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The Internet Software

RSS And BitTorrent, Together At Last 267

eoyount writes "Wired has an interesting story about a really simple idea I wish I had thought of. Transferring large files across the Internet isn't easy for your average joe, but a combination of RSS and BitTorrent technology might just make it easier - Slashdot ran a previous story on the theoretical blending last year." (LegalTorrents is run by the strangely familiar simoniker, who wrote a short piece on the O'Reilly Network about how it was set up, and offers observations on how well the combination fares.) Update: 03/17 21:45 GMT by T : Ernest Miller submits two related postings he's written on RSS+BitTorrent, a combination he calls "broadcatching."
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RSS And BitTorrent, Together At Last

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  • by The Importance of ( 529734 ) * on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:35PM (#8589907) Homepage
    I've been writing extensively on Corante about RSS + BitTorrent, which I call "Broadcatching" here: Broadcatching Archives [] See, for example, RSS + BitTorrent Roundup - Broadcatching Isn't MS Active Channels [] and First Broadcatching App Available! (And Related News) [].
    • by cryptochrome ( 303529 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:54PM (#8590688) Journal
      The way I figure it, with this bittorrent-RSS combination and a slight modification of torrent watching sites like animesuki [] we will essentially have a fansubbed anime online tivo at our disposal. Actually, you could have probably done that even without RSS, though it does simplify matters. The only limitations are our bandwidth and hard drives. Which actually are pretty limiting these days, especially with p2p being frequently capped.

      Hell, you could modify an actual TiVo with broadband for exactly this sort of thing, and it needn't be limited solely to anime either. I'm sure it'll be popular with overseas watchers of American TV as well.

      The international media and internet companies need to face facts and realize that Video On Demand is a reality and is already extremely popular - but that the shows people are demanding are not the ones the companies have been providing through their own limited, misfocused, and (most importantly) redundant services. Until we see simultaneous worldwide release of all media (including DVDs released simultaneously with the theatrical release) they will find themselves losing what should have been their easiest sales - those to impatiently eager fans.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:38PM (#8589949)
    ...combining RSS and torrents is not going to solve the problem. This is the most complicated solution to a non-problem that I've seen since someone paid me to design something.
    • Not so bad (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Srin Tuar ( 147269 )
      It may seem complicated but its not really.

      The main problem people have using bittorrent is regressive internet connections. (Until IPv6 becomes ubiquitous this is going to be a problem for many of the internet's designed uses, not just swarming media.)

      Im not so hot about RSS, but for things such a multicast or bittorrent- it really helps to get the content when everyone else is. So having a running subscription to a show you like, then have the download automatically kick-in as soon as it becomes availab
  • OK, newbie question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nplugd ( 662449 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:38PM (#8589951) Homepage
    where can I find clear info regarding what is RSS exactly ? Isn't it somehow like what microsoft tried to do a couple years ago with their "Active Desktop" (c) TM concept ? Or am I completely way off ?
    • by dealsites ( 746817 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:43PM (#8590008) Homepage
      RSS feeds are an easy way to move news from site to site. For example, here is Slashdot's RSS feed []

      You can find more information here []

      Real-time deal updates, over 400 a day! []
    • by irexe ( 567524 )

      Try Google, newbie :-)

      Oh heck, I'll save you the trouble. Read here []
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:51PM (#8590104)
      RSS is "Really Simple Syndication" and it's best thought of as a spinoff to XML. It's a language under which blog-type news-channels can publish their content using, and then the user can use an RSS client that can group stories together into whatever sequence the user wants to see.

      It's also seen as a effective way to replace e-mail mailing lists. Instead of getting your newsletters in your e-mail client, open them up in your RSS client which works on a pull basis rather than a push basis, but can still present the content to the user just like an e-mail program might.

      It's very different than Active Desktop... that was just the idea of letting IE browser windows be part of the Windows Desktop level so that users could have a frequently-refreshed mini-page of content on their desktop.
  • Neato (Score:2, Interesting)

    by robslimo ( 587196 )
    Now, how do we aim that at the web in general (and automagically) to avoid the slashdot effect?

