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Microsoft's take on BitTorrent - Avalanche

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 20 Jun 2005 14:18 User comments (22)

Microsoft's take on BitTorrent - Avalanche Hate or love P2P, there is no doubting that using the technology to distribute content is much cheaper and becoming more and more reliable as development goes on. One of the best used methods of sharing files by the community is by using BitTorrent due to its speed and ease of use. It should come as no shock that Microsoft has begun its own P2P development project, codenamed Avalanche. Based on BitTorrent, Avalanche is also working to tackle some of the remaining problems with BitTorrent.
Just like BitTorrent, Avalanche divides files up into chunks for easier sharing. The advantage of this approach is obvious; anyone with a full chunk can upload that same chunk to hundreds of people. Now if you take into account that hundreds, often thousands are sharing the same files on a BT tracker, this system does prove successful at speeding up the overall sharing amongst users. There is also the obvious disadvantage with this system; what if no-one currently sharing has a full file and several chunks are missing from all sharers?

According to Microsoft, using "network coding", Avalanche can re-create missing blocks of data that can be used in place of missing chunks. If this is true in practise then it's another point for reliability of P2P distribution. Microsoft also claims that Avalanche will make it harder for file data to become corrupted. While it is good to see at least one major company try to develop on the idea that P2P distribution is suitable for legitimate content, the damage to filesharing’s reputation has already been done.

BitTorrent sites all around the world have been shut down because the entertainment industry highlighted the sharing of copyrighted material among the users. This is where BitTorrent loses out while compared to a P2P network for example, to share reliably, you need o find a BitTorrent site, which is basically a centralised distribution point for .torrent files that are needed for the sharing. Several attempts have been made at "trackerless" BitTorrent, and appear to be getting better and better as time goes on.

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22 user comments

120.6.2005 16:34

Ya know i would love to see this app hit the net if it really can re-create missing blocks of data that would be so cool,i look forward to this very much indeed i do :)

220.6.2005 16:54

this is microsoft...and theres somethign fishy about it. adopt it and then waht?they control what is and isnt allowed on the networks?...i.e: we're meant to trust them. I had to re-format my whole computer today....and why?because of an update microsoft sent out. i thought updates were meant to fix things?well, i'm not updating again.shot themselves in the foot there. Dan

320.6.2005 16:56

But I have no problem at all finding Torrent sites with That kind of stuff. They all work as well. Where are these supposed shut down Bit torrent sites? Except Bt it is gone. Nice thing about the net, there are thousands of way to find what you want. Now a bit Article related here. Looks like Gates may be backing the P2P rage. So now what are these people going to do that want P2P to go away. MS has plenty of money to fight them off. I don't like the sound of a "AI" type part that can guess the missing blocks. What happens if it guesses wrong. I bet this Avalanche will also have some sort of DRM in it. -Del

420.6.2005 16:57

Yes i agree 100% with you spooky2k but the point is once this is out other people will start making programs just like it. Good point Del but having somthing like this when there's no seeds would be a risk lots of folk would take, if they can get it working like they say and prove it then am more than happy.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Jun 2005 @ 17:02

520.6.2005 20:25

Well, this article doesn't tell everything about Microsoft's bt. This also tries to prevent piracy by not allowing any unsigned things to be distributed. Check for more info on microsoft joining the p2p scene.

620.6.2005 20:52

Well, my take is this: If Micro$oft likes BT this is a GOOD thing. Although the R$AA and MPAA will continue to shut down BT sites, they maybe slowed down by M$. If one of the worlds biggest companies IS using BT, that would be ultra hard to ignore. I see this as a postitive thing (to a point) for P2P users.

720.6.2005 21:12

I smell something very bad in the future. Why does MS want to get into this, where is the money for them in this? The whole story isn't out yet, but I don't trust MS.

...a mind is a terrible thing to waste...

820.6.2005 21:30

Now really, why would Microsft want to release a bittorrent client? Of course theres something fishy going on here, i almost fainted when i saw it on the front page. Theres some catch, somethings going to happen. WHat would they want to do with it? Spread microsft updates? No, i think its something else. And about it geussing- thats impossible. You just cant do that.

