Bittorrent is the perfect mechanism for downloading large files in high demand like a Knoppix ISO, which clocks in at about 700mb and is something many Linux geeks such as myself like to download as soon as it comes out. Since Bittorrent uses the upstream bandwidth of everyone who joins the torrent (not sure if that’s the right way to describe it), the overall bandwidth to download the file actually improves as more people start downloading. As a matter of ettiquette when using Bittorrent to download something, you should leave your Bitorrent client open for a while after the file is done downloading to allow others to download the same file more quickly. Since I have hardly used my computer over the past week, and one of the last things I downloaded was the 3.4 release of Knoppix, the grandaddy of bootable Linux CD distributions (latest release includes the 2.6 kernel, updated KDE 3.2.2, etc), I figured I should leave the Knoppix torrent running on my computer. Over the past several days, I’ve actually shared a good 15gb of my upstream bandwidth on people downloading the latest Knoppix release.
Unlike other filesharing methods, the only files you can “share” are the files associated with the particular torrent you have joined. You’re not inadvertenly sharing your whole hard drive like you can do with Kazaa and tools of that ilk.