Bit Torrent, Updating Linux

Lennart Sorensen lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/FfD2ys at
Thu Jul 9 18:39:53 UTC 2009

On Thu, Jul 09, 2009 at 11:46:05AM -0400, Rajinder Yadav wrote:
> I am not sure if anyone is already doing this. What I would like to
> eventually provide for the Linux base I am working on putting together
> is a way for the user to download modules with an integrated bit
> torrent download manager. (For security reasons the torrent would only
> use known trusted servers.)
> I am planning on building a core Linux base that could be quickly
> downloaded. Then during the install phase or after, allow the user to
> customize their download of extras using a bit torrent server.

People have talked about this for debian many many times in the past,
and everytime it is pointed out taht bittorrent is a lousy method for
updates because:

Packages are obviously compressed (it would be stupid not to).  This means
that every time a new version of the package is made, there is nothing
reuseable from the old one to make bittorrent more efficient (same is
true for rsync unfortuantely).  In the case of rsync there have been
talk of extending gzip in a way that allows predictable blocks to occour
that would result in identical compressed blocks if only part of a
package changes.  Not sure where that ever went.

Who is going to keep all the packages around just to feed bittorrent
once they have installed them?  What a waste of disk space.

So really, other than saving you bandwidth (assuming it is your
distribution on your server), where is the benefit to anyone else?

Oh and if you want to see what bittorrent does to server load and
resources, have a look at the info from last years linux symposium from
one of the admins of  It showed just how horrible
and wasteful bittorrent is for distribution.  If you have the choice
of having some decent http/ftp servers and using bittorrent, then the
http/ftp servers will always be far faster and more efficient.  Bittorrent
is only good when you have absolutely no way to do any real servers,
or you are dealing with something not very popular or at least very
short lived.

Len Sorensen
The Toronto Linux Users Group.      Meetings:
TLUG requests: Linux topics, No HTML, wrap text below 80 columns

More information about the Legacy mailing list