back to article Teenage noughties protocol BitTorrent reinvents itself again

In an age of on-demand Netflix content streaming, BitTorrent Inc – which developed and maintains the peer-to-peer protocol from the early 2000s – reminds many of us of its historic place in file-sharing rather than bringing to mind the modern software biz of the same name. In pre-YouTube days, BitTorrent accounted for 20 per …

  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Plus ca change ...

    if I were an investor - or a seasoned dev - then I would have a rummage through older "failed" ideas and see *why* they failed. Because some ideas are sound, but just lack the technology grunt to get off the ground.

    Psion to iPhone is a good example.

    1. Ashley_Pomeroy

      Re: Plus ca change ...

      The flip side is that some ideas have a surmountable technical obstacle, but they're just stupid. I remember that there was an obsession with pens and handwriting as an input method in the late 1990s, early 2000s. I can understand why people came to this conclusion, but even at the time it felt wrong and in retrospect the obsession with pen computing was a brake on progress.

      Bittorrent is an interesting example of a clever solution to a genuine problem - how to download masses of porn and warez, quickly - that isn't easy to monetise.

  2. WibbleMe

    So everyone collectively will simply use password for their password for free Wifi

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The wheres?

  4. Simon 4

    Early adopter

    Proud to say that I was one of the first users of BitTorrent.

    Used it in its earliest days to download and watch the first season of 24 before it was broadcast - even in the USA.

    Do the TV companies still distribute shows to regional affiliates by satellite before broadcast? (That was how the pre-broadcast shows were sourced). Something tells me it's off-satellite digital distribution these days....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Teenage noughties protocol BitTorrent"

    I'm sure the company would protest that people used it for downloading more than *that*. :-O

  6. Nate Amsden

    why would the network obey a law

    That was never written for it. And of course obviously it is not a law just an observation that the number of transistors would double every so often.

    Seems that bit torrent is a solution trying to find a problem that people will pay to have their software use.

    (Have never used nor needed bit torrent myself)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: why would the network obey a law

      >why would the network obey a law that was never written for it.

      Because maybe there is a correlation with how cheap stuff is and how much of it people buy?

      The number of connected devices in a household of four today can easily be: - 4 laptops - 1 desktop - 3 tablets - 5 phones - 1 television - 1 PVR - 1 printer - 2 Chromecasts - 1 router - 2 WiFi range extenders - 1 games console.

      Ten years ago it would have just been the laptops and router.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: why would the network obey a law

      I use bittorrent daily, to download all the shite films that i wouldn't have gone to the cinema to see at any rate. I also use it to download albums and software, to give them a proper hearing / watching / trial to see if they are worthy of my £££.

      Why spend real money to discover a CD/DVD/App is hopeless when i can download the same thing for a fraction of the cost and evaluate it in my own time at my own pace.

      Then i can decide to delete it or buy it.

      The team behind directory opus get the idea by giving you a full 60 days trial. If you cant decide after 2 months whether it's suitable well then you need to take a long hard look at some aspect of your life.

      Long live BitTorrent.

  7. 1Rafayal

    bit torrent has always offered an interesting solution for getting large amounts of data across poor networks spread across geographically distant locations.

    I have floated it a number of times for potential solutions, but it has always had a bad press for the piracy thing.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: bad press for the piracy thing.

    see also: "BitCoin" (or blockchain) which scares people rigid as they have visions of "the darknet (c)".

    There's a whole lot of catching up to do building up, as (older) directors look for the long grass.

    I'm not plugging BitCoin, per se, but baby, bathwater ....

  9. Leeroy


    Moving several 100G plus backup files off site sounds like a bloody good task for bit torrent with a nice UI. It doesn't seem that processor intensive either.

    We currently use Rsync through VPN but it's a pain to set up and monitor, always looking for a better option.

    1. dave the rave

      Re: Rsync

      I've always thought there should a system where spare capacity (assignable as percentage of free space for example) on workstation / laptop hard disks could be used in some kind of network raid storage used for onsite backups - 100 office computers will nowadays have at least 300GB going spare - why not create a massive pool of storage space where the parity / redundancy exists across say 50% of the computers - 300GB * 100 / 2 = 15TB of storage which could be used for non critical storage of archive data say or previous versions of backups?

      Perhaps this BitTorrent technology could be used for the above?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Rsync

        I dunno, but before I implemented such a scheme I would weigh up the power consumption costs.

        You do raise a good point though - many new PCs have oodles of unused storage, and many folk never fill it up even after years (though the emergence of SSDs has made people rethink stuff... "Instead of a slow 500GB HDD of which I use very little, maybe a fast 128GB SSD would suit me better, especially if I'm using network storage and/or archive media")

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rsync

        I do know that such exist as I get invites by various storage startups along the way for such. Tossed 'em so no idea as to the company/product name.

      3. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: Rsync

        You mean something like Windows 10 downgrade does as default?

      4. Vic

        Re: Rsync

        I've always thought there should a system where spare capacity (assignable as percentage of free space for example) on workstation / laptop hard disks could be used in some kind of network raid storage used for onsite backups

        HDFS does that...


    2. robpomeroy

      Re: Rsync

      Take a look at Syncthing. I've been using it for a couple of years for on- and off-site replication of similar-sized datasets. It's been pretty stable for a while now, with binaries for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and so on. Has some interesting versioning features that might assist with your use case too. No VPN required. You can use a public introduction server or run your own. Not particularly difficult to set up.

      Personally I use it to synchronise between the contents of done Veracrypt containers and several different computers at different locations. A reasonably good private "Dropbox".

      Open source, fairly secure, active dev community. Well worth checking out.

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