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some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
09-27-2012, 08:14 AM (This post was last modified: 10-13-2012 06:12 AM by westcoaster.)
Post: #1
some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
I'm afraid this is a pretty long post, but I had some time over the past few days to test bittorrent clients and try to figure out how they work. I tested ctorrent, and transmission 1.80 (from snacsnoc's repository), as well as rtorrent. My particular interest is in finding a bittorent client that can run in the console, can handle magnet links, and is efficient with resources--especially important with old computers. If the bittorrent client is going to run entirely in the console without a fancy X-based web browser to supply it with torrent files and magnet links, then it would be nice to figure out how to use lynx or links to do the copying and pasting. (Update--I think I can do it with lynx now, with a How-To coming one of these day.).

ctorrent
ctorrent is a well behaved command line client with a simple and intuitive interactive user interface. I was easily able to do basic operations on a torrent. In the terminal, I think each instance of ctorrent handles only one torrent, but ctorrent can be daemonized and controlled with CTCS--CTorrent Control Server--not available in Deli(cate). I think CTCS uses a web browser interface. ctorrent handled *.torrent files just fine, but didn't seem to handle magnet files. I tried an online magnet-file-to-torrent-file converter (http://manget2torrent.me), but ctorrent didn't like the format of the url's in the created *.torrent file, so it couldn't connect to the torrent trackers. The same magnet-to-torrent file worked fine in transmission-gtk 1.80, so I guess the problem lies with ctorrent.

transmission
I had no success at all in setting up the command line client of either transmission 1.21 or transmission 1.80. I worked at it for many hours but seemed to have connection problems that I couldn't resolve (something about DHT not being ready)--or maybe I just kept making the same mistakes over and over again, who knows. Anyway, it seems odd because transmission-gtk (both versions 1.21.and 1.80) and also ctorrent connected and ran without any problems at all.

I did get transmission-cli 2.52 and transmission-daemon working on my eeepc (Debian Testing). So at least I got to see how they are supposed to work, but I didn't find them very intuitive.

I tested transmission-gtk-1.80 fairly thoroughly and it worked beautifully. (I had to install libevent separately, as it was missing from the transmission-1.80 install.) Sometimes magnet links took a long time to start, but they eventually started and downloaded at full speed. (To copy a magnet link to transmission using Skipstone, right click on the magnet link on the web page, select "Copy Link Location" then go to the transmission GUI and left click "File" and select "Add URL..." To paste the magnet link into the URL box, you have to middle click the mouse, as Ctrl-v doesn't do it.)


Under Debian on my eeepc, I was able to get ctorrent-dnh3.3.2 (same version as Deli(cate)), transmission-2.52, and rtorrent-0.9.2 running. I don't know if this is really useful, but I thought it might be interesting to look at their relative resource usage while downloading torrents. Using htop I just watched percentages of CPU usage and Mem usage to get a rough idea of what they were like.

Code:
                            Eeepc running Debian
                            %CPU usage      %Mem        Notes

ctorrent-3.3.2                0.0-1.0        0.5        1 torrent downloading
                                                        1 torrent per instance of ctorrent?

transmission-cli-2.52         1.0-2.0         0.5        1 torrent downloading
                                                         1 torrent per instance of transmission-cli?

transmission-daemon-2.52     4.0-8.0         0.7        3 torrents total:
                                                         2 torrents downloading, 1 stopped

rtorrent                      0.0-1.0        0.9        28 torrents total:
                                                         3 torrents downloading, 25 uploading or idle
                                            
transmission-gtk-2.52        3.0-4.0          1.9        1 torrent total: 1 downloading

transmission-gtk-2.52        7.0-10.0         2.4        6 torrents total:
                                                         3 torrents downloading, 3 torrents idle
                                                         CPU usage spikes to 25% at times
                                                         The computer seems laggy while running this test.

aria2-v1.15.1                1.0-2.0         0.3         One torrent downloading

aria2-v1.15.1                2.0-4.0         0.5         7 torrents total:
                                                         4 seeding, 2 downloading, 1 idle

ctorrent is fairly efficient and easy to use, but doesn't handle magnet links.
I already had rtorrent installed for some time, that's why so many torrents are in the list, but notice how efficient it is. Before installing rtorrent, I used to run transmission-gtk because it has a nice interface and is supposed to be lightweight, but cpu usage seemed high and the computer was very laggy at times, so I switched to rtorrent, which has a useful ncurses interface.

Here's some info on transmission-1.80 and ctorrent running on my AMD K6 328 Mhz, 160 MB Ram

Code:
                        Compaq Presario 1245 running Deli(cate)
                            %CPU usage    %Mem      Notes
                        
transmission-gtk-1.80        15-20        8.0        1 torrent total, 1 downloading
                            
transmission-gtk-1.80        35-40        9.0        3 torrents total, 3 downloading
                        
ctorrent-3.3.2              3.5-7.0        8.2       1 torrent downloading
                                                     1 torrent per instance of ctorrent?

So aside from requiring X for its GUI, transmission-gtk-1.80 looks pretty heavy even for this relatively "powerful" laptop!

Perhaps someone else can try to get transmission running in the command line? The easiest implementation would be something like
Code:
transmissioncli some-ubuntu-iso.torrent
and it might just work. I think by default transmission listens on port 51413, so that port may need forwarding although I didn't have to do that.

Some of my speculations and observations about these bittorrent clients could be wrong, or just plain ignorant, so please feel free to point them out, or to correct them.Tongue

Edit Added aria2 information to the first table, "Eeepc running Debian"
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09-28-2012, 01:57 AM
Post: #2
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
Great job on testing each torrent client. As I said before, I haven't used Transmission's CLI interface so I can't attest to it. It's GTK interface is quite heavy though. ctorrent seems like a good option, but with most torrent sites (TPB for example) using magnet links, it's unfortunate that it doesn't support it.

rtorrent seems like a viable option. If I have some free time, I'll get a PKGBUILD working for it.

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09-28-2012, 05:31 AM
Post: #3
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
(09-28-2012 01:57 AM)snacsnoc Wrote:  Great job on testing each torrent client. As I said before, I haven't used Transmission's CLI interface so I can't attest to it. It's GTK interface is quite heavy though. ctorrent seems like a good option, but with most torrent sites (TPB for example) using magnet links, it's unfortunate that it doesn't support it.

rtorrent seems like a viable option. If I have some free time, I'll get a PKGBUILD working for it.

Thanks.Big Grin It was hardly a scientific test, but it gives an idea of how the bittorrent clients perform. The tables of bittorrent client performance that I made don't show it for the Transmisson command line client, but the most surprising thing for me is how the cpu usage of Transmission (both gtk and command line) increases drastically as the number of torrents increases, while rtorrent's cpu usage remains unchanged and very low even with many additional torrents. I don't know anything about programming, so I don't have any idea why that might be.

Because ctorrent isn't really suitable without magnet link support, it does seem that rtorrent is a good option.
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09-28-2012, 02:14 PM
Post: #4
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
Just wondering if anyone's tried aria2 and how it stacks up compared with the other programs mentioned. (The aria2 web site does mention magnet link support.)

Also, tried to find out if ctorrent mentioned anything about "magnet link" support. