21 April 2007

Ubuntu and BitTorrent

As a Mac user, I see no reason to mess with Linux other than to see what's all the fuss there is. I am not interested in hosting my own web server or mail server, so Linux server is out of the question. Linux on the desktop still has years to catch up with Mac OS X's beautiful GUI, supposedly, so there's no attraction there either. However, with all the Intel-based computers I rescued off the street, some with hard drive, memory, CD-RW drives, etc. intact, I'm tempted to turn one of them into a Linux desktop. With broadband access, I can just download some distro as an ISO image file, burn the file to a CD, then stick it into the host PC, and, oh, some hours later I'll have a Linux desktop. Of course I haven't gotten around to doing all that because while the whole process can be put into one sentence, actually doing it takes much more time. Or, as mentioned in Every OS Sucks, a comedy song by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie, even though the fun is in the technical details, I have a girlfriend and things to do, or to be exact in my case, I have a family and things to do.

From what little I heard, Ubuntu seems to be the easiest-to-use Linux distro out there. Just boot it up and it'll automatically detect everything for you. I've thought of giving Ubuntu a shot and the recent roll-out of a new Ubuntu, nicknamed Feisty Fawn, seemed to be just the ticket. Alas, demand for Feisty was high and all the mirror sites were overwhelmed. However, I was able to download a torrent file and got the new distro via the BitTorrent client Azureus. Recall that the last time I checked out BitTorrent technology, I concluded that there was nothing to it other than for pirating movies. Well, here's a perfectly legit use of BitTorrent. After getting my own copy of Ubuntu Desktop for i386, I became another distribution channel of what I just downloaded, or in torrent lingo, I help seed the resource. Well, it seemed easy to become a seeder, but it took much mucking around to really become a useful seeder. Supposedly my NAT (network address translation) was not setup correctly such that people couldn't get to what I offer. I had to read the Azureus FAQ over and over, trying to fully understand a whole slew of seemingly foreign terms like seed, peer, leech, snub, tracker, etc. In the end, it was a matter of configuring my DSL router to allow incoming traffic to a port Azureus expects to make data available to. I have been doing my part in making the data available to the public since three days ago. I plan to maybe keep up the service for about a month. I'm not too keen on keeping my computer up too long as it wastes electricity that way. The file itself is about 600 MB but according to Azureus I've uploaded more than 5 GB of data. Now, only if I have the time to actually make use of the file...

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