ramping up is generally ruinous for download rates.

4) Improvements... by BJH

Bram,

Do you have any plans for improvements to BitTorrent to improve some of its (few) weaknesses, such as searching for torrent files, bandwidth usage by trackers and inability to download if the tracker goes off the air?

Bram:

I have no plans to add search functionality, since that can be handled at a higher layer, such as google, and finding content via links is considerably more versatile and widespread than keyword searching anyway.

Bandwidth used by the tracker is currently around 1/1000 the total amount of bandwidth used. With some tweaking, I can get that down to around 1/10,000. Going lower than that would require sacrificing the tracker's ability to collect statistics, since those get significant at that scale.

Relying on a single tracker is really no different than relying on a single web site. Any well-colocated machine is plenty reliable enough, and if you really need failover you can do it at the DNS level.

4a) Re: Improvements... by ichimunki

I would like to refine this question because I have some specific nits that I'd like to pick: why doesn't the client/server open a single port and listen on that instead of opening a new port for each file? Second, why don't the peers maintain and share information about other peers once the download has started-- going through the central tracker provides a central point of failure. Wouldn't decentralizing allow for a .torrent file to have a list of seeds, and then each of the seeds would be able to share information about peers, eliminating the need for a tracker altoghether?

Bram:

Single port has been high on my list of things to do for a while now but keeps getting put off as more immediate concerns pop up. It mostly hasn't been done yet for a highly technical reason. The way BitTorrent currently shuts down is with a hack where the entire event loop is terminated; To support multiple downloads a cleaner technique which only stopped events and sockets related to a particular download which one of them terminates would be necessary. This is reasonably straightforward to implement, but requires a lot of surgery.

By the way, my mail load has made getting actual development done rather difficult as of late. I'm hoping to offset this with contributions from other developers. While there's been plenty of interest in contributing, and a significant amount of contribution to the tracker, to date noone other than me has made any significant changes to the core download functionality.

If anyone really wants to make a significant development contribution to BitTorrent, you should read over the codebase enough to understand it all (the irc channel can be helpful with this) then ask me what's on the to do list. I suggest you do not start implementing your own BitTorrent client. There are already several of those being worked on, and they're all very far from being as mature as the main line client. What's really needed is more development on the main branch.

5) Impending doom... by damu

Are you taking any precautions for your clash with the RIAA/MPAA?

Bram:

I don't expect to run into any legal trouble. BitTorrent can be used for any kind of content, and several web sites have used it for their own files. Also, all the etree usage (live show recordings of bands which permit it) is completely legal. BitTorrent's total bandwith usage would be quite substantial even if the etree distributions were all it was used for.

6) Future Considerations... by pgrote

Do you feel that BitTorrent's core functionality can one day be integrated in the operating system as a file system? The ability to share files among disparate systems in remote locations can be seen as extension of what was started with HTML, et. al.

Bram:

No. BitTorrent's API is one of starting a download and later being notified that the whole download is complete. File system APIs very specifically involve open(), seek(), read() and write(), which are completely different and wholly incompatible with the way BitTorrent works.

The same is true of http by the way. Attempting to make certain protocols act like local file file system access is kludgy at best, both as a literal concept and as a metaphor.

7) Panhandling for internet dollars... by Matey-O

You've got a paypal dontation button to help compensate you for your non-trivial expenditure of time...how well is that working? Is it an adequate revenue stream, or just enough for a pizza or two?

Bram:

So far, more than a pizza, but less than a living. The donations definitely help though.

8) Re: most obvious question... by Noksagt

...what do you think of what people have done with what you have created. I'm sure you might be sick of people asking you how to obtain a torrent for the latest movie, but are you troubled that it is being used for copyright infringement? Pleased? Apathetic?

Do you wish that it was used more for distributing legal ISOs and other files? If so, do you believe you should promote it more for this purpose or promote development of tools to push it in this direction (perhaps automatic creation of torrents on a successful build, etc.).

Bram:

I'm amused mostly. I find humans highly entertaining.

My attempts to promote BitTorrent for any specific purpose basically failed. It's grown almost entirely through guerilla marketing. That said, I'm hoping that in the future BitTorrent starts being used directly by content producers to distribute their own works.

9) Success... by pgrote

BitTorrent has seen a wide array of usage since it debuted. Many have been surprising and it has caught the fire that makes sofwtare a success. How do you personally measure the success of BitTorrent? Has it achieved the goals you first set?

Bram:

I generally measure software success by how many machines it's deployed on. In that sense BitTorrent has done very well, but it will probably become much more widespread as publishers make their content available using it. My current hope is that BitTorrent will one day be installed on almost all end user machines.

10) Commercial Interest... by Noksagt

I think that bittorrent can be of significant commercial interest. It might be used for software updates for instance. Have you pursued this path or have companies approached you? I certainly hope you'd keep a free version available, but a more feature-rich version would surely land you a great deal of money with the right pitch.

Bram:

So far there hasn't been much commercial interest, but I expect that to change now that large deployments have proven the technology so dramatically.

Starting a business is very tempting. BitTorrent has the potential to create such incredible amounts of value that if I manage to make even a tiny fraction of that I could do very well.

-----

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253 comments

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

KGB Kenny (238697) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095907)

fp

bittorrent won't work over satellite so thumbs down on that...

I didn't get to ask my question! (-1, Troll)

Bame Flait (672982) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095909)

Why are you creating illegal software?

Follow-Up: What is your address and phone number? I need to place a call to my friend Mr. Ashcroft.

Thank you,
Enjoy your time in Gitmo.

First racism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6095912)

Kill all niggers

YOU KNOW WHAT ..... YOU WIN!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096154)

Here's your justification, you lousy piece of troll shit. My DSL connection at home sucks, and that's where the beta server is running. I gave out the site to 125 people who emailed me asked me for the site, so that it didn't die.
Now you've decided to be a fucking flaming asshole and post the site everywhere, causing signifacnt problems with my DSL at home because you're a piece of shit with nothing better to do.

I've wasted 5 hours this morning deleting your trolls and in the meantime have gotten NO other work done because of you. I'm trying to do something nice for MacSlash community and upgrade our server so it's better. You insist on wasting my time with this shit, and keeping me from being able to work on the new server.

I've worked on this site for over 3 years without every making a penny off of it because I like the interaction with other Mac users. You've just spoiled that. I now dread loading the site every morning because of trolls like you. I spend most of my time now dealing with your petty bullshit instead making this a better place. And I'm about ready to just shut the whole damn thing down instead of dealing with you anymore.

So there's you're fucking justification. Now stop posting the address of the new site.
-- Ben Stanfield
Executive Editor @ www.MacSlash2.com

My question... (5, Funny)

Davak (526912) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095930)

My question would have been...

How do you feel about slashdot crushing every torrent web site and tracker everytime it runs a story on your program?

Davak

Re:My question... (1)

Angry White Guy (521337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095951)

runs a story on his program, a new distro release, Movie trailers, software, fat kid swinging a lightsaber, anything that could be released over torrent and vaguely mentioned on Slashdot....
Line 'em up and we'll knock them down in our quest for everything

Re:My question... (2, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096468)

fat kid swinging a lightsaber

Hee hee. That's not a lightsaber. I'm just happy to see you.

Re:My question... (-1, Offtopic)

SnuSnu (630537) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096029)

Not really all that amusing, since Torrentse's been down since it got Slashdotted. Congratulations to all the guys who linked to it from here - you've destroyed the best torrent site out there.

Re:My question... (4, Informative)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096098)

"Not really all that amusing, since Torrentse's been down since it got Slashdotted. Congratulations to all the guys who linked to it from here - you've destroyed the best torrent site out there."

Torrentse is down because they are moving to a new server. There was a post about this from the person who runs torrentse in the last story about bittorrent. (I believe it was the story where you could post questions to be used in Bram's interview.)

Why use Torrentse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096559)

... if you can use Sharelive for BitTorrents [sharelive.com] ?

Oops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096575)

I'm the parent too, and it looks like it just went down.

Re:My question... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096145)

I think, after the first time they got slashdotted, they bounce all slashdot referers to tubgirl [tubgirl.com] .

Re:My question... (5, Interesting)

Davak (526912) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096036)

I don't know how an honest question regarding bittorrent can be considered offtopic...

Anyway... do any of you torrent gurus know how to change a tracker? For example, say you have 80 .torrent files and the tracker goes down. How do you easily change the tracker to a different one? Is this possible?

Viewing the plain text of the .torrent file... I might think it would be possible. Of course, if I understood the .torrent format I wouldn't be asking...

Quote:
d8:announce37:http://f.scarywater.net:8080/annou nc e4:infod5:filesld6:lengthi167e4:pathl15:MD5SUMS-ft p.md5eed6:lengthi668991488e4:pathl21:shrike-i386-d isc1.isoeed6:lengthi677511168e4:pathl21:shrike-i38 6-disc2.isoeed6:lengthi508592128e4:pathl21:shrike- i386-disc3.isoeee4:name7:redhat912:piece lengthi1048576e6:pieces35400:
End Quote

After this prelude of text, the rest of the .torrent file can not be understood in plain text.

Can this plain text be edited so all the tracker files not have to be rebuilt?

Davak

Re:My question... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096169)

This unofficial BitTorrent FAQ [dessent.net] is the most complete and accurate guide I've seen since my original writeup. You'll see under Other Utilities [dessent.net] a program called BTChange, which appears to be what you're after.

-ololiuhqui

Re:My question... (5, Informative)

Bklyn (21642) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096306)

Can this plain text be edited so all the tracker files not have to be rebuilt?
Yes, see the "btreannounce.py" script which is included with the BitTorrent sources. It can be used to change the announce URL stored inside existing .torrent files. See also the "btshowmetainfo.py" script which can be used to dump the contents of a .torrent file in a more human-friendly format.

Re:My question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096378)

+1 informative - thanks

Re:My question... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096331)

The answer in the interview responses was to handle it through DNS.

Re:My question... (2, Informative)

barcodez (580516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096409)

Yes, change the URL string and the number (i.e. 37) preceeding it. The number preceeding it is the length of the URL string and the colon after the number is merely a delimiter. The number much match the new string. N.B. Most text editor will alter the information contained within the SHA1 hash (the "junk" at the end of the file). Thus a recommend doing this will care (maybe in a hex editor).

Re:My question... (4, Interesting)

Jasin Natael (14968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096162)

My question is for Slashdot: Since hosting a torrent requires (as Bram states) about 1/1,000th, and in the future as little as 1/10,000th of the total bandwidth for the torrent, why can't /. just make a torrent server available for members to download new ISO's, free software, and large movies (re: Animatrix, etc.)? All it'd take is one monitor page and (maybe) an automated e-Mail script to keep content providers up-to-date on the downloads. And I can tell you for SURE, most of the sites that /. links to would appreciate having their Star Trek parodies, ISO's, and stop-motion LEGO animations mirrored... Be courteous, /.

Jasin Natael

Re:My question... (2, Insightful)

gclef (96311) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096376)

And I can tell you for SURE, most of the sites that /. links to would appreciate having their Star Trek parodies, ISO's, and stop-motion LEGO animations mirrored

Most of them, sure. But it just takes one litigious dork who doesn't want his stuff mirrored to ruin it for the rest of us. I agree in general that slashdot should do this, but the details of getting the permission to do so could badly slow the story submission process. At present, I don't think they know how to get out of this predicament, hence, no mirrors.

Re:My question... (2, Interesting)

ryanr (30917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096512)

There's no authentication mechanism. Slashdot could put up a tracker (and I'd love to have it) but it wouldn't be for subscribers only.

Re:My question... (5, Informative)

BrianRaker (633638) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096557)

There is *already* a 'Slashdot Victims' BitTorrent tracker. Head over to http://f.scarywater.net [scarywater.net] for your favorite Slashdot victim's wares.

Ja mata.

Re:My question... (3, Informative)

elem (411711) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096617)

Thats not what he said.

In his answer he said that the bandwidth used for sending data to and from the tracker is only 1/1000 of the bandwidth that is used. The server running the tracker is still going to need a copy of the file to send out also, or else it just doesn't work. That will eat up the bandwidth.

Re:My question... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096635)

not it doesnt. it just needs the small torrent file with the tracker info. person that uploads the .torrent has to have the copy of it first then it spreads.

TrollKore RIP (-1, Offtopic)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095941)

Trollkore: At the BOTTOM of the RIVER.

Distributed answers? (5, Funny)

stevey (64018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095944)

Normally the slashdot interviewees take a long time to answer their questions, (I'm not complaining as the candidates are normally very busy people), but this one seems like it was much quicker than any recent one.

Perhaps he distributed the answering of the questions?

Re:Distributed answers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096052)

He also answered the questions in a very dry impersonable manner. Was a good opportunity promote your app there, Bram.

Re:Distributed answers? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096158)

Are you sure there were 10 questions? Most of them seemed to dupes, or essentially asking the same thing.

Queue the whiners (5, Insightful)

coupland (160334) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095947)

one day, just maybe, he'll even make a living from it...

Bram hopes to make a living off code that he wrote that the community seems to really like? Queue the peanut gallery with cries of "sell-out" and "greed" and random smatterings of the words "corporate" and "freedom". I've not used BT extensively but what little I've seen impressed me immensely. Hopefully he can turn it into something that funds its own improvements, and if he's lucky to help pay some bills as well.

Congratulations on such a finely crafted troll! (-1, Troll)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095961)

*sniff* You're an inspiration to us all! :~)

Re:Queue the whiners (2, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096046)

That could be a difficult task - the free software crowd, by definition, prefers not to pay for such things. It's an interesting contradiction, really...