    A new browser protocol? Aim your browser at


    and let it rip?

    • Re:Neato (Score:5, Informative)

      by keyshawn632 ( 726102 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:49PM (#8590075) Journal

      No new browser protocol is needed.

      The technology is already available at [from the peeps @]

      I don't why many others have jumped on the bandwagon yet.
      • Re:Neato (Score:5, Informative)

        by robslimo ( 587196 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:00PM (#8590193) Homepage Journal
        Wow! You're right, with one smallish exception:

        Please note that you cannot submit a whole site to FreeCache as in This will not work as only index.html will be cached. You have to prefix every item that you want to have cached seperately.

        Using the last THG article as an example, either the Slashdot story would need to point to each page individually via freecache redirection or Tom's Hardware would need to do it.

        Not quite as transparent as incorporating BitTorrent into the browser.
      • Re:Neato (Score:2, Informative)

        by robslimo ( 587196 )
        One more item, while browsing their discussion forums, I found this apropos exchange from Sept, 2003:

        I have a number of video clips that are being served via freecache from my site at: t cam.h tml

        The site was slashdotted on Saturday. I would like apologise for the additional burden this placed on freecache and any reduction in service levels that occured as a result.

        I would be interested in learning more about how the system coped with this event.

    • by akb ( 39826 )
      I think the next step would be to build Bittorrent into existing download managers and make it as transparent as possible.
  • by Gunsmithy ( 554829 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:41PM (#8589988) Homepage
    Although it's cool that companies are finding legit uses for BT (I believe the Worlds of Warcraft beta is being distributed this way), I'm not sure the legal departments are up to speed yet. To quote one of the fellows in my IRC chat:

    "Hrm, WoW is bing distributed by Bittorrent. Meanwhile, I get angry phonecalls from Vivendi to shut down Bittorrent."

    Yay for technical advances, but can commercial interests fully embrace it without killing the "evils" of it?
  • by anti11es ( 167289 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:41PM (#8589991)
    The problem with bittorrent is that a lot of users disconnect as soon as their download is finished. Won't this be an even bigger problem with game downloads (specifically multiplayer games) since even if the users knows they should stay connected afterwards, they might not since it would lag their game?
    • Arguably, yes... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:49PM (#8590072) Homepage
      ...but in that case, you're no worse off than before. And realistically, if there's some huge download I'll usually just start it before I head to bed. Of course, if you're sitting there counting down the seconds until it's done, that's different...

    • by Mojojojo Monkey Inc. ( 174471 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:51PM (#8590101)
      No, because if someone downloading a 100MB patch uploads even 10 MB during their BT session and closes it right after it's downloaded, that's still 10 MB the main servers don't have to send. Take Blizzard for example. Right now, their company's servers have to send 100% of the patch files. With BT, if they can cut that to 50% or even 80%, that's a huge benefit.

      When you don't think of it in terms of people uploading movie files, and think in terms of companies using the technology to ease load on their web servers, now you're looking at BT the way the author intended!
      • by cryptochrome ( 303529 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:29PM (#8590478) Journal
        Since data sent equals data recieved within a BT swarm, and some people will act as seeders and continue to send more data than they recieved, you will always have people who will simply not have the opportunity to contribute to the swarm, mostly at the tail end. And of course many folks have their uploads limited or even completely cut off.

        The real problem with bittorrent is that by enabling efficient transfer of large files, people are transferring larger files. And the service providers simply do not have the capacity for everyone to be sending those large files. They may advertise unlimited access but kids they really aren't set up for it. To say nothing of the fact that the way the internet is structured now is no longer geared towards everyone being as able to send as well as they are to recieve.

        Really, the internet and its billing structure should be geared towards billing by amount received, and not amount served, and widespread implementation of load-sharing protocols like bittorrent. It would be far more efficient and fair, and would encourage people to limit their consumption rather than penalizing inadvertently popular unsupported sites.
        • The real problem with bittorrent is that by enabling efficient transfer of large files, people are transferring larger files. And the service providers simply do not have the capacity for everyone to be sending those large files.

