Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The definitive bittorrent client for Linux

So yeah, I've tried almost every bittorrent client out there for Linux. After many months of waiting for it to improve I gave Transmission another go, and surprisingly it worked quite good, although it's still banned on some trackers. I even built some packages for Ubuntu Edgy and Feisty, you can find those here.

So the experience with Transmission was a good one, but it didn't go without its bumps. The first point against it is that it's still banned from many private trackers and I'm a member of quite a few, so that's a no no for me. The other thing that happened is that after a while it refused to build on my machine (I was using the svn version). I haven't tried to build it again, but oh well, I've found a better alternative anyway.

The next candidate was Deluge. This is a very nice client, but it is way too unstable to be my main client. Another thing that I didn't like was the inability to disable DHT, something that is mandatory on most private trackers. That and the low speeds that I always got persuaded me to try another client.

Enter KTorrent, one of the best clients on this roundup. It has a lot of useful features like DHT, a built-in search engine among other things. This one worked almost perfectly, although the speeds weren't the best. That and it was banned from one of my favorite trackers and due to this I moved on.

I needed a nice looking client with a clean interface that showed just the necessary. I didn't need a bloated interface with 55 columns showing me everything it can. I don't want to know what bit the thing is downloading right now. I don't need a percentage calculator and a progress bar, one is enough. I also wanted control. Not so much that I get lost in menus that show me things that I don't know the meaning of, but enough to get the best performa

So, if you have read this blog before then you might remember my "An even better bittorrent client for Linux" article in which I reviewed qBittorrent. Well, I too remembered it and went ahead and downloaded the latest version. Good news people, they now provide a repository for us Ubuntu users, so we have it easy with the updates and quick bug-fix releases.

Well, for me this is the definitive bittorrent client for Linux. Why? Well, for onc, its interface is very clean and it presents you the information you need to know, simple and to the point. It also allows you to control the most important things, like which port it should listen too, maximum and minimum speeds of torrents, the maximum connection number, etc. Another thing I like is that it allows you to set a fixed share ratio for all torrents, so when your torrents reach that share ratio they will automatically stop seeding.

qBittorrent also allows you to enable or disable DHT and PeX (Peer Exchange). This is a really great feature every bittorrent client that wants to take itself seriously should have. Another cool thing is that you can tell qBittorrent to check a certain directory in your computer to fetch new torrents automatically so you don't have to add them by hand. All this and the fact that its constantly developed and updated with new features make it my client of choice on any Linux distribution. Even if there isn't a package available for it it is not difficult to build from source. Pardus users just have to install QT4 and export some environment variables, its all in the readme. All in all, this is a very solid and very good bittorrent client, try it out!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ubuntu Light correction

Well, this is not a correction, its more like an add-on if you will. After installing the base system, do sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list and make sure the universe and multiverse repositores are enabled and then do sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude dist-upgrade just to make sure that you get the latest packages on your system.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ubuntu Light

I wanted a new distribution that sported a nice Gnome desktop, but without the many additional programs that come installed by default in a standard Ubuntu installation. I thought about giving Debian unstable a go, but I never really got to do it. I spent quite a few days scouting distrowatch for a nice distro. I tried Pardus, a nice Turkish distribution, and it was everything I wanted, except that it used KDE, which was not bad, but I couldn't get acquainted with it.

So, the distro had to be debian based, I'm really fond of apt and the whole package management system, it was a must. What did I do in the end? I re-installed Ubuntu, but I didn't go the usual way. I got a minimal install CD. The main difference between this install disc and the standard one is that it gives you a little bit more control, and it downloads all the packages it needs instead of pulling them from the disc. The image is just 34 MB large, so its a nice alternative for us who like the latest packages from the get go and have a broadband internet connection.

So, I did a "server" install with this minimal CD. This doesn't install LAMP applications as you might think, it justs installs a base system that you can build upon. This, of course, means no fancy graphics or anything, just the necessary to boot and drop you to a terminal screen.

But, I did want a nice Gnome desktop with just the applications that I wanted. So, after getting the base system installed I installed the following packages with aptitude:

sudo aptitude install x-window-system-core gnome-core gdm gnome-media gnome-system-monitor gnome-system-tools gnome-volume-manager gnome-utils gnome-app-install gnome-screensaver synaptic firefox usplash usplash-theme-ubuntu ubuntu-artwork

That got me a very nice and lightweight Gnome desktop with just the essentials that used about 1GB of hard drive space. I installed usplash and usplash-theme-ubuntu to prevent some rather nasty GDM errors from happening. ubuntu-artwork is entirely optional.

As you can see, creating your own flavor of Ubuntu is very simple and has many advantages. You have only the programs that you want, it boots faster and its less bloated. And what's more, you don't depend on those nasty metapackages like ubuntu-desktop. The steps mentioned here is all you have to do to get a lightweight and functional system. I hope this is useful to you or someone out there, cheers!

Update script updated!

So yeah, after many months I updated my trivial update script to use aptitude instead of apt-get. Why? Well, because for one, aptitude manages dependencies better than apt-get does. Suppose you installed some KDE library that you needed to compile something, and by doing that you installed half of KDE itself. If you remove that library with apt-get it will leave behind all of the other crap it installed along with it, but if you use aptitude it will remove the rest of the crap too, making it very useful indeed.

Here it is:

# Author: Arturo José Monterroso García
# Release Date: December 04, 2006
# Last Updated: June 05, 2007

sudo aptitude clean && sudo aptitude autoclean && sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude upgrade && sudo updatedb