Re:Queue the whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096382)

the free software crowd, by definition, prefers not to pay for such things.

Free as in speech dammit.

Re:Queue the whiners (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096568)

Free as in karma darling.
You see, honey, money causes you to collect karma and when I started the free software movement it was to help people free themselves from karma.
Of course the idiots at Slashdot got it backwards, but that's okay. The world needs idiots too.
Your friend.
God

Re:Queue the whiners (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096645)

Yeah Right. Free as in Herpes.

Re:Queue the whiners (3, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096593)

Dunno -- I like Free Software. I'm willing to pay for good software -- especially good Free Software. There's not necessarily a contradiction; one can donate to the authors, pay for consulting services to get new features written or bugs squashed faster, or buy Free Software outright (and then, necessarily, have the rights to redistribute and modify it).

FWIW, my last employer (MontaVista Software) made (and makes) good money of selling Free Software and services to support it. My current employer is also willing to pay for free software -- they pay me to support all the Free Software that their products and their desktop environment depends on. (No, they're not radical enlightened management types, they just want someone around who knows Linux backwards and forwards and can debug Tomcat and Apache and GNOME and fix any bugs we run into that the authors won't).

Re:Queue the whiners (1)

daves (23318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096118)

IIRC, the original development was paid for on a contract. He had all his bills paid at first.

Re:Queue the whiners (5, Interesting)

FroMan (111520) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096226)

I think this is the part of OSS that could be refered to as karma. You make a good piece of software, people know about it, other people hire you to make sure cool products like this make it out more often.

I have to agree with you. Good luck to Bram.

I've only used it once now. When I dl'd the release of enemy territory I had corruption in the file from some regular dl site. While reading slashdot someone mentioned having the same problem and someone pointed BT to the corrupted file lo-and-behold it fixed the file for me.

I was impressed. I think I'll be trying BT more often now though.

In Related News... (5, Informative)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095963)

Bittorrent 3.2.2a for Mac OS X is at long last released but it is not advertised on the main bittorrent site.

Go here to get it http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/bittorrent/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:In Related News... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096108)

I think the most important question to ask is: How do I use this thing to find warez and music? There's no search screen. How about adding a chat client too. Feh. I'll stick with Kazaa.

Is he human? (-1, Offtopic)

AgentGray (200299) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095976)

I'm amused mostly. I find humans highly entertaining.

How to Cook for Humans - they taste good too!

Re:Is he human? (-1, Offtopic)

ThulsaDoom (574868) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096097)

How to Cook Humans How to Cook for Humans How to Cook forty Humans How to Cook for forty Humans

Aha! (-1, Offtopic)

PhiberOptix (182584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095990)

I'm amused mostly. I find humans highly entertaining.

do you look like jodie fosters father by any chance?

Why Python? (4, Interesting)

dubious9 (580994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095991)

The question I missed the most was when someone asked why he wrote in python, or more importantly why he has sayed with Python. Bram states that python is his favorite language, but I don't remember him saying if he thought it was the most appropriate one.

If bittorrent ever get modified to server much smaller objects, like html pages and gif and jpegs, then the ton of trakers needed would see a big improvement if written in a compiled lanuage or even java (though I hear a java version is in the works). It would have been interesting to hear from his point of view though.

Re:Why Python? (4, Informative)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096099)

"though I hear a java version is in the works"

Shhh...

http://www.klomp.org/snark/

With the addition of an event listener API, this could be integrated into a decent Java GUI client. Right now it seems as if it is only command line.

Re:Why Python? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Canard (594978) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096418)

There are several ports to other languages underway, including my own work on libbt [sf.net] , a C-language implementation intended to be suitable for use as a library.

Re:Why Python? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096129)

As you allude to, Python is one of the worst options for something like this (Java being the absolute worst) because of its awkward approach towards object creation/distruction and generally inappropriate garbage collection scheme.

I've heard that C is the best way to go for peer-to-peer or any file serving in general, particularly because of the efficiency of memory handling (which is important when you're juggling connections and search figures.) The best reason to choose Python is because it's your favorite language.

Yeah, I'm feeding the troll (2, Insightful)

fizbin (2046) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096298)

Oh, I know it's a troll, but here are some good reasons for using python:
  • Rapid development. For anything (like a P2P app) where the value increases mostly through network effects (how many other people are using the same product), translating ideas into working code is critically important.
  • Built-in, conveniently accessed hashes. (aka associative arrays) I program in java regularly, and it's a much bigger pain using a .get() call for every damn dictionary access than the same code in python. (or perl, for that matter) Any piece of syntax that gets in the way of seeing the forest for all the damn tree leftovers cluttering up your view should be eliminated.
  • Cross-platform independence.
As to your objections to python, I find them bizarre. Perhaps on the tracker of a very busy download the CPU speed/memory usage is significant, (witness his statement that several alternative trackers are being worked on) but in any client the entire process is completely network IO bound. As for the problems with Python's garbage collector - BitTorrent (well, the code of it that I've looked at so far) doesn't use recursive structures, so I don't see what the objection is there.

Also, "awkward approach towards object creation/destruction"? What exactly does Python do that you wish it didn't? It sounds to me like you're pining for the days before people realized that object destruction costs, and that therefore it's best left to a garbage collector that can operate at idle times.

Re:Why Python? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096202)

You have no idea what you're talking about do you? Java runs on a VM just like python. They are both "compiled" languages; more to the point, Python using C extentions is *WAY* faster than Java.

Re:Why Python? (4, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096205)

From when the questions were asked, Jamie wrote this message [slashdot.org] :

"He already answered this to a large extent, in an essay on Advogato, How to Write Maintainable Code [advogato.com] .
'My favorite language for maintainability is Python. It has simple, clean syntax, object encapsulation, good library support, and optional named parameters.'"
I think that the best language is the one that he can maintain, understand, and use. Sure if it was written in pure assembly it would be faster, but it's a bitch to maintain. The clients work reasonably well. I've never had the official client crash on me. It works up to a fairly large scale with decent hardware and bandwidth.

Re:Why Python? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096501)

no, if it were in assembly it would be just about the same speed.

this program is bound by the rate of i/o to the net.

a python program is plenty fast enough to handle some buffer copying

rewriting this in java would just be crazy and a waste of time. So, I assume someone is hard at work on it right now :*)

Re:Why Python? (1)

mikeee (137160) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096260)

Oh, please. The network and algorythms will be the limit on this kind of application; python will be fine if you're not trying to run it on a 286 with a T3.

Seriously, pull up "top" or something and tell me if bittorrent actually uses nontrivial CPU. I could be wrong, but I'd be very surprised.

Why not Python? (5, Interesting)

umoto (19193) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096277)

This application is highly I/O-bound, not CPU-bound, so raw processing speed is not a factor. It only has to be "fast enough", which it is. The things that do matter are things Python is good at:

- Security. This is a server, so buffer overflows and memory allocation errors are not acceptable.

