[BitTorrent] Re: BitTorrent File System ideas

mmarkjan markjan at xs4all.nl
Sat Jan 29 04:14:18 EST 2005

--- In BitTorrent at yahoogroups.com, Bill Cox <bill at v...> wrote:
> I thought a bit more about making a fuse based virtual file system for
> BitTorrent.  If there are no objections, how about calling the idea
> BTFS, for BitTorrent File System?

Creating a filesystem just for having the capability of sharing files
over a network has problems:
- It shares a lot of functionality with a normal, local filesystem, 
  which everyone needs for operating system, runnable applications 
  and private documents.
- A filesystem needs to be hosted on a partition, and those are 
  usually fixed in size. Resizing them on the fly is not a standard
  technique in 'filesystems' on all of todays OS's, and requires
  a reboot.
- A bittorrent filesystem image, adapted to be variable in size,  
  loopback mounted on a local filesystem, might be resizeable, but 
  still has lots of problems to be solved (reading/writing, modifying   
  files, updating the hashes, versioning...).

Subversion-like versioning of torrent files, indexing them, and
distributing them is a totally different service. Having dependencies 
between torrents etc sounds like miking a debian/PKG like system with 
a pure file distribution protocol. That should be a different
project, on a different layer. Subversion is already king in 
streaming changes to a directory structure efficiently over a
network, use the right tool for the job!

BitTorrent should be a pure file distribution protocol. It assumes 
the same data must be shared, it doesn't do versioning or 
transactional modfification of the file, it just gets the data and
ensures the integrety of the data against a .torrent, I think 
the focus must be on that, and making it perform well.
So, I would say, extend the local operating systems filesystem
functionality (can be anything) to enhance the Bittorrent performance,
and benefit from that also other applications can take advantage of 
the new features.

> A sub-directory is just an embedded .torrent file in a torrent. You can
> cd to it and ls it, without downloading the torrent data, but if you
> read a file, it will go get the needed data from the torrrent.

This assumes a hierarchy in torrent files that is expected. You want
a kind of yahoo-style like directory of all torrent files ? Then,
please model a search feature that is distributed in a P2P manner,
but is also browseable. A distributed database...


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