I remember in THPS4- when glitching used to be fun. A competive thing. But now- glitching has evolved into a new thing. Changing times and people race for domination. It seems like glitching is a ''business'.
Glitching- has evolved.

920.6.2005 21:33

I smell something very bad in the future. Why does MS want to get into this, where is the money for them in this?
The money is in the savings that they get by making the billions of PCs that have Winblows distribute there "patches" and "Service Packs" etc. Bandwidth (distributing mentioned things) is expensive, reguardless if your a work-at-home citizen or a corporate Giant like M$.
"The only people who should buy Monster cable are people who light cigars with Benjamins." - Gizmodo

1020.6.2005 21:52

I also agree with spooky2k. If Micro$oft makes it; if micro$oft endorses it, then large red flags immediately start waving. I take anything and everything micro$oft says with a larger-than-normal dose of critical skepticsm. To say that I don't trust them would be an understatement. Btw, I completely sympathise with and understand your reformatting woes. I've spent the last two days painstakingly putting my Win-2k system back together after my Romp with Nero's new Digital Video 30-day trial version. Nero Digital requires (what else?) - microsoft's DRM- inhibiting directX 9.0a or higher. Haven't got a clue how directX 9 got on my computer, (I don't recall manually installing it), must have been automagically installed by some proggy or other. Well, *it* or *Nero* or *something* fried my Win2k installation. I like Nero - use it all the time - but I don't like their recent hob-nobbing with Willy Gates & Co. Trying to get a downloadable (full) copy of DirectX 9.0c from the microsoft website is like pulling teeth. So ..... I gave up. Pity too.... I made a simply _outstanding_ .mp4 Nero encode of a Star Trek episode. And the Nero player is flat out gorgeous too. It played DivX, and DVDs(!) right out of the box - no software dvd player required! The star trek nero digital encode blew my DivX's out of the water. My computer, and the program itself ran fine until I exited the trial software, then ....... *poof* ! One Dead 200-gig Hard Drive. (The file-structure was corrupted beyond all recognition). Thanks, micro$oft. You can keep your directX 9.+ and bit-torrent look-alike as well.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Jun 2005 @ 21:59

1121.6.2005 7:39

Microsft is the richest company in the world. They have a windows machine in 95 percent of all computer owning people. They have their leader, Bill Gates, the richest man in the world. I really dont think that they need to worry about ''bandwith usage''. And pop smith, no one really downloads thing on their website caouse its so damn hard to find it. When i was trying to find Movie Maker 2.0, they keep boasting how good it is, though they ---never---- showed me the link to the download.

1221.6.2005 7:40

Microsft is the richest company in the world. They have a windows machine in 95 percent of all computer owning people. They have their leader, Bill Gates, the richest man in the world. I really dont think that they need to worry about ''bandwith usage''. And pop smith, no one really downloads thing on their website caouse its so damn hard to find it. When i was trying to find Movie Maker 2.0, they keep boasting how good it is, though they ---never---- showed me the link to the download. I never found it.

1321.6.2005 9:38

Re-create missing parts is nothing new to most of us, Google Quickpar, you will soon find the answers you are looking for, its not that brillliant idea if they are just comining some technologys that already exist????

1421.6.2005 11:33

I wouldn't be taking any sides just yet, but those who are Anti-Microsoft would obviously be against this. I, like most of the time, shall wait until we get more news about this to form a solid opinion about MS's take.

1524.6.2005 6:25

When longhorn comes out, i'm going to get it with Avalanche. Take that microsoft! It does make you wonder, since microsoft is developing, they will probably include avalanche in their new OSs... I'm a computer tech, and from what i've seen on "normal" users computers, they use what they can. Most people don't research how to do things on the net, or for that matter, even know how or where to look. I know some guys already said it, but it could be very possible that since avalanche can recreate missing files, it could monitor data patterns. If microsoft could strike a deal with RIAA where when it discovers illegal content, corrupt the file with it's "recovered" data. This is more than enough to stop someone like my uncle who is easily discouraged. I think the goal is not to stop the downloading now, but to make it as difficult as possible so people will go the easier way and buy it. This could possibly coinside with Sony's up and coming Movie download site(much like napster is now).

