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Red Hat Software Businesses

Snag the Red Hat 9 ISOs, via Cash or BitTorrent 655

Red Hat Linux 9 is out, and as of today the ISOs are officially available to Red Hat Network subscribers ($60/yr). Or, as of right now, you can grab the same ISOs using BitTorrent. For those unfamiliar with this free/Free P2P download protocol, an introduction follows, written by ololiuhqui. Update: 03/31 23:45 GMT by J : After roughly four hours, BitTorrent has transferred over 500 full copies of all 3 ISOs, and a total of over 1.5 TB, at 170 Mbytes/sec. Thanks to the more than 3000 people who helped each other download the data, and especially to the more than 200 who got full copies and still have their clients open, to keep serving data to everyone else :)

Tectonic Rumblings

Every so often a new tool comes along that causes a shift from Bronze to Iron, that divides history into "before" and "after." The peer-to-peer world has certainly seen its share. Those who used 486s to encode and play MP3s remember it wasn't just abysmal modem speeds that kept people from casual trading, but the tiresome process of finding users and content; Napster freed us from that bondage, letting the computer do the heavy lifting and freeing people to do what they do best.

When the weaknesses began to show in Napster's overly centralized model, Gnutella stepped in with a distributed, decentralized network. Audiogalaxy gave us astounding variety (even the most obscure music could always be found sooner or later) and a rich sense of community that is still sorely missed. WinMX offered the ability to connect to multiple Napster-compatible networks; with the advent of multi-source downloading, Morpheus and similar programs allowed us to rise above the limitations of slow upstream (until it's hard now to find any P2P applications that don't use it); and EDonkey added the nice touch of being able to share files before they were done downloading.

So what's the next stage of P2P evolution?

Enter BitTorrent -- a "swarming, scatter and gather" file transfer protocol developed by Bram Cohen that's taking the net by storm. Even without a friendly, unified interface, BT's ability to scale in the face of overwhelming demand while minimizing the free rider problem ("leeching") has attracted a flood of new users. But as with any tool, understanding how and why it works will always make using it easier and more fun.

All technical references are taken from the BT server tutorial and the official documentation.

Let's Start with the Basics

BitTorrent is not a 'website' or a 'network', and strictly speaking is not even a program -- it's a protocol with a number of functional implementations.

Instead of jumping right into downloading, first we'll discuss how files are served. Most new BT users are familiar with going to a website and clicking on links to .torrent files, but this just provides a friendlier interface and isn't actually necessary. All you really need to serve is a public Internet machine. The "tracker" will "keep track" of who is connected and who has which pieces of the file(s) in question. Like any public Internet service, a static IP address and/or valid hostname will make it easier for people to connect to your tracker.

To start serving, you choose a file or directory to serve and run a program which generates a .torrent file. This contains a 'hash,' which serves as a checksum to ensure the file is the same on all systems, as well as the address of a tracker. A typical .torrent file is quite small, typically 5-50k in size.

The second step is to load the .torrent file into a BT client. The client asks you where to save the file, you point it at the existing and complete copy, it verifies that the file hash matches, says the download is done and sits there uploading when necessary until you cancel it.

Here's an animated graphic (.mng, currently viewable only in Mozilla) of a torrent transfer.

Getting Started

The official BT client is available for Win32, Mac OS X, as an unstable Debian package, and as Python source code.

Getting started is quite simple; the Windows installer asks no questions and provides no options, and the only behind-the-scenes addition is that Internet Explorer now launches BT when you click on links to .torrent files. (Mozilla users will need to edit Preferences, Navigator, Helper Applications and add the mime type "application/x-bittorrent", to be launched by the btdownloadprefetched executable.) You can also download .torrent files and load them locally without going through a website.

Once the .torrent has been invoked, the client will prompt you for a location to save the file to. The client then creates a file of the appropriate size containing all zeros, and connects to the tracker to get a starting list of some random subset of available peers (other users connected to the 'swarm'). BT then starts connecting to peers and downloading random chunks of the file, and begin uploading to other peers as soon as you have enough for it to bother.

Every time your client verifies another piece of the download, it tells the tracker it has a good copy of that piece. By directly utilizing each user's outgoing bandwidth, downloads can be generally be completed very quickly while minimizing the load on the original server, in effect turning the dreaded "Slashdot Effect" against itself -- the more who want to download, the more there are to upload. Sooner or later (usually sooner), the download is done, and the client continues to upload pieces to other users.

