Patrick's Rants



12/27/2007

What’s a Torrent?

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 9:14 am

I’ve used Bittorrent to download a couple of ISOs in the past. I’ve usually used it for Slackware, but over the last few days I decided to crank it up a bit 🙂 Since we use K12LTSP at the office, I decided to see about sharing my copies of the ISOs since the download page for K12LTSP doesn’t didn’t list any torrent links.
Linuxtracker has links to torrents all over the place so I thought it made sense to start a torrent connecting to it. I also thought I would get the images over to the office server, because for some reason I had deleted the images there. Strangely, the office server would not download from my workstation here
After many attempts and configurations I settled on installing bittracker software on this web server. It only tracks the K12LTSP torrent so far, but required a few things. So for your own tracker install here’s what you need:

  • A full ISO directory. On my workstation I have the new directory, “K12LTSP_v6” with all 5 CDs and an MD5SUM file.
  • A .torrent file. I run Debian on the workstation (mostly to get a feel for different distros) and to create the bittorrent file I ran
    btmakemetafile http://tracker.rwcinc.net:6969/announce K12LTSP_v6 --announce_list http://tracker.rwcinc.net:6969/announce,http://linuxtracker.org/announce.php

    This command is fairly specific to Debian – Fedora seems to use different syntax (can we all say “greeeat”?) but what it does is create the file K12LSTP_v6.torrent. The first address is for torrent clients that only use the announce url (the tracker server) and the K12LTSP_v6 tells the script to run on the K12LTSP_v6 directory. Toward the end of the line you will notice “–announce_list”. This tells the script to create a list of servers to announce to. In this case I thought that putting in Linuxtracker and my server would be best. The commas mean to try the servers in the announce list randomly. If the client uses the announce list it will ignore the announce server listed before the directory so you will have to list it again if you want to use it. (sheesh, does that sound convoluted or what?)
  • Upload the file to the “proper” directory on the server. In the case of Fedora, that means /srv/bittorrent/data/
  • Change the ownership of the torrent file to torrent (at least on Fedora). If you get permissions problems when trying to connect to the server this is likely the issue.
  • Start the tracker service on the server.
    #service bttack start

    Other distributions will require different commands
  • Now that I have the ISO files copied to the office, I can run a script called btseed which will run the bittorrent type client in the background and keep it seeded
    • That’s a lot more work than just driving my burned CDs over to the office, but it also helps out anyone else trying to get copies of the K12LTSP CDs.

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