Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Forum covering all aspects of small gauge cinematography! This is the main discussion forum.

Moderator: Andreas Wideroe

User avatar
Sparky
Senior member
Posts: 1062
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 2:26 am
Real name: Mark
Location: London

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by Sparky » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:33 am

I don't think you are getting it- sorry Roger. If I have a 10GB file that I want to share with 10 people, I could FTP it to them individually, either together or one at a time. If one at a time they would each get full bandwidth and quickest download- faster than a torrent probably, but they'd have to wait their turn. If all together they would have a slow download as they'd have to share my upload bandwidth. BUT I'd end up having to foot the bill for 100GB upload!! With the torrent I would seed much less than that- that's the point, and they'd probably get it quicker than if they tried to ftp it simultaneously from me to boot.

Mark
Last edited by Sparky on Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6134
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by MovieStuff » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:39 am

Sparky wrote:I don't think you are getting it- sorry Roger. If I have a 10GB file that I want to share with 10 people, I could FTP it to them individually, either together or one at a time. If one at a time they would each get full bandwidth and quickest download- faster than a torrent probably. If all together they would have a slow download as they'd have to share my upload bandwidth. BUT I'd end up having to foot the bill for 100GB upload!! With the torrent I would seed much less than that- that's the point, and they'd probably get it quicker to boot.

Mark
Hmmmm....So you're saying using bit torrent saves you money but isn't any faster for those that download last? But how can anyone possibly get the entire file unless you upload the entire file to the network? Even in pieces? And the guy that comes along that doesn't want to upload anything but just wants to watch, what's his requirement to the network?

I guess I don't get it. Seriously, I'm not being argumentative. I am trying to understand but this is totally opposite of what Christoph just posted where the last guy downloads in about an hour while the initial guys require 12 hours to download.

Roger

User avatar
Sparky
Senior member
Posts: 1062
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 2:26 am
Real name: Mark
Location: London

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by Sparky » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:44 am

So you're saying using bit torrent saves you money but isn't any faster for those that download last?
where did I say that? As the person doing the download I don't give a hoot who gets it faster than who- just that they get it reliably and reasonably quickly and not at too much of my expense. If they want to play arsey then sure they can cheat and get benefits of faster download, provided their peers and fellow men keep online- but that's just foolish and selfish- they run the risk of missing out on the complete file. Best is if all muck in together- why wouldn't they? It's no big deal anyway.

Mark
Last edited by Sparky on Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6134
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by MovieStuff » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:58 am

Sparky wrote:
So you're saying using bit torrent saves you money but isn't any faster for those that download last?
where did I say that?
Here:
Sparky wrote: ....If one at a time they would each get full bandwidth and quickest download- faster than a torrent probably. If all together they would have a slow download as they'd have to share my upload bandwidth. BUT I'd end up having to foot the bill for 100GB upload!!
Perhaps I did not understand but it seemed like you were saying that using the FTP to send the file to each of them separately might be faster than using the bit torrent but that you'd have a higher upload bill.

Sparky wrote: As the person doing the download I don't give a hoot who gets it faster than who- just that they get it reliably and reasonably quickly and not at too much of my expense. If they want to play arsey then sure they can cheat and get benefits of faster download, provided their peers and fellow men keep online- but that's just foolish and selfish. Best is if all muck in together. It's no big deal anyway.

Mark
So....once the file is on the network, then someone after that can download it faster than those in the beginning? If I was right, then why tell me I don't get it?

Regardless of whether you care about it or not, I'm trying to get an accurate understanding about the responsibilities of those in the network. From what I'm gathering, there is a reliance on others within the network to A) download pieces of files and B) keep their PCs online for the benefit of people that might very well never contribute to the network. If so, then is bit torrent seen as a general distribution tool for strangers to access your file or is it seen as a kind of "club" where only members can share the files and have responsibilities to share the bandwidth, even if they personally have nothing to upload?

Roger

User avatar
Uppsala BildTeknik
Senior member
Posts: 2261
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:20 am
Location: Sweden, Alunda
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by Uppsala BildTeknik » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:00 am

MovieStuff wrote:So you're saying using bit torrent saves you money but isn't any faster for those that download last?
It doesen´t save me any money because I have no upload nor download limits. I do however have speed limits, so if I would share this torrent to everyone directly it would take weeks upon weeks and only like 2 or 3 of you guys would have finished by then.

