SwiftlyTilting: usability, reusability

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Next Generation of P2P: BitTorrent and Beyond

I recently discovered BitTorrent, and I instantly fell in love. Ridiculous download speeds and brand new content, organized around the web instead of inside the client. But I find there is one problem with BitTorrents: It’s not easy to distribute your own content. You must either run a web server, or find a web server already running the software needed to distribute a file, known as a tracker. A tracker keeps a list of who is downloading the file, so that everybody downloading the file knows who else is downloading, and without a tracker, a torrent is useless because nobody knows who else has the file.

The tracker is the one centralized part of the BitTorrent protocol. A decentralized tracker system would be the logical next step for torrents. Each peer could host their own tracker, so that anyone who cared to share the file could easily do so, even if the original tracker was down. While it may take a while for this system to be built, BitTorrent client developers in the mean time could start including trackers in their clients now to encourage more file sharing.

Try out these PHP based tracker packages.

Recomended BitTorrent clients:
ABC (yet Another Bittorrent Client)
BitTornado

Read a Bit Torrent FAQ


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