I take pride in being technically knowledgeable, but a friend recently mentioned the BitTorrent client Azureus and I simply didn't know what she was talking about. A few days ago, I decided to check out this new technology and see for myself what all the fuss is about. It's a whole new world, with lingo like leech, seed, swarm, health, and scrape. You probably can find out more about it at http://www.bittorrent.com . From what little research I've had, the technology is a better way to distribute large amount of info over the web. These days that mostly translates to movie files. What sets BitTorrent apart from other file-sharing technology is that the client, or at least the client that I've experimented with - Azureus, automatically makes any files downloaded available to others. In other words, you download something, then once the file is complete, you host it for others to retrieve from. It boils down to decentralization, making any downloader a prospective uploader. Of course, if you shut down your client software as soon as you are done downloading, you become a leech, someone who only takes and not give back. If you are a good citizen of the BitTorrent universe, you stay connected and become a seed.
From what I see out there, it's all illegal stuff. There are recent movies, software packages, pictures, music, etc. It's all very tempting. Free stuff in exchange for some hard drive space, electricity, and time. Quality may not be the highest there is, but what do you expect for freebies. I imagine someday the big companies will crack down on the BitTorrent world, kinda like what they did to Napster and the other p2p networks. Still, it's all very interesting.