It is a dangerous thing to be thinking "I´ll wait a little bit and download as the last man." It the other guys shut down after a few weeks, thinking everyone has downloaded you are left without a download at all.

Or if most people shut off and a few good guys stick in there and seed you end up just as slow as the first guy (or even slower, depending on the upload speed from these good guys).

MovieStuff wrote:... how can anyone possibly get the entire file unless you upload the entire file to the network?
Well obviously the original seeder (me in this case) needs to keep seeding until there is at least one complete copy out there, to make sure the torrent will survive.

And then the rest of you guys need to keep seeding until everyone has what they want/need.


Even in pieces? And the guy that comes along that doesn't want to upload anything but just wants to watch, what's his requirement to the network?
MovieStuff wrote:...the last guy downloads in about an hour while the initial guys require 12 hours to download.
The more the merrier. More peers means a healthier torrent (less likely to die) and faster downloads for everyone.

Does it matter if you can download it in 12 hours or in 1 hour, really? If you keep your computer on all day... who cares if it takes all day to download the file.

Also, anyone who wants a torrent should jump on the wagon as early as possible, to make sure they get the download at all. sure.

And sure, there are selfish morons who just download, adjust their upload speed to a minimum and then shut off the torrent when they finish the download. Idiots are everywhere, torrents are no exception.

User avatar
Sparky
Senior member
Posts: 1062
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 2:26 am
Real name: Mark
Location: London

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by Sparky » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:08 am

Perhaps I did not understand but it seemed like you were saying that using the FTP to send the file to each of them separately might be faster than using the bit torrent but that you'd have a higher upload bill.
Yes with FTP, but then they'd also have to wait in line so the last man would wait far longer- what does it matter how long they download for if they get it faster then they would if they had to wait in a queue?? And yes it saves the initial uploader money.

And nowhere did I say
but isn't any faster for those that download last?
Roger, this is a well established file sharing scheme that works, well. You are being deliberately argumentative. I'm starting to remember why I drifted from this forum all those years ago....

Mark
Last edited by Sparky on Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Uppsala BildTeknik
Senior member
Posts: 2261
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:20 am
Location: Sweden, Alunda
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by Uppsala BildTeknik » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:19 am

MovieStuff wrote:... using the FTP to send the file to each of them separately might be faster than using the bit torrent...
Sure, it could be faster "in real download time" if I have a fast internet connection. Lets say I have a huge file that I can upload in one week with my upload speed.

I upload to peer 1 = it takes one week. After that week has passed...
I upload to peer number 2. It takes another week. After two weeks have passed...
I upload to peer 3. It takes yet another week...
Now 3 weeks have passed. The rest of the peers will have to wait, getting nothing meanwhile. I upload to peer 4 and yet another week will pass. Lets say we have 40 peers in total. The last guy would have to wait 39 weeks before he can initiate his download.

Now, if the above was a torrent, it would take me about one week to upload the torrent. When this week is passing by, a few peers start downloading from me. They also upload and share, letting more peers download. After a few weeks, if everyone keeps their computers online with the torrents seeding, we have a buttload of computers uploading to the rest of the peers. So everyone will get their files in a matter of a few weeks.

Lets say that the average download for all the peers is like 1,5 weeks (torrents sometimes go up and down in speed, not sure why, they are not as steady as a FTP), they would be downloading longer compared to a FTP, but they would all receive the big file faster with a torrent.

Because everyone can download and share simultaneously, no need to wait in queue.

Also, you could be one of the last guys to download, and be left with peers with poor upload speeds. Then your download could take much longer than the guys who joined the torrent earlier.
MovieStuff wrote:... is bit torrent seen as a general distribution tool for strangers to access your file or is it seen as a kind of "club" where only members can share the files
It depends on how you distribute the .torrent file. If you publish it on Pirate Bay, or something like that, then I agree it is pretty much a "share to strangers"-kind of deal.

But if you keep the .torrent file at least a little bit hidden (like our .torrent file), then it gets to be more of "a club thing" where only members can share.

MovieStuff wrote: even if they personally have nothing to upload?
Oh, but they do have something to upload. The same file that they just downloaded. And the next file they are going to download, they can share that too.

There is no need to "have something new" in order to upload. You can just be one of those good guys who seed your download for a long time, helping the torrent to survive.

christoph
Senior member
Posts: 2486
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 2:36 pm
Location: atm Berlin, Germany

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by christoph » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:40 am

roger,

you should really read the wiki entry and possibly one or two other sites about the tech involved in bit torent.

the real beauty is that the file isn't one huge multi-GB file that everybody has to wait for complete before they can share, but that it's a multi-segment thing (some KB to MB usually). this also allows for the error correction that i mentioned earlier.

bittorrent is hardly ever going to be faster then a decent ftp/http server, but that was never the main point. the main benefit is that it allows a large group of people to share data without big cooperation money.

but you're right in saying that there is a way to download more then upload, it's called seed to leech ratio. the main thing for a healthy torrent is to convince people that they should keep uploading for a while after downloading. you can either do that by having a nice group of people, or by using a tracker with registration and kicking the people that don't upload enough. by default they will upload a lot while they are downloading though, so unless they changed the default preferences they will contribute anyway.

++ c.

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6134
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by MovieStuff » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:01 am

Sparky wrote:
Roger, this is a well established file sharing scheme that works, well.
Of course it is! Where did I ever question how well it worked?
Sparky wrote: You are being deliberately argumentative.
No, I'm trying to understand how this works as a general distribution tool. My initial observation was that those who wait until the file is on the network -regardless of their reason for waiting- benefit from a faster download time than those accessing the file early on. I wanted to know if that was correct. Your response to that observation was as follows:
Sparky wrote: Roger, you don't seem to understand at all. It's not about "benefits" but about sharing a file with lots of others without having them all download it from just you. You could put it on an FTP server and people could download it but then you'd be hammering your bandwidth and it might cost you. This way you only really need to upload it once and the people who download it then share it on.
So you tell me that I don't understand it and then turn around and describe exactly what I just stated; that those who download it later benefit from the efforts of those that downloaded it first and are sharing the file with newcomers. I mean, that IS how bit torrent works, right? So who's being deliberately argumentative? I got it right so why tell me I don't understand?

Obviously, it does depend on early users enduring some slight inconvenience, compared to people that download it later but, as you point out, it's about sharing. What I'm trying to gather is whether bit torrent is being used as a general distribution tool where strangers can download the file easily or if it is meant as a file sharing tool between people that already know each other, i.e. a closed group and not open to people outside that group.

If this is meant as a general distribution tool to save money -even if the download speed is the same or worse than FTP (doesn't really matter to me)- then how many people need to be active members of the network with the shared file on their PCs to allow access by outsiders that AREN"T part of the network? Is there a ratio of, say, 10 PCs for every X number of potential new downloaders? And do those new downloaders have to agree to host the file to expand the network so that it grows all the time? How is this enforced?

Can you see what I am trying to understand? This isn't a technical question as much as it is a sort of "bit-torrent-etiquette" question because, clearly, if people only download to watch the file but don't share it as part of the network, then the whole bit torrent thing doesn't work.

Roger

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6134
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by MovieStuff » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:13 am

christoph wrote:roger,

you should really read the wiki entry and possibly one or two other sites about the tech involved in bit torent.
I did, which is why my question wasn't so much technical in nature as much as it was about who benefits the most from the technology as it was most frequently implemented.
christoph wrote: but you're right in saying that there is a way to download more then upload, it's called seed to leech ratio. the main thing for a healthy torrent is to convince people that they should keep uploading for a while after downloading. you can either do that by having a nice group of people, or by using a tracker with registration and kicking the people that don't upload enough. by default they will upload a lot while they are downloading though, so unless they changed the default preferences they will contribute anyway.
Thank you. That helps quite a bit. But, again, my general question is whether this is seen as a general distribution tool that allows access by people outside the network or whether it is really only practical as a group-peer exchange mechanism where there is an agreed upon code of ethics involved.

Let me give a scenario: You have a movie that you made and you want the world to see it. So you ask 20 of your internet buddies to agree to host the various pieces of your torrent so that the world at large can download it more easily and it won't cost you an arm and a leg in bandwidth. In exchange for them hosting their portions, they get to see the movie first and for free. Now, at some point, you are benefiting from the exposure of this movie being seen by the larger public. This benefit might be nothing more than nice reviews or it could even be monetary. But the point is that the public would not be able to download it as easily if it weren't for the help of your 20 internet buddies, who will eventually feel the need to shut down their systems, thus shutting down your network.

-OR-

Are all the new people that download and look at your movie required to also host the movie for a while to take the load off your buddies so they can turn off their PCs once in a while?