- Readability. Bram expressed a strong interest in getting more developers involved, making readability essential.

- Platform neutrality.

Other languages cover some of these requirements too, of course. But Python is a great choice.

As for reducing the slashdot effect using a distributed mechanism, I'd like to see something like this: Slashdot runs a BitTorrent server and provides a "package" for every story. Users run a small local HTTP server that fetches web pages from Slashdot story packages, downloaded via BitTorrent. Slashdot lets users set a preference that converts all front page URLs to fetch from the local HTTP server instead of the real site.

The net effect is Slashdot provides a "cache" without actually using up bandwidth. We wouldn't even have to change the BitTorrent protocol. Slashdotters unite! ;-)

Re:Why Python? (1)

gstein (2577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096279)

The implementation language doesn't matter. Come on people, think about what this program is intended to do:

Download files over a long period of time

Do you honestly think that if your for-loop is 10 clock cycles faster, that it will make a difference? Not a bit.

Instead, as somebody else pointed out: you want to choose the language that works best for you, and is the most maintainable [for you].

Re:Why Python? (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096692)

There are several Java versions in the works. I run the JTorrent [sf.net] project off SourceForge. Please have a look. We're currently working out an issue with our file releases, so you can't download a package yet, but feel free to check out the code from CVS.

Advice to Bram on making money (5, Interesting)

ites (600337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6095993)

You will be able to make good money from BT if you package the technology in such a way that commercial interests can use it.

My advice would be to license the source code under the GPL for OSS projects, and additionally under a commercial license for businesses.

Provide BT technology for incorporation into random commercial products. Resell your consulting skills at a good rate. Train others to be able to do the same. With licensing and consulting fees, you will do nicely.

Re:Advice to Bram on making money (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096123)

I'm sorry, but BitTorrent's interface is just too streamlined and efficient for widespread corporate adoption. The installer doesn't even have a wizard, for cripes sake - it just whirs the disk and says it installed successfully! And where are all the built in gewgaws like a half-finished Help system, the fifty bazillion conflicting menus, the insanely bloated and contradictory Preferences dialog? I'm afraid your understanding of commercial software is sorely outdated. After all, look at all the new BT users who can't seem to wrap their heads around how either the client or the protocol work, precisely because they're so simple? Call me back when you've got something as bog-slow as Groove [groove.net] and we can talk percentages...

-ololiuhqui

only being semi-sarcastic

Re:Advice to Bram on making money (1)

ites (600337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096571)

"Technology".

There are huge possibilities for BT. When commercial on-line music starts to fit the reality of people's needs, imagine BT technology for distribution. Then, why not for renting movies?

Re:Advice to Bram on making money (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096204)

Indeed. There is a lot of potential for technologies like BT in automatic software update distribution. The benefits of P2P software downloading have already been shown by P2P file sharing clients that download updates over their own networks. Now this feature just needs incorporating into other software, and everyone, including the software vendor, will be happy with the results! :-)

This is not an advice (1)

apankrat (314147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096579)

You will be able to make good money from BT if you package the technology in such a way that commercial interests can use it.

What makes you sure it is that simple "package the technology in such a way that commercial interests can use it" ? This is the biggest challenge for any open source (or even closed source for that matter) project.

BitTorrent has got a momentum, but in order to turn it into a commercial success it needs much more than an elegance of the solution and a general interest from a non-paying crowd.

Remember OpenCola (aka SwarmCast) ? It was almost exactly what BitTorrent is in the beginning, yet they evolved into knowledge management [opencola.com] , which implies that there was no money in distributed content distribution as-is.

However, there are companies that are present in the subject area. Bycast [bycast.com] , for example. But all of them specialize on the very narrow market segments, and that seems to be the only way to get the business off the ground.

2c

Re:Advice to Bram on making money (1)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096651)

Yea he would. MySQL seems to do fine with roughly the same business plan.

If you want to see what Bram does... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096000)

with your donations, goto http://www.remotelounge.com/consolePhotos/index.ph p?directoryOfChoice=05-31-2003&month=5&year=20 03

He's the one with the long hair.

time 00:27
chan: 15

That's him on the phone... BITtorrent'ing on the phone.

*just* functional glue (5, Informative)

taybin (622573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096025)

Ward Cunningham's Wiki [c2.com] on Patterns has an interesting page [c2.com] on the attitude of referring to details as *just* details.

Very often, the person saying "Oh you just did it this way" has some more learning to do.

Re:*just* functional glue (5, Interesting)

taybin (622573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096045)

JustIsaDangerousWord [c2.com] is a relevant page too. Maybe more so.

A good project. (5, Interesting)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096032)

A good project for someone to use, is to have the corporate version where the main corporate site can have the file as a bittorrent, and always be serving it. If it cant find any other clients, it uses the corporate file LAST to download from.

this way the first few people on the thing would be getting it from the corporate client, then after that from other peers, but then when the file becomes unpopular, people would then basically be getting it from the corporate client again.

This would a little improvement. Though this may just show my ignorance of how bittorrent works as well. Currently I download some files using bittorrent (wolfenstein enemy territories) but when all the seeds go away it can cause issues.

So basically make it so that there is a relatively permanent seed, and he is always requested from LAST. that way if the file is popular the site doesnt have to worry about losing bandwidth.

also, stats tracking should be "ramped up" a little, to where someone would have to register to use the torrents on a specific site, this way the tracking per user could be used. Now this wouldnt interfere with anyones right to privacy, but could be used as a "bonus" system, to provide incentive to keep the torrent open. IE the more you upload the more "credit" you are given. If you think of it in slashdot subscriber terms, perhaps people that have a high "credit" (ie they leave their client open after being finished) would get earlier access to files. maybe have a 3 teir file access. top teir (high uploaders) would get the file as soon as it was served. second teir would get at it 20 minutes later, and 3rd teir get it 45 minutes to an hour later.

this would allow sites to reward those that are high quality users, and maybe allow them to track site benefits based on participation.

maybe call it "sitetorrent" or such.

and this is actually an original idea i thought of trying to get some freinds of mine and myself to code 2 years ago, but I had neither the experience nor the time to work on it. Then someone showed me bittorrent about 2 months ago and I was like "holy shit thats exactly what my product was going to be sans user participation" ;-) oh well, bittorrent rocks!

Oh, and you cant steal my idea, i provide it free to the public today 6/2/03, as a business application given freely and documented.

Buzz OUT!

You can do exactly that. ;) ./btdownloadheadless (3, Interesting)

Reedo (234996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096238)

I run a tracker that hosts a number of game related files (here [gametab.com] ) and have a "headless downloader" for each one. That is, you run btdownloadheadless.py on a .torrent on your server and let it continue running. You can set the max upload speed, etc, so that it doesn't use up your entire pipe. It acts as if it's just another seed/client.

