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“Why isn’t BitTorrent faster?”, he asked.

Scott Granneman
March 2, 2005
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I’m on a mailing list for web developers, & recently one of the guys on the list told he was using Tomato Torrent (a BitTorrent client) on his Mac OS X box to download a 1.3 GB file, and it had taken almost a day so far, & he was less than half way there. His point: “I thought the whole point of Bittorrent was to make the process FAST. I could have FTP’d 1.3 gig much faster.”

Here’s my reply:

I haven’t used Tomato, but with Azureus, which is the best client I’ve ever used (Java, so it runs on anything), you can see who your peers are (people who only have pieces of the file, like you) and who the seeds are (people who have the entire file, like you will be at the end). You can also view how many pieces you have, who you’re getting pieces from, and the progress of those pieces. If you downloaded Azureus right now, killed Tomato, & pointed Azureus at your torrent file & your partial download, Azureus should pick right up from where you are.

As to why it’s slow: because the file isn’t popular, so not that many folks have it? Because you haven’t punched a hole in your firewall for the BT ports? Those are the two reasons I’d investigate.

With Azureus, I can easily tell exactly what’s happening with the file I’m downloading. Can you do that with Tomato? Have you fully explored that client?

As to speed, that CAN be an advantage of BT. But the bigger advantage is bandwidth allocation. If I’m the guy trying to make a 1.3 GB file available to the world, it’s going to cost me a hell of a lot less money (like, next to $0) to put it out there via BT than just FTP. With BT, bandwidth is spread & shared; with FTP, I’m eating every ... single … download. Ouch!

http://azureus.sourceforge.net/

I should have a short column appearing in Linux Magazine sometime soon about Azureus. It’s definitely the bee’s knees.



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