          So long as the provider is implementing reasonable QoS so that occasional downloaders get instant bandwidth, I don't see the problem with this at all. People have always found use for more computing power than was readily available.

          If Intel were Comcast, 15 years ago Intel wo

          • You pretty much hit the nail on the head with the "no competition, no options, no incentive" problem. There's little competition on broadband, and the barriers for competition are high, and the existing monopolies have little reason to improve their systems or make their prices fair.
        • Seems like bandwidth effeciency concerns could be greatly reduced if we could combine bittorrent with multicasting []. I'm patiently awaiting the day I can welcome our IPv6 overlords.
      • When you don't think of it in terms of people uploading movie files, and think in terms of companies using the technology to ease load on their web servers, now you're looking at BT the way the author intended!

        Besides, my Internet connection has a much faster download speed (3Mbit) than upload speed (384Kbit). I suspect that this is true of most other BitTorrent users as well (Downloading big files is probably more popular among broadband users, and all but a few very pricy broadband services give you fa
      • Sure, it's beneficial for a company looking to ease it's server load, but not necessarily beneficial for the user at the other end.

        BT's reliance on client-uploads limits performance on some connections. I regularly have a little transparent graphical bandwidth monitor sitting in the corner on my desktop, and I've noticed how uploading can significantly cripple download speed (although, strangely, not always). It is also highly cpu and memory intensive.

        BT has it's setbacks, but it has it's uses as well. F
        • >> I've noticed how uploading can significantly cripple download speed

          -nod- I've found that if I run bt totally unbounded , I usually get around 120K/s down and 22K/s up. If I cap uploads to 15, I get around 320K/s down and, of course, steady 15K/s up. I've got a little script set up to run with capped upload until the download is done, then take the cap off. As a previous poster said, I usually fire this up when on my way to bed.
    • I am pretty sure that while you are downloading content, you are also uploading what you have so far - so the sharing still works to some extent even if people disconnect right away.
      • I am pretty sure that while you are downloading content, you are also uploading what you have so far

        Yep, that's the point of BitTorrent - and what made it so special when it first came out

        So the sharing still works to some extent even if people disconnect right away.

        Furthermore, it's only possible to leech significantly from a peer that has already finished downloading. Any other client will notice that it's giving but not getting, and scale down it's giving appropriately. I bet the leechs love it

    • by Uggy ( 99326 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:00PM (#8590186) Homepage
      That's okay, if only one person is downloading, then that person will get it from original source, right? I believe this is how it works.

      If the download is not popular, than the orginator of the content can handle the bandwidth. Bittorrent's benefits kick in when something is popular, where there are simultaneous downloads at any given moment. If demand trickles back to one request every hour, than obviously the originator can handle it. Once it is no longer relevant, the orginator of the content can disable the tracker.

      Bittorrent is a p2p network that works BETTER the more people are using it. Once everyone disconnects, then you revert to the worst case scenario, which is just straight downloading.

      So don't worry, disconnecting after you finish is okay. You did your civic duty by sharing the bits while your download was in process. Enjoy your game guilt free.

      I believe this is how bittorrent works. If I'm wrong, I'm sure I'll be corrected within - 3 - 2 -1 NOW

      • by Ggggeo ( 163895 ) <ggggeo@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:35PM (#8590530) Homepage
        So don't worry, disconnecting after you finish is okay. You did your civic duty by sharing the bits while your download was in process. Enjoy your game guilt free.

        Maybe...although it is much nicer if you let your u/l to d/l ratio is at least 50% - 100% is even nicer. You can can quit right after you finish, but it would be like only sharing 10% or so of your files on P2P networks that you downloaded. A step up from a true leech but not sharing completely.

        • I think that theres generally more pressure to upload in a starved torrent. In that you don't get the file(s) as fast. Theres not much reason to believe you can get away with having resent 10% of your torrent unless theres a nice bandwidth surplus. In which case, its only unfair if the major uploaders aren't doing charity work on that torrent (at which point they should throttle, slowing your download and making you do more because of that).

