Bittorrent is by and large one of the most effective ways of obtaining Linux ISO's (CD images) using a high speed connection (cable/DSL/etc.)

The basic idea behind bittorrent is this: rather than thousands of simultaneous downloads placing a strain on the server (which is very common when a new distro release comes out!), the people downloading the software can help to distribute the file by using their upstream bandwidth to distribute the portion (or whole) of the software they have downloaded.

One of the benefits of Bittorrent is that it includes a mechanism to make sure that your download is not corrupted, similar to the way you run an MD5 checksum to make sure that ISO's you downloaded over HTTP/FTP are not corrupted.

Most modern distributions now inlcude with their download links "torrents" that can be used to download software using this method.

To use Bittorrent, you need a bittorrent client, and these are easy to get and install for pretty much all platforms, including Windows/Mac/Linux/BSD.

It is good Bittorrent "etiquette" to leave the download running for as long as you can after you complete the download of your file. This leaves it in a mode where it is "seeding" the file, and and helps greatly with the health of the overall Bittorrent network.

Over the past few years, Bittorrent has become a popular method for trafficking illegal music, video, software, and other files. However, downloading ISO's of linux distributions and other software that is freely available is a perfectly acceptable and legal use of Bittorrent. Bittorrent as a whole has gotten a lot of attention recently, so keep in mind that you run a higher risk of getting "caught" if you you use bittorrent to get illegal stuff since it is very closely monitored by the powers that be.

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