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Thread: Neowin Talks To Bram Cohen, Bit Torrent Creator

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    Many readers will be familiar with the name Bit Torrent, yet might be less familiar with the creator of Bit Torrent, Bram Cohen.

    We've been lucky enough to grab a few minutes of Bram's time and talk to him on a variety of issues; Bram talks about his views on piracy, the growth in Bit Torrent use, and the protocol's use for software piracy.

    Firstly, could you tell us about yourself, your history?

    I've been into recreational mathematics most of my life, and worked in software startups for a while after dropping out of college before starting work on BitTorrent.

    Tell us about BitTorrent- what was the inspiration? What were you trying to achieve with the protocol?

    I had a lot of experience working on networking protocols, and was interested in exploring what I thought were the reasonable problems to work on. My main goal was to make it cheap to distribute large, popular files, which I of course succeeded in doing.

    BitTorrent, it was recently suggested, was carrying as much as 30% of the webs traffic; how did you re-act to this news?!

    I don't have any visceral concept of how much that bandwidth that really is, so it's mostly just surreal.

    Moving onto BitTorrent uses at the moment - it'd be hard to ignore the arguably most common use of the protocol - piracy. How do you feel about this? Did you think about the potential for 'abuse' when you conceived the protocol?

    Given the history of such tools, it's fairly obvious that the general public has a strong interest in piracy.

    A group have created a new program called eXeem which appears to solve one of the problems BitTorrent has- that off tracking torrents. Have you seen the program, and if so, what do you think of it?

    It's yet another napster/kazaa/edonkey/hotline/whatever. BitTorrent usage is doing quite well without it.

    Moving on, the protocol has clearly many legitimate uses; have you seen any especially unique implementations?

    They're all just pushing around bits, which is about all I care about.

    How do you think companies are going to deal with bandwidth in years to come - do you think it will be something along the lines of bit torrent, or something radically different?

    Peer to peer as an approach is here to stay.

    What's cool technology wise in the Cohen house hold at the moment? What'd be your pick for the "next big thing"?

    I've also been working on the Codeville version control system and designing twisty puzzles. I don't know what the next big thing is.

    Finally, what does the future hold for yourself?! What are you working on at the moment?

    I'm continuing to work on BitTorrent.

    http://neowin.net/comments.php?id=26999&category=main


    Seems mr. Cohen likes short awnsers
    Last edited by {I}{K}{E}; 02-08-2005 at 09:18 PM.

  2. BitTorrent   -   #2
    Harsh!'s Avatar n00b
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    Nothing new from his last interview...lol

  3. BitTorrent   -   #3
    lee551's Avatar no soup for you! BT Rep: +5
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    wow. he seems like a boring person. doesnt like the attention at all.

  4. BitTorrent   -   #4
    sArA's Avatar Ex-Moderatererer
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    I noticed a very dry wit... couple of beers, and he would be telling jokes

  5. BitTorrent   -   #5
    tesco's Avatar woowoo
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    I read this earlier (neowin alert thing i got on msn), and was thinking the exact same things that were posted.
    Last edited by tesco; 02-09-2005 at 01:56 AM.

  6. BitTorrent   -   #6
    sameer0807's Avatar I aIn'T nO sErIoUs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sara
    I noticed a very dry wit... couple of beers, and he would be telling jokes
    lol

    "I'll be here... I'll be 'waiting'...here... I'll be waiting... for you ... so... If you come here... You'll find me. I promise..."

  7. BitTorrent   -   #7
    Illuminati's Avatar Simple Bystander BT Rep: +7BT Rep +7
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    Well while he may be seen by some as a revolutionary of filesharing, it seems like he doesn't like to relish in the role. BT's designed use was for sharing large files and it became popular in sharing large movies, software, etc

    In the end, he's pretty much saying just the facts. Would you rather have a long-winded pile of crap like Slonyck or SharePro?

  8. BitTorrent   -   #8
    lightshow's Avatar Asleep at the wheel
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    I know if I was the one to make bittorent I'd definatly not boast too much since the wake of the popularity is because of the rise of excitement in the community about the whole drama associated with who is and isn't getting caught.

    I mean come on. I'm sure he knows that they might have his IP and are especially waiting for him to make the wrong move. I mean how good would it be for them if they could sue the hell out of the guy who created the program.

    I remember reading another interview with him where he said he has never used his application to download any content that is not legal. This made me think of why he might not like to get so much attention.

    He wants the attention for something that he finds positive. Well maybe not the word positive, but something... hmm.. He'd like to feel accomplished and until he feels totally accomplished he doesn't want to gloat.

    Something like that. A coder would understand what I'm trying to say, but it's late and I'm trying to study for a double header tommrow so my mind is starting to melt and this coffee is starting to taste horrible..

    I need some new coffee...
    I miss the days of random nut '03
    Click for more activation options, then activate by telephone. Run the keygen.
    if I call them, aren't they going to get me? (you know, down there)

  9. BitTorrent   -   #9
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    It's my understanding that he genuinely developed it for distributing large software releases, such as Linux distros.

    Why don't the MPAA and RIAA like it? It isn't really because of piracy, it isn't that they don't understand it, it isn't even that they don't have any control over it.

    It is because he didn't build in a method for the greedy bastards to make yet more money from it.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  10. BitTorrent   -   #10
    Illuminati's Avatar Simple Bystander BT Rep: +7BT Rep +7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    It's my understanding that he genuinely developed it for distributing large software releases, such as Linux distros.

    Why don't the MPAA and RIAA like it? It isn't really because of piracy, it isn't that they don't understand it, it isn't even that they don't have any control over it.

    It is because he didn't build in a method for the greedy bastards to make yet more money from it.
    Nail on head

    On a similar note, there cannot really be any "fault" on Cohen because he didn't design it for that use - Why would you put in methods for the media piggies to make money for a protocol designed for sharing large files quickly?

    (Side note, even though it's main popularity is piracy it's still a very popular software in the way Cohen intended. Nowadays, you can find many MMOGs like Neocron & Anarchy Online using the software to share the software )

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