          I agree, on an average torrent, its nice to make or break a 1.0 sh
    • A big problem I have with d/ling BT stuff is that it'll stop or get real slow at about 98%. I assume this is because most people close it after it's downloaded, and the number of people who have the bit you're on gets progressively smaller as you near the end of the download. So why not make BT download a random percentage of each file? So it might do the fifth percentile, then the 96th, then the 48th, etc... This way, there's an equal chance getting the part you still need.

      I imagine this would make it l
    • There's a big difference between a manual BitTorrent download (which is what you are talking about) and an automated download in the middle of the night. If your RSS reader is doing the download then it can simply be coded to not stop sharing as soon as the download is finished; voila, no more problem.
  • Uphill battle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:42PM (#8589994) Homepage Journal

    Many ISPs and college campuses block P2P ports, BitTorrent included. I'm not sure that 'news' is a compelling enough reason to have many (or any) of them change their policies.
  • by molo ( 94384 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:42PM (#8589995) Journal
    This sounds like exactly what needs. It would relieve some of the server load on their main pages and would enable them to serve more .torrent files.

    • ? (Score:4, Informative)

      by easyfrag ( 210329 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:06PM (#8590250)
      You can already subscribe to SuprNova feeds right here. [] Half way down.
    • ? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by patrixmyth ( 167599 )
      I've come across a few sites that offer rss feeds of bittorrents from SuprNova, and on at least 1 of them, a cease and desist letter from SuprNova complaining about lost ad revenue from diverting users off the main page. While this may be a useful solution for SuprNova users, apparently it's not very handy for SuprNova itself...

    • ? (Score:4, Informative)

      by cybermace5 ( 446439 ) <> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:15PM (#8590328) Homepage Journal
      Suprnova is pretty much the major culprit in associating Bittorrent with illegal file trading. Full movies, warez, etc make up the bulk of their content. It's making things difficult for legit uses of Bittorrent, of there are many. Beware if you download anything off Suprnova, the RIAA and MPAA are watching those torrents and gathering some nice logs of IP addresses and times. Remember that by participating in a Bittorrent you are uploading.

      Too many good uses for Bittorrent to let the warez kiddies spoil it for us.
      • Too many good uses for Bittorrent to let the warez kiddies spoil it for us.

        If I take a knife and I cut someone up with it. Does that mean that somehow you are now going to be unable to go use the knife for something you want/need to?

        Honestly, if the only thing on this planet that anyone used bittorrent for was "warez", *GASP* you could still set up torrents for legal files and have all your buddies download them.

        If BT becomes illegal at some point, then we all are going to have a lot more to worry

  • Bah. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:43PM (#8590018)
    People keep trying to make BitTorrent something it isn't. And really, we should be fighting its corporate adoption in any form, as it's simply an attempt to shift server bandwidth costs to the client. ISPs eat that right now, but we're going to metered access if this keeps up.

    Which is effectively getting us to pay for website access/services, but instead of giving the money to the content creators we'll be giving it to ISPs instead and paying in bandwidth besides. So this is a bad idea.
    • by akb ( 39826 )
      What about the scenario of the independent content producer who is not able to pay large bandwidth fees? The great thing about the pricing structure of the 'net has been distributing text and images is cost effective for independents/ hobbyists / amateurs. That is not the case with large multimedia files.
    • Re:Bah. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Smallpond ( 221300 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:32PM (#8590506) Homepage Journal
      You seem to believe that 'corporations' should pay whatever it takes to upgrade their servers and bandwidth in order to give you decent download times for free. Heh. If BT lets me get fast download times at the cost of using some of my mostly idle upload bandwidth, I think its a great idea.

      As for ISPs metering bandwidth, guess what, you have to pay for what you use anyway, otherwise the ISP doesn't stay in business. It doesn't matter whether its metered or a fixed $30 or $60 / month. It has to cover their costs. If you're complaining that your cost would go up with metering, its because you think that you use a lot more bandwidth then everyone else. So you're just trying to shift the costs to the people that don't use as much. Pot, meet kettle.