What's In It For Me?

Now your first instinct at this point might be to close the program, but you really ought to leave it open as long as possible afterward, to help seed the file into the network. But this is really a social and cultural issue which can't necessarily be addressed through technical measures; BT can enforce fairness during the transfer with its algorithms, but no software can force the user to keep the client open. Many tracker owners keep a close eye on such things, and will generally ban repeat offenders. In any event, "giving back" your bandwidth has never been easier, even for users behind firewalls or NAT (although as always, being able to avoid or go through these will make the transfers more efficient).

Alternative Clients and Other Tools

That said, there are perfectly valid reasons to want some control over the amount of bandwidth a P2P application uses, and an experimental, unofficial client (Win32, Python source) has been created to provide a friendly interface for this. BT will automatically adjust your download speed appropriately if you set a slower upload speed, but it's still an invaluable tool for some cable and DSL users whose downloads will choke and abort if they use too much upstream, or for anyone with limited upstream who wants to reserve some of it for other uses.

Currently, both the official and experimental GUI clients use a separate window for each transfer. BT++ (Win32, Python source) has made an initial attempt at combining all transfers into one window, as well as offering some other enhancements, but users report mixed results, with some saying "it works for me" and others that it's buggy to the point of unusable; still, it's one to keep an eye on. (Caveat: BT++ provides an option to automatically stop uploading when the download is completed. I believe this deliberately encourages people to do so even if there is no real need to do so, and would advise anyone using BT++ to refrain from using this option; it's unnecessary, detrimental to the BT networks, and may lead to your IP being banned as described above.)

TorrentSpy (Win32) is another useful tool that shows various statistics about your transfers, including which files of a multi-file torrent are complete. It's not meant to replace a downloading client, but to complement it.

I should add that the speed and time-to-completion numbers may not be wholly accurate, and will typically fluctuate wildly to some extent during a transfer. (After all, do you believe Windows when it tells you how long it will take to copy a file?) The "percentage completed" at least is accurate, and you may be able to get more accurate information using TorrentSpy. A new version of BT has just been released (3.2) and its reported changes include "more even and consistent download rates".

A Few Miscellaneous Points

It's quite possible to generate .torrents for files you want to serve and then advertise them on someone else's tracker. Since anyone can run a tracker, BT is more like IRC, Usenet or Direct Connect than something like Kazaa. Like Freenet, it works best if the content is highly in demand; it's also more effective on recently released stuff. One highly recommeded website is Bstark. It doesn't provide .torrents for anyone to download, but functions as a "metatracker", that is, a tracker that keeps track of trackers. If you're a statistics geek, the graphs are a lot of fun, and even for the average user it's a simple way to check what files are most in demand and most in need of someone to serve them. This is even more effective when you combine it with an alternate means of communication such as IRC or email, making it easy for users to check supply and meet demand. The .torrent file can also be distributed by any means, be it a website, IRC channel, email attachments or perhaps carrier pigeon.


With the 'entertainment industry' finally focusing their attention on IRC, the cantankerous and difficult granddaddy of Internet file sharing, BitTorrent has found a niche and filled it admirably. The author understandably wishes to focus upon using BT in a legal manner. As with any new invention, "the street finds its own use for technology," and BitTorrent will undoubtedly continue to be rapidly adopted for both licit and illicit use.

Given the decentralized nature of BT networks and the rapid development of new tools, it's only a matter of time before someone writes a GUI wrapper for an IRC client, web browser and all-in-one BitTorrent interface. After all, Napster did it, as do most other mainstream P2P apps like Kazaa. Like Direct Connect with its 'hubs,' there will always be multiple BT servers available, and a unified interface would not only make it easier for users to find and download content, but free them to focus on forming the social and cultural networks that are also needed. A website typically uses far too much CPU and bandwidth to handle popular traffic, but a BT tracker uses minimal bandwidth by itself. Perhaps the next-generation clients will try to automatically locate trackers, or help the user find and serve older content as well as new releases.

The late great Audiogalaxy had many strengths, but one of its most fundamental was the sense of community it encouraged. BitTorrent wisely fills a narrow set of technical requirements, leaving a great deal to human need and will. The ad hoc arrangements and customs that have so far sprouted as expressions of the will to fill these needs are often chaotic and messy -- but that's human action for you.

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Snag the Red Hat 9 ISOs, via Cash or BitTorrent

Comments Filter:
  • by man1ed ( 659888 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:40PM (#5632591) Homepage Journal
    I remember when 8.0 came out, it was days before I could find a mirror that didn't already have too many users connected. I think it is a great idea to use p2p to to distribute it.
  • YES! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:40PM (#5632592) Homepage Journal
    The best way to help Open Source Companies (a la RedHat) survive is to circumvent their income strategies!
    Tell RedHat to screw off! Circumvent the subscription policy with P2P!

    Is that a bullethole in your foot?
    • Re:YES! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by elmegil ( 12001 )
      Not only that, but do it with a package that works "best" on Windows, under Internet Exploder! (don't EVEN ask me about trying to get it to work with phoenix or mozilla or any other reasonable browser).
      • Re:YES! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gmuslera ( 3436 )
        Download open source program is boring, where is the excitement? the sensation of danger, doing something illegal, doing something behind the usual channels?

        For windows users this way to download an er.. "unnoficial" way to obtain the official redhat would be as running kazaa, edonkey, or similar, in a legal way, to get a software that should be free but they feel as they should be paying for.

        That is the key for linux adoption, not giving distributions as something so free to windows users, but show the

      • Re:YES! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Mr. McGibby ( 41471 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:30PM (#5633035) Homepage Journal
        Have you actually tried to get it to work under mozilla or phoenix? Do you even know what the hell you're talking about? It's obvious that you don't. "Oh, WAAA! It doesn't install with a single click in Linux!" Guess what, nothing does.

        It *isn't* a IE browser plugin as many folks have claimed. The installer simply installs the program like any other program, and then adds the correct mime-type and windows extension handler to IE. THAT'S IT. Writing an installer that makes it easy to install in Windows is a good thing, since doing so adds large group of users to the user base.

        All the tools to setup torrented downloads work best in Linux. I use BitTorrent in Linux all the time and it runs just like any other program. It's very nice.

        Installing almost any program like this that works well with mozilla or phoenix is impossible. Tried to install the Flash plugin? It sucks rocks. Bram and the BT crew can't be held responsible for the fact that creating a slick interface to Linux browsers is like trying to keep 10 polygamous wives happy. Nothing works the same way twice.
    • Re:YES! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bramcohen ( 567675 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:59PM (#5632773)
      Redistribution isn't 'circumvention'. The GPL specifically requires that it be allowed.

      Strange that people seem to be so religious about all the details of the GPL, except when it might hurt RedHat, in which case it's okay for them to sell it like proprietary software.

      • Re:YES! (Score:3, Informative)

        by eyez ( 119632 )
        Strange that people seem to be so religious about all the details of the GPL, except when it might hurt RedHat, in which case it's okay for them to sell it like proprietary software.

        Last I heard, the redhat cds contained proprietary software. They do contain plenty of GPL'd stuff, but redhat adds a bunch of non-GPL'd things in. If I remember right, they leave the non-gpl stuff off the first cd, so the first cd would be perfectly fine and happy to distribute on bittorrent. However, if any of the iso's cont

        • Re:YES! (Score:5, Informative)

          by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:48PM (#5633199) Homepage Journal
          Last I heard, the redhat cds contained proprietary software. They do contain plenty of GPL'd stuff, but redhat adds a bunch of non-GPL'd things in. If I remember right, they leave the non-gpl stuff off the first cd, so the first cd would be perfectly fine and happy to distribute on bittorrent. However, if any of the iso's contain NON-GPL'd NON-BSD-licensed software, they no longer can be distributed as if there's a huge THIS IS ALL GPL sticker on it.

          That's not true, and has never been true. Here is a portion of the EULA from Disc 3 of RH 8.0:

          Most of the Linux Programs are licensed pursuant to an open source EULA that permits you to copy, modify, and redistribute the software, in both source code and binary code forms. With the exception of the content of certain image files identified below, the remaining Linux Programs are freeware or have been placed in the public domain.
          In short, there is nothing in the personal, downloadable editions of the Red Hat distribution that is not GPLed, open sourced or otherwise not free to redistribute.
          • >>Last I heard, the redhat cds contained proprietary software.

            >That's not true, and has never been true.

            Yes they did. For example, Redhat 4.x shipped with a commercial X server, Metro X and BRU backup tool. They also had a distribution which included Motif development libraries, as well as a secondary product line which included just the runtime libs as well as the runtime and development libs. Redhat 5.x continued shipping Metro X, but not BRU if I remember correctly. This policy was primaril
        • Re:YES! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ajs ( 35943 )
          Check out the list of packages included with Red Hat Linux 9 [redhat.com]. You'll find exactly zero non-free software. There is one file (the README, perhaps? It's been a while) that states that while you have the right to copy it (the file), you do not have the right to modify it (the file). If you have a problem with that, dump the GPL now, because the GPL (the document itself) has the same proviso [gnu.org] as does the BSD license [freebsd.org]. FreeBSD even has a whole document devoted to how various degrees of restrictive licensing intera [freebsd.org]
          • Aaron Sherman wrote:

            Check out the list of packages included with Red Hat Linux 9. You'll find exactly zero non-free software.

            Only because you brought the subject up:

            "pine 4.44 A commonly used, MIME compliant mail and news reader." This code is source-available, but licensed under proprietary terms (no right to fork).

            In pointing out this inclusion of the proprietary pine/pico/pilot package, I intend no criticism of Red Hat Software, Inc., which does it for perfectly understandable reason, given the

            • True, this is an exception. However, while I was wrong, my response was not in that the original poster was.... head ... spinning.

              What I meant to say is that the orignal claim that you could not go copying Red Hat 9 CDs because all of the software was not of the sort that you could just go copying around is simply not true. Red Hat 9 is free in that sense. It's not free in the sense that OSI requires.

              Interesting that Red Hat is not exactly open source (when installed in full) because of software I've been
    • Re:YES! (Score:5, Informative)

      by labratuk ( 204918 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:05PM (#5632814)
      Their income strategies are to pay huge amounts for the bandwidth of thousands of people downloading their .isos?
    • I have a paying redhat account. I'm using bit torrent right now to download the isos now because I'm getting only 8.7KB/s from rhn.redhat.com over http. It doesn't have to be a circumvention mechanism or used in an illicit manner.
    • I realize that you are being sarcastic, but I don't think RH relies on the sales of their single-user products to make much money.

      There is more money to be made in support contracts and RH enterprise products, which is why RedHat is pushing products like their RH Advanced Server.

      And I say more power to them. If RedHat keeps making money, the benefits will trickle down to the rest of the OSS movement.

      I'll be getting my RH9.0 via Cheapbytes [cheapbytes.com] without much guilt. For $12, it's cheaper to buy it through them t
  • by ablcmx ( 105873 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:40PM (#5632594)
    Red Hat must be in serious trouble if they couldn't afford the .0 to append to the 9!
  • by Drunken Coward ( 574991 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:40PM (#5632595)
    Estimated time left: 75 hours 25 minutes 35 seconds

    Current download rate: 3 kB/s
    Current upload rate: 35 kB/s

    Seems to be some sort of bottleneck :(

    Is it available at any FTP mirrors yet?
  • by Limburgher ( 523006 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:43PM (#5632625) Homepage Journal
    "Slashdot provides free BitTorrent stress test/load analysis"
  • by InodoroPereyra ( 514794 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:45PM (#5632634)
    Red Hat, a company supporting lots of developing in the GNU/Linux community, releases their newest version as a privileged one-week-early download for their customers through their network. In the meantime, Slashdot publishes this inflamatory plug for bit torrent, as a workaround to kind-of-boycott Red Hat's policy.

    Correct me if I've got the facts wrong. But it sounds to me like a week long wait is not really long, and that this announcement in Slashdot is not really ethical ...

    • by bramcohen ( 567675 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:52PM (#5632708)
      Maybe RedHat should release their stuff under a 'turns into GPL after a week' license if they don't want their software redistributed quickly.

      Charging money for a week is no different than charging money indefinitely. BitTorrent is a great tool which RedHat can use to get their bandwidth costs under control so they can focus on their core business, whatever that may be.

      • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:14PM (#5632898) Journal
        GPL only means they have to make the source accessible, it doesnt mean they have to give away the iso with all the binaries prebuilt and all the scripts and whatnot that make it an easy-for-joe-dipshit package.

        Don't want to wait a week for all that convenience? Download all their GPL'd source and build it yourself.

        OR let's just rename it the GGGPL (gimme gimme gimme public liscense)
      • Charging money for a week is no different than charging money indefinitely.
        It's no different for a week, then after it's very different.

        Jokes aside, if you charge for a week, you're charging for the early access service. If you charge indefinitely, you're charging for the product. Two very different things. In my state they'd be taxed differently, so the state calls them different.

        BitTorrent is a great tool which RedHat can use to get their bandwidth costs under control so they can focus on their cor
    • by alaric187 ( 633477 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:54PM (#5632718)
      No, you've got the facts right. It's just that most people here want free as in beer and not free as in speech. I swear if Microsoft was free most of the people here would be switching to it right now. This open source thing is just a red herring for "I want free stuff because I deserve it."

      Thanks in advance to mods for extra tasty troll points.
      Also, notice I said most not all, I know there are lots of people that believe in open source.
    • Correct me if I've got the facts wrong. But it sounds to me like a week long wait is not really long, and that this announcement in Slashdot is not really ethical ...

      ::shrugs:: Welcome to the way the GPL works. RedHat knows this plenty well. This freedom is a good thing.

    • Perhaps this was a carfully crafted ploy to overload servers, and encourage users to *purchase* RH9.

      Wait, this is Slashdot. ITS A FREAKIN' FREE FOR ALL! W00T!

      Now would be a good time to go after Slackware, or Mandrake... ;)

    • Red Hat, a company supporting lots of developing in the GNU/Linux community, releases their newest version as a privileged one-week-early download for their customers through their network.
      so, in other words, they are basing part of their profit model on expecting users not to exercise the freedoms that the GPL gives them, even though without the GPL, Redhat wouldn't have a product in the first place? forgive me if i don't give a crap.
    • by warpSpeed ( 67927 ) <slashdot@fredcom.com> on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:57PM (#5632756) Homepage Journal
      Correct me if I've got the facts wrong. But it sounds to me like a week long wait is not really long, and that this announcement in Slashdot is not really ethical ...

      Once you have the bits they are yours to do with as you please.

      I'll bet that RedHat is offering the pre-access to the bits for the subscribers so that they can actually get the bits before thier servers are /.ed from the unwashed masses.

      And I would bet that RedHat is happy to off-load the downloading to something like BT. It just makes thier bandwidth usage go down, and most likley the people sharing the bits were not going to buy support anyway.

    • Maybe you can tell us why it is not ethical to offer an alternate method to acquire the ISOs, which are free (week or not), early. It's not like this places any burden on RedHat. It takes the load off their servers, allowing people who would have hit RedHat, or their mirrors, for the ISOs in a week to get it earlier. This also allows for more people to test it in the early phase of release. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

      Don't bother to say that the people who paid the $60, or whatever fee, pa
    • by TV-SET ( 84200 ) <leonid@NoSPAM.mamchenkov.net> on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:08PM (#5632854) Homepage Journal
      Actually, it depends on how you look at it.

      From one hand, using p2p networks to download latest RedHat's ISOs is going against supporing a Good(tm) company.

      On the other hand, paying RedHat 60$ a year, and then going and downloading latest ISOs from p2p actually helps RedHat to save some bandwidth for those customers who complain too much. This might be actually helping RedHat in terms of partially paying their bills using the resources of those p2p users. :)

      The company I work for has a bunch of subscriptions to RHN, both Basic and Enterprise, but we are still getting 1-2KB/s download speeds currently. P2p might improve our satisfaction on the subject though. :)

    • I don't see it so much as an ethical issue (after all, the isos in question contain gpl'ed programs), but the hypocrisy of a company that is trying to make a subscription service work actively undermining a 'friendly' company's subscription model. Perhaps we can figure out a way to use bittorrent or some other proxy to get the 'early-bird' stories only available to slashdot subscribers..
    • by tomlord ( 473109 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:09PM (#5632862)

      This is good for Red Hat. There are some obvious PR benefits to it, of course.... but I think it amounts to R&D they'll eventually capitalize on.

      RHATs central servers -- not just for isos but also for updates -- are a vulnerability; a single point of failure six different ways from tuesday. (There's even another post in this /. topic about the servers allegedly being overloaded right now.)

      Not nearly all, but a big chunk of the vulnerabilities can be fixed with P2P distribution. RHAT's bigger customers can be organized to help each other that way. When, for example, security emergency response times become critical, P2P will be a big boon.

      If, suddenly, all distribution of RHAT software happened P2P -- subscriptions would still have value, and that value will grow over time. Immediately, it would have value as a source of secure hashes, delivered over multiple channels. Of course it would retain its support values -- and my hope/prediction is that in the future, Red Hat Network will increase in the degree to which it is a low-walled garden "community (of customers) website": tightening and enriching the feedback loop between customers and programmers.


  • by agrounds ( 227704 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:45PM (#5632642)
    This is a welcome to change to the usual copy/paste from the linked articles we usually get. This is so decent it's alomst as useful as the time that guy posted the step-by-step on Gentoo that was so good I went home and installed on the spare PC. Bravo!

    Otherwise I'm glad to see the P2P community keeping pace (or should I say, one step ahead of) with the best in file serving. I'm not sure that RedHat would be pleased about it, but it was bound to happen that the ISOs would be released back to the community in record time regardless of paid subscriptions. In the end, I think they'll find it difficult to release anything without the inevitable leaks. This seems to hold true for Microsoft as well, as they contend with leak after leak of their beta and developer images. Information wants to be free!!
  • Direct Connect (Score:4, Informative)

    by dethkultur ( 617989 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:46PM (#5632643) Homepage
    When will this crowd catch on to Direct Connect [neo-modus.com]? Talk about non-leeching - in some hubs you have to share a minimum of 60 GB+ just to join. Yes that means those hubs average over 60GB/user. Nothing else even comes close.
    • Re:Direct Connect (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:54PM (#5632721) Homepage
      BT doesn't work that way. It starts uploading pieces of the file you've already downloaded, shortly after you start downloading. It's not a matter of what you're sharing, because you're only sharing the file being transferred. And everyone downloading is a contributor.
    • Re:Direct Connect (Score:2, Informative)

      by gspr ( 602968 )
      I agree, but you're not exactly helping by posting the link to the original DC client, which is just plain hell! DC++ [sourceforge.net] is an open-source client and a MUCH better alternative, imho!
    • This is exactly why I dislike Direct Connect. It's nothing more than Hotline or Carracho all over again. If you don't already have a ton of stuff to share, you can't participate. It's effectively a slammed-shut door for people starting out.
  • What the? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rhadamanthus ( 200665 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:46PM (#5632647)
    Can somebody explain to me why the news of RH9 being released was coupled with such a huge plug for BitTorrent? That was weird...


    • Re:What the? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hendridm ( 302246 )
      Cuz nerds like me have been checking the RHN site since 12:01am looking to see if the ISO files were posted, and when they were, we can't get through. I found the post useful.
    • Re:What the? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Quixadhal ( 45024 )
      Perhaps in the vain hope that people might use an intelligent protocol to download it from hundreds of scattered sites, rather than having everyone congest the RH site when it goes live there?
    • Because its usually very difficult to download the ISOs from Redhat and its top tier mirror sites for a few weeks after an new Redhat release. Bittorent is a technology that is designed to alleviate this problem.
  • by Flak ( 55755 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:46PM (#5632651) Homepage
    Your download time will shrink greatly.
  • by Mistah Blue ( 519779 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:47PM (#5632652)
    It would seem to me that RedHat didn't fully think out the bandwidth hit they would take. I've got a colleague (who is an RHN subscriber too) that just had all his downloads (discs 1-3) timeout. I gave up trying to start downloads this morning. I personally think, Akamai would have been a better solution.
  • Subscriber costs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:47PM (#5632658) Homepage
    RedHat is a business. Business want to make money. The community support this. So therefore we get rid of their revenue streams by getting what will be free in a week now and stopping potential subscribers?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is Slashdot. Companies shouldn't be allowed to profit. Information wants to be free. Nobody reading this story ever intended to spend a single cent on this (or any) software. Good for Slashdot for sabotaging another reasonable and worthwhile revenue stream for an open source company.
    • RHN is all about easy updates. I would suggest you try it sometime.

      Downloading the ISO's is hardly discouraging RHN subscriptions.
  • Oddly enough most software is out there on P2P networks, just some people are prepared not to be anally skinflintish/hypocritical - ie. slashdot saying pirate a copy of RH linux.

    Either cmdertaco's mate coded this new system and wants new users, or slashdot has just fallen a few more points in credibility...
  • by Lysol ( 11150 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:53PM (#5632716)
    Why all the effort? There have already been a couple of reviews out on 9 and it looks like it's nothing more than a little gloss over what can be had with 8. And frankly, 8 is ok, but I'm feeling my relationship is over with RedHat.

    I have been slowly, over the past year or so, warming up more and more to Gentoo. Today, in fact, I'm re-installing one of my home servers with Gentoo 1.4 because I just want it the way I want it. Gentoo is shaping up to be a great distro and if you love the days of getting your hands dirty in the depth of things, then you should give it a whirl. Altho it may not be worth it to everyone, there is something to be said about a blazingly fast distro that's tailored to your machine.

    Plus, portage smokes rpm - in fact, the BSD ports was one thing I really missed with Linux. Now, it's the best of both worlds.
    • Ok, I use gentoo, and even I'm getting miffed with the "yeah, but why not just use gentoo" when any other distro is mentioned.

      And anyhow, RH 9 actually does include something much more than "a little gloss" - NPTL (warning - link is to a pdf) [redhat.com]

      Now if you've ever tried to debug a core file of a multi-threaded app, or dealt with signal propagation with the old... aw, shucks never mind, but take my word for it, NPTL - woot woot

      Oh, woot woot BT too by the looks of things...

  • lest see,
    first they were pissed off about copy machines,
    then the internet,
    then centralized p2p like napster,
    then decentralized p2p,
    now this - they surely must be peeing in their pants by now. When are just going to get it over with and decalre copyrights are dead.
    • I wonder, is how the copyright police are ever going to nail someone for using something like BitTorrent, or for the more paranoid, Freenet.

      When there isn't a direct point to point connection that the file is downloaded from, the only point of monitoring is the requestor node. I'm frightened of the day Patriot Act 3 (son of Patriot act 2) requires download spy on my machine to make sure I'm not helping the terrorists by downloading random bits of the latest Simpsons episode from machines that I have no k

  • by NOT-2-QUICK ( 114909 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:54PM (#5632723) Homepage
    Now, instead of the slashdotting the RedHat FTP sites and mirrors, the BitTorrent web site (the site distributing the client) will get the onslaught of RedHatters in search of the latest version...

    Alls well from my perspective, though -- I have already installed the BitTorrent client and have the new ISO's! As such, go nuts... :-)

  • Hey, great article, ololiuhqui. Now I have a question: how exactly would you pronounce 'ololiuhqui'? :-)
  • (.mng, currently viewable only in Mozilla)

    Get real. It's certainly viewable (animations and all) in MS' IE. I know IS is not free (as in speech), but FUD (or ignorance) about it hurts just as much as anything else.

  • by RealityThreek ( 534082 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:58PM (#5632767)
    when the download is complete!

    Bittorent works by making everyone who downloads part of the "distribution network." By leaving the client open you are making the download go faster for everyone. I suppose this is kind of a utilitatian concept, but hey.. Slashdot readers are supposed to be idealistic, right? I'll leave mine open, and hopefully you will too.
  • try using a IPv6 mirror, as not many people yet use IPv6 most IPv6 mirrors have some free slots.
  • by terkozer ( 521819 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @03:58PM (#5632771)

    quote: "Here's an animated graphic (.mng, currently viewable only in Mozilla) of a torrent transfer."

    Just to point out, the .mng works just find under Konqueror 3.1.0.

    For more information on MNG, and a list of supported browsers, follow this link [libpng.org]

  • I've been using BitTorrent lately to download lossless recordings [etree.org] of Phish concerts. Each concert is usually about 1GB in size and the transfer rates have been superb. It will start off slowly, but pick up steam once you download parts of the fileset that others have already downloaded. A few hours later and I can burn 3 CDs worth of live music. Excelsior!
  • ...until my Uni mirror will have it and send it to me at 10Mbit (what's in the wall). If I was more desperate than that, I'd pay :)

  • by cenonce ( 597067 ) <anthony_t@ m a c . c om> on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:00PM (#5632777)

    I am a Red Hat subscriber and I am pushing a measly 14 kb/sec to download three 600+ MB ISOs. I'm on ISO #1 with 9 hours to go!

    So what exactly is the advantage of getting the distro a week ahead of everyone else when the servers for "subscriber use" are so overloaded it will take me a week to download it!?!

    • So what exactly is the advantage of getting the distro a week ahead of everyone else when the servers for "subscriber use" are so overloaded it will take me a week to download it!?!

      Because in a week when everyone else will try to get it it will take 2 weeks to download ?
  • _This_ explains why RHN has been so crappy today. The sendmail update is available through RHN up2date today, and the servers have been slammed, it's been cutting off my connection. It seems likely that it's from the RH9 load. Crap!
  • ridiculous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_phenom ( 559547 ) <flexylexy2.hotmail@com> on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:05PM (#5632822)
    I find it ridiculous that the loudest linux/open source zealots in here refuse to pay to support it. Open source programmers deserve to be paid too. Put your money where your mouth is. And yes, for the record, I've paid for every version of RH since 6.x, and I even paid for Debian once. :) Let the flames begin.
  • Mixed Feelings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:06PM (#5632825)
    On the one hand, BitTorrent is an excellent way of reducing bandwidth for Open Source companies... if they release their files only on bittorrent, then they can get the distro out to more people & save money on bandwidth at the same time. In that regard, I think all Linux distro companies should adopt it.

    On the other hand, this is a massive leak for RedHat... if BitTorrent can always be relied upon to get the ISOs the day they're released to subscribers, then there is no incentive to become a RedHat subscriber... and thus RedHat loses money.

    In the future, it would be nice if BitTorrent users could wait until after the distro is released to the public before mirroring it... Yeah, then companies like RedHat still get their 1 week advance for subscribers, AND they get to not have their servers flooded on public release day.

    *sigh*... I better go buy a RH9 boxed set, I feel all dirty now.
  • Bittorrent and Edonkey seem pretty similar as far as the feature of making chunks available for uploading while still downloading. But Bittorrent lacks the ability to search for files which seems to give Edonkey a huge advantage.
  • Since this topic is as much about BitTorrent as it is about RH 9.0, how can I easily create a BitTorrent server? Can I do it on a webserver?
  • laud this effort (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jaxon6 ( 104115 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:39PM (#5633121)
    I laud this effort. Here's my situation: We pay for the rhn service at work. I attempt to download the 3 iso's, and I get combined download speeds of 22kB/s. This is unacceptable. I'm using BitTorrent right now, and the speed is 1900kB/s, and rising. The machine is on a 100mb/s switch, on MIT network, so I'll probably get 3mB/s before the download finishes.
    This is an example of a legal use of p2p technology directly benefitting a valid user.
  • Caveat Downloader! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SIGBUS ( 8236 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @04:51PM (#5633231) Homepage
    I tried using a BitTorrent session to grab the latest Knoppix (the link was posted in yesterday's Knoppix thread). Just for kicks, I went to one of the official mirrors and checked the MD5 sum of the ISO image that I received with the MD5 sum listed on the official mirror. They did NOT match. I summarily deleted the suspect image. In retrospect, I probably should have just gone ahead and downloaded the official image, and did a file-by-file comparison.

    Basically, you should check MD5 checksums, or better yet, GPG signatures, if you're going to download a .iso from a P2P network instead of getting it from an official mirror site.

    You should check them anyway, even when you get them from an official mirror, IMHO.

    • Until recently (and possibly even now), BitTorrent had a problem that often caused the completion meter to climb above 100%. (This occurred when corrupt data was received and had to be redownloaded.) As a result, many people terminated the transfer before BitTorrent had reported, "Succeeded!" Hence, corrupt files.

      On the other hand, the torrent initiator may have had a corrupt image to work with. It can happen.

      In any case, BitTorrent uses the SHA1 secure hash algorithm, which is comparable to MD5, to v
  • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Monday March 31, 2003 @06:20PM (#5633933) Journal

    Thousands hacked after a trojan copy of Red Hat was placed on a bitTorrent site.

    Make sure you check the MD5, people!

    There is an MD5 available somewhere, isn't there?

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker