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The Internet

The Centralization of BitTorrent Networks 162

Writes writes writes writes "A group of graduate students from the University of Washington have posted a a new independent report about the extent of centralization in regards to BitTorrent communities. The report indicates that irrespective of the recent damage dealt to global torrent sites, the communities are still very active, even despite their large degree of centralization (and perhaps exposure/liability). Furthermore, the report attempts to determine if the torrent communities follow the 80/20 rule, by measuring the Long Tail of torrent distribution."
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The Centralization of BitTorrent Networks

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  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:05AM (#11320661)
    So seriously, is BitTorrent dead?

    No. Well, we don't think so, at least.


    That should have read, "is BitTorrent for Warez dead?" And no, it's not, but it probably won't appear like suprnova.org did again...

    Is BitTorrent dead? No, it will never die. Just as FTP for Warez dwindled and other transfer services took over (IRC, Napster, Kazaa, BitTorrent, foo) it didn't kill it. FTP, IRC, BT, foo, all have valid reasons for existing other than warez.

    BT though, above all the others, is actually really useful for trasferring large files quickly. Yeah, it's not good for the long term but I'm sure someone will come up with something that will make the protocol attractive for use outside of the Warez arena.

    It's just that the warezkids are all about picking up new tech and using it. It's their nature as they are generally tech oriented.

    I wish I could be a grad student and publish a bunch of bullshit with graphs and get my degree!
    • Bit Torrents are now... Bit Trickles
      • That's funny, I downloaded some stuff from bt.etree.org last night and had 205kB/s the whole time.

        Strange... That's about my max downstream. While my 2048/256 connection isn't exactly "speedy" it certainly isn't a trickle.
        • Yeah, I wanted the latest knoppix iso, so I of course used the torrent. Within 5 seconds I had hit 250KB/sec, not exactly my physical maximum, but pretty good for my connection(From very rare sites, I can get 400-500KB/sec, but 90% of internet sites cap out at 250 for me.)

          When it's something legal(And hence there is no reason to fear keeping your seed running) Bittorrent is still pretty fast.

          Especially since a lot of traditional mirror sites for *nix distros have added torrent seeds to their ftp mirrors.
        • by nadadogg ( 652178 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:30AM (#11320929)
          I personally hope that the public sites die, since they don't use registration, people shamelessly leech files and don't even come close to the 1:1 ratio that's needed for the network to thrive. I'll just stick with places that require registration, track stats, ban leechers, and thank me for contributing. There's probably 4 or 5 sites that I use for that sort of thing(thing being TV or movies). Besides, on smaller sites, there's more of a community, and the speeds stay good, much like yours did :)
          • There might be a texhnical fix to this: modifying the protocol to do better than tit-for-tat, perhaps as with this feature request [sourceforge.net] of mine (see also follow-up).

            If clients bias towards good propagators themselves, then they will be themselves rewarded by those who do likewise. Leechers that do not upload anywhere near proportionally are, by definition bad propogators.

            • Which works fine for a single file. All of your stats are reset as soon as you switch to a new torrent/tracker. The only way around this is keeping all torrents on the same tracker (see: empornium), but that has its own failings.

              The only way to effectively prevent leeching is the way warez topsites (ftps) do it-- Ratio.
              Start with N (usually 15mb) credits. Get 3 megs of download credits for every 1 meg you upload. You up something crappy? Nuked-- you just lost all the upload credits you got for it (And po
              • Which works fine for a single file. All of your stats are reset as soon as you switch to a new torrent/tracker. The only way around this is keeping all torrents on the same tracker (see: empornium), but that has its own failings.

                This is true, but if your are sniffed out within a few minutes by your fellow clients, it'll be a slow business getting any file. This makes leeching pretty pointless.

                Ratio will do it, of course, but if a techinical fix could be found, that would help to keep things open.