1626.6.2005 17:06

U said it"...dont trust Microsoft. The whole thing sounds to abnormal. Some just want the P2P sharers to offer thier head on a plate.

1727.6.2005 8:57

Microsoft CANNOT be trusted. I agree with spooky2k. Those updates they keep telling people to get? More often than not, it's garbage that is supposed to fix problems that were created by Microsoft IN THE FIRST PLACE. I've been running XP without SP1 or SP2 for over a year now and I haven't had any problems. NADA. Why? 'Cause I've got a whole bunch of great FREE programs that protect my computer! Don't buy into Microsoft's propaganda. This thing they want to do with P2P? Mark my words, it's a campaign to figure out who's out there using P2P, to trick them into using THEIR P2P and then tie them into some cockamamie scheme of theirs that'll make them money. As everybody should know by now, Microsoft is instrumental behind the so-called asinine "Trusted Computing," an attempt by Microsoft and hardware manufacturers to control on your computer - your uploads and downloads - with a small device on the motherboards of every computer sold in the future. What they don't want you to have, they ain't gonna let you have - unless we stop them now. So, are you gonna trust these same people with their P2P? MJL54

1827.6.2005 11:25

i have a bad feeling that Toxic fish is right - microsoft will find and corrupt parts of "unwanted" files and make it auto download into your working download, completely messing the whole file up. i dont care - just boycott the product, block it. crackers will always win. they are everywhere and they are smarter than any company, copy protection and anti-piracy scheme will ever be.

1927.6.2005 13:04

Honestly...I think what microsoft is doing is quite....intelligent. After all, the pirate population over exceeds the professional population. So if you can't beat us....join us? Within reason maybe. I'm betting of course microsoft will get some sort of money outta this. Add new features, fix broken blocks. This is a program created by PROFESSIONALS. It will do more and perform better. Why not pay a small fee and get more? Maybe they think it might ease up on the piracy rate for their products a tad more? Problem is that you can't steal from stealers (pirates) and expect to win. They'll just re-steal and re-pirate to get the *crowd* on their side. A cracked copyrite peice of software offered for free and just as good as the real thing, tends to attract the money-conscience/pirate people as well. There's just too many of those types out there. I think it will all blow back in microsoft's face.

2027.6.2005 16:22

"Honestly...I think what microsoft is doing is quite....intelligent." Excuse me for being cynical, but are you kidding? This is the company owned by the guy who thinks Microsoft is perfect and everyone else out there is an idiot. This is the company that uses subversive tactics to put competitors out of business. This is the company that keeps its code secret, forcing software programmers who want their applications to co-exist with Microsoft's O/S to waste time figuring out how to break through all that code when they could be doing something useful. I could go on, but there's limited space. "This is a program created by PROFESSIONALS." Huh? Excuse me while I pick myself off the floor. Microsoft would be nowhere - absolutely nowhere without the HACKERS whom Bill Gates hired to program his operating systems in the first place. The only thing PROFESSIONAL about MICROSOFT is the LAWYERS. It isn't about programming, it's about BUSINESS and BIG MONEY. "It will do more and perform better." Like since when does any Microsoft application do more and perform better? Their programs are bloated and outdated. They never write a new program if they don't have to; they just add some code and create even more bloat. Don't believe me? Check out "The Cathedral and The Bazaar," all about Open Source vs Corporate software. MJL54

2128.6.2005 2:57

How can some of you say Microsoft care only about money and later someone say, Microsoft is rich and don't have to worry about bandwidth. Bandwidth cost money, and MS will do anything to save some of them... More and more site with legit software use BT to distribute data, many open source products but also Blizzard for WoW updates, and it works like a charm. MS also remember how people downloaded SP2 through BT, when they site was unable to handle all the requests. I bet they will use Avalanche for Windows updates, beta software and so on, but maybe not only for this.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Jul 2005 @ 13:52

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