What’s next, after Bittorrent?

Techdirt asks, Will There Be A New Bittorrent?

Citing Bittorrent, Inc.’s corporate ties and some technical limitations, brokep announced that The Pirate Bay was working on a new protocol to succeed Bram Cohen’s Bittorrent…. It’s true that the protocol’s been asked to do things that its creator didn’t envision. Clients now use encryption to get around ISP traffic shaping and sometimes pad files to improve interoperability with other networks. DHT functionality, which removes the need for a central tracker, was implemented in a chaotic, piecemeal fashion…. Traversing firewalls remains an issue.

Tom Lee wonders whether or not a technically superior standard would be adopted even if it is eventually produced, using Ogg Vorbis format as an example in its superiority over the much more popular and ubiquitous MP3 codec…

5 thoughts on “What’s next, after Bittorrent?”

  1. Ha. I’ll try.

    The jist is that there are some fundamental problems with the bittorrent program: specifically stuff that makes it not very anonymous. So the nerds who run The Pirate Bay are working on building a new program that would be better than bittorrent.

    But the question is: is bittorrent so popular by now that a new & improved program couldn’t ever catch up?

    That’s essentially what happened with MP3 vs OGG. OGG was built as an open-source, better fidelity music file format. Pretty much everybody who compares them agrees that OGG is better than MP3. But because MP3 already has so much real world support (iPods play them, all music software plays them, etc.), OGG has languished. It’s better, but nobody cares.

    I linked to the story for two reasons. 1) I think it’s interesting that the Pirate Bay has developers working on building a way to make filesharing pretty much impossible to trace/stop: no centralized trackers, etc. And 2) There’s this whole weird historical VHS vs Beta thing in the tech world that seems to defy basic principles of the free market… Why doesn’t the superior product win?

    And yes, I realize this totally proves my ubergeekiness in many, many ways. Guilty.

  2. Ohhhhhh OK. Now I get it.

    Well, maybe there’s some evidence of a reluctancy to change (I’ve heard of OGG but never knew how to make it compatible with iTunes, so I stayed away), but there’s also evidence of people willing to adapt, no?

    How else did we graduate from WAV to MP3? From P2P to BitTorrent? From CD Players to MP3 players?

  3. Right. It’s all about critical mass. iTunes doesn’t support OGG because not enough people use it. But not enough people use it because they can’t load them onto their iPods with either converting the files ot hacking their iPods…

  4. Update: Two years later, and it looks like they did it:

    • With decentralized peer acquisition, there is no central tracker that can be down.

    • With decentralized fetching of metadata (torrents) we don’t need to rely on a single server that stores and distributes torrent files.

Leave a Reply