Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Torrent / BitTorrent

What is Torrent?
    Torrent is a highly popular peer-to-peer file-sharing activity that allows participants to send and receive files from other computers. All torrenting takes place using a torrent program. Examples of torrenting programs include uTorrent, Azureus and the original BitTorrent. These programs allow your computer to send and receive files on a specific port and interpret the data from .TORRENT files. Torrent is a small file (around few kilobytes) with the suffix .torrent, which contains all the information needed to download a file the torrent was made for. That means it contains file names, their sizes, where to download from and so on.

What is BitTorrent?
    BitTorrent is an open source peer-to-peer protocol for downloading files on the internet. Consequently there are several free BitTorrent programs available to the public, each with differing features. The original source code was written by Bram Cohen. The idea behind BitTorrent is to allow massive distribution of popular files without penalizing the source by soaring bandwidth costs and possible crashes due to demand that exceeds the capability of the server.
    BitTorrent creates a different networking scheme. It uses the other clients who are also downloading the file to effectively act as servers to one another, simultaneously uploading the parts of the file received to others requesting the file. Hence, when you click on a file to download, several connections will be made to receive "slices" of the file that combine to create the entire file. Meanwhile, as you are downloading these "slices" you are also uploading them to anyone else that needs the parts you are receiving. Once the entire file is received it is considered polite to keep your client connected to act as a seed. A seed refers to a source that has the entire file available. In this way BitTorrent relieves the burden of the servers but more significantly it makes it possible for anyone to disseminate a file quickly and easily without requiring expensive servers or an infrastructure of distribution. If the demand is there, the file will spread.

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