Installing and Using a BitTorrent Client
BitTorrent is a system for transferring large amounts of data over a Wide Area Network (WAN), such as the internet. It works by having a client application on the downloading PC and a server-side component on the content host. The client establishes a link to the server, requests the file and receives it - packet by packet - until the download is complete.
To give you an idea of why you might want to use BitTorrent, we tried to download SimplyMEPIS 11 using a browser - and it took over four hours and had to be abandoned! Using BitTorrent, it took less than half an hour (-and completed successfully)!
Note: as the files for a Linux distribution will be amongst the largest you will be downloading, it can make sense to use BitTorrent to do this, if a suitable feed is available
If you only have access to a Windows or Mac PC, then you can download a BitTorrent client over the web, for example, from www.bittorrent.com/downloads.
If you already have a Linux PC, you should be able to find a BitTorrent client in your Software Centre. If not, you can install it from the Command Line using:
sudo yum install transmission* (Fedora/RHEL)
sudo apt-get install bittorrent* (Ubuntu/Mint/Puppy/Debian/MEPIS/etc))
Under Windows, you can invoke the BitTorrent client from the "Start" menu. Under Linux, the client can be run from the GUI (-e.g. Activities Area for Gnome 3.x) or from the Command Line by typing:
A dialogue box will open up, looking similar to the following:
Tune the slider to a value well within your maximum line speed (-in the example shown, our recorded line speed prior to starting the client was 5.42Mb/S, so we pegged the slider to 3.5Mb/S, to ensure our line could cope).
Once running, you need to locate a suitable feed to download from. This is best done using a search engine, for example:
Click on the download you require and choose to save the torrent seed file to a local drive, for example:
The browser will write the file into your Downloads directory:
Back in the BitTorrent client window, open the torrent seed file using the menu option:
File → Open torrent file
In the dialogue box that opens up, navigate to the downloaded seed file, select it and click "OK". After a brief period where the client establishes the connection, the download will begin:
The downloaded file will be saved to the location shown under:
View → Settings
The BitTorrent client can be exited using:
File → Quit