Friday, May 18, 2007

Playing with BitTorrent

A member of one of the mailing lists to which I subscribe made a set of DVDs of a seminar available to interested members for the cost of duplication. I mentioned that BitTorrent would be a good way of distributing copies of the DVDs, rather than snail-mailing out discs. After some discussion, including getting permission from the copyright owner, I volunteered to handle BT distribution. The guy who made the dupes mailed me a copy and I'm in the process of making them available through BT.

See, peer-to-peer technology can be used for more than sharing pR0n and warez.

My first task was to create .ISOs of each of the four DVDs. Actually, I copied each disc to Bagend's hard disk last night, then made the .ISOs this morning while logged in remotely using XP's built-in Remote Desktop Protocol functionality. Because creating and compressing each .ISO took some time, I could start each task then put the MS RDP client into the background on my Mac, then periodically check on things. If I ever do this again I'll skip the initial copy and just use DVD Shrink to create the .ISOs directly from the discs.

As an aside, RDP seems to be one thing Microsoft got right. Even with my RDP client set to display thousands of colors, the refresh times were very quick, much better than VNC. It helps that I have a 1.5 Mbps upstream connection at home. I am using MS's RDP client for OS X. Even though it's a PPC app it seems to run fine. I also use it for remote administration of a client's Windows servers, so this isn't the first time I'm playing with it.

Because I am using Bagend for this, I used the free Windows program DVD Shrink to make the .ISO images. To reduce their size and save some bandwidth, I compressed each image using gzip (I have Cygwin installed on Bagend). The people who will be downloading the DVDs are Mac users, so they already have gzip installed for decompression; they should actually be able to decompress the images in Finder.

Later, I plan to create and host the torrents using Azureus. Hopefully tonight. I'll post an update after doing so to comment on this.

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