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Tech News (more headlines) 03-05-2004

Lindows Adds P2P Servers To Corporate Infrastructure To Deliver Latest Products

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Website: http://www.lindows.com/bittorrenthelp

Lindows, Inc. today announced the deployment of P2P servers to distribute commercial software to purchasers with greater speed and at lower prices. Available immediately, visitors to the Lindows website (www.lindows.com) can purchase LindowsOS at a 50% savings when selecting P2P as the primary method of delivery (www.lindows.com/p2p). Those purchasing LindowsOS through this P2P program can begin immediately downloading their software by bypassing the download queue, and can achieve download rates superior to traditional ftp-based downloads.

Networking charges make up one of the largest fixed costs when digitally distributing content. By utilizing a P2P architecture, bandwidth rates are greatly reduced. In addition to the bandwidth savings, hosting infrastructure (servers, firewalls, routers, etc.) can be postponed or even eliminated. Together these savings allow Lindows to serve 1000 or more simultaneous users with no new costs added to a system that could previously serve approximately 125 simultaneous users. These savings are now being passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices. LindowsOS via P2P is available for $25 or about 50% of the normal $49.95 price.

"Most content companies view P2P as evil, but there are phenomenal commercial applications." said Michael Robertson, chief executive officer of Lindows, Inc. "We started using P2P as a promotion tool and now we're taking the next step and deploying our own P2P servers to help us sell our commercial software. P2P allows us to serve more customers faster than previously possible and at a huge savings which we're able to pass on in the form of lower prices."

Lindows has implemented a BitTorrent-based P2P system which is ideal for large commercial applications with large peaks of demand. BitTorrent technology divides the desired data into small numbered chunks, which can be retrieved from many different places in any order and are then reassembled into the finished product. A typical 500 MB LindowsOS file is divided into about 1000 pieces, each of which is approximately 500K in size. All active downloaders then cooperate by exchanging those numbered chunks with each other until they have the entire list. Once all pieces have been delivered they are assembled into the final product and are ready to be put into operation. Since all parts are automatically verified using cryptographic hashing (SHA1) the integrity of the data can be ensured. Highly desirable files such as new software upgrades often create spikes in demand. These spikes mean many users will be trying to simultaneously download the data, resulting in the P2P network growing proportionally with demand as more participants are in the download cooperative.

Lindows expects the BitTorrent P2P system to eventually become the primary downloading mechanism for its larger files. Currently a traditional ftp system is in place with a wait queue for overflow. User performance is capped on this system to 200K/sec per user and there have been instances with more than 1000 people in the queue, which can equate to a 4 hour-long wait. Using the newly deployed P2P system, customers can begin downloads immediately and achieve download performance greater than the 200K/sec rate. The BitTorrent system does require users to install a small piece of free software before participating, available for Linux, Macintosh and Microsoft Windows users.

Consumers are now be able to purchase LindowsOS and receive a 50% discount by choosing BitTorrent as their method of delivery, and will also experience faster download times by utilizing the P2P method. The BitTorrent software and full details of this program are available at www.lindows.com/p2p. Help is also available for new BitTorrent users at www.lindows.com/bittorrenthelp.

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