Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Will OSX Build In Torrenting? 285

Cjattwood writes "Mac OS rumors has an article describing a possible implementation of a Bittorrent client into Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard", including a unique sharing reward system where the user can share bandwidth and get rewards, such as credit in the iTunes store."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Will OSX Build In Torrenting?

Comments Filter:
  • You upload a little and you get infinite download credit for whatever movie you want. Sometimes even before it's out in the stores!
    • It's a great idea. It's a real shame, a real shame, that there's no way of, say, building this in to iTunes, the thing they're trying to speed up, a quasi-independent application that runs on a variety of different Mac OS X versions. I mean, I can understand how they need to build this in to the operating system, it's such a... low level protocol and everything, and it would add so much bloat, yeah, bloat to iTunes to build it in.

      (Yes, I think the article is bullshit. There's absolutely no reason for Appl

      • How much do they spend on bandwidth every time they push out a patch? I bet it's more than they will be issuing in credit.
        When logic fails, check the $$
      • By "build it in to the operating system" it would built in to the extent that internet explorer is, which is to say, bundled and relied upon. It's not like it's going to be in the kernel or something, and it makes more sense to bundle it with the OS if multiple Apple applications will use it.
      • The term operating system gets thrown around to mean a lot of things. I don't think you're going to see a BT kext. But it's not unreasonable to have it show up farther up the abstraction level, such as in the software update application. Strictly speaking, that may not be part of the operating system, but it is in the minds of many.
        • I understand that, but iTunes isn't built into the operating system in any sense and it, too, provides useful features that Apple wants us to have, such as iPod management software and, indeed, the iTunes Music Store.

          When I say "built in to the operating system", I'm talking using the same terms as MacOSRumors - it'd be a feature tied to the operating system, such that users of earlier Mac OS X's can't use it. That's ridiculous. Apple has no reason to cripple the technology like that. Apple doesn't benefi

    • When NeXT came out every box shipped with ZILLA installed. It was the forerunner of modern screen-saver grid computers. You donated unused cycles to the Zilla organization and they did intersting stuff. In particular they allegedly did much of the four-color map theorem proof on Zilla and some of the early movie CGI work was done on Zilla. Another example of how far ahead NeXT was at the time. (another groovy thing on NeXT was it's early use of Mime and markup formatting for e-mail, something we take f
  • wow... (Score:3, Funny)

    by sxtxixtxcxh ( 757736 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:35PM (#15239107) Homepage Journal
    imagine getting credit for itunes music for torrenting itunes music... what fun.
  • by richdun ( 672214 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:39PM (#15239147)
    Credit for torrenting? Why would Apple give away iTunes music just for people to run torrents? Well, maybe because those torrents will serve up iTunes movies. Dedicated bandwidth has been the greatest obstacle to getting a full iTunes HD movie store (well, that and the movie companies' agreement, but if the tech is there and economical, the content will follow).
    • by rovingeyes ( 575063 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:57PM (#15239319)
      "...but if the tech is there and economical, the content will follow..."

      I wonder how AT&T and Verizon will try to extort money for this to happen. Are they gonna track ITunes bittorrent traffic and charge Apple for it? If they can demand money from Google, Amazon etc for their content, which is incedentally less amount of data (per request probably megs at max) than a HD movie (gigs of data per request), I don't see why these cartels wouldn't eye Apple as their next target.

  • by doormat ( 63648 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:40PM (#15239151) Homepage Journal
    I can see Apple doing this for movies since they're so large size-wise. I wouldn't mind using half of my upstream to earn credit at the store. Good way to defray the cost of my internet bill - and since I'm on a comercial account my ISP doesnt say anything about me using a lot of bandwidth.
    • Yes, but when 5% of its customers start maxing out your bandwidth regularly on a home line, the ISPs are gonna say something, either to you or Apple.
  • Hard to believe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scrow ( 620374 )
    I don't think that the legitamate uses of BitTorrent come close to equaling the bandwidth wasted on downloading pr0n, music and the latest blockbuster movies. So why would Apple build this into thier OS? Will it help legitimize BitTorrent? I doubt it. It would be interesting to see them distribute updates via bittorrent though.
    • As so many have already pointed out, the reason for this is to distribute things like software updates and the like. You tell apple "You may use my upload bandwidth, sure", they encrypt the shit out of something and send it to your hard drive, from there it can be uploaded multiple times while the bandwidth cost to apple was that of uploading it once.

