Often, we Internet-folks forget how complex most of the Internet’s features seem to the non-geek. One of the most powerful features available for free is BitTorrent, a way to share (massively large) files such as the Ubuntu installer.
Why do I use the word share and not download will be explained after the jump.
The header image of this post is of the program Transmission, a very simple and friendly BitTorrent client. Since I really ♥ Ubuntu, I will show you how to download Ubuntu via BitTorrent.
- Go to the BitTorrent downloads’ section of Ubuntu.
- Choose the installer that fits your computer, for mine it would be ubuntu-9.10-desktop-amd64.iso.torrent. Download this file.
- Open Transmission.
- Click Add and choose the .torrent file you just downloaded. In the Options window, click Add and watch the magic of technology deliver the latest stable version of Ubuntu from the world to your computer.
- Depending on the number of Seeders, you will either receive your file after a quick lunch, or after you get your driver’s license.
BitTorrent is different from the usual direct downloads, because the file you are downloading is being broken down into smaller pieces. People from around the world who are uploading the chunks they have downloaded are known as Seeders. It therefore follows that the more Seeders for a BitTorrent file you can find, the faster the download will be.
You are now downloading those chunks from these Seeders. People who download BitTorrent files from Seeders are known as Leechers. You are therefore a Leecher. However, once you have downloaded any chunk of the file, you yourself can start sharing that file, which makes you a Seeder as well.
As long as you aren’t a selfish bastard, the settings in Transmission will seed all files you have downloaded by default. Thus, you can contribute back to the community that gave you the file in the first place.
You can check the statistics of the file you are downloading in Transmission by clicking on the Properties button after choosing your selected torrent. As you can see above, there are plenty of happy Ubuntu Seeders sharing the Ubuntu installer. The number of Leechers are quite small in relation which means the file will be completed after lunch (or less if the broadband connection holds up).
That’s all there is to it!
You can find other torrents of nearly any file you can think of via BitTorrent tracker sites which are listed here.
My personal favourite is isoHunt.com. It’s my only way to watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report because the streaming service on their respective sites are disagreeably unstable.
If you want to fiddle with more options, I suggest Deluge BitTorrent Client which you can install via the Ubuntu Software Centre or if you are feeling adventurous, install the “unstable” version via the PPA for Deluge.
Good hunting and Happy (belated) International Darwin Day to you!