    • But it could also put a stop to this stupid asynchronus speeds crap. I wish I could run a personal webserver off my dsl connection, but it chokes the upload channel which screws up downloading as well. I have 2.5mb/s down and only 0.75mb/s up.
    • Re:Bah. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by curunir ( 98273 ) *
      Why is this interesting? Why is metered access such a bad thing? So long as it is reasonably priced (and ensuring that there is an adequate choice of providers should accomplish this), metered access isn't a bad thing. Sure, it sucks for all those 1337573R5 downloading gigs of ISOs every night, but for everyone else who subsidizes their connections with high monthly fees, the current system sucks. I would love to be able to go out of town for a month and have my bandwidth bill be nothing (or close to th
    • Bandwidth demand for popular downloads is not linear, not by a long shot. People are suggesting BT because it deals much better with oversaturation than a straight client/server setup. It's not a way for companies to get out of providing bandwidth - it's a way for them to deal with periods of exceptionally high usage.

      I have no problem giving back some of my otherwise-unused upstream bandwidth to get faster downloads. I do have a problem with companies feeding me ads when I'm doing it. As far as I'm co

  • Sounds like an OK idea, but is it just me or does anyone else think that there is just a bit too much hype in the *media* about this. They don't usually pick up on good ideas and try to make them critical mass and the "next big thing".

    Syndication is a great idea, I like RSS, (does BitTorrent even work under Linux?)--but why on earth all the *orchestrated* hype?

    Enough to make me try Freenet again. Harrumph
    • Re:Tinfoil Hat (Score:3, Informative)

      by Atzanteol ( 99067 )
      does BitTorrent even work under Linux?

      Would you like the GUI client or the command line one?

      Yes, it works very nicely under Linux.
    • Re:Tinfoil Hat (Score:4, Informative)

      by EnglishDude ( 580283 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:06PM (#8590245)
      does BitTorrent even work under Linux?

      Uh, yes...

      Here [], here [], and here [].
    • Too much hype? Heaven forbid that the media actually notice that thousands of sites and millions of people have been happily using RSS for years.
    • does BitTorrent even work under Linux?

      Considering it was written in python, anything with a complete python port can run it. Considering it was probably written and developed in a *nix environment, OF COURSE.

      BitTorrent is a very sound idea, and a very nice technology. The only reason it's hyped at all is because it's new, fast, and revolutionary. It makes it 10x easier to get big pieces of data quickly, rather than waiting for hours on an FTP server choked by twenty thousand other people wanting the
  • In this [] Slashdot article, Yahoo reported that things might be starting to come together. Looks like it's happened!

    However, I'm a little concerned - BitTorrent has a lot of initial overhead (setting up trackers, and all the protocol stuff). I'm not sure if it would be wise for small files?

    • Thanks for the reference. One comment made there I thought immediately too--Syndication over IM is far more interesting. Every kid I know under 16 has given up email and uses IM file transfer instead.

      Email and Browsers are probably dead technology for the next generation. HTTP/HTML will survive as a backwater because it is so useful for behavioral engineering. If you write a user interface, you can't use blue underlines because users will try to click them--very Pavlovian.

      We will have to go back to wh
      • Syndication over IM is far more interesting.

        We're getting there. Trillian [] has an RSS reader plugin. Admittedly, it's not as easy as right clicking on an article and sending it to a contact (or many contacts), you have to right click select copy, then right click and paste...but considering you can't mass message people on your contact list yet in any IM that I know of, this comes as no surprise.

    • The RSS file itself is not distributed over BitTorrent. As you say, no gain for small files.

      (I've noodled around trying to distribute RSS loads but it's hard to make it worthwhile.)

      The .torrent file is distributed in the RSS file, and your BitTorrent+RSS enabled feed-reader downloads the file the torrent represents, which may be of course huge. The idea is that this allows normal folks like you and me to distribute honkin' files with the best of them.

      Other comments in the replies decrying corporate invol
  • by qbert911 ( 751066 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:49PM (#8590071) Homepage Journal
    This sounds like a wonderful melding of two current technologies...
    However, remember when cable gained enough steam to warrant not one but many 24hr cable news networks? We are now blessed with an overabundance of crappy sensationalist "reporting". I do NOT want cnn/msnbc/fuxnews/etc. landing on my HD.

    If an individual set up a feed for say, a favorite game or movie alone, I would subscribe. But most webpages I read, I gloss over quickly then am done with.
    If I, and everyone else had subscribtions to all of the media content of their favorite websites delivered autonomously, the majority of it getting thrown out quickly...

    think of the bandwith, the poor helpless bandwith, won't somebody please think of the child., er bandwidth!?

  • by pragma_x ( 644215 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:52PM (#8590113) Journal
    BitTorrent's weak spot has always been thedistribution of the torrent files in the first place. If there isn't a torrent file on the conent provider's page, where do you look?

    RSS+BitTorrent, is a step closer to a better web. It almost answers the problem of pointing your client at an actively downloaded torrent by steering users twoard a slimmer and more flexible protocol.

    IMO, maybe some kind of 'standard' torrent directory/lookup that is guarnteed to be traded by all torrent clients is the right ticket; kind of like a DNS for media. The RSS+Torrent scheme is good, but all it does is displace the complexity of the matter onto a new protocol and rely on everyone hitting the same feed to begin (the problem Torrent is trying to eliminate).

    It does however, make it easy to make distributing torrents a lot more dynamic. Neat stuff.

    • Look at the GNUGK project (Gnu Gatekeeper). Think DNS-like routing of audio calls. BitTorrent Phone Home.
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @01:53PM (#8590128)
    Isn't this just Konspire2b? Konspire2b was designed specifically for this purpose:

    Konspire2b []

    Essentially you subscribe to channels which push content instead of pulling.

    Compared to Bittorrent []

    This is an exhaustive analysis (with pretty charts) why under the above scenario (pushing content, as opposed to pulling), Konspire2b is much more efficient.
    • by Mark J Tilford ( 186 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:48PM (#8590642)
      Unfortunately, one assumption at the beginning, that the cascading model is best-case performance for BitTorrent, is completely wrong. It's actually worst-case performance.

      A scattered model gives BT as taking O(log(number of people)/(number of chunks) + 1) time for everyone to download the whole file instead of O(sqrt(number people)) as claimed in the article.
    • I think that comparison is bunk.

      Knocking swarming, which nicely deals with users dropping out of the network.
      Demoing a torrent with three chunks, which is just really small.
      Assuming the second, third, fourth, fifth downloader is blocked when most clients will happily upload one chunk it has to four people at the same time.

      Generally trying to hide behind block transfer sequencing, overlooking how torrent really works, and glazing over the simple issue that collective bandwidth out is the real limiting fact
      • Hmm, interesting, thanks for the clarification. As a user of Steam, I am looking forward to the Bittorrent integration, as from the start it (or something like Konspire2b) seemed like exactly what should be used to push the downloads out to Steam users. Steam users will continue to run Steam after the download is complete, as it is necessary to play games, and short of hacking the Steam binaries (which I sincerely doubt the target audience is capable or willing to do), it seems like it should work out wel
    • No, in my analysis,
      Konspire2b is suboptimal [].
  • But i never have time to implement.

    I wanted on demand television that you could find from mirc downloads and then eventually BitTorrent. The idea would be for a really nice multimedia center attached to your TV that would download shows that you missed or if you couldn't record it (conflicts). Updates for popular programs could be downloaded and installed when the user attempts to update (as opposed to a live update). Harddrive sizes are definitely big enough to handle. The only challenge in my last im
  • How long before ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PhiltheeG ( 688063 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:06PM (#8590252)
    1. spammers learn how to tap into channels to use everybody else's bandwidth to deliver ads as content
    2. it grinds to a halt from massive amounts of pr0n, warez, divx;), mp3 music, etc.
    3. it is used to send virii to people, eroding trust of it


    Sorry if I seem like I'm trolling but these questions will be asked at some point

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @03:05PM (#8590775) Homepage
      I think the problems you ask about are all problems inherent to a push medium (e.g. email) -- which AFAIK RSS is not. That is, the end user decides which RSS feeds to poll, and when to poll them. Therefore, if an RSS feed starts sending viruses or otherwise being malevolent, people will just stop using it and move on to other RSS feeds.