            • Bittorrent itself works in a tit-for-tat way already, but since it is open-source, people have created modified clients that tell the tracker that they are upping far more than they really are, thus giving the leechers a higher priority.
              • You don't look at what people are telling you; you infer rates from the distribution of files in the wild, and how they change. It's a problem involving stats and matrix manipulation.
              • That is simple enough - have all clients tell the tracker how much they are downloading on each connection. The tracker will ignore any stats from a client indicating how much it is uploading. Then all you can hack your client to do is to over-report other clients uploads, not your own. Of course, it is in everybody's self-interest to police others, and nobody is trusted to police themselves, so the problem is fixed.

                I thought this was already how it worked. Clearly trusting clients to report their own
                • I believe that this idea would consume more resources, as the clients having to report amount downloaded from each IP, instead of just a blanket total upload. If I'm connected to a torrent now, I just report X. If I'm on a torrent giving info in the way you suggested, I'd be reporting X Kb per second per peer, and if I'm grabbing stuff from 20 peers, that's significantly more traffic that I'd be sending out, hurting my ability to seed.
                • Except then you can underreport other people's uploads so it looks like you downloaded less.

                  Broken either way.
                • Two clients could still collude by providing good reports for one another, allowing them to leech from a third party.

                  Trusting clients to report their own upload stats is a bad move, which is why Bram Cohen's implementation doesn't do anything with that information - choking/unchoking is based on the actual download speed from each neighbour, not the reported upload/download ratio.

          • by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @12:06PM (#11322234) Homepage Journal
            A 1:1 ratio for everybody is mathematically impossible. For every byte uploaded, you have a byte downloaded. You also have at least one person who doesn't download anything at all, the original seeder. The average ratio of the entire network is always 1:1, and the average of the entire network minus original seeders will always be less than that. You will always have people who don't have a 1:1 ratio even if everybody is super-nice and lets their torrents run forever after they finish.
          • ... it's really hard to meet the 1:1 etc. requirements unless you get there early.

            The number of torrents I start downloading and then find that there's no more seeds etc. so I get 90% of a large file and then I'm stuck ... I can stay up and be prepared to feed that 90% downstream but that just means more people with an incomplete RAR/ZIP/AVI whatever.

            And if I get to a download late, I can sit there and download, say 100Mb fairly quickly from all those nice seeders (say 10 seeders and just two new download
        • I don't understand the motivation for posting the URL of a Bittorrent Site here on /.

          Either you like the site and with the recent events you don't want it closed down too so why do you post it and give it exposure.

          Or you want to get it closed down then why do you say you downloaded from the site instead of telling the /. community downloading is evil like the other anti-p2p posters.

          If you wanted the URL become exposed (hate p2p-"pirates") but don't want to lose Karma you could have posted as AC so I r
      • Damn you - I've just finished writing up my ideas for a decentralised version of BitTorrent called BitTrickle! [ucl.ac.uk]
    • Support It (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zone-MR ( 631588 )
      If you are like me and believe that sites which simply trade hashes of illegal files should not themselves be illegal, you might want to consider heading over to www.lokitorrent.com and making a small donation to their legal defense fund.

      Who knows - if one site acheives the budget to stand up for themselves in a legal battle, it might set a very welcome precedent.
      • "If you are like me and believe that sites which simply trade hashes of illegal files should not themselves be illegal, you might want to consider heading over to www.lokitorrent.com and making a small donation to their legal defense fund."

        Geez, how much hard-earned money should people give to others who get busted for infringement / contributory infringemet?

        And, here's a thought puzzle for you:

        When it comes to sharing music, lots of people seem to aruge that it's ok because they only do it to help d

        • Watching a poor-quality .avi of a movie is a completely different experience than seeing a much better version - even a rented VHS. The same is true with music uploaded at 128 kbs as compared to straight off the CD.

          Torrents allow you to say "this movie sucked, I'm damn glad I didn't pay for this shlock" just as you can sample a CD and say "no way I'm paying $16 for 2 good songs and 10 shitty ones". So yeah, I'm bloody well glad I didn't pay for flops like "Alien vs. Predator" or "The Aviator", but "Van H
          • by Cereal Box ( 4286 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @12:46PM (#11322794)
            Watching a poor-quality .avi of a movie is a completely different experience than seeing a much better version - even a rented VHS.