What I do is put the source file onto the server, create the .torrent, then start a downloader on that with a max upload of 100 - 200k/sec. That ensures that there is always at least one seed for each file, and it helps provide some additional upload bandwidth. I am surprised more trackers don't do this, even if they just set the max upload at 5k/sec or something it would help a lot.

Re:A good project. (4, Interesting)

Kredal (566494) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096334)

TVTorrents.com does this now. To download a .torrent, you have to be registered. Once your main download is going, it keeps track of bytes uploaded and downloaded, and if you're leeching or seeding. You gain points for uploading, and 1.5 times as many for seeding. You lose points for downloading. I don't know if it's enabled yet, but the plan is to not let you download if your point total drops below 0.

The site is having processing power issues, but seems to be holding up "ok". It's a great place to get some good shows from, though.

IN case of slashdotting (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096043)

Interview Responses From BitTorrent's Bram Cohen
Posted by Roblimo on Monday June 02, @11:00AM
from the download-popular-ISOs-without-waiting dept.
Here we go... direct questions and direct answers about BitTorrent, the latest big-time P2P file distribution system to hit the Internet. Bram Cohen made BitTorrent and maintains it, and perhaps, one day, just maybe, he'll even make a living from it...

1) Bit-Torrent browsing... by CashCarSTAR

Has any effort/thought been put towards bit torrent page distribution?

Specifically, a way that one can use BT to mirror webpages. A way to get around the /. effect, and as well would work wonders the next emergency that comes out (see 9/11).

Bram:

Images in web pages are very small and require very low latency. BitTorrent is designed for much larger files, which download on the order of minutes or hours rather than seconds. BitTorrent uses the significant amount of time those downloads take to try out and compare different connections. This process has inherent latencies which make it unsuitable for images on web pages.

Certainly it would beis possible on paper to dramatically reduce the cost of hosting an ordinary web site using peer transfers, but the logistical problems of handling many small files at low latency have yet to be solved, and will probably require a protocol which looks significantly different from BitTorrent.

2) Forward successful download stats to originators... by gsfprez

Many freeware/shareware folks like to keep download stats for marketing purposes, so P2P software and mirrors really irk them....

In order to foster more love from freeware/shareware distributors, could BitTorrent be made to inform the end user (me) that BitTorrent was going to send a "notice of download" (not including any personal information, such as an IP, etc) upon sucessful download (that I could preview before sending of course)?

If *I* was Warner Bros, and eveyone offered to distribute and pay for all the bandwidth for the next version of the Animatrix, while I still got to see download statistics, i'm not sure I'd even would need to provide a direct link to the 150 meg QuickTime files.

With this kind of feedback mechanism, the software/media providers get all the love - download stats, far far far less bandwidth used - and we get all the goodness - their free movies, software, freeware, data, etc. Its the ultimate mirror.

Or am i missing something?

Bram:

I'm happy to report that you are, in fact, missing something. Clients report very detailed statistics to the BitTorrent tracker, including the number of complete downloads and the total amount each peer uploaded and downloaded. If you host a file using your own tracker, all of this data is readily accessible, the same as if you hosted it via http.

By the way, many people find out about tracker statistics reporting and falsely think that hacking their client to exaggerate their upload rate will increase download speeds. Clients actually decide who to upload to based strictly on the transfer rates they experience directly; Tracker statistics are never even sent to them.

3) Comparison to other P2P... by jfmiller

As far as I can tell the genius of BitTorrent is allowing peers who themselves do not yet have a complete file to share the parts they do. With all dew respect to the effort taken, the rest is just functional glue that allows the system to work as it should.

The eDonkey protocol used the same basic premise. How is BitTorrent different to it and other P2P protocols and why did you make that choice?

Bram:

That 'functional glue' is extraordinarily difficult to get to work well. Ever-changing network conditions and very high rates of peers disconnecting produce a very thorny logistical problem. Most existing swarming implementations don't even manage to fully utilize all the upload capacity available to them.

That said, there are other decent swarming implementations. For example, the one in eDonkey is quite serviceable, and Furthurnet's works okay as well. BitTorrent handles the little details of file transfer better than all of the others, but if that were the only difference its advantage would be relatively minor and subtle.

What sets BitTorrent apart is its very robust technique for rewarding specifically the peers which upload the most, known as leech resistance. On the highest level, this prevents a long-term meltdown of the system from being caused by people running leeching clients. It also causes upload and download rates to be somewhat correlated, so peers on good pipes get decent download rates, which increases general good feeling about how the system behaves. Overnet, the follow-on to eDonkey, may start using BitTorrent's peer protocol in the future specifically for the leech resistance properties.

By the way, people sometimes run clients hacked to not upload at all and still experience good download rates. Usually this is because they're downloading a file which has been available for a while and there are many clients which have finished downloading but been left running, so there's plenty of excess bandwidth to go around. Not uploading in a swarm which is still ramping up is generally ruinous for download rates.

4) Improvements... by BJH

Bram,

Do you have any plans for improvements to BitTorrent to improve some of its (few) weaknesses, such as searching for torrent files, bandwidth usage by trackers and inability to download if the tracker goes off the air?

Bram:

I have no plans to add search functionality, since that can be handled at a higher layer, such as google, and finding content via links is considerably more versatile and widespread than keyword searching anyway.

Bandwidth used by the tracker is currently around 1/1000 the total amount of bandwidth used. With some tweaking, I can get that down to around 1/10,000. Going lower than that would require sacrificing the tracker's ability to collect statistics, since those get significant at that scale.

Relying on a single tracker is really no different than relying on a single web site. Any well-colocated machine is plenty reliable enough, and if you really need failover you can do it at the DNS level.

4a) Re: Improvements... by ichimunki
I would like to refine this question because I have some specific nits that I'd like to pick: why doesn't the client/server open a single port and listen on that instead of opening a new port for each file? Second, why don't the peers maintain and share information about other peers once the download has started-- going through the central tracker provides a central point of failure. Wouldn't decentralizing allow for a .torrent file to have a list of seeds, and then each of the seeds would be able to share information about peers, eliminating the need for a tracker altoghether?

Bram:

Single port has been high on my list of things to do for a while now but keeps getting put off as more immediate concerns pop up. It mostly hasn't been done yet for a highly technical reason. The way BitTorrent currently shuts down is with a hack where the entire event loop is terminated; To support multiple downloads a cleaner technique which only stopped events and sockets related to a particular download which one of them terminates would be necessary. This is reasonably straightforward to implement, but requires a lot of surgery.

By the way, my mail load has made getting actual development done rather difficult as of late. I'm hoping to offset this with contributions from other developers. While there's been plenty of interest in contributing, and a significant amount of contribution to the tracker, to date noone other than me has made any significant changes to the core download functionality.

