Short Bytes: Today we are going to tell you the story of the world’s oldest torrent and how it has managed to survive the past 12 years. This fan-made ASCII version of the 1999 sci-fi The Matrix is still being downloaded by users regularly.
To keep a file alive, at least one person has to keep sharing it. While most torrents disappear after people lose interest, some torrents live on forever. The website where this ASCII torrent originated has disappeared, but the file continues to thrive.
TorrentFreak reports that the torrent has seen over 5000 completed downloads. Thanks to the recent publicity, this torrent has 6-8 seeders on websites KickAssTorrents, SeedPeer.me, TorrentFunk.come, YourBittorent.com, Manova.org, Bitsnoop.com, and TorrentProject.se.
The real origin date of this torrent is a bit conflicting. While TorrentFreak takes back to December 2003, an Internet Archive cache mentions that it was made available in January 2004.
Here’s the original description of the torrent:
The.Matrix-ASCII is the original Matrix movie encoded in text. The finished product is an MPEG-2 file 7989979136 bytes in size, too large to fit on a DVD5. I re-encoded the ASCII movie to fit on a standard DVDR. The two samples are from the larger file and are higher quality. The DVDR is available through BitTorrent. If you wish to download the final movie or either of the samples using BitTorrent with Java installed, I suggest Azureus: otherwise TheSHADOW’s BitTorrent Client should work well. You will need a media player that can play MPEG-2 videos to watch either sample and a DVD player to watch the movie.
Today the BitTorrent file system has grown to become an excellent content sharing mechanism. However, 12 years ago the network didn’t enjoy such popularity. Defying the odds, the existence of this torrent is a proof of BitTorrent’s success.
Keep seeding. Keep the world’s oldest torrent alive. ;)