How to Use BitTorrent in Linux

Posted by jun auza On 1/29/2009
Though file sharing is extremely widespread nowadays, it amazes me that lot of people still don't know how to use a BitTorrent client or perhaps don't know what to do with a ‘.torrent’ file. Just take a look at this data (Google Trends):


Because of this, I decided to make a quick and easy tutorial on how to start downloading files via BitTorrent in Linux. Windows and Mac users can also learn from this, as the concept is basically the same on any platform. But before that, I would like to give you a brief intro about BitTorrent taken from Wikipedia:

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used to distribute large amounts of data. BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files, and by some estimates it accounts for about 35% of all traffic on the entire Internet. The initial distributor of the complete file or collection acts as the first seed. Each peer who downloads the data also uploads it to other peers, even after they have dismounted the original seed. Because of this, BitTorrent is extremely efficient. One seed is needed to begin spreading files between many users (peers). The addition of more seeds increases the likelihood of a successful connection exponentially.

Now that you have learned a little about BitTorrent, let’s get down to business.

The first thing that you have to do is download a BitTorrent client. If you are using Linux, there are tons of free and open source BitTorrent clients to choose from. And, if you are using the latest versions of popular distributions like Fedora or Ubuntu, a BitTorrent client is already included out-of-the-box. For this tutorial, let’s use Transmission on Ubuntu.

Now that you have a BitTorrent client, it’s time to get a ‘.torrent’ file. We can use popular BitTorrent search engines (a.k.a. tracker) like isoHunt to get what we want. As an example, let’s go to isoHunt and download the free and open source short movie Elephants Dream. Note: We do not encourage downloading copyrighted materials.

Suppose you like to get the first search result, just click on it to go to its download page.

Click on 'Download .torrent' then open it with Transmission.

You can set the destination folder or just use the default and click on ‘Add’. After that, the download will start…

The more peers or seeders you have, the faster the download. If the download is interrupted, it can be resumed anytime.

I guess those are the basics to get you started downloading files via BitTorrent.

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