The World’s Oldest Torrent
How a Matrix fan film helped put BitTorrent on the map:
In 2003 the ‘world wide web’ was an entirely different place than it is today.
This was especially true for streaming video. YouTube had yet to be invented, while Netflix only sent out films via the postal service.
It was at this time that a group of New Zealand friends was shooting a fan film of The Matrix, appropriately titled “The Fanimatrix.” With a limited budget of just $800, of which nearly half went into a leather jacket, they managed to complete the project in nine days.
There was a problem though. As video streaming services were still non-existent, distribution was a challenge. The makers managed to reduce the filesize down to 150MB, but even that was too expensive.
TorrentFreak spoke to the film’s ‘IT-guy’ Sebastian Kai Frost, who also had a bit part in front of the camera, in addition to being a wire-work counterweight, gopher, and light holder. According to Frost, regular centralized hosting was not an option.
Setting aside piracy an the like, it’s a very useful technology for open source and public domain. I’m a big fan of Librivox – think Project Gutenberg for audiobooks – and it’s the best way to download large numbers of stuff from their collection. I hope somebody gets it working for public domain comics, too. And Linux distros.