BitTorrent Quickstart for RedHat Linux Users

by Marion Bates <mbates at>


BitTorrent is an advanced Python-based peer-to-peer file transfer system. Unlike other p2p systems like Kazaa, Gnutella, SoulSeek, and eMule, BitTorrent is designed to increase download speed in direct proportion to a file's popularity. In other words, the more people downloading a file right now, the faster it downloads for everyone. This makes BitTorrent very well-suited to distributing large files for which there is high demand for a relatively short period of time; for example, one of the most popular uses of BitTorrent is for the distribution of RedHat Linux ISO's (CD-ROM disc images) which are about 700 MB apiece. A less-legitimate (but still within the realm of fair use, I think) utilization of BitTorrent is the distribution of new movies and new episodes of television shows.

If you have an account on and you just want to know how to download things with BitTorrent, skip "Installation" and go right to "Usage."

Installation: Find the right packages for your version. If you're on RH 9:

sudo rpm -Uvh wxPythonGTK-py2.2-
sudo rpm -Uvh bittorrent-3.2-0.test.rh90.noarch.rpm 


Find a torrent file (like a bookmark) for the thing you want to download. For example, if you want to download a TV show, try Googling for "name-of-tv-show torrent". One of my favorite sources is The torrent file link will be something like:
Copy and paste that into the command line (and limit the upload rate!), like so: --max_upload_rate 80 --url
You should see some output like "connecting to peers", followed by a display of download and upload rates and percentage completed.

After a torrent is finished downloading, other users will continue to be able to upload from you until you exit the bittorrent process. If you want to be nice, leave it running; if you want to conserve bandwidth and reduce your chances of getting a tongue-lashing from the sysadmin, don't.

For simplicity, you can put this in a shell script. Open a new file, call it something like "" and put in the following:

/usr/bin/ --max_upload_rate 80 --url $1
And chmod 755

Now, to download, just type