Why you should be a BitTorrent seed for Rawseeds, and how

Important note: the BitTorrent distribution system is not operational anymore. A new dataset distribution system is available.

What are we talking about?

As you can read in the BitTorrent HOWTO, downloading Rawseeds’ datasets is easy. You install a BitTorrent client program (chances are that you already have it installed by default) you click on a link in Rawseeds’ website to start downloading the associated file, and that’s it. The BitTorrent client tells you when the download has finished (for very large files such as ours, this can take even days).
While you are downloading the file, you are also uploading small chunks of it to other users requesting the same file. As they too do the same for you, the net result is that each of you peers (this is the actual word) experience a much faster download. To upload the data, you use a small fraction of your available upload bandwidth. How small? You decide it: every BitTorrent client allows the user to select easily the maximum uploading bandwidth that the client can use. Some can even let you specify different values, say, for working hours, nights, and weekends.
You are beginning to see where this is going to, don’t you? The speed at which Rawseeds users download the data depends on how many users are uploading the same data at the moment. The more users act as uploaders (or, to use the correct word, as seeds) the faster every user gets her data. And for Rawseeds’ data, that comprise many huge files, speed is a key factor, if you don’t want to end up spending weeks to get the files.
So: the more time you choose to act as a seed for a particular Rawseeds file, the faster the download of that file will be for all Rawseeds users. This is the reason why you should try to keep seeding the files for the longest possible time. Without your help Rawseeds could not be possible, because obtaining acceptable (read: very high) download speeds for our files for every user would require us buying extremely costly hosting services… that we can’t afford (hey, Rawseeds is a small project!).

How can you do this “seeding” we are so insistent about?

Nothing could be more simple. When the download of the Rawseeds files you requested is completed, don’t close the BitTorrent client program; don’t move the files away from the download directory; and don’t remove the torrents associated to those files from the BitTorrent client. If your machine is not always on, also ensure that the BitTorrent client is automatically started every time the PC is turned on. This is it.
Of course you can use the data you just downloaded! Just uncompress them to wherever you like (even in the download directory, if you want) and use the contents. Only, do not remove the compressed files you downloaded from www.rawseeds.org (but you can copy them and move the copies).

What are you actually doing by seeding our data?

  • you are donating some space on your hard disks to host the files to be seeded
  • you are donating a fraction of your upload bandwidth to send chunks of those files to other Rawseeds users (the amount of this bandwidth can be easily set from the BitTorrent client)
  • you are donating a (very small) fraction of your processor’s power to keep running the BitTorrent client
  • you are giving a key contribution to Rawseeds and we *warmly thank you!*

IMPORTANT: to act as a seed for Rawseeds, a machine doesn’t need to be powerful, or modern, or good-looking. Provided that disk space is sufficient, any old PC salvaged from the junkyard is good. Leaving it in a dusty corner to seed some of Rawseeds’ files is the best present that you can do to us. Read here to learn how setting up an old PC as a seed: it’s incredibly easy.

In case you are wondering: if you accept to act as a seed for Rawseeds data, your machine will seed those files only. It is impossible for anyone (except you) to use it to seed other files.

User contributions – in any form – are what keep Rawseeds alive. We are honored to receive them and, on our part, try to do our best. Thank you again!