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Wired Interviews Bram Cohen, Creator of BitTorrent 383

ZP-Blight writes "Wired has posted an in-depth five page interview with Bram Cohen, the creator of the popular Peer-2-Peer software, BitTorrent."
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Wired Interviews Bram Cohen, Creator of BitTorrent

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  • HUGE!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Moustache N Tits ( 828608 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:22PM (#11277369)
    a 5!!! page article?! I sure hope they figure out a good way of distributing all that bandwidth to a large amount of people with minimum slowdown!
    • Bram is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Amiga Lover ( 708890 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:38PM (#11277603)
      He's smart, he's understated, he keeps doing new logical puzzlement stuff, and he's made a simple application spread worldwide without marketing through word of mouth, and simply because it does what it's meant to well. That's true innovation.

      But I have to say, Sailor Moon Bram [bitconjurer.org] really freaks me.
      • Re:Bram is cool (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:06PM (#11279792) Homepage
        BitTorrent is a good application, I'll give you that. But it really is just a first-generation application, and should be seen as such. Packet-bartering should be changed to favor those who seed, and if at all possible, priority should be given to giving packets to those who only need a few more to finish their download (since connections slow near the end).

        It's great, but it needs improvement.

        BTW, how long do you think it will be before bittorrent-style downloads become standard in web browsers and web servers? :) I mean, heck, how hard could it be to write such a browser plugin and server plugin? The server plugin would simply need to create torrent files for each actual file that you're wanting to serve as a torrent (and upload those instead), whole the browser plugin would need to first download the torrent and then show the bittorrent download progress (leaving the window open past the end of the download without an option to autoclose, just like regular bittorrent clients)

        It seems that such a feature would make it a lot easier to run a file server on limited bandwidth.

        Also, while I like the concept of the file finding mechanism not being part of the file exchange mechanism itself, as in BitTorrent, we really need a decentralized way to locate and moderate files - some sort of distributed web of trust, perhaps. Of course, those sorts of things are always a pain to try to catch hacked clients, so I'm not surprised that we haven't seen any good ones.

        Oh, and last on my distant-future wishlist: A financial-incentive packet bartering priority boost. I.e., anyone can download, but if you contribute money to the authors of the content you're downloading (this would require a centralized server, no way around it), you get a faster download rate. The more you contribute, the faster your downloads go; your donation distribution could be handled automatically.
      • by MuValas ( 91840 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:16PM (#11279932)
        He's "understated"?

        "'I'm very, very good at writing protocols. I've accomplished more working on my own than I ever did as part of a team.' While we're having lunch, his wife, Jenna, tells me about the time they were watching Amadeus, where Mozart writes his music so rapidly and perfectly it appears to have been dictated by God. Cohen decided he was kind of like that. Like Mozart? Bram and Jenna nod."
    • by OECD ( 639690 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:11PM (#11278045) Journal

      Here's the article text, Bittorent style: ...von Lohmann, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, because Linux...

      C'mon, start serving you leeches! That's all I got!

  • WJR 760 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Puls4r ( 724907 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:27PM (#11277427)
    A local radio station WJR 760 in Detroit interviewed him earlier this week. It was apparent that he needed to hire someone with a little better speaking skills - especially when he knows he'll be ambushed at nearly every opportunity.

    I couldn't believe my ears when the talk show host asked him: "Does it bother you that people use your product for negative purposes, sort of like the scientists who developed the formulas used in the atomic bombs that killed hundreds of thousands?"

    My jaw hit the floor when his reply was "Well, this isn't exactly an atom bomb...." That's why the lawyers are winning right now. It's not because they're smarter. It's because they are SO good at twisting things around, and us geeks can't speak in public worth a damn.

    He also wouldn't admit that bit-torrent is a revolutionary way of transfering data, he kept downplaying his program. Come on man! You're not a programmer right now. You're a salesman and a human resource department. Act like it!
    • Re:WJR 760 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kmak ( 692406 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:44PM (#11277687)
      And if he "brags" about Bittorrent, the Slashdot crowd will call him arrogant...

      I agree with you with being more articulate though. I think the standard answer should be to deflect responsibility, just like a politican!

      Probably something along the lines of:
      "It is the responsibility of the individual to decide what he/she wants to do with it. I'm only responsible for discovering new things."

