Sharing the love with BitTorrent

Xubuntu 8.04 is out! This release, along with those of Ubuntu, Kubuntu and whatnot, means that the Ubuntu servers are going to have a hard time with everybody and their stork downloading these new releases at the same time. Being the good open source citizen that you are, you are probably more than willing to take some of the load. Look no further, as BitTorrent is here to save the day!

In short, BitTorrent allows you to download files from other people, meanwhile sharing the parts you have already downloaded with other people who, just like you, are eager to try out the latest and greatest the open source community has to offer.

To download files using BitTorrent, you need a BitTorrent client. Since Xubuntu 8.04 includes Transmission, that is what we will be using. If you’re not using 8.04, make sure to install it.

The first thing we need, is a torrent file, a file with a name ending in .torrent that contains all the information Transmission needs to download the appropriate files. The Xubuntu 8.04 torrent can be downloaded from Ubuntu’s torrent website, where you can select the graphical Desktop CD (which is what most people want) or the text-based Alternate Install CD. We want the torrent files for Intel x86 architectures (most computers) or for AMD64 architectures (you’d probably know if you need this, using 64 Bit). A torrent file is not that big, so it should not take too long to download and does not place much of a burden on the servers.

After having downloaded the file to wherever you like, open up Transmission from Applications->Network->Transmission.

When newly installed, Transmission will download all files into the same directory as the torrent file. Instead of adapting to software (by remembering where it downloads files to), I make software adapt to me, so when I open a torrent file with Transmission, I want it to ask me where I want the files to be downloaded to.

Luckily, this is easy: simply open File->Preferences. While the preferences window is filled with cryptic terminology, the option I’m looking for is quickly found: all I need to do, is check the checkbox in front of Always prompt for download directory.

You can configure a whole host of additional options in the prefences window, such as the maximum download and upload speed. Be aware, though, that if you lower the maximum upload speed (i.e. the speed with which you are sharing the files with other people), the download speed will also decrease, so as to encourage everybody to share as much as they can.

When you’re done configuring Transmission, click Close in the Prefences window – it’s time to start downloading! Click File->Add and locate the torrent file you downloaded earlier. After you’ve opened the file and selected a target folder, Transmission will start downloading. While it will still be a long wait (the Xubuntu ISO image is a whopping 544 MB), if a lot of people are sharing the love then it’ll be faster than a direct download, and you’re helping other users at the same time.

Once you’re done downloading, you’ll want to verify that the file you downloaded is the correct one. After you’ve done that, the big moment is there: you can install Xubuntu!

Don’t close Transmission though! If you leave the window open after your download has completed, Transmission will continue sharing the downloaded file with other users – this is called seeding and is a good habit if you want to be a Nice Guy. You can also resume seeding after you’ve closed a torrent – simply re-open the torrent file and select the same download location.

All in all, while often associated with illegal downloading, there are plently of legit situations in which BitTorrent saves the day. Now spread the love!


20 Responses to “Sharing the love with BitTorrent”

  1. 1 Vincent 24 April 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Yes, I took far too long to post a new entry. One reason for this is that I’ve just been really busy. The post I had in mind to write was an updated guide to put Xubuntu 7.10 and 8.04 on a USB flash drive. Unfortunately, there is an error with my flash drive that prevents it from working. While I still could’ve posted the guide, I didn’t want to post it without having tested it myself. If someone has a >1GB flash drive left for donation, I’d be happy to finish that guide 😉

    Meanwhile, you’ll have to do with this 🙂

  2. 2 Papa 25 April 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I already installed the 64 bits version of Ubuntu 8.04 on a Intel quad core.
    So far so goed, now I have to make it work with the 64 bits version of VMware player 🙂

  3. 3 Papa 25 April 2008 at 1:28 pm

    By the way, you may have my 2gb USB stick. I just bought a 4 gb !

  4. 4 Vincent 25 April 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, that’d be nice, then perhaps I can try getting it to work this weekend 🙂

  5. 5 sionide 1 May 2008 at 2:44 am

    This is funny… Did no one else notice that you say it’ll be much faster than a direct http download but when you took the screenshot it was downloading at 700 BYTES per second, due to complete in a week…? Hehe..

  6. 6 Vincent 1 May 2008 at 10:45 am

    Hehe, you are absolutely right, I should’ve said it’ll be much faster if more people are sharing the love (which nobody was yet doing when I made the screenshot) :).

    I’ll correct it right away, thanks.

    PS. It did speed up later on and I’ve successfully downloaded the ISO using the torrent 😉

  7. 7 Ace 2 May 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I too got slow speeds at start up but it picked up speed after a few seconds.Also a program called SQUASH was seen in the beta.Have they removed it?

  8. 9 Tim Jones 6 May 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks, Vincent! Very nice tutorial. I hadn’t heard of Transmission before.

    If you have folks who want to try out XUbuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) on their Windows machines without installing, they can download a Microsoft Virtual PC image (566MB) from my blog:

  9. 10 Tony 7 May 2008 at 9:57 am

    Very good post. Thank you.

    Is Transmission on Xubuntu (Linux) any different from its counterparts on (versions for) Windows and Mac OS X?

  10. 11 Vincent 7 May 2008 at 10:04 am

    Hi Tony, supposedly it is, at least feature-wise – it does look different on OS X.

  11. 12 Tony 12 May 2008 at 11:43 am

    By the way, how is Xubuntu correctly pronounced – Ksubuntu or Zubuntu or some other way altogether? Or is there not a right way to say it… i.e. it depends on the geography?

  12. 13 Vincent 13 May 2008 at 1:39 pm

    AFAIK no official way to pronounce it has been defined. The Wikipedia page once said it was pronounced “Zubuntu” but as no sources were listed I always just say “Ksooboontoo” 🙂

  13. 14 efaz 13 November 2008 at 6:32 pm bit torrent was fine till i re-installed my Xp windows….now my bit torrent doesn’t work….can anyone please help me?????

  14. 15 Vincent 13 November 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Hi efaz, I’m sorry, but this blog is about Xubuntu, an alternative to (and thus not the same as) Windows. I’m afraid you’ll be unlikely to find help here 😦 .

  15. 16 Roi Redondo Garcí 26 April 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Im just a t the opposite, I work with xubuntu, but I don have installed bittorrent. DO you know if thereś a version for it, and how to install?

  16. 18 Roi Redondo García 26 April 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Maybe I dont understand well, so here explain how to install Xubuntu, or bittorrent? maybe both? -f###in english-

  1. 1 The Heron is out « Xubuntu Blog Trackback on 24 April 2008 at 11:04 pm

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