      In return for this defraying of costs, apple gives you a personal credit for a song at Itunes or some other incentive.
  • Translation: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Avillia ( 871800 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:41PM (#15239160)
    Help us take our hosting cost and we'll help you negate that bill you pay for 30 tasty megabytes of fiber... Yesss...

    Personally, this is the best implementation of the BitTorrent technology yet.

    • Re:Translation: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LnxAddct ( 679316 )
      I think Apple is being even slicker with this move. This is Apple also building up its defenses against AT&T, etc... AT&T want to start throttling Apple's, Google's, Amazon's, etc... bandwidth. AT&T will have a hell of a time throttling the connections of all of their customers and any other IPs trying to exchange data with AT&T customers. It's one thing to throttle at a source, its a whole other problem to throttle a legally distributed network, and to do it without losing a good chunk of c
  • Interesting, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Penguin Programmer ( 241752 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:42PM (#15239176) Homepage
    This sounds like a great thing, since it would make BitTorrent more available for non-techie users and add another vote to the legitimacy of BT.

    However, if there's a crediting system, does that mean that Apple is watching your BT usage? If I'm not mistaken, Apple has some interest as a content producer and may not like what they see BT being used for. Is this going to be yet another organization watching what people transfer and ratting them out to the RIAA/MPAA/CIA, or will they be Not Evil (tm) and keep their noses out of people's business?
    • I would assume that to get credit, Apple would have to know what you're uploading. And you'd probably get credit only for Apple-approved files, not everything you seed, and only to people who legitimately bought the files.

      For example, if in a year or so, you're seeding Xmen 3 from iTunes Movie, you'd only upload to people who bought the movie. In terms of RIAA/MPAA/CIA, it should (I know, I'm dreaming) be legal for you to do. Anything else you seed would be worthless in terms of credit.

      And if Apple does

  • Groan. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:44PM (#15239191) Homepage Journal
    TFA seems slashdotted already, but given the name of the site I can only take this with an extremely large grain of salt.

    Beyond that, it's an interesting concept, but one that could seriously botch up torrenting as it is. Bittorrent works so well (with both legal and shady source material) because every user gets the combined benefit of getting what they want, and helping thers who want the same thing to get it. At the very most, a big ratio gets you get bragging rights on some tracker site. My inner folk-song-singing hippie cringes at what result throwing monetary things like iTunes credit into the mix would have.

    • Why? Don't you know that technology is a tool and is not inherently good or evil. That's our arguement in defense of bittorrent, and you want to turn around and use the same logic as the RIAA??

      The power of bittorrent is not that people hold hands and share love, its that they hold hands inorder to diffuse the cost of distribution. It should be no surprise that a large company takes advantage of a tool that could make distribution more efficient. I really don't see how they are throwing anything into the "mi
  • by TeamSPAM ( 166583 ) <> on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:46PM (#15239209) Homepage

    If we can share the software updates between macs, it would be a good thing. With 3 macs in my house, why should I have to download the updates 3 times? I should be able to get a copy from the mac on my local net that downloaded it first. I just hope they allow the torrent client to have a throttle on it.

    • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:55PM (#15239291) Journal
      You can already do this.

      In Software Update, under the "update" menu, select either "Download Only" or "Install and Keep Package"

      You will then find the packages at /Library/Receipts and can copy them to other Macs.

      • by TeamSPAM ( 166583 ) <> on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:34PM (#15239655) Homepage

        There are 2 problems with this suggestion:

        1. This works when there is only 1 software update available. This solution gets ugly when there are multiple updates to install. Doing these updates via the command line end up requiring multiple reboots, where the software update panel will only require 1 reboot if needed. I may need to review doing updates from the command line so that I can do multiple installs.
        2. I'm lazy. ;-)
          In the wonderful world of Apple's "it just works", I want the pref panel for software update to have a checkbox that says cache all updates and a textbox that indicates my local update cache.
        • This works fine for multiple updates, just select them all and then "download and install".

          Copy all the updates to the second Mac and launch them all at once, the Installer will run the installs back-to-back and doesn't (usually) get hung up when one requires a restart, it just starts the next one anyway. Sometimes also there are dependencies and a particular package won't install the first time, just restart and run that one again and it should work fine.