      (Someone correct me if I'm wrong about this)

  • What a great idea! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thurn und Taxis ( 411165 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:07PM (#8590255) Homepage
    The best thing about this idea is that it plays right into the strength of bittorrent - namely, having a large number of people trying to get the same content at the same time. Since everyone will get the RSS feed at roughly the same time, there will be a large number of peers to share the load for bittorrent.

    The funny thing is, I ran into Andrew the other day, and he was just gushing about this new idea he had! I had no idea what he was talking about at the time. Guess I missed my chance to post a story on slashdot.
  • right now we've got a 90's-style ol' skool web interface for distributing our media, teamed up with ol' skool ftp/http mirrors distributing things around the globe.

    but, we'll definitely use an rss-fronted bittorrent network, if and when it can actually be smoothly integrated with our existing setup.

    ampfea stands for 'a meeting place for electronic artists' [] and its a community-supported media hosting/community service for a bunch of muso's ... we are prime users for free, open, public, easy-to-use media s
  • Anime (Score:2, Informative)

    by totalnet ( 732635 )
    This site [] has been offering RSS feed of links to BitTorrent animes for couple of months. Firefox and RSS reader extension are great for pulling down all BitTorrent links.
  • by sleepingsquirrel ( 587025 ) <Greg,Buchholz&sleepingsquirrel,org> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:27PM (#8590456) Homepage Journal
    One step closer to Nirvana. Bittorrent + RSS + gentoo emerge --update world. Or how about something that uses software-suspend to automagically hot-swap in the latest bleeding edge kernel? Maybe the Hurd allows on-the-fly kernel upgrades.
  • by ikewillis ( 586793 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:33PM (#8590514) Homepage
    Distribution of RSS isn't so much a problem as is the fact that web servers are hammered by RSS connections as RSS syndicators must continue polling the web server to identify when the RSS document updates.

    This problem is easily addressed with multicasting. All a server need do is send a multicast datagram to notify all RSS syndicators that the RSS document has been updated, at which time the syndicators can fetch the new document.

  • Multicasting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    True multicast could help, too. But seeing as cable companies cleverly bought the routers you use (unless you're in academia or the military or both), they're just NOT going to turn on multicast routing any time soon, unless more people are aware of the possibilities and start leaning on them HARD.

  • by Googol ( 63685 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:41PM (#8590584)
    In the left hand corner: BitTorrent+RSS is good for News

    In the right hand corner: Hackers Embrace P2P []

  • by Awptimus Prime ( 695459 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:41PM (#8590585)
    "I could wake up in the morning and find the latest recordings from my favorite band loaded into my portable MP3 player, and just pick it up and go."

    I don't understand where they are coming from here. If I am going to pay to download music, which consists of relatively small files, I am not going to run a BT to help out an online music store.

    When they start mentioning uses so far off the base of reality, the whole article starts to smell of BS. Especially since the slowest part of the MP3 experience tends to be copying music from the PC to the player.

    Typically, I load new tracks on my ipod before leaving in the morning. I'll tag the stuff, then transfer it before I hop into the shower. As far as downloading goes, I can download a whole CD of music in ~10 minutes. The only way the article's method would be worth doing would be if you invested in huge libraries of online music purchases daily.

    On that note: Please quit looking to solve problems that don't exist.

    • by jared_hanson ( 514797 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @03:06PM (#8590782) Homepage Journal
      Hey, quit bitching and open your mind a little bit.

      Let's say your favorite band just went on tour and as part of a promotion they decided to post a few songs and videos "bootlegged" from each concert.

