BitTorrent has had one goal in its life, and that’s to make it easy for people to share information with one another through the internet. It is a file sharer, which allows clients to download files from computers that have those files.
With the number of files out there on the internet as well as the number of people who want to buy those files, BitTorrent is only getting stronger and is getting used more as time rolls on, despite the unpopular label that it is synonymous with piracy and illegal file stealing.
It’s even been embraced by companies to ensure that updates are seamlessly available at the correct date and time, without anyone having to download anything or take any extra steps.
At first, sharing files included centralization and people having to log into accounts to share and access files. These were called Bulletin board systems and soon became automatic, with more streamlined sharing networks following.
By the time the late 70’s rolled around, the process was decentralized and a system called Usenet was available which allowed the users to receive files and then redistribute them to other users in order to share them. This method not only led to the creation of the World Wide Web but also the creation of RAR several years later.
RAR allowed files to be re-uploaded in parts rather than as one large whole, also reducing the time that a file was down because of corruption. RAR is still in use today, most notably through WinRAR and is used to share, download, and open files.
BitTorrent’s creation and the aftermath
BitTorrent was created to capitalize on the best parts of previous technologies, including breaking files down into chunks and decentralizing the sharing portion, and it is by far the most used and most popular brand of web file sharing. Companies, people, and producers use it, and it’s become a powerful household name.
BitTorrent has spawned a number of copycats and some of them don’t have the best interests of the people in mind. Whether they steal data, charge money for every download, or upload dangerous malware through the files or advertisements, these sites have put a blemish on the name of torrent sites.
While the government and private users have been shutting these sites down and in some cases even arresting those responsible for their creation, new ones pop up as often as they can.
The effects of Torrenting on the world
Torrenting does take the power from the larger media outlets and returns it to the people, allowing for artists to upload their services and show the world what they can do online, and file sharing allows for large packs of information to become manageable for smaller computers to handle in a short period of time.
The freedom that file sharing as a whole has brought us is a revolution in how information is shared, and it’s only getting bigger and more important as time goes on. Without the predecessors of BitTorrent, the ways to share knowledge probably wouldn’t be the same.