            You must not have gotten the memo. Movies on DVD are ripped to MPEG4, and generally look indistinguishable from the DVD itself (and many times include the actual Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track). In essence, you're downloading a copy of the movie that many are hard pressed to differentiate from a DVD.

            In the case of movies running in the theater, ones shot from camcorders are watchable but not in excellent quality, whereas those ripped from a screener DVD (this practice may have been discontinued recently, I'm not sure) are quite excellent.

            The same is true with music uploaded at 128 kbs as compared to straight off the CD.

            Of course, no one releases albums in 128Kbps anymore, it's all 192Kbps or VBR. Throw those tracks on a CD and most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

            The "downloaded copies have poor quality, so that's why people will still buy the product" argument doesn't hold that much water in a lot of cases. Most people would gladly take 99% quality at 0% price rather than 100% quality and 100% price. THAT'S what the movie studios and record companies have to compete with. There are far fewer altruistic downloaders than you may think.
            • Most people would gladly take 99% quality at 0% price rather than 100% quality and 100% price.

              Which explains why CD sales and movie revenues are down...oh, wait....

              Max
              • Which explains why CD sales and movie revenues are down...oh, wait....

                That's another invalid argument: even if it holds true today, it won't continue forever, and that's what matters. Two factors against it:

                1) A DVD can contain data equivalent to 4+ gigabytes. Few of today's users can download that much in a convenient time- but as time goes by, network speeds will rise and rise, until downloading a movie will be quicker than driving to the local Blockbuster.

                2) Anti-file-sharing enforcement is effecti
                • If not for these threats, there probably would be enough file sharing freeloaders to actually hurt the publisher's revenues.

                  This is nothing more than your unsubstantiated opinion. You have no actual facts to back it up. Quite the opposite, actually, since both cd sales and ticket revenues continue to climb *despite* the poor economy.

                  So what should I believe? Your personal opinion, or all the actual data to date? Think I'll stick with the data.

                  Max
                  • Think I'll stick with the data.

                    You don't have any data. Your position makes about as much sense as assuming you're bulletproof because you've never been killed by gunfire. (Or more seriously, like those people who won't believe global warming is possible until it's already happened...)
    • (Disclaimer: I'm not endorsing this method - just making an observation)

      People can always search for torrent files on gnutella or edonkey2k. Of course, not many people know about this, but it's always like that.
      • Two simple extensions to the BitTorrent protocol would eliminate the need for trackers:
        1. Allow peers to download the torrent from one another (new message types 9 and 10: torrent request, torrent reply)
        2. Allow peers to exchange lists of neighbours (new message types 11 and 12: neighbour request, neighbour reply)

        With these extentions, you would only need to find a single peer and an info_hash through any P2P search network in order to begin downloading. There would be no need for trackers or torrent websi

        • Two simple extensions to the BitTorrent protocol would eliminate the need for trackers:

          No, that won't work. (Prehaps you elided major bits [ucl.ac.uk] in the service of brevity...)

          Allow peers to download the torrent from one another

          That part could function, but would be of low utility. It might be fun to see what other files some host is seeding, but that won't get you very far.

          Allow peers to exchange lists of neighbours

          There is no such thing as a "neighbor" in bittorrent. There are "peers" and "seeds" (wh
    • I wish I could be a grad student and publish a bunch of bullshit with graphs and get my degree!

      This is not an academic paper. It is just an informal paper that happens to be done by graduate students. You really should make sure you have something to be an anti-intellectual snob about before you start spouting nonsense.
    • it's not good for the long term

      Why not? I don't know all that much about the guts of the BT protocol, but the idea is great. As a distributor of content, even if zero clients upload anything at all, it is automatic mirroring, balancing, and some level of fault tolerance. If even a single peer sends out data to another peer, Win! What is the downside?

    • Yeah, it's not good for the long term but I'm sure someone will come up with something that will make the protocol attractive for use outside of the Warez arena.

      There's only one change that needs to be made to bittorrent to make viable as a long-term distribution method, similar to FTP, and it's something that can be done Right Now (tm) without having to wait for some major change in the code base.

      The idea is simple: Make your tracker also seed all the files it tracks. In this way, when a file is popular
  • ...when the **AAs drop the shoe on these new consolidated nodes. People who operate central repositories for torrent links are setting themselves up for a C&D.
    • Speaking of C&Ds - are there any good central repositories for legal torrents? Not just linux distributions either. But just a nice collection of legal stuff I can download and help to share.
      Just curious.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What's the harm in a C&D, though?

      Seriously--say you consider setting up a torrent repository. What's the deterrant in "maybe they'll ask me to stop later"? I'm no worse off later than I would have been if I had never started the repository, and I provided a service for a little while.

      It's not like recieving a Cease and Desist costs me money as long as I honor it. It doesn't go on some kind of criminal record (except perhaps the XXAA's naughty list).
      • The problems are that

        1) If it's a C&D and not a 512 Takedown Notice, then there's nothing that guarantees you'll get one. A plaintiff sends C&D's in the hope that it'll cost less for them than immediately preparing a lawsuit. But these days, it's hardly unusual to get sued right out of the gate. That you can't ignore.

        2) You have to do what the C&D says to avoid the risk of a lawsuit by the sender (though there is also the chance that you can ignore it and still not get sued). Likewise with 512
        • Or you could move your entire torrent list to gnutella, and then what the fuck are they going to do about it?

          Max
  • by teiresias ( 101481 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:06AM (#11320672)
    This isn't really suprising.

    Whether it's FTP ip's, P2P network names, or in this case centralized BitTorrent servers, it all matters on who has access to these sites and how much exposure that site has.

    If say SuperNova was a registration only site it might have stayed open for another couple months. If say SuperNova was a registration site which only registered friends and known people, there's even less of a chance of being taken down.

    Any large publicly available distrobution method for illegal digital products will attract the attention of the authorities and be brought down. Small, regulated, private networks will continue to run despite a crack down. This has always been true.

    But than, for the authorities, it really is more important to take down the larger sites not eliminating the problem.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:09AM (#11320709)
      Any large publicly available distrobution method for illegal digital products will attract the attention of the authorities and be brought down. Small, regulated, private networks will continue to run despite a crack down. This has always been true.

      But than, for the authorities, it really is more important to take down the larger sites not eliminating the problem.


      It's like anything "illegal". There's always a thriving underground arena to trade your stuff. The authorities can easily bring down the large and open ones cutting off the general unknowing public to it. That will eliminate 95% of the "problem".

      The other 5% would find out how to get it regardless of whether it was public or not.

      I guess they just hoped they could scare most people into stopping.
      • I guess they just hoped they could scare most people into stopping.
        When I first read that, I thought you wrote:

        I guess they just hoped they could scare most people into shopping.

        Which, come to think of it, is probably their ultimate goal.
      • back in the day though, 95% of people knew someone who was in that 5%.. and got their fix that way so they could try 3d studio or whatever program that cost more than they had for themselfs for the whole year(and craploads of games, too, of course)...
    • Suprnova is now registration only .... and it looks like they are using exeem now too

      "Download Torrents, Movies, Shows, Music, Full Albums and more!
      Exeem Suprnova - register now and get all of these benefits and more"
      • Suprnova is now registration only .... and it looks like they are using exeem now too

        "Download Torrents, Movies, Shows, Music, Full Albums and more!
        Exeem Suprnova - register now and get all of these benefits and more"

        Where did you read that? I just checked suprnova.org and there is no mention of registration or passwords or downloading anything. exeem. Then is says in big letters: "SuprNova.org Team is not working on any other projects then eXeem, do not be fooled by people who claim to be!" So...

