When Eclipse 3.1 was released, the eclipse.org website slowed to a crawl within hours. One key cause of the saturation was that we failed to allow our mirror sites time to sync up before publishing the links. It hurt and we learned.
During the 3.1 chaos, I must have received about 10 e-mails from (understandably) disgruntled downloaders all wondering why I didn't post torrents. Commens ranged from "P2P - it seems so obvious" to "who's the idiot". So why didn't we?
I tried to use BitTorrent in the past with little success. Slow downloads, no peers and no seeds left me dangling with a fast cable connection and nothing coming in. So when Eclipse 3.1 was released, I couldn't imagine why one would want to use BitTorrent to download it. But these e-mails made me question myself. Has it changed? All ten of them can't be wrong? Has the power of P2P outclassed dozens of server-class computers with big disks connected to large Internet pipes throughout the world, managed by skilled SysAdmins?
Shortly after 3.1, I set out to download Fedora Core 4. It weighs in at about 2.5 GB. I spotted the FC4 torrent links and I figured, "it's a sign, let's give this another try". With a new attitude, I go to download Azureus
, arguably the best BitTorrent client out there. Clicking on the Linux X86_64 link, I am presented with a list of mirror sites. Hrm. "Mirrors, how passé"
I think to myself. With Azureus installed, I then click on the shiny Fedora Core 4 torrent links and voilà - I'm downloading FC4 at the blazing speed of -- 90kB/sec.
What is this? I can easily get just shy of 600 kB/sec from eclipse.org and here I am, with the power of the P2P world at my feet, yawning at 90k with only 30 peers. "Maybe I need to give it some time to get to like me" I think so I go out for a while.
Several hours later, I return to my Azureus screen, only to see 18 kB/sec - 4%. Ouch, only 12 peers. Granted, I'm giving a bit back, uploading at - hang on - 5kB/sec, but at this rate, it would be faster to drive to Raleigh and ask someone at Red Hat for the CDs (Ottawa-Raleigh is about a 28-hour round-trip, for about 2.5GB - grossing 26 kB/sec. I did the math).
Just for fun, I return to the Fedora page, hit the download link and click, *shudder*, mirrors. I browse to my favorite mirror site
and click the CD1 ISO. Boom. 490 kB/sec. Within a few hours I had all 5 ISO's, ready to burn, having picked 5 different mirrors for each CD. I quietly shut down Azureus, now at 12%, and went to bed.
So what have I learned from all this? Mirror sites still rock - many thanks are due to the mirror maintainers worldwide. For the next big Eclipse Release, we'll allow time for our mirrors to sync up before publishing links, and we'll publish links to mirror sites that host torrents. Will we make torrents available on eclipse.org? I don't think it's necessary.