          You do have to restart manually when they're done, t
    • If we can share the software updates between macs, it would be a good thing. With 3 macs in my house, why should I have to download the updates 3 times? I should be able to get a copy from the mac on my local net that downloaded it first. I just hope they allow the torrent client to have a throttle on it.

      What if the torrent didn't leave the local network? Azureus can detect machines on the local network -- who needs to throttle when only one machine is downloading over the thin pipe and all the machines

    • If we can share the software updates between macs, it would be a good thing.

      Tiger Server does that. It might be possible to hack something similar into OS X client, since plenty of OS X Server features exist in OS X, just without graphical means to configure/start them. The software update server is barely more than a webserver with the packages and checksum files.

  • by joeykiller ( 119489 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:50PM (#15239247) Journal
    I don't know if P2P built into the OS makes any sense, but certainly it makes sense to build it into iTunes (the application). Some people have claimed that Apple's margin on iTunes content is razor thin. I don't know whether that's true or not, but I certainly know that bandwidth -- when you want the best possible access to your customers, no matter where they are -- doesn't come cheap.

    So adding P2P to iTunes could be one area where Apple could improve their margins. I guess the credit system would be a way to secure that people actually kept on sharing their files after they were downloaded/bought from iTunes (the store).

    It's an interesting idea (if it's true).
    • I am producing this comment out of uncertainty, but I think that downloading iTunes songs via torrent would be impossible because, unless I am mistaken, every DRMed song is different because the protection scheme is bound to the iTunes account. Am I right?
      • I don't know how FairPlay works, but with Windows DRM it's possible to distribute a protected media file. When you try to play this file, you're automatically sent to a web page where you can pay to "unlock" the file.
    • No. it's not exactly razor-thin.

      According to DownhillBattle [], Apple takes a $0.35 cut from every song. The labels take a whopping $0.53, and the artists get a paltry $0.11.

      A 35% profit is pretty good in any book.
      • OK.. business 101: assuming that you have the $.35 correct, that is not profit, that is gross margin. Profit is what you have when you have deducted all of the costs associated. Direct expenses would be things like the bandwidth and the credit-card transaction fees. And less direct costs would include all of the servers and personnel costs involved in developing and running the store.

        After all that, profits are probably razor thin.
  • Why? Well, Apple are trying to get in the movie business, and the only efficient scalable way to distribute huge files is, frankly, P2P, and giving people incentives such as free credit is cheaper than providing the bandwidth themselves. It also partially legitimises P2P, which is considered a "bad thing". About time more companies caught onto it
  • Makes no sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paulxnuke ( 624084 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:06PM (#15239399)
    The name "torrent" would scare off the few IT managers willing to play with Apple: they wouldn't dare put anything that even suggests P2P on a company system (their VP may not know what a torrent is, but he's heard the name and thinks it's bad.)

    If Apple distributes this and then some sleazy congressman manages to make it illegal, they'll have a big media (if not legal) problem and have to disable high profile system services.

    If Apple distributes this, it will poison their relationship with the gangsters who control ITMS content (whether it has any bearing on song sharing or not.)

    What possible use is it? Apple owns Akamai. Their updates download faster than just about anyone's. If they use a torrent system it _will_ be slower (end user upload speed), not faster, and someone will sooner or later figure out how to upload trojans in place of updates and really wreck their day.

    If Apple wants to hurt themselves, it would be easier and cheaper to just start donating computers to Al Quaeda.
  • "...including a unique sharing reward system where the user can share bandwidth and get rewards, such as credit in the iTunes store."

    If Apple is really this desperate for bandwidth, could this be a sign that we'll finally see higher-bitrate content on iTunes?
  • Please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Steve Cowan ( 525271 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:09PM (#15239425) Journal
    Mac OS Rumors has a long history of being the most uninformed, random Mac rumor site in existence. Its predictions are rarely accurate, and when they are, they have generally been mentioned on another site first.

    This is a fairly typical MOSR pipe dream.

    Apple does not need my unreliable, low-speed bandwidth. They deliver 100+ MB software updates to thousands of users without blinking. Given that most of their iTMS downloads (music, movies, whatever) are from Windows users, they would see little gain by offering software update credits to Mac users. In fact, for their paltry savings on the cost of bandwidth, they would have an administrative nightmare to face.

