[BitTorrent] BT repeater?

Bill Cox bill at viasic.com
Wed Dec 8 14:24:13 EST 2004

On Wed, 2004-12-08 at 09:22 -0800, Brian Dessent wrote:
> smilindog2000 wrote:
> > BT suffers from a basic problem: down-loaders of big files typically
> > leave the torrent after downloading.  This leads to an average
> > upload/download ratio of at around 1/1.  Since most of us upload much
> > slower than we download, this is bad.
> You can sort-of approximate this with some existing clients, e.g Azureus
> already has the queue prioritization logic to join the 'n' most needy
> swarms of however many torrents it knows about, using occasional scrapes
> to check seed/peer counts.  You could then enable incremental file
> creation mode and set a very low download limit, and start a torrent. 
> It will download the pieces based on priority (or whatever piece-picker
> Az has, but most likely priority) and since there's a download limit the
> rate that new pieces complete will be very slow but it will be able to
> upload pieces that it has completed at full speed.

Good point.  Actually, I tried most of your suggested options yesterday
on Azureus, but I gave up on it (thus leading to this thread).  Unless a
lot of us are willing to do this type of custom configuration, it wont
help out much.  I think to make a big difference, a popular client like
Azureus would need to ship with a repeater mode enabled by default.  I
think a lot of people would not bother to turn it off, especially if the
client suggested that they leave it on to help others.

> That's probably the closest you're going to get unless you write
> something yourself.

Well... I can write code... but I thought I'd test to see if there was
much interest first.  Learning a BT client code base sounds like a lot
of work.

> The vast vast majority of BT users have some
> interest in the files they've downloaded, i.e. they are primarily
> interested in the files for the files' sake, not for helping other
> people get them.  They wouldn't be interested in a "program to use up
> your upload rate without resulting in a useable download in return"-type
> of thing.  If they care about helping they'll just keep the files around
> after completing to seed.  I just don't see this as being in very high
> demand, and what demand there is can be filled by ordinary seeding
> practices.

More good points.  However, I think that there is a semi-selfish reason
for people to keep their machines on: if enough of us do it, download
speeds increase for all of us.

Consider the last Fedora Core release that I got just after it was
released (FC2).  It took about a day to download.  My download rate was
no better than my upload rate (about 40K bits/s).  If 3/4th of the users
in the Fedora torrent were repeaters, I could have gotten it in close to
4x faster.

So, for example, Microsoft users out there could enjoy 250KB/s rates
(since MS can afford a whole lot of servers), while we open-source guys
are stuck with 40KB/s.  A built in repeater model could help put the
little guys on par with the big guys in terms of ability to distribute


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