If anyone really wants to make a significant development contribution to BitTorrent, you should read over the codebase enough to understand it all (the irc channel can be helpful with this) then ask me what's on the to do list. I suggest you do not start implementing your own BitTorrent client. There are already several of those being worked on, and they're all very far from being as mature as the main line client. What's really needed is more development on the main branch.

5) Impending doom... by damu
Are you taking any precautions for your clash with the RIAA/MPAA?

Bram:

I don't expect to run into any legal trouble. BitTorrent can be used for any kind of content, and several web sites have used it for their own files. Also, all the etree usage (live show recordings of bands which permit it) is completely legal. BitTorrent's total bandwith usage would be quite substantial even if the etree distributions were all it was used for.

6) Future Considerations... by pgrote

Do you feel that BitTorrent's core functionality can one day be integrated in the operating system as a file system? The ability to share files among disparate systems in remote locations can be seen as extension of what was started with HTML, et. al.

Bram:

No. BitTorrent's API is one of starting a download and later being notified that the whole download is complete. File system APIs very specifically involve open(), seek(), read() and write(), which are completely different and wholly incompatible with the way BitTorrent works.

The same is true of http by the way. Attempting to make certain protocols act like local file file system access is kludgy at best, both as a literal concept and as a metaphor.

7) Panhandling for internet dollars... by Matey-O

You've got a paypal dontation button to help compensate you for your non-trivial expenditure of time...how well is that working? Is it an adequate revenue stream, or just enough for a pizza or two?

Bram:

So far, more than a pizza, but less than a living. The donations definitely help though.

8) Re: most obvious question... by Noksagt ...what do you think of what people have done with what you have created. I'm sure you might be sick of people asking you how to obtain a torrent for the latest movie, but are you troubled that it is being used for copyright infringement? Pleased? Apathetic?

Do you wish that it was used more for distributing legal ISOs and other files? If so, do you believe you should promote it more for this purpose or promote development of tools to push it in this direction (perhaps automatic creation of torrents on a successful build, etc.).

Bram:

I'm amused mostly. I find humans highly entertaining.

My attempts to promote BitTorrent for any specific purpose basically failed. It's grown almost entirely through guerilla marketing. That said, I'm hoping that in the future BitTorrent starts being used directly by content producers to distribute their own works.

9) Success... by pgrote

BitTorrent has seen a wide array of usage since it debuted. Many have been surprising and it has caught the fire that makes sofwtare a success. How do you personally measure the success of BitTorrent? Has it achieved the goals you first set?

Bram:

I generally measure software success by how many machines it's deployed on. In that sense BitTorrent has done very well, but it will probably become much more widespread as publishers make their content available using it. My current hope is that BitTorrent will one day be installed on almost all end user machines.

10) Commercial Interest... by Noksagt

I think that bittorrent can be of significant commercial interest. It might be used for software updates for instance. Have you pursued this path or have companies approached you? I certainly hope you'd keep a free version available, but a more feature-rich version would surely land you a great deal of money with the right pitch.

Bram:

So far there hasn't been much commercial interest, but I expect that to change now that large deployments have proven the technology so dramatically.

Starting a business is very tempting. BitTorrent has the potential to create such incredible amounts of value that if I manage to make even a tiny fraction of that I could do very well.

-----

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Also by Roblimo

Interviews
Welcome to the interviews section - this is place to come to read the assorted conversations that Slashdot and the readers have had with various people involved in the Internet, computers, or anything of interest.

on Monday June 02, @11:07AM (#6095947)
(http://www.whengeeksattack.org/)
one day, just maybe, he'll even make a living from it...

Bram hopes to make a living off code that he wrote that the community seems to really like? Queue the peanut gallery with cries of "sell-out" and "greed" and random smatterings of the words "corporate" and "freedom". I've not used BT extensively but what little I've seen impressed me immensely. Hopefully he can turn it into something that funds its own improvements, and if he's lucky to help pay some bills as well.

[ Reply to This ]

Congratulations on such a finely crafted troll! by Bold Marauder (Score:-1) Monday June 02, @11:09AM

In Related News... (Score:5, Informative)
by Jucius Maximus (229128) on Monday June 02, @11:09AM (#6095963)
(http://slashdot.org/ | Last Journal: Tuesday May 20, @10:20PM)
Bittorrent 3.2.2a for Mac OS X is at long last released but it is not advertised on the main bittorrent site.
Go here to get it http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/bittorrent/ [sourceforge.net]

[ Reply to This ]

Is he human? (Score:1)
by AgentGray (200299) on Monday June 02, @11:11AM (#6095976)
(http://slashdot.org/)
I'm amused mostly. I find humans highly entertaining.

How to Cook for Humans - they taste good too!
[ Reply to This ]

Aha! (Score:1)
by PhiberOptix (182584) on Monday June 02, @11:14AM (#6095990)
I'm amused mostly. I find humans highly entertaining.

do you look like jodie fosters father by any chance?
[ Reply to This ]

Why Python? (Score:3, Insightful)
by dubious9 (580994) on Monday June 02, @11:14AM (#6095991)
(Last Journal: Sunday December 15, @06:42AM)
The question I missed the most was when someone asked why he wrote in python, or more importantly why he has sayed with Python. Bram states that python is his favorite language, but I don't remember him saying if he thought it was the most appropriate one.

If bittorrent ever get modified to server much smaller objects, like html pages and gif and jpegs, then the ton of trakers needed would see a big improvement if written in a compiled lanuage or even java (though I hear a java version is in the works). It would have been interesting to hear from his point of view though.
[ Reply to This ]

Advice to Bram on making money (Score:2)
by ites (600337) on Monday June 02, @11:14AM (#6095993)
You will be able to make good money from BT if you package the technology in such a way that commercial interests can use it.
My advice would be to license the source code under the GPL for OSS projects, and additionally under a commercial license for businesses.

Provide BT technology for incorporation into random commercial products. Resell your consulting skills at a good rate. Train others to be able to do the same. With licensing and consulting fees, you will do nicely.

[ Reply to This ]

If you want to see what Bram does... (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, @11:15AM (#6096000)
with your donations, goto http://www.remotelounge.com/consolePhotos/index.ph p?directoryOfChoice=05-31-2003&month=5&year=20 03

He's the one with the long hair.

time 00:27
chan: 15

That's him on the phone... BITtorrent'ing on the phone.
[ Reply to This ]

*just* functional glue (Score:1)
by taybin (622573) on Monday June 02, @11:18AM (#6096025)
(http://www.piratesvsninjas.com/)
War d Cunningham's Wiki [c2.com] on Patterns has an interesting page [c2.com] on the attitude of referring to details as *just* details.

Very often, the person saying "Oh you just did it this way" has some more learning to do.
[ Reply to This ]

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult. -- Charlotte Whitton
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Re:IN case of slashdotting (3, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096185)

Anybody have a bittorrent link for a text-file of the article? In case it gets slashdotted.