See what I'm getting at?

Roger

User avatar
Uppsala BildTeknik
Senior member
Posts: 2261
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:20 am
Location: Sweden, Alunda
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by Uppsala BildTeknik » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:18 am

MovieStuff wrote:Is there a ratio of, say, 10 PCs for every X number of potential new downloaders?
You only need one seeder with 100% of the torrent filest, if you want future new downloaders to have a chance to complete the download.
MovieStuff wrote:And do those new downloaders have to agree to host the file to expand the network so that it grows all the time? How is this enforced?
Well if you´d setup a private torrent network, I bet you can check on everyones user accounts or IP numbers or something like that. You can setup whatever rules you want. Like a minimum or 0.8 in share ratio, or else you are kicked out of the network.
MovieStuff wrote:...a sort of "bit-torrent-etiquette" question...
I don´t know if there exists any greater rules or etiquettes. Just seed and keep a good share ratio. Don´t abandon a torrent if you are the only one left with 100% of the download, if you have a bunch of other guys downloading from you. Just the normal average good guy rules.

MovieStuff wrote:... if people only download to watch the file but don't share it as part of the network, then the whole bit torrent thing doesn't work.
Yes. And eventually the torrent will die, when nobody is left seeding. But if you are left with 99% of a download, then that specific torrent didn´t work out for you. But the next one perhaps will, and perhaps the next one after that. You can´t win them all.

Roger[/quote]

User avatar
Uppsala BildTeknik
Senior member
Posts: 2261
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:20 am
Location: Sweden, Alunda
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by Uppsala BildTeknik » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:21 am

MovieStuff wrote:Are all the new people that download and look at your movie required to also host the movie for a while to take the load off your buddies so they can turn off their PCs once in a while?
Yes, they are, or at least they should. They are already sharing at the same time as they are downloading, thus taking some load of the 20 buddies. This is done automagically by the torrent software.

How long they will help to seed the torrent depends, some will seed longer and some will shut down the torrent software as soon as the torrent finishes.

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6134
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by MovieStuff » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:35 am

Uppsala BildTeknik wrote:
MovieStuff wrote:Are all the new people that download and look at your movie required to also host the movie for a while to take the load off your buddies so they can turn off their PCs once in a while?
Yes, they are, or at least they should. They are already sharing at the same time as they are downloading, thus taking some load of the 20 buddies. This is done automagically by the torrent software.

How long they will help to seed the torrent depends, some will seed longer and some will shut down the torrent software as soon as the torrent finishes.
Ah! Now we're getting somewhere. So, as a general distribution tool, there's not a lot of control. Seems like it works better as a more limited, temporary group-peer mechanism where everyone knows each other and follows the rules. Then after everyone has the file, they move on to something else.

Roger

User avatar
Uppsala BildTeknik
Senior member
Posts: 2261
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:20 am
Location: Sweden, Alunda
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by Uppsala BildTeknik » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:47 am

MovieStuff wrote:So, as a general distribution tool, there's not a lot of control.
I´m not that skilled at making torrents (this is my first torrent ever!), but I do believe you can have some sort of control. You can kick out peers that only download and never seed. But it wouldn´t be very nice if you wanted to spread your film to the public...

MovieStuff wrote:Seems like it works better as a more limited, temporary group-peer mechanism where everyone knows each other and follows the rules.
Absolutely. But I´d say a vast majority would at least seed while they are downloading, and probably a while after downloading too, thus at least taking some load of the initial seeders.

There are morons who don´t want to share and seed anything, but my guess is that they are a pretty rare breed.

I still don´t think there are any better ways to spread your file to a large amount of users. Well, you could of vcourse buy some mega-uplink that is superfast (and expensive), then everyone could download directly from your server. You´d definetly need something pretty beefy in order to match a torrent spread by 20 buddies of yours, with fast uploads, that act as seeders. At least when you take into account the effective spreading of the torrent by the downloaders.

User avatar
reflex
Senior member
Posts: 2131
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 7:25 am
Real name: James Grahame
Location: It's complicated
Contact:

Re: Bit torrent: A technical pyramid scheme?

Post by reflex » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:56 am

If you have a 500 mb video file that might be downloaded by a few hundred people, offering a torrent probably makes sense if you have a limited hosting plan for your website.
www.retrothing.com
Vintage Gadgets & Technology

Post Reply