Live Spins

Bill Davidsen davidsen at
Tue Nov 13 15:40:47 UTC 2007

R A Jon Hamelin wrote:
> Frank Cox wrote:
>> On Sun, 11 Nov 2007 11:34:57 -0800
>> R A Jon Hamelin <jon_hamelin at> wrote:
>>> I have had bad experiences with torrents and will not use them again.
>> What's wrong with the torrents?  I downloaded F8 that way the other 
>> day at a
>> very healthy pace.
>  Hi Frank:
> A little over a year ago I downloaded a file - 4.3 GB - from what I 
> thought was a safe site. After installing the program, my computer 
> rebooted by itself and all hell broke loose. I no longer had a 
> functioning BIOS. In addition it wiped my hard drives. Checking with the 
> site in question, I discovered that the file should have been 3.8 GB.

Obviously the fault of torrent, because if you downloaded that same 
4.3GB file by ftp... wait, it still would have done the same thing, 
because the problem was the content not the delivery system. Blaming 
torrent for the effects of bad content is like blaming UPS because you 
ordered one thing and got another.

You didn't get 4.3GB instead of 3.8GB because of torrent, you got it 
because it started out bad at the original source (including the 
possibility of having a bad .torrent file to start with). And you didn't 
do the check for size and checksum *before* you used the file, and 
probably let something run as root or actually booted it, or it couldn't 
have reached the BIOS or rebooted the machine... In other words you 
didn't follow best practices and as a result something bad happened, and 
you didn't have a backup of critical data.
> In my opinion bit torrents are a security issue. Having lost 3 days 
> worth of irreplaceable photos from a commercial shoot and the contract, 
> it was an expensive lesson for me.
Torrent is safer than any download from a single site, because any one 
site can only corrupt a fraction of the overall content, and because 
there is a crc on every small part of the download. That makes it very 
hard for any undetected problems to get through, assuming you check the 
sum of the files, etc.

The "expensive lesson" involves backups, verifying anything you download 
before use, and other best practice issues.

Bill Davidsen <davidsen at>
   "We have more to fear from the bungling of the incompetent than from
the machinations of the wicked."  - from Slashdot

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