Microsoft has apparently taken the wraps off its “Avalanche” peer-to-peer file-sharing technology (seemingly a clone of BitTorrent) and, in a single sentence ultimately defines why the software giant sucks rocks and continues to take abuse for it:
A Microsoft spokesman, however, said there was to be no network naughtiness with Avalanche: ‘It includes strong security to ensure content providers are uniquely identifiable and to prevent unauthorized parties from offering content for download.’
To be sure, unauthorized parties—that’s you and me, bub—will be prevented from offering content. This is the asymmetric bandwidth business model of the cable and telco monopolies applied to publishing.
BitTorrent works by chunking large files and distributing those chunks across the network peers. As a BitTorrent client downloads the chunks it needs, it uploads the chunks it already has. Because the load is spread across the peers downloading the file, publishers don’t suffer the bandwidth penalties of releasing large media files. This is a Big Deal with things like Linux distributions (legal) and movies (illegal), but it’s going to be a Huge Deal for podcasts and indie music distribution, especially when paired with RSS.
Avalanche, according to the CNET article, works basically the same way as BitTorrent but magically “not all the chunks are needed to complete the file,” even though users end up “downloading more chunks than they need.” Nevertheless, Microsoft claims this is actually more efficient because “the load is spread more evenly.” Right. Embrace and extend 2.0. Now with even more hand-waving.