      Or maybe even a bit extreme:
      "Someone can stab someone else to death with a pen. Does that mean pens should've never been invented?" (Or insert something equally trivial..)

      Merit alone, sadly, isn't enough anymore..
      • Re:WJR 760 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <`john.oyler' `at' `comcast.net'> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:08PM (#11278006) Journal
        Nope, that's not it. The proper response is something like:

        (Cohen) What can I do? Even now, there are evil bittorrent people who have used my software to burn villages to the ground, teach schoolchildren to write with their left hands, sodomize livestock and advocate american usage of the metric system! It makes my skin crawl to hear how it ressurrected Jeffrey Dahmer and caused him to go on a zombie rampage, eviscerating screaming women and devouring innocent children! Stop zombie Dahmer, think of the children! What will we do when the terrorists twist my innocent application into a weapon of mass destruction, simply because Congress couldn't stop the partisan bickering long enough? Bittorrent doesn't even prevent AIDS, let alone cure it!

        (Radio host) But, you say this can be used by terrorists, and you still created it? What?

        (Cohen) What, does that sound a little ridiculous to you?

        (Radio Host) I dunno, can it be used...
        (Cohen, interrupting) Because it sounds more than a little ridiculous for you to compare Bittorent to nuclear weapons. C'mon, tell us straight. The RIAA didn't put you up to this, but you've been one of their lapdogs so long, they don't have to explicitly tell you to do this sort of character assassination.

        (Radio Host) Now wait a minute...
        (Cohen) No, you wait a minute. Bittorrent doesn't do anything the internet itself doesn't do. Except that if ever the RIAA was so insane to suggest the internet be made illegal, even the most bought senator would laugh. Bittorrent is just a networking protocol, something your mouth-breathing bosses couldn't describe in layman's terms if their lives depended on it. A protocol that makes the internet slightly more efficient, and not much more. It's clever, I like it, and so do quite a few other people. What do you say to that? (stomps out of the booth).
        • Re:WJR 760 (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:49PM (#11278575)
          He should only answer a question if he gets to ask the interviewer a question too.

          If the interviewer doesn't respond Bram should just start talking slower and slower and then finally disconnect.

          Maybe that's what happened.
        • Re:WJR 760 (Score:3, Interesting)

          by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

          [Bittorrent is a] protocol that makes the internet slightly more efficient, and not much more.

          More efficient? He's obviously never been on the same network as someone using it... "Hey, are you downloading something through BitTorrent again? My ping times just jumped from 100ms to five seconds." "Yeah, sorry."

          (And yes, I know you can have it rate limit. The option to do so is really well hidden in the "official" version (namely, edit the registry under Windows to add parameters to the default ".to

          • Re:WJR 760 (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MindStalker ( 22827 )
            Actually the "official" 3.9.0 beta version has a rate limiter.
            Though I've personally found its download rate swamps my office network even.
      • Re:WJR 760 (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tsarin ( 217882 )
        He is arrogant -- astonishingly so.

        Take a look at his LiveJournal [livejournal.com], for example. Well nigh every other post is an ego-wank of a calibre to make even DJB [cr.yp.to] shake his head in shame. Bram's right and everyone else in the world is a moron.

        Some years ago, I was on a mailing list with him. During a discussion on building crypto-using apps, a few posters were arguing in favor of making sure apps used parameterizable encryption a/o hashing algorithms -- so when, say, a weakness is discovered in MD5 (hmm ... sound [slashdot.org]

    • I'm not seeing it. What would you have preferred to have him say in response there?
    • Re:WJR 760 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bwindle2 ( 519558 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:51PM (#11277762)
      Maybe his autism has something to do with that? "Cohen in fact has Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the mild end of the autism spectrum that gives him almost superhuman powers of concentration but can make it difficult for him to relate to other people"
      • Yes, definately... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chordonblue ( 585047 )
        So do most of the non-conventional quantum leapers. When you have a son who has autism, you begin to see the signs of it in other people.

        It isn't a matter of 'he's not trying to communicate effectively', it's that he CAN'T - at least not easily. Believe me, it's heartbreaking to see a child locked in his own world unable to communicate with others or even unaware WHY he should. It's even worse when you're an adult and no one around you can understand why you can't answer questions directly.

    • Re:WJR 760 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:54PM (#11277817) Homepage Journal
      My jaw hit the floor when his reply was "Well, this isn't exactly an atom bomb...."
      But he's right. The Atomic Bomb dominated international politics from 1945 to 1990. This is seriously small potatoes by comparison. Kudos to him for keeping his achievement in perspective.

    • That's why the lawyers are winning right now. It's not because they're smarter. It's because they are SO good at twisting things around, and us geeks can't speak in public worth a damn.

      Except perhaps swedish lawyers? Funniest quote from the article:

      The Pirate Bay is a BitTorrent tracking site in Sweden with 150,000 users a day. In the fall, it posted a torrent for Shrek 2. Dreamworks sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding the site remove it. One of the site's pseudonymous owners, Anakata, replied: "As

      • Too bad that this site is getting publicity, I've used it for a while to get Swedish stuff over in the US. A bit worried that it'll get pressured out of existence after this writeup.
    • Come on man! You're not a programmer right now. You're a salesman and a human resource department. Act like it!

      And that's where you're wrong. He's not a salesman or a human resource department. That's why he was able to innovate in a substantive way.

      True, this means somebody else will profit much more from his innovations than he will. That's how things normally go. But the paypal donations are supporting his family, and his goal is to retire and make 3d puzzles. That's what he likes to do, and I

  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:27PM (#11277428) Homepage Journal
    The article seems to imply that Cohen invented multi-source downloading, for example:
    Cohen realized that chopping up a file and handing out the pieces to several uploaders would really speed things up. He sketched out a protocol: To download that copy of Meet the Fokkers, a user's computer sniffs around for others online who have pieces of the movie. Then it downloads a chunk from several of them simultaneously. Many hands make light work, so the file arrives dozens of times faster than normal.
    Yet this feature has existed in other P2P applications for years.

    Personally I think BitTorrent's core advantage over other file sharing technologies is also its core architectural weakness, namely its centralised nature. This allows an editorial filter on content made available through BitTorrent, yet also makes a juicy legal target. Until recently BitTorrent's obscurity has protected it, but clearly this is no-longer the case.

    (Disclaimer: I am working on some free software [dijjer.org] that is competitive with BitTorrent)

    • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <snarks@gmail.com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:35PM (#11277561) Homepage Journal
      Simple. Don't break the law, and you won't become a "juicy legal target". There's nothing illegal about BitTorrent, but it is illegal to violate copyright with it, so don't do that.
      • So long as a P2P system isn't editing for content, you really can't treat a P2P server as anything but a common carrier. That means you can't go after the owner/operators for the content. Going after content-neutral P2P systems is akin to going after Federal Express for delivering CDs that some customer of FedEx had copied illegally.

        Now, to the extent that BitTorrent's architecture lends itself to centralized control of content, as asserted by the original poster, Cohen has indeed opened up the owner/op

    • Okay I get the basics of Bit torrents distributed file sharing. But could someone please explain the details. That is how does the original site know who has what slices. How does the system heal itself when a seeder signs off taking with him some of the pieces. How to the nodes decide which peers to ask for what and get updated on who has what as more peers sign on. How is the download=upload actually enforced--what stops me from creating some evil bittorrent that only downloads then hands out shit.
    • Yet this feature has existed in other P2P applications for years.

      Not only that, it exists in Kazaa which was mentioned as the "slower technology" in the same article. Yet, in reality, Bittorrent really seems to be faster from what I hear. What is the actual explanation?
      • I'm really not sure which is faster, although if its BitTorrent, I suspect it may have more to do with the usage patterns of its users than the way the technology is designed.
        • I believe that Bittorrent is faster because it links the speed of your download to how much you're uploading in the much vaunted tit-for-tat system. Too many Kazaa users turn of uploading which crushes the network whereas BT punishes you for so-doing... At least that's how the official client works. Some of the more pirate friendly clients might have 'solved' this problem, I don't know.
    • The article seems to imply that Cohen invented multi-source downloading

      Personally I think BitTorrent's core advantage over other file sharing technologies is also its core architectural weakness, namely its centralised nature.

      It's real innovation is the tit-for-tat file sharing. With only multi-source downloading, no-one has an incentive to upload (it uses bandwidth, they risk getting cause supposedly). With tit-for-tat however, you have to upload in order to download at a reasonable speed.

