General Question

SirBailey's avatar

In "down to earth" language, what exactly IS bit torrent?

Asked by SirBailey (3130points) July 12th, 2009

Do I buy it? Why do I want it?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

24 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

No, it’s free.

In simple terms, imagine a cloud of information, and your computer is pulling in bits and pieces of that data from the cloud.

eambos's avatar

Lifehacker has a great article on the topic. They explain everything clear and simple. It’s too much information to write here.

willbrawn's avatar

You can’t buy it, if you want it your running the risk of jail time and fines.

like @eponymoushipster said. Its a place where you can go to find files basically on someone elses computer. They allow it and then you can download what they have. Basically sharing illegal media.

eambos's avatar

Bittorrent is not always illegal. Many Linux distros (most notably Ubuntu) are downloaded through bittorrent. Also, many updates are also from bittorrent. Some independent artists (and even famous ones, like NIN) have released free albums to bittorrent.

Phobia's avatar

BitTorrent is a program that downloads stuff from other people that use the same program. To download stuff, you can use things called Torrents. Think of torrents as paths that, once you open it, leads you directly to the file the torrent was intended to get.

Everything you get on it is pretty much free, which includes copyrighted material, so avoid that if you wish to stay out of trouble.

SirBailey's avatar

@eambos, I just read the article you posted. Is that it? It’s a better form of Limewire or Napster?

seekingwolf's avatar

It’s a system where you use a program to download files and media from others’ computers. The whole point of torrents is to get stuff for free. While there are legal ways to use torrents, many people use them to pirate.

SirBailey's avatar

@seekingwolf , so there must be one hell of a virus risk?

Phobia's avatar

@SirBailey It can be a virus risk, yes, but mostly everything on the internet is lately.

eambos's avatar

@SirBailey it’s similar to Napster or Limewire in that it is P2P software. There is not much of a virus risk if you know what you’re doing, and only download from sources you trust.

If you want an mp3, but the file is 100mb, do you really think that it is the real deal? You just have to be smart, and take the proper precautions, and the risk is barely there.

SirBailey's avatar

Why this instead of Napster, Limewire, etc.???

eambos's avatar

Faster, more secure, you can download multiple songs, pictures, programs, etc., all in one file, rather than having to search for each one separately.

SirBailey's avatar

“Secure”? How?

eambos's avatar

You aren’t downloading some random file. Most (good) trackers will give you the full details to the download, including preview clips and virus scans. With limewire, you can;‘t be sure what you are getting.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Bit torrent is a method of file sharing in which many users share a file or set of files such that when you download, you’re pulling data from a number of sources (usually others people’s home pc’s which are sharing the torrent) rather than just one which makes downloads of large files like tv shows or programs faster than they would be otherwise. While you are downloading you are also sharing the file(s) in that set which have already been downloaded to your computer. Good bit torrent etiquette suggests that once you download a torrent, you leave the client running so that others can benefit from your participation.

Bit torrent is also a prime method of sharing copyrighted material which is illegal to distribute such as feature length films, music and video games. When people use this method to download copyrighted material, it is considered piracy and theft and they can be prosecuted.

Using bit torrent in and of itself is not illegal.

Hambayuti's avatar

I think @The_Compassionate_Heretic explained it well. I haven’t used Napster and like @eambos, I wouldn’t suggest Limewire based on my personal experience – got a few virus infected files there. Currently, I use uTorrent and download from h33t…sometimes demonoid…but I find h33t better. They also give you a preview and full details of what’s in the file. H33t uploaders with star symbols right after their usernames have reputations of giving quality torrents. FYI. Wouldn’t hurt if you also scan before opening downloaded files, just in case.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@Hambayuti Is correct.

Limewire is notorious for spreading viruses.
If you use Limewire, I would recommend scanning your system for viruses.

DominicX's avatar

People have already explained it, so I’ll just share my experiences with BitTorrent. I’ve used it to get music when I can’t find music on imeem. Imeem is a website that has mp3s that are not downloadable. But they are if you know the tricks like I do. :)

My problem with BitTorrent is that the torrents sometimes don’t work and I’ll have something that’s been trying to download and hasn’t worked for 4 days. But it does have some obscure music that you can’t find on Limewire or Imeem.

My friend was able to pirate Photoshop, Flash, and Dreamweaver through BitTorrent. A $1500 value for free…lol…

Ivan's avatar

Go to a bit torrent site.
Download a torrent.
Load the torrent with a bit torrent program.
The program downloads the appropriate file.

jpasq03's avatar

Bits are computer storage.
A torrent is an incessant flowing.

= Lots of data, fast, easy, and lots of content.

SirBailey's avatar

In short, it’s really another way to download illegal music, etc. CONCEPTUALLY, it does what Limewire, Napster, etc. does, only better.

Since I’m not into illegal stuff, does it do anything else for me?

jpasq03's avatar

You can download Linux.

There are legal torrents, I don’t know what for.

eponymoushipster's avatar

OpenOffice also provides a BitTorrent flavor of download, as well as several other “legal” programs. It’s not purely illegal content.

Ivan's avatar

Trent Reznor released his last two albums on bit torrent as well.

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