Wednesday, 23 April 2008

rtorrent - A Small Howto to the Linux Terminal Torrent Client

I've been thinking about writing this small tutorial for a long time now already. It should give you a handy introduction to this neat torrent client for your terminal! Yes, a torrent client for your very own Terminal.

So here it is, rtorrent the bittorrent client for *nix flavours.

First, there's a .rc file in your home directory, that lets you configure some basic and advanced parameters for later use in rtorrent (Never forget, man rtorrent is your friend). Let's have a look on my .rc file:
cat ~/.rtorrent.rc
As you can see, I want the port 50000 to be used for incoming connections (this is the port, that I opened for bittorrent in my routers config for NAT and Firewall). I limit the download rate to 750 Kbyte/s, so is the upload rate limited to 45 Kbyte/s. Additionally, I want the torrent files to be saved on my Desktops torrents/ directory.

Now that you finished configuring the client (this only has to be done once of course), it's time to start rtorrent:
rtorrent debian-40r3-amd64-CD-1.iso.torrent
In the upper example, I'm invoking rtorrent with a torrent file to use. In this case, it will immediately start downloading the iso file. You can aswell use wildcards, for example rtorrent /tmp/*.torrent.
If you would like to add one or multiple torrent files to your already running rtorrent instance, press the Enter key (on your keyboard). It will ask you to enter the path to the files in the bottom part of your screen:

The upper screenshot shows the main screen of rtorrent. You can cycle through the torrent files with the cursor keys. Here are some of the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts for you (remember, man rtorrent):
  • Ctrl + S - Start a stopped/paused torrent
  • Ctrl + K - Stop/Pause a torrent
  • Ctrl + D - Delete a rtorrent (Never deletes the files themselve!)
  • Shift + T/t - Re-connect to tracker
  • a/s/d - Increase upload throttle by 1/5/50 Kbyte/s
  • z/x/c - Decrease upload throttle by 1/5/50 Kbyte/s
  • l - Show logging screen
  • 1-7 - Cycle torrent status screens
When you are on a torrent file with your cursor, you can push right for the following screens (Peer list, Info, File List, Tracker List, Chunks seen, Transfer list):

There are other things in these screens you can manipulate (like exclude files on the "File list" screen, etc.) but I will let it up to you finding these ;). Install and enjoy.

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(c) Copyright 2008 MarshallMar. "Moral" rights asserted. Permission is hereby granted to copy and to distribute this web page in its original, unmodified form as long as its last modification datestamp is preserved. blogoscoop

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