      Also, in a
      • It's real innovation is the tit-for-tat file sharing. With only multi-source downloading, no-one has an incentive to upload (it uses bandwidth, they risk getting cause supposedly). With tit-for-tat however, you have to upload in order to download at a reasonable speed.

        I have never been convinced by that. Uploading only benefits you while you are downloading, yet BitTorrent relies significantly on uploaders who have finised downloading, for which there is no tit-for-tat incentive.

        Also, in a slightly re

        • Basically, the other people in your tracker group sort of give you download leases; when you are able to upload X amount to them they will honor X*Y requests from you. You take whatever you need from every seeder, and then use that to fill in pieces missed by non-seeders so you can get download leases from them as well (seeders don't tit-for-tat IIRC).
          Unless the files are very large and take hours to complete, a tracker group will be upload heavy amongst the finished group, and download heavy amongst the un
    • Repeat After Me... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KrackHouse ( 628313 )
      ...BitTorrent is also used for legal purposes. As people figure out how to make money with it I predict that the majority of BT traffic will be legal. I used it recently to distribute Tsunami videos on my blog. 30,000 visitors a day over the last week and I agree that its centralized nature is its downfall, but not for legal reasons. BitTorrent trackers apparently use a ton of bandwidth and they're not Apache friendly if you're using BlogTorrent. We need decentralized or distributed tracking before BT
    • I don't think BitTorrent is "centralized" in any way. You can have dozens of trackers, each one in a different server. That's not what I'd call "centralization"
  • The article's description of Cohen's "invention" is a description of the way eDonkey2000 [edonkey2000.com] works:

    Paradoxically, BitTorrent's architecture means that the more popular the file is the faster it downloads - because more people are pitching in. Better yet, it's a virtuous cycle. Users download and share at the same time; as soon as someone receives even a single piece of Fokkers, his computer immediately begins offering it to others. The more files you're willing to share, the faster any individual torrent down

    • by Java Pimp ( 98454 ) <java_pimp@yah o o .com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:52PM (#11277785) Homepage
      Given that quoted paragraph and the following, it is apparent that even after interviewing the creator, the author has absolutely no idea what bit torrent is for or how it works.

      He [Cohen] sketched out a protocol: To download that copy of Meet the Fokkers...

      Yeah, I'm sure that's what he was thinking when he created the protocol...

      a user's computer sniffs around for others online who have pieces of the movie

      No, trackers keep track of who is downloading or seeding the file, there is no sniffing around. Infact, there is no search capability that I am aware of...

      The more files you're willing to share, the faster any individual torrent downloads

      Are you kidding me? No... the more people downloading/seeding an individual torrent, the faster it downloads. More files have nothing to do with anything.

      • The more files you're willing to share, the faster any individual torrent downloads

        I think maybe he was confusing "more files" with "more uploads". As in, the more your computer is uploading your portion of the file to others, the faster your download will be. This is indeed true - bittorrent does this 'tit-for-tat' so that if you rate-limit the upload to only 1k for example, your download will suffer.

      • Are you kidding me? No... the more people downloading/seeding an individual torrent, the faster it downloads. More files have nothing to do with anything.
        You're right that more files don't have anything to do with it, but uploading (a single file) faster does give you (potentially) higher download speeds (for that same file).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:30PM (#11277468)

    Wired is getting slow.

    Wired :Why did you write BitTorrent?
    Cohen :To get LEET WAREz!
    Wired :Before you've said for fast distribution of legal files.
    Cohen :Yeah, that and LEET JU$R3ZZZZZ!!!!
    Wired :Legal and 'warez'?
    Cohen :and MP3!!!11111 Fux0r the *AA, GET IT FREE!
    Wired :Thank you Mr. Cohen.
    Cohen :Would you like fries with that?

  • by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:30PM (#11277469) Homepage
    Not a 5 page article. An article on the web does not have pages, since the web does not have pages (you scroll down), What we do have is an article split in 5 sections to allow for more ads, more branding, more clicks.

    Wired Marketing droid to potential advertisers: We got 5 million clicks yesterday--grumble under breath: one million people clicked 5 times-- and displayed 25 million ads --grumble under breath: 5 ads per click, times 5 sections.

  • by bit trollent ( 824666 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:31PM (#11277489) Homepage
    A link on a website leads to a file on a p2p network. This is the killer app of bit torrent and the reason it is likely here to stay.
  • The built-in delays for downloading multiple files in the 3.9 beta version of BitTorrent are a bit extreme. I know it is a user config setting but a default of 300 minutes between downloads? Uncool. How about a countdown timer or something so others don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is going on. Thought it was buggy or crashed at first. Ended up going back to version 3.4.

    Other than that.. great product! I downloaded megs of tsunami videos from http://www.waveofdestruction.org/ [waveofdestruction.org] as they we

    • What exactly do you mean about the delay? Should I be worried? I'm using it with btdownloadmanycurses.py and as far as I can see, it works well. It has some biggish delay when adding or removing a torrent (about 30 seconds until it updates to the changes), but for everything else it worked fine for me (I've been using it for 2 days now).
  • Link (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fr05t ( 69968 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:33PM (#11277543)
    This is at the top of the story:
    "Movie studios hate it. File-swappers love it. Bram Cohen's blazing-fast P2P software has turned the Internet into a universal TiVo. For free video-on-demand, just click here."

    Unfortunately someone forgot to add the link :P
  • by tedgyz ( 515156 ) * on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:36PM (#11277573) Homepage
    If you have not tried Azureus [sourceforge.net], you have not felt the full power of bittorrent.
    • I'm quite gay for azureus. It makes things so handy. I can download the stuff I want, and leave it in smart-seeding mode, so any old torrents that come back to life will be seeded by me again.
    • I beg to differ... Try BitSpirit. It's somewhat bloated, but behaves nicely, minimizes to systray and gives you a minibar widget to monitor your dl's and even has a "market" option so you can get what other peers are getting too...

      Oh, it's a Chinese project but the website is multilingual http://www.lanspirit.com/ [lanspirit.com]
  • by MikeMacK ( 788889 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:37PM (#11277592)
    Cohen says he loves Amazons...

    Wouldn't mind playing with some Amazons myself.

  • 10 Years?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by colonslashslash ( 762464 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:42PM (#11277657) Homepage
    Quoth the article:

    "In our research with consumers, content-on-demand is the killer app. They like the idea of paying only for what they watch." The trick, he figures, is to work out a solution before the audience for illegal downloading becomes truly huge. He figures the networks have 10 years.

    Sounds like a very liberal estimate. I'd say that illegal downloading has already become pretty "huge". If it wasn't, what are the MPAA/RIAA getting so worked up about, and why are all these TV executives commenting on it in the first place?

    Later in the article they discuss the takedown notice Dreamworks sent to ThePirateBay.org concerning Shrek 2, for those of you who havn't already, and are interested to read the letter (and the hilarious response), check it out here:

    Dreamworks Takedown Notice & Response [thepiratebay.org]

  • The Life of (Score:3, Funny)

    by Vollernurd ( 232458 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:43PM (#11277672)
    I misread his name as Brian Cohen.

    "He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"

    Ho hum. Long day.
  • by saddino ( 183491 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:44PM (#11277685)
    Here's something that I've been wondering:

    I haven't looked at the source, but given the broad description of the protocol I'm assuming each "chunk" has a GUID along with the payload. Obviously, this allows for swarming and reduced download/upload bottlenecks, but doesn't it also allow for easy corruption of the data stream?

    For example, when the RIAA tried to defeat Napster by brute force, namely setting up drone/honeypot PCs with libraries of corrupted files, the method failed miserably. I would guess that by its nature, knowing what IP you were downloading an entire file from, it wouldn't be too hard to filter out known RIAA servers.

    But, with BitTorrent handling the gathering of chunks from the swarm from multiple IPs, doesn't that greatly increase the likelihood of success for a similar attack?

    For example, shouldn't the MPAA be able to download the source code and modify encoding so that if (Random() % 1000) a chunk flips some of the bits in the payload? Wouldn't installing this code on a farm of drones eventually "corrupt" the datastreams on BitTorrent?

    Or are their safeguards in place for this kind of attack?
    • by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:58PM (#11277866) Homepage
      Or are their safeguards in place for this kind of attack?

      Yup - each 'GUID' for a Bittorrent block is an SHA1 cryptographic hash. If you find a way of generating collisions for those, many computer scientists and mathematicians would love to know. ;-)

      From the FAQ [bittorrent.com]:
      BitTorrent does cryptographic hashing (SHA1) of all data. When you see "Download succeeded!" you can be sure that BitTorrent has already verified the integrity of the data. The integrity and authenticity of a BitTorrent download is as good as the original request to the tracker. Checking the MD5/CRC32/other hash of a file downloaded via BitTorrent is redundant.

      I gather that if a client was pumping out corrupt blocks, or if they were corrupted at some point during transmission, they'd simply get dropped and re-requested. No idea if there's anything to permanently ignore a client that's pumping out nothing but junk, though - but on a busy tracker, it would get drowned out by all the others. Anyone know?

      Incidentally, is anyone else worried by the way the article concentrated on the distribution of television shows, almost to the exclusion of everything else? I've used Bittorrent quite a bit, but only ever for completely legal purposes [filerush.com] - plus, I've always thought of it being a rubbish way of distributing dubious stuff, what with IP addresses of everyone downloading available straight from the tracker to whoever might be investigating...
      • by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:41PM (#11278439) Homepage

        No idea if there's anything to permanently ignore a client that's pumping out nothing but junk, though - but on a busy tracker, it would get drowned out by all the others. Anyone know?
        The BT protocol is designed to leave that choice up to the clients. Pretty much all the clients out there will shun a peer after a certain number of corrupt pieces. If there aren't enough peers, it may try again - but it's up to the client implementation.

        The interesting part is that the protocol (or trackers) don't have to deal with those kind of decisions. The clients can each behave however they want, but you are rewarded for playing nice with better connectivity. Badly behaved clients end up with no peers willing to send them data.

        There is nothing gained by writing a BT client that is an asshole to it's peers and nothing stopping you from trying. It will simply be ignored by the other peers that aren't assholes.
      • No idea if there's anything to permanently ignore a client that's pumping out nothing but junk, though

        BitTornado [bittornado.com] has a feature for kicking/banning peers who constantly upload junk to you.

        If you're using Bram's official BT client, and there's a peer that's uploading junk, your download won't get corrupted, it'll just waste your bandwidth.
  • Money (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:45PM (#11277703)
    The article states that he is living off his Paypal donations. Anyone have any guesses on how much money he may be making off Bittorrent? Of the people here that donate, how much do you send?
    • Re:Money (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AkaXakA ( 695610 )
      Thing is, I heard (read) that he'd joined Valve.

      I don't know if this interview was before that time, or that the donations are just an extra source of income and it was conviently left out that he's also employed by Valve, giving him a steady income.

      A p2pnet.net interview with Bram Cohen [p2pnet.net], where he explicitly says he's working on steam [steampowered.com].

      "NYTimes.com are reporting [nytimes.com] (blood of firstborn required) that BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has been hired by Valve Software to work on their Steam content distribution s
  • by helix_r ( 134185 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @01:45PM (#11277705)

    I like bittorrent, but my problem is that I can't easily search for what I want in torrent form.

    Please, I hope I am wrong, but it seems that one is forced to go to "seedy" (I mean, really seedy, as in icky) websites to get the links.

  • A related cause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:03PM (#11277924) Homepage
    The big media would love to take him down personally for creating bit torrent, and the only thing stopping them is that Bit Torrent is just legitimate enough to be a hard case to sell. Enough users use it legally, that they couldn't argue it's primarily for piracy. But what if that were to change?

    Bit Torrent is just a tool, it cannot do anything illegal by itself. The user must choose to do something illegal with it. Going after Cohen is no different than going after a gun maker for gun crime. The exact same arguments used against gun makers could be used against Cohen. He's not screening his users, is he? Neither are the gun makers. In both cases, some of their users are committing crimes. Different types of crimes, but either way, a legitimate tool is used for an illegitimate purpose.

    In the long run, the only way to win against the forces opposed to individual liberties is to link our causes. This is the IP equivalent of what the NRA faces with guns, so it only makes sense for both camps to realize we are fighting the same ideology just in two different manifestations.

    Allies, even allies that don't really understand your cause as well as you do, are important. Many of the gun owners' postings I have read on right wing boards frequently have derisive attitudes toward the **AA now and see them as the computer equivalent of "gun grabbers." It's a fitting analogy because the **AA want to be the "computer grabbers." Mandatory DRM is akin to mandatory trigger locks because either way, some bureaucrat is telling you how you must maintain and use your property.

