Bittorrent

I want to say something about Bittorrent. Its a fabulous way of getting the stuff you need, and stuff you are interested in. Its also about sharing. Its not like the traditional way of downloading… someone pays for a space on a website or ftp server and you get to leech off them at no cost. With bittorrent, everyone wears the cost because the uploading and downloading happens all at once, from and to everyone who has the file.

So: I am downloading File A and File B. So are a gazillion other people. But because of how Bittorrent works, as I am downloading from person a, b, and c, so I might also be uploading that which I have downloaded to person d, e, and f. They might have bits I don’t, and so I will also be downloading from them as well, and I may well be uploading to a, b, and c at the same time.

It sounds complex, but its not. Its actually a very efficient way of doing downloads and sharing what you have.

Before you start thinking bad things about me, there are many, many legal torrents out there. Many of the opensource community now distribute via bittorrent as well, and there are sites dedicated to only legal torrents. (When I speak of a torrent, I am simply referring to the 60k or so file which defines the downloadable file and tells us where it can be got from)

You can get legal files from Legal Torrents but you can also get them from Torrentspy. There are many sites out there, I find those two most useful.

So.. what to use? You can’t use a browser, or an ftp client with torrents. You need a specialised client which knows how to read .torrent files.

For Windows:
uTorrent: comes highly recommended. I’ve never used it, being on a Mac, but I understand its the bees knees at the moment.

For Mac:
Transmission: Just updated, this has become a very nice piece of software and for the moment it has replaced my usual favourite

Cross-Platform (for Linux, Windows and OSX)
Azureus: Java based, it was my favourite until Transmission came along again in its updated form. It does everything including washing the breakfast dishes, but you do need to forward your ports.

The only downside with BT is that if you have a net provider which limits your data transfer (as happens in Australia)… if you have one which counts data going both ways, up and down, you’ll chew through your allowance in no time at all. Bigpond is one of those which does that to you. I don’t know of others, though I’m sure all Bigpond resellers would do the same thing.

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4 thoughts on “Bittorrent

  1. A lot of people overlook the fact that bittorrent is a great way to distribute legal stuff – most people jump to the conclusion that it is all about piracy. Linux distributions come to mind especially the big ones like fedora which I downloaded in next to no time. I must say I steer clear of the big blue pond, iiNet have been good to me so far.

  2. Its a much more efficient way of getting a product out there. We Mac users have an Aquified version of Open Office called NeoOffice (we also have Open Office but that gives us the ugly java interface). The NeoOffice coders distribute via http, ftp and BT as well. Its way better.

    Re bigpond: I was with them at first, blackmailed into it if I wanted to be in the first wave of ADSL users in my neighbourhood… I switched to TSN and that was less than satisfactory but have been with Internode now for more than a year and couldn’t be happier.

  3. It’s my understanding that Transmission has previously caused trouble on some servers, mucking about with ul/dl stats and polling for data too much, and gotten users banned. Do you happen to know if this has been fixed recently? Azureus is a pig but, apparently, a safe bet.

  4. Since the updates, yes, the bug which was making transmission a bandwidth pig has gone. There was just another update this morning as well. Its so much better than Azureus.,.. when AZ is running I can’t do another thing, it just eats system resources. With transmission I can multitask on and offline, with almost not noticable deterioration in performance. I’m sold. AZ is about to go byebye.

    You might want to check in your favourite forum… I don’t go there anymore… but so far I have had no trouble.

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