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Comments on: Toronto’s OpenCola lives on in Swarmcast



...my thoughts about the future of media, technology and the social web



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By: Mathew Ingram

Fri, 01 Dec 2006 19:36:15 +0000

Thanks for that historical perspective, Gary.



By: mrG

Fri, 01 Dec 2006 18:20:35 +0000

as one of those OC swarmcast developers, I can also tell you that Swarmcast was only superficially like bittorrent; for one thing, Swarmcast worked ;) but the real innovation still unmatched was the insightfull use of the Foreward Error Correction -- this is the same method used by cellphone networks and this technology (not invented by Justin, just adapted to filesharing by him) is the "free software" core of the otherwise proprietary swarmcast technology (FEC is still on sourceforge somewhere). Another SC filetrading innovation in the use of hash-trees allowed swarmcast to be used for real-time live streaming broadcasts; this facility is still largely untapped by the media although I believe it was employed by CityTV's FashionTelevision to distribute their archive broadcasts (long long before YouTube and Google would make streaming media mainstream. So why did bittorrent skyrocket after the death of napster but SC didn't? My theory is two factors, not the least of which was that Justin just didn't go to the right parties, but also the SC implementation was in Java, and java for a windows desktop was not a popular opinion in those days. Had the desktop client been in C++ or even Python like BT, it may have fared better. As for being opensource, remember, in those days neither of the top browsers was 'free' as in free speech, and the swarcast client was just as free as in free beer. Oh, one other thought: we intentionally made SC difficult for bootleggers to spread illegal copies; to distribute content, you had to own that content; that probably shot SC in the foot relative to BT more than all the other reasons combined. But don't shed any tears for OC Swarmcast: upon the collapse of OC, Justin regained the ownership of his wares and founded onionnetworks.com, and they are still very much in business still profitably serving the industrial sector that OC would not consider ;)



By: Paul Kelly

Fri, 01 Dec 2006 17:39:16 +0000

Opencola devoted a lot of resources to the development of swarmcast. Lots of developers worked on it for many months.



By: Randy Charles Morin

Thu, 30 Nov 2006 23:30:02 +0000

Swarmcast was open source and not proprietary. Swarmcast was not developed in Toronto, but was purchased by Opencola, which never did anything significant with it other than sink it. I believe you are also wrong about Justin re-purchasing the IP.



By: Main Page :: Global Nerdy

Mon, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000

of New York, while I started off in Toronto, moved to San Francisco to work with co-founder Cory Doctorow and then went back to Toronto after the San Fran office closed. Globe and Mail technology writer Matthew Ingram recently posted an entry titled Toronto's OpenCola Lives On in Swarmcast