    I file this one under bullshit.
    • Re:Please. (Score:4, Informative)

      by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:17PM (#15239497)
      Totally concur. Here's another example of this guy smoking stuff:

      From the MOSR front page: In the process of researching recent reports from sources regarding Apple's "Gamer's Dream" Macs now in the late stages of development, we uncovered information suggesting that Apple is testing an alternate version of the Gamer's MacBook which would employ an nVIDIA nForce chipset and dual GeForce 7800GTX Mobile GPU's. Memory bandwidth would be slightly less than that offered by the existing Intel chipset in today's MacBook Pro's, but graphics performance would be even higher than the ATi X1800/X1900 based dual-GPU laptop design we've spoken about previously.

      Not only does he have no sources, he doesn't have much of a clue about economics or design either. So he's a faker and not a very good one.
  • by tentac1e ( 62936 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:18PM (#15239500) Journal
    I'm working on a project for one of the megaconglomerates we all love to hate. It incorporates bittorrent style sharing, but all literature refers to it as "grid" downloading. Also, content is never downloaded to the user's computer-- it's "cached". But since downloads are so damned DRM'ed, I guess you can't consider it downloaded anyway.
  • FTA:

    Uploads would use a unique port from other types of BitTorrent traffic so that network administrators can see it as separate and handle it accordingly.

    If ISPs recognize Apple's "iTunes BT port" as empirically a no-pirating-zone and remove any packet filtering, then I predict it'll be a prime target for "illegal networks" to use thus effectively making this whole "unique port" deal a flop from the first turn at the track. Because, after all, you can't just run any protocol you want on any port number, e
  • I use Cablevisions Optimum Online cable Internet service. They have some mysterious rules about subscribers using bandwidth. Seems if you upload for any extended period of time you will get capped. Capped being data transfer limits [].

    My download is capped now at 250KB/s. That was the slowest I could download as far as I can remember. Is it our bandwidth to share? Is it our to use? If we upload even 20KB/s will other ISPs start capping everyone.

  • by alphasubzero949 ( 945598 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:28PM (#15239602)
    The day MOSR becomes a credible source on /. is when not only toasters fly but water flows uphill.
  • bandwidth and get rewards, such as credit in the iTunes store.

    Oh, that's thrilling.

  • Anyone wanna take bets on how fast the RIAA is going to start yelling? If this rumor becomes true of course.
  • I would do it in a heart beat. As it is, my computer stays on all day. If I could build iTunes credit towards all that idle time, I would go for it. Too bad the service will never be used on the Windows Platform. Guess its time to buy a Mac Mini with the media center enhancements and just let it sit there and earn me...auctually my wife...some iTunes credit. She loves that damn store.
  • He's just making up crap. The site is only right by accident. Why the hell does /. link to that?
  • I don't really know what else needs to be said. If the guy who runs MacOS rumors told me the sky is blue, I'd check. What's sad is he used to be reliable. Now he's just a washed up has-been who fabricates stories to drive traffic to his site. He's as reliable as Hussein's old minister of information, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf.
  • by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:00PM (#15239891)
    This may be a little OT, but I'd like to see Apple offer advertisements for download on the iTMS in exchange for store credit. They could make them interactive or something if they want to make sure you watch them. I don't mind commercials, I just mind that they interrupt whatever I'm trying to watch. I'd gladly sit and watch/interact with commercials for 20-30 min if it got me $2-3 to spend on commercial-free TV shows like Lost or The Colbert Report. There's a strange bit of psychology that makes me despise spending $2 out of my pocket for an episode of Lost but be fine with watching 20 minutes of commercials for it, even though my time is worth more than that.
  • This is just the perfect story for me to plug my latest research [], a couple of crypto protocols to help ensure P2P users behave honestly when uploading and storage rewards of some kind are involved, and there exists the incentive to cheat. Hope someone puts them to good use.
  • Apple call up a few of the really big ISPs, and arrange to co-locate a couple of servers, with unlimited bandwidth to that ISPs customers. Should be brilliantly cost effective, and save both parties money.

    Don't get me wrong, BitTorrent is a great way of getting files around, but not for something as big or well funded as Apple...
  • Podcasts should be automatically fetched by torrent. This may require yet another extension to RSS for podcasting, but the benefit for creators of all size and bandwidth budget would be totally worth it.

    So, based on what I've seen Apple do with things like WebKit, is that they'll have an implementation nicely packaged into a library and one killerexample App which uses it.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes