Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) + rtorrent notes

Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) + rtorrent notes

Ok so since blogs are diaries of a sort I’m writing here my notes on my recent successful move from Centos to Ubuntu, which has been met with success in no small part due to Ubuntu’s wealth of online help and support.

What I’m doing here is compile all the info on the docs I used to a.) install and configure Ubuntu 6.10 Server aka ‘Edgy’, b.) install and configure ssh server on it, so you can access it remotely, c.) install and configure libtorrent 0.11.4 and rtorrent 0.7.4 (the latest versions as of this writing. Just change the versions as needed.) and finally d.) install and run screen, which is like, duh easy.

At the end of this you’ll have what I have, an Ubuntu computer accessed remotely via SSH (using a nice friendly SSH client like Putty) which happily downloads torrents day in and day out (for whatever nefarious reasons you may have which you will leave completely to yourself of course). Meanwhile my XP work computer, is saved from the trouble.

I’m doing this not to help world hunger or anything, rather the opposite – this doc is purely for myself – so I can remember what I did and reference to it from time to time – which means that it’ll be written in SIMPLE EASY TO UNDERSTAND ENGLISH as opposed to a great deal of linux docs out there that are either heavy on theory, heavy on trying to be cute and funny, or both, making it totally unreadable and useless. Yup you know what I’m talking about.

So off we go.

The essential documents I used are thus:

Very very useful:

Tutorial Ninja’s Rtorrent Howto Page – terrific, except for the rather vague Screen instructions. It assumes you’re using a GUI (I think he’s referring to KDE). I did it all on console though. The only difference between this and the Softpedia one below is that this asks you to create a directory first which I unfortunately did not do
Softpedia’s Howto Rtorrent Page – Absolutely DA Shit, except it doesn’t have Screen instructions, as it assumes you’re doing all this on the computer itself. Remember, you’re doing this all via SSH.
The Screen Man page – Best way to learn Screen instructions. Who knew?

Other essentials:

The Libtorrent and Rtorrent Wiki page (with very important MAN page, screenshots, download directory and other impt stuff)
Sample .rtorrent.rc file – linked from the tutorialninja site. You can copy it as is or use as a basis for your own settings.
Ubuntuforums – for like, you know, when you need to ask stuff. You can check out my stupid questions here.


OpenDNS’s Ubuntu page – I needed to change the DNS settings from Ubuntu default. There are other instructions for your choice of OS.
How to generate a set of encryption keys – for when you wanna get into more ssh stuff, although the default keys are fine they don’t offer protection.


I was initially gonna cut and paste the all the instns but after checking out the length of the tutorialninja howto I decided against it. Rather, I’ll just put in a few notes to remember:

  1. Ubuntu Edgy 6.10 Server Edition (as opposed to the Desktop Edition) is only a 451 mb. download and 30 minute install. It contains the core stuff, but (remember!) NO OpenSSHserver (only SSH client) and NO Screen. Therefore you’re gonna need to run the ff. commands: sudo apt-get install ssh and sudo apt-get install screen. I’m not sure if a reboot is necessary with re to SSH install but what the heck I did anyway. FTP will therefore get in using only using SFTP over SSH2.
  2. If you wanna FTP onto Ubuntu, you’ll need to chown the dir you’re gonna mess around with first, which is cool, as opposed to Centos which allowed me to log in as root (and therefore since we’re all lazy makes us do it by default I think).
  3. As I said earlier the Screen Man page is the most excellentest way to learn Screen. The only commands you’re ever gonna need to know for the purpose of running rtorrent in the background is screen -a to start a new ‘screen’ (hard to explain, but basically it has to do with letting you run rtorrent in the ‘background’ whilst you can log in / out)) – after you run rtorrent, use ctrl+a+d to ‘leave’ the screen (so you can log out), and screen -r to ‘go back’ into the screen (so you can check out how rtorrent is getting along).
  4. ‘Could not parse bencoded data’ means that what you’re trying to download is not a torrent file. Why the heck it just doesn’t say that beats me. But hey this is Linux, where a certain level of mind – reading is required. No wonder sysads are weird. Anyway moving on..
  5. the rtorrent man page is again, the best place to learn. The primary commands you’ll need to know is backspace to add the url (or directory location in your PC) of the torrent, ctrl+q to quit, 1 (to view main page), 2 (to view torrents by name), 3 (to view started torrents), 4 (to view stopped torrents). Also useful are ctrl+s to start torrents, ctrl+r to hash them before they start, ctrl+d to stop them (and another ctrl+d to remove it entirely), as well as the various numbers and acronyms beside each torrent and at the bottom of the page to tell you how things are going.
  6. Learn the .rtorrent.rc file well, as it contains all the configs you’ll need to run things smoothly. In particular are the ports it’ll use, the use_udp_trackers = yes (or no. depends on you) setting, and the directories rtorrent should watch so it’ll auto download files that are put into it. VERRRY neat – considering Azureus (I think) has to use RSS to do same.

Ok so far Ubuntu + rtorrent seems to be da shit. I’m gonna need to use it now for /var/www stuff, so I can finally get on with my plans to rule the world. Will update this as necessary, which says a lot given I’ve only started on Ubuntu 2 days ago (and I’ve used Centos for more than a year and never learned half as much as what I know now). Not to knock it, but it just wasn’t the solution for newbies / occasional users like me. Later.

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