      • You are probably looking at suprnova.org or .net. Those are scammers. They're NOT suprnova, they just pretend to be.
  • Reason for success (Score:4, Insightful)

    by krudler ( 836743 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:06AM (#11320674)
    Sure people are easily tracked who use bit torrent. I doubt they really care. Bit Torrent allows easy ways to find files. It may not be mainstream easy, but it is very easy to use. You can get tons of movies/music/tv shows/warez with little effort, much easier than tracking down ftps and getting access from someone/ using kazaa and hoping what you download is really what you think it is, etc. People want easy access to filez! THey don't care about getting caught
    • They do care about getting caught, they just don't think they will. As the RIAA and MPAA go after the big fish, the little fish who downloads a movie here and there doesn't feel they'll waste their time and money on him.

      People don't break laws because the penalties aren't harsh enough, the break them because they think they won't get caught.
      • the break them because they think they won't get caught.

        A simplistic explanation if there ever was one. Sometimes people break laws because the profit outweighs the risk; at other times because the penalties simply don't bother them. Still at other times because they're pissed off and not thinking about the consequences. Yet other times because there's no reasonable alternative to the criminal activity. And so on.

        There are many reasons for breaking the law. This doesn't mean that any of those reaso
  • Ironic twist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:07AM (#11320682)
    Would it not be an ironic twist if the media companies adopted BitTorrent to distribute shows. Maybe the next supernode will be a Sony site.
  • 80/20 Rule? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Horkdoom ( 716616 )
    I had thought that the more recent statistics showed something more like a 5/90 rule...
  • The search engine (Score:4, Informative)

    by Underholdning ( 758194 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:09AM (#11320711) Homepage Journal
    Their search engine was actually pretty good (it's down right now due to excessive traffic). It shows details about the torrent like what files are inside, the speed of the tracker etc. Quite useful.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Safer for warez that is.

    I used to get a few warnings from peerguardian when downloading files. Since Suprnova disappeared, I haven't got one. Not that I actually download a lot of stuff, so this could be explained by statistical error.
  • Do any slashdotters know of any good Bittorrent websites.

    Since suprnova went down I've mainly been using http://www.thepiratebay.org/ but any others would be greatly appreciated.
  • BT links on FreeNET (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:13AM (#11320749) Homepage Journal
    This would help reduce the liability of centralized 'link sites'.

    Sure, you can still be tracked once you hit a tracker, but at least the source of the links is safe.

    And before you shout ' freenet is slow', getting a simple BT link from FN would work well. Thats what FN is designed for.. Small bits of data..
  • I belong... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john...lamar@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:18AM (#11320801) Homepage Journal
    ...to a few a Torrent "communities" and feel pretty safe.

    First thing is that the communities don't share warez and big mpaa releases, just stuff you can't find elsewhere. Sure we are centralized but no one is going after people who share documentaries and obscure stand-up.

    Are they?

    Beware however... some torrent sites are selling out to scam artists. Take this site [torrentbits.org] for example - they hosted DVD's to "Appz" and sold out. I assume it's now a MPAA dragnet.
    • Hmm click login, oh look it takes you to here [mp3downloading.com]. Looks like torrentbits.org just got added to the suprnova.net/.com network of scamming paysites.
  • by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:23AM (#11320853)
    I very recently used BitTorrent to retrieve a couple of popular Linux ISOs. The performance was horrendous. Yes, my client was properly configured and the firewall was configured correctly. While over 200 peers and 60 seeds existed in the swarm, my download rate was an abysmal 20-30KBps. My upload speed, on the other hand, was a nifty 110KBps. (You're welcome.)

    This may seem like an isolated situation, but, I find it to be the case more often than not. Occasionally, I will experience a fast download but, only rarely. I realize that BitTorrent may be a good/only source for illegal downloads but, it was supposedly designed to distribute load and increase performance. For me, BitTorrent rarely meets its design purpose. In most cases a reliable FTP server offers better performance.

