Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Now begins a torrent of words and a trickling of sense." Theocritus

The previous post spoke about P2P file sharing. I would like to focus on another method today. Torrents are the current favorite way of file sharing or transporting. In the previous post I said I do not endorse this method of finding files however it is gaining a certain amount of legal status. One example of this is the band Nine Inch Nails (NIN). They are freely distributing their own music on these torrent sites. I should say the vast majority of the files still remains illegally shared . The reasons torrent are more popular than P2P are the speed and the size. How it works is the user goes to a torrent search site like Piratebay or Mininova and then does a search. As the user goes through and finds a file it will have two bits of information. A seeder count and a leecher count. We’ll come back to that in a bit. The user finds a file and downloads it. Then they need a client or a program that is made just to handle this sort of file. Now the file that is being downloaded is only a tiny fragment of the file called a seed. This seed then gets sent back through the client software and gets sent to others who have another piece of the seeding puzzle. This system relies on many users who remain online to share their piece of the file. This means what is being downloaded is just small and fast bits of data from many different users. Unfortunately, for this system, some users stop sharing the moment they get a file and then stop it. These people are generally called leechers while sharers are called seeders. The system works very well for moving large files through the net. Many movie companies are looking very closely at this method in hopes of using it as a legal movie downloading service. The future of renting a movie may just be using something like this for a small fee.

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