RIAA/MPAA (5, Insightful)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096054)

"I don't expect to run into any legal trouble. BitTorrent can be used for any kind of content, and several web sites have used it for their own files"

This hasn't seemed to stop them in the past... The RIAA even admitted that at least 15% of Napster use was legal, more than the amount of legal use they admitted in the betamax case...

I think he should start saving up those paypal donations fo the legal fund because in all likelyhood he is going to need it!

Re:RIAA/MPAA (2, Insightful)

Sinus0idal (546109) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096191)

He isn't providing a search functionality which I think will cut him apart from the rest in legal matters. In a way, Bittorrent isn't any different to HTTP/FTP or any other protocol... and the writers of HTTP servers/clients don't get sued, so why should he?

If he gets sued, then so should MS for providing a web browser capable of downloading illegal Mp3 files...

Re:RIAA/MPAA (5, Insightful)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096193)

Napster was a very different case...

1.> Napster has a cetralized server and thus could be fingered as the point of distribution.

2.> The big deal behind bittorrent is not the software, it is the open protocol. There are already several, IMHO better clients and servers out there. Even if they went after Bram, they couldn't shut the protocol down. This isn't like kazaa.

This certainly doesn't mean they won't be going after him anyways, but it does give him a set of legs in court. Napster lost because of it's accountability. Kazaa has so far won because of the lack of accountability.

Re:RIAA/MPAA (4, Insightful)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096272)

I agree, but all I am saying is his comment makes me think he is not preparing for any sort of legal battle. This is quite stupid, since he did not just write a protocol, but a server and client pair that used a protocol, and that server/client pair is being used to distribute copyrighted materials, and he KNOWS this. The RIAA legal team might not have a legal leg to stand on, but there is a good chance they will try to sue anyways, and court fees are expensive no matter how the trial ends up.

apt-get (4, Interesting)

Debian Troll's Best (678194) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096066)


my sources in the community tell me that the apt-get guys are busy incorporating P2P into the latest version of apt-get in order to extend the availability of rare debian packages and to lessen the load on the central debian servers, which are frequently crashing under their present heavy load.

Re:apt-get (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096223)

Yes, it's true.

if you apt-get the latest apt-get beta (assuming you have apt-get in the first place :) and libBitTorrent, apt-get will check for other peers that are downloading the files, and share from them.

BTW - the central server is frequently crashing due to kernel panics. Ingo is looking into the problem with the token buffer allocation scheme, but it may also be hardware problems with the eMachines we use.

Re:apt-get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096312)

Yes, we're working on that now, turns out we had to rekafooble the energy-motrons. Or whatever.

sarting a business (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096109)

I don't see any way for a BitTorrent business to be profitable. Maybe 5 years ago, when you could IPO before determining step 2 (????), but not now.


Unless, of course, he has a hot 15 year-old daughter that wears skimpy clothes and says, "I'm Bitty. Share me!". Aimster/Madster probably patented that business model, though.

Re:sarting a business (3, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096604)

The profit model for BitTorrent is to sell the technology, with support and probable customizations, to sites serving huge files all the time, saving them money on bandwidth, and some of that could then be given to Bram instead. Unlike most .com businesses which had an idea and software that would be out of beta two years from the IPO, he's already got software so he could start the "profit" with the first sale. (Well, theoretically there's the cost of writing the software but from the hypothetical corporation's point of view that effort is zero, since it starts off with the software.) He wouldn't be asking the client users to download anything, which helps, and with enough time might even be able to build a BitTorrent ActiveX control so the average user (Windows, IE) doesn't even have to explicitly download a BT client. (That's how I'd go, if I were going to make this into a business.)

I think a "startup" nowadays needs to go ahead and have a sellable software product in hand before expecting to go anywhere, much as a startup free software product needs to have something that does usable work before it will attract a developer community.

The only thing that would concern me about this business model is that bandwidth prices are kind of artificially inflated right now because of really crappy leadership by our Federal government. If any FCC administration ever figured out what they were doing, or suddenly had an attack of ethics and remembered that they're supposed to server the people rather then corporate interests, the bandwidth situation could significantly improve, which would lower (albiet not eliminate) the need for BitTorrent technology at the corporate level. There may be a relatively narrow window where this sort of thing is economically viable (as opposed to useful; they are not the same thing at all!). Still, said "relatively narrow window" in all likelihood is at least three or four years (I can't imagine the bandwidth situation being sorted out on a large scale in any lesser time period) and you can still make a respectable amount of money in that time, plus you have that time to refine the product into something that may be able to continue to be usable even after market conditions change.

free music (5, Informative)

sweeney37 (325921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096110)

Also, all the etree usage (live show recordings of bands which permit it) is completely legal. BitTorrent's total bandwith usage would be quite substantial even if the etree distributions were all it was used for.

many people are not aware bands like Dave Matthews Band have an open taping policy. while not soundboard, many audience recordings are really close. many tapers spend $5000-6000 dollars in equipment and acheive pristine copies of the concerts. access to the shows has become even easier thanks to an amalgamation between archive.org [archive.org] and etree.org [etree.org] , we now have the etree.org audio archive [archive.org] .

these files are distributed in the lossless SHN format so each copy will sound the same no matter which generation of the disc you have.

with the addition of BitTorrent the trading of these concerts has become even easier. Many links can be found under the music [no-ip.org] of Smiler's BitTorrent site. But here are a few direct links; here [phook.org] and here [musicfreaks.net] .

Check out the etree newbie FAQ [etree.org] and the etree trader database [etree.org] for more info.

The best part is the RIAA can do nothing about it, imagine that legal free music!

Mike

Re:free music (1)

listen (20464) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096321)

When will they switch to a *free* lossless format like FLAC?

Re:free music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096421)

bah! use AIFF or raw PCM data.

Snark client (includes tracker and webserver!) (0, Redundant)

Carl (12719) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096122)

The following (not python but java/gcj based) project is nice The Hunting of the Snark Project [klomp.org] .
Although maybe not yet perfect it includes a BitTorrent client and tracker implementation which seems to do very nicely for smaller downloads. It includes a build in webserver and tracker which makes sharing files really easy.

My question would be... (5, Insightful)

NLG (636251) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096136)

... Are you concerned that M$ might decide to make a P2P system that works similarly to this and start bundling the client with Windows, or even as a part of their Media Player? They would then license the tech to the media companies to use for distributing movies, etc. Such a move could dramatically reduce the growth potential of BitTorrent (see "Netscape" and "RealPlayer").
Even if M$ just gave it away at first in order to take the biggest chunk of the market for later reaping, the impact on other products such as yours and Kazaa and others would be, well, bad.

Re:My question would be... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096314)

You are a paranoid halfwit. The Bittorrent protocol has been released under the MIT license. Read the terms of that license, and you will see that it is perfectly within Microsoft's right, as defined by the aforementioned license, to publish the protocol and to sub-license it to clients so long as they

The pertinent passage allows one "to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so."

Re:My question would be... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096368)

The nice thing about an open standard is that you can't kill it by dumping. It just sits around until someone decides once again that it will be useful.

Commercial uses (2, Interesting)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096231)

A commercial branch of BT could be packaged up nicely as a spyware free [extremetech.com] alternative to things like kontiki [kontiki.com] which companys like gamespot.com [gamespot.com] use to send large files to non paying users but avoiding the bandwidth costs.

Slight lack of vision (5, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096255)

He said images on a website are too small to bother with. Well, how about a tarball of the entire site?
With the home page at the front. It would be terrific if people didn't have to fear being slashdotted. It would be cool if an Apache module could be developed to detect when bandwidth reached over a certain level, made a tarball and only allowed Torrent download of that. Then later, reverted to normal.

Making a file system driver for BitTorrent - not possible too different? I don't buy that. I could be done. Of course, there'd be latency.
Perhaps not handy of interactive use.

Also, how about new bowser protocol tag (like http://) ... torrent://slashdotted.site.com
Since Gnome's VFS already does smb: etc this
would be a nice place to add it.

Re:Slight lack of vision (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096505)

Making a file system driver for BitTorrent - not possible too different? I don't buy that.

Well, what does he know? He only created the protocol and client.

Consider this, though: using an ftp utility gives you better control than treating ftp as a file system. Then consider that BitTorrent is usually used for large files, and you don't know which host you're receiving from (and they might not even have the full file), and "standard" file system operations (read, write, seek, stat, dir list) aren't all present.

But then again, Cowboy Neal could have lose weight and have a sex change.

However, it's not likely (that he'll lose weight, at least), and the results would be rather ugly.

Re:Slight lack of vision (1)

mrmag00 (200868) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096642)

the vast majority of websites are running dynamic content. be it as simple as random ads displayed or an entire forum, they are very important to the website still.

You could take a snapshot of the website, but it wouldn't be a fair representation of what you should really be seeing on the webpage.

anyone remember this? (2, Insightful)

jooon (518881) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096273)

Bram said:My attempts to promote BitTorrent for any specific purpose basically failed.
Yeah, not even the porn crowd [bitconjurer.org] were interested. This is like VHS all over. Probably something crappy will take over and completely crush the much better BitTorrent. :)

vs. Leechers (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096278)

BT only works well when people leave their clients open well after their downloads end. At the moment, there exists no good way to maximize the seeders, other than intially seeding a file that's 99% done, and then putting the remaining 1% up when there are lots of seeders.

You can still easily leech like a mofo, once your download is done, there's no real check for it.

The real question is... (-1)

MySQL Troll (651354) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096359)

Did you or did you not break into sdem's computer?

Oh wait, wrong interview.

It's the implementation not the protocol. (4, Interesting)

barcodez (580516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096374)

When looking into the BitTorrent protocol and reading posts to various groups I keep finding the same thing. Bram has stated that his client has been tuned to work with a complex algorithm (to stop leeching amoung other things). Now whilst the protocol is known and documented the algorithms for sharing has not been. I would like to know if there are any plans to document this algorithm anywhere (other than the Python source). The algorith seems to be the important (read new and inovative) thing not the superficial protocol.

Redundancy (4, Interesting)

malakai (136531) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096375)

Bram Said:
Relying on a single tracker is really no different than relying on a single web site. Any well-colocated machine is plenty reliable enough, and if you really need failover you can do it at the DNS level

sigh..

I don't think he gets it. First, we've already discussed the virtues/sins of DNS round-robin. But basically, when DNS round-robin doesn't solve your problem, you have to go to Big-IP. Which means 'free' tracker sites will need complex setup for failover/redundancy.

If the Tracker itself, had this built in, i propose it could do it more efficently, and with less setup hassle. Imagine being able to setup a mirror by simply having the admin place your new "cluster-able" tracker IP:Port on an approved mirror list. The main tracker could refer clients to a mirror after behind-the-scenes communication to determine which mirror has least load.

A step below this, but better than DNS round-robin, would be to give the client an array of tracker addresses. This is better than DNS because you don't get the stalled server mixed with cached DNS record causing inaccessibility. The clients could try connections randomly to the servers in the array, and prevent cached dns records for altering distribution.

-Malakai

Hmm... (2, Insightful)

GreyOrange (458961) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096383)

4) Improvements... by BJH
Bram,
Do you have any plans for improvements to BitTorrent to improve some of its (few) weaknesses, such as searching for torrent files, bandwidth usage by trackers and inability to download if the tracker goes off the air?
Bram:
I have no plans to add search functionality, since that can be handled at a higher layer, such as google, and finding content via links is considerably more versatile and widespread than keyword searching anyway.



Well the only problem I have with that is as more and more links go to warez sites, more and more searchs will lead to porn ridden bitters on the top, espeacly with google and the way it operates on a most popularly linked to basis. The ones that have warez and no popups/porn will be the first to go down.

My Question: What is Bit Torrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096388)

Save me from reading this boring interview.

Download Stats (1)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096403)

If *I* was Warner Bros, and eveyone offered to distribute and pay for all the bandwidth for the next version of the Animatrix, while I still got to see download statistics, i'm not sure I'd even would need to provide a direct link to the 150 meg QuickTime files.

Yes, the answer to this question was that BT provided download stats.

But I'd like to point out that with DRM wouldn't it be possible to know your download stats of movies / mp3's etc?

Leeching? (1, Funny)

TheNumberSix (580081) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096430)

Bram said
On the highest level, this prevents a long-term meltdown of the system from being caused by people running leeching clients.
I think it's amusing to imagine the response of Hilary Rosen or any other RIAA/MPAA thug to the above quote.

"Leeching clients? They are all leeching clients and must be jailed immediately! Call the FBI!"

Distributing web pages isn't as hard as you think. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6096514)

Most of the sites linked on slashdot consist of perhaps one meg of text and images. At some point someone will write a slashbot to spider each new story at depth 1 or 2, create a tar and zip of the local mirror, and autopost the torrent within the first 10 comments. You'll then hack together a quick script to find the bot's comment, hit the torrent, and fire up your browser in that directory upon completion.

Of course, unless it's hosted in Russia the first copyright complaint will close the doors. Good thing this is a game multiple people can play.

Swarm a Media Stream (3, Interesting)

rossjudson (97786) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096605)

Now if Bram would just get busy and figure out how to swarm a multimedia feed, we could solve the bandwidth problem for that.

Radio on the net, video on the net...the problem is the multiplying lag factor. You need to organize the swarm into tiers, by lag. Tough but doable. Add support for IP broadcast, where available...

Dew Respect (2, Funny)

beatbox32 (325106) | more than 11 years ago | (#6096664)

With all dew respect to the effort taken, the rest is just functional glue that allows the system to work as it should.

That's right, never disrespect the Dew [mountaindew.com] !! Never!!
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