Enclosures and BitTorrent

An idea that Aaron Swartz and I were batting around tonight walking home after the Thursday dinner….
BitTorrent has been making the weblog rounds recently. I may have missed some of the discussion, but the thing I didn’t see was this observation: BitTorrent only works when a lot of people are trying to download the same file at more or less the same time. You might be able to find CD images for the latest Linux release, or an mpeg file of this week’s West Wing, but you probably won’t find cool obscure stuff like you could on the old Napster or on the Gnutella network.
Given its strengths, BitTorrent will probably be the killer app for dealing with RSS enclosures when they catch on. A while back, James Robinson trackbacked to a post of mine, observing that enclosures and their accompanying bandwidth cost are a great way to kill a service. And he’ll be right, eventually, once enough people are using enclosures. At that point, we should probably syndicate a .torrent file instead, teach the aggregators how to spawn a BitTorrent client, and set up whatever shared resources are necessary to run a tracker for each enclosure.
I think Jeremy Bowers is making a similar observation in this lengthy post to Radio-Dev.

6 thoughts on “Enclosures and BitTorrent”

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  2. IBP is basically an academic version of Akamai, but since it doesn’t have a business model it won’t scale. I think BitTorrent is really the way to go for RSS enclosures.

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