    So, I question BitTorrent's usefulness and whether it will last for its originally intended purpose.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is a well known problem where the upload interferes with the download. Simply limit your download and your download speed will jump to >200KB/s
    • I've found that whenever I'm behind a NAT firewall, even if its configured properly I get the same results. Obviously a defect in the bittorrent protocol, I'm sure the author is working on it, maybe it will improve someday..
    • A lot of us are on assymetrical service. For instance, my cable is limited to 4Mb down and 500Kb up. The typical 56K dialup service has an upload rate of 28K or less. When I use torrent, I find that my down speed rarely exceeds about twice my up speed (i.e. 1Mb), which is quite reasonable given how torrent works. Out of fairness, I leave my torrents up after they finish until the total upload bytes exceed the total download bytes, but perhaps not enough people do that.
    • Is your upload cap near 110KBps? I had similar problems until I got a client than could limit the upload rate. By setting the upload to about 70% of my connections max I was able greatly increase the download speed.
      • Thank you all. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FreeLinux ( 555387 )
        But, I am familiar with how to use BitTorrent and where problems can occur. I sit on a multi-megabit high-speed pipe (bidirectional). The BitTorrent client was set to limit upload speed at 110KBps, the client's default. I did try lower upload limits as well as limiting the number of connections but, it didn't change anything with the download performance. After the download completed (12 hours) I opened up the number of connections and removed the upload limit. Leachers enjoyed upload speeds of 600KBps unti
        • Well, it works great for me. Tops out my downstream connection regularly (300 to 400kbps...supposed to be 300 but I do get over that often).

          The tracker just needs to be well managed like empornium where if you don't keep your ratios up you'll be disabled. It encourages people to upload more. Most ISO torrents I've found give me pretty good speeds too.
    • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:49AM (#11321107) Journal
      I find it to be the case more often than not

      Yes, thanks to the TCP/IP protocol, this is the case more often than not.

      Because the TCP/IP protocol requires you to ACK everything you download, if you cram your upstream pipe full of junk, your ACK packets are going to be delayed a nice long time, causing your download to stop while the other end wonders what happened to you.

      Fixing this is as simple as limiting your upload rate. Or if you want to discover the internet as it was really meant to be on broadband, implement a Quality of Service [lartc.org] setup that prioritizes ACK packets and watch in amazement as everything seems to go faster when under load.
    • by 787style ( 816008 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @11:02AM (#11321238)
      That's your problem - your upload was choking your download. Use a client like Shadow's Bittornado http://www.bittornado.com/ [bittornado.com] and throttle your upload speed.
    • I have my BT client software configured to limit the u/l bandwidth. It's ABC (found at sourceforge).
    • The thing about bittorrent is that it is a trading protocol. Your upload is your 'bid', and you can receive a corresponding download. The trouble is that if your upload 'bid' is high, there won't be download 'bids' of equal magnitude, so you have to accept what you can get.

      It might also be, as others have suggested, that your upload is choking your download.

    • I find this very interesting, because I was recently able to download the FreeBSD 5.3 Release (the boot disk and ISOs for disc one and two) in just under an hour and a half. Thats about 1.5 GB of data in a very short time, and i was literally amazed at how well it worked, esepcially given that shareazaa reported only around 20 peers.

      I have almost never had a problem with bit-torrent downloads being too slow.
  • 80/20 rule (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:26AM (#11320875)
    We (Distributed Systems group at the University of St. Andrews) presented a paper at PGNet 2004, available at:

    http://distsyst.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/btpaper.pdf [st-andrews.ac.uk]

    which shows (Figure 10) that 75% of BitTorrent users don't upload as much as they download, or put another way, the majority of the uploaded data comes from 25% of the users. I don't have time to work out just how much of the data each section is responsible for, but the numbers are interestingly close to the 80/20 rule.

    I don't have time to run the numbers right now, but I wouldn't be too suprised to find that 20% of users uploaded 80% of the data...
    • which shows (Figure 10) that 75% of BitTorrent users don't upload as much as they download, or put another way,

      I'm not surprised. One of the reasons I, and my ilk, dispise the bittorent system is because we have a very capped upload. Getting the World of Warcraft client (from Blizzard, don't start) took a day and half, where it could have taken two hours if it had been a direct download.