    To protect our rights we must continue to assert individual responsibility as the solution and push for solutions that go after perpetrators of crime, not their tools. That is the only way we can not only cut down on crime, but also protect people like Cohen from amoral, mercenary attorneys like those behind the **AA
  • by Anonymous Coward
    what's funny is that the pirate bay got slashdotted due to this story. by the third page its basically "hey everyone get free movies, television etc.!" to people who didn't even know what BT was...plus not too many people knew about piratebay before. haha. stupid Wired
  • by josecanuc ( 91 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:08PM (#11278009) Homepage Journal
    I read the article (no, really!) and found it to be mildly interesting. What bothered me, though, are the statements that, basically, "the more clients that are uploading pieces, the faster the download gets"

    That's all fine and dandy, but the author makes it sound like this gets around the limitation of one's own pipe to the Internet. If you're on a modem, there's no way you are going to cut down a 500MB download from hours to a few minutes, yet the article has a paragraph that implies that an hours-long Kazaa download is cut down to a few minutes with BitTorrent.

    Obviously, if the limiting factor is the source pipe, then more sources equals faster download at the destination. This kind of writing bugs me since it doesn't mention such obvious limitations -- it all sounds "miraculous" (or "marketish"?).
  • 1 page version (Score:4, Informative)

    by Eslyjah ( 245320 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:12PM (#11278059)
    It would be nice if the submitter or "editors" had linked to the printer-friendly 1 page version [wired.com].
  • by AmericaHater ( 732718 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:13PM (#11278074) Journal
    Cohen has even started sketching out ideas for his own puzzles. He dreams of making enough money to buy a 3-D prototyping machine and retire."

    (MPAA exec on intercom to his secretary): "mrs Jones find me a 3D prototype manufacturer".


    (secretary):"I found four of them, but Jesus, they're $5million each!!!"
    (exec): "buy four and ship them to that fucker Cohen by the end of the day - and my names not Jesus it's God"

  • High School Memories (Score:5, Informative)

    by echocharlie ( 715022 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:23PM (#11278189) Homepage
    I went to High School with Bram Cohen. He was brilliant back then too. The article paints a pretty good picture of what I remember of him. We went to Stuyvesant, a specialized HS in NYC with a standardized test to get in. Basically, it's a school for uber-nerds.

    Found a picture of the Math team back in 1993 [mojo-working.com]. Bram's the guy with the bushy hair in the back row near the center next to the tall asian guy and another guy with a hat. He was the co-captain of the team that year, if I remember correctly. I think he ended up in the State University of New York at Buffalo. That always bothered me for some reason. He definitely was smart enough to make it into a better school. Why did he choose to go to Buffalo?
  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:30PM (#11278286)
    ...The only shows he watches are those he buys on DVD. He particularly loved the first season of Paris Hilton's The Simple Life. "You can watch that show for six hours," Cohen says, "and your brain is still empty."

  • Is there a way to use P2P/BitTorrent anonymously? What would be a cool BitTorrent app is one that can not only use BitTorrent but also use an IP Anonymizer.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    From TFA:
    "We consider it a regrettable but necessary step," says John Malcolm of the MPAA. "We saw the devastating effect that peer-to-peer piracy had on the record industry."

    I literally had to wipe the spittle off my monitor after reading that.

    (For those uninformed: There is no evidence that the recording industry profits are down due to file sharing.)
  • Netflix/Blockbuster? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:01PM (#11278794)
    Recently the above companies announced intentions to distribute movies online over DSL set-top boxes

    I wonder if each STB will have BitTorrent on it and DRM files will be shared out as they are requested by customers - the only download the consumer would have to make from the distributors central server would be the DRM authorisation key?

    This could be the key to legal movie download services
  • by nietsch ( 112711 ) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:57PM (#11280522) Homepage Journal
    All important browsers are open source now. But i still have to see an annoucement that BT is now incorporated into browser X as a protocol.
    heck, you could probaly do it with one library and some implementation details in the browsers, as most are written in C or C++.

    Just a protocol just like http:// ie bt:// that delivers the content to the browser for display.

    Maybe this will solve the slashdot effect.
    (oh wait no, it won't. most slashdot readers betray their geekness and still use IE, the browser that has not seen maintance sine 2000. This will maybe get them over the line; free porn directly in your browser)

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