      Now, it might get kinda anoying to load up their page every couple of days and click on each link to download the media. However, they could post an RSS feed with BitTorrent links that you subscribe to just once. Everytime a new bootleg goes online, the RSS feed gets updated, and the content gets downloaded to your computer automatically.

      Where would we be if everytime the Internet was mentioned 50 years ago, people ranted and raved about how the postal service already solved the problem of distributing content?

      This is seriously cool stuff, you are just too closed minded to realise it.
      • Perhaps you should read my post again. Nowhere do I say that RSS isn't cool or useful. I'm simply pointing out the statements made in the article are outside the realms of reality and come up with make-believe problems it can resolve.

        The possibilities are always endless. Reality happens to be only one of those.
  • by jameshowison ( 162886 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:50PM (#8590656) Homepage

    A million years ago (1998?) Wired published a whole edition on Push as the Next Big Thing. It was the first time I was really aware of them being totally wrong. Or perhaps just a bit ahead of their time.

    While I think this is a neater solution, there is another product that does exactly the same thing, allow you to subscribe to channels and received pushed content via incentive compatible (you get faster speeds if you upload more) swarms.

    It's called kast [].

  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @03:21PM (#8590933)
    Realistically speaking, the biggest problem with Bittorrent is seeding. I think this is how bittorrent works:

    * a file is seeded, and a .torrent file generated
    * that .torrent file is uploaded to a tracker
    * clients who want to download the file download the .torrent from the tracker
    * the user opens the .torrent file, which causes the the bittorrent client asks the tracker for the machines/locations of the seeds and people downloading the file(s) pointed to by the .torrent
    * the client downloads various chunks of the files from both the seeds and the other downloaders

    The more people download a file, the better bittorrent is able to spread the bandwidth.

    The downside is that if a file isn't seeded, it's no longer available. If a .torrent goes missing, the file is inaccessible. If the tracker goes away, the file is inaccessible.

    Bittorrent's main problem right now, which is a client problem, is its upstream usage can easily swamp a home connection. That's just dumb client design.

    Upload limiting works, but limits your download speed. The client develoeprs have to recognize that yes, sharing is nice and leeching is bad, but disrupting the users' connection is a Very Bad Thing.
    • by SFBwian ( 744032 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @04:20PM (#8591555)
      Personally, I think that having to use a file to launch an application to join the torrent network is a bit convoluted.

      I think that ideally, the most a user should see is bt://sitename.domain/, or something similar. The OS/browser should be able to handle that sort of protocol, and send it to the right application or use an integrated bit torrent client to get the file.

      Correct me if I'm really wrong on this, or if it already exists. This would also be a welcome addition to Mozilla, I think.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        This approach has already been done with eMule and the like using ed2k:// style links. The downside is that you'll never have every browser that Joe User out there is using supporting something like this. Especially when a large part of the world is using IE and we all know just how innovative MS has been with that.

        The approach that BitTorrent took of distributing the protocol information in a file is much more flexible. The option exists to name it* and as long as the proper mime types ha
      • by tweakt ( 325224 ) *

        ./ --url --saveas ./torrents

    • by Ziviyr ( 95582 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @04:20PM (#8591556) Homepage
      Upload limiting works, but limits your download speed. The client develoeprs have to recognize that yes, sharing is nice and leeching is bad, but disrupting the users' connection is a Very Bad Thing.

      A decent client, of which there are many, will let you throttle your outbound.

      Note that the way torrent works, if noone uploads, noone downloads. And the faster everyone pushes, the faster everyone gets. Its not so much an artificial thing as it is an economy of bandwidth.

      And again, if you don't like sending full tilt, find a better client.
  • Why RSS? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AgtAlpha ( 314665 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @04:05PM (#8591407)

    It's a shame they're using RSS, as it's a good idea with a bad implementation. There are currently 9 different versions of RSS, and all of them incompatible with one another []. It ought to be replaced with a better technology like Atom []. However, this does look like an interesting project, nonetheless.

  • Encryption. It should generate a unique key pair for each socket it opens.

The absent ones are always at fault.