      The bittorent system is for people who run sites - I can understand they love it, but its not for the users.
      • I think the real issue with the Blizzard implementation is that they try to force you not to download any more than you upload. My personal thoughts on this is that they should see the peer to peer uploads as a bandwidth saving, rather than a replacement for supplying massive upload bandwidth themselves.

        Personally I used the torrents at:

        http://www.wowtorrents.de.vu/

        with Azureus, and got reasonable download speed after a while.
        • I think the real issue with the Blizzard implementation is that they try to force you not to download any more than you upload.

          Hm, I thought that was how all bittorent implementation worked?
  • domain tracking (Score:2, Informative)

    it seemed to me like those guys had placed emphasis on domains, but is it not possible that multiple domains may point to a single site?
    for example, with suprnova.org's multitude of mirrors, it's really a single site that uses many domains, so it doesnt seem fair to me to say that 10% of the domains having over 90% of the files is a big deal, and is very skewed towards centralized locations.
  • Indicates Nothing (Score:3, Informative)

    by CrazyWingman ( 683127 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:49AM (#11321101) Journal

    From TFA:

    First of all, it should be noted that the dataset was from early December, and thus preserves the distribution of torrents before the recent site shutdowns.

    So, you may want to try reading a little more closely next time. In no way does this article indicate "that irrespective of the recent damage dealt to global torrent sites, the communities are still very active".

    Slashdot moderators, mind RTFAing before publishing submissions?

  • double-tailed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @10:51AM (#11321117) Homepage
    The reason why the "extra long tail" is so amazingly long is because the authors are merging two different types of BitTorrent usage. BitTorrent was designed for legitimate content, and for content distributors to run their own trackers. For example, my tracker [degreez.net] is used just to distribute my own projects. Distribution is off the main website [bittornado.com], with only one torrent shown. This is an example of BT's legitimate use, and even the [etree.org] largest [legaltorrents.com] legitimate [animesuki.com] BitTorrent sites pale in comparison to the piracy sites. There, you'll see much higher numbers of torrents, and few servers that only distribute small numbers of torrents.
  • by Jahz ( 831343 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @11:06AM (#11321302) Homepage Journal
    It is true that the closing of Suprnova.org was a mighty blow to the availibility of torrents, but it changes nothing in the long run. In a few weeks there will be a new uber-big torrent directory. Actually, there already are a few [orbdesign.net].

    In my opinion, BitTorrent is still a new and wandering technology. It is being employed in many different way and still has plenty of undiscovered potential. It is already an excellent way to cheaply distribute free software (i.e. linux distros). It is also a great way to distribute 0-day files with minimal liability and cost.

    BitTorrent is still the best way to get less-than-legal new (...brand new) tv show episodes, movies and multi-platform games. There are many reasons for this. Namely, it spreads liability across hundreds or thousands of individuals, not a single server. Secondly, .torrent files are very small and easy to spread. Finally, even if every peer has a slow dialup connection, a broadband downloader can still reach some very respectable speeds. Not to mention that most of the clients preform superb error checking on each peice of data.

    As a protocal, BT is perhaps the most promising for large file distribution. There are some faster, and some even less centralized protocals, but in the end BT beats them all.

    If you are concerned about BT's future as a method of underground file distribution: worry not. The torrent underground has its roots firmly planted in IRC. In fact, some of the best sites for well seeded torrents are just web-front ends to IRC channels (i.e. tvtorrents [tvtorrents.tv]). BT will exist until something better comes along. That is the way of things.

    note: this is not directly in response to the articles, rather it is in response to some of the other /. posts.
  • This is just a thinly veiled attempt to download porn and movies over torrents with no legal repurcussions :)
  • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @12:33PM (#11322618) Homepage
    There's an easy-to-use wrapper for bit torrent available here [bannedmusic.org]. It allows grandma to simply click once on a link and download the torrent... even if she didn't have bit torrent installed.
  • I'm working on a decentralised, searchable version of BitTorrent called BitTrickle [ucl.ac.uk]. If you're a Python hacker, please consider lending a hand - it's probably only a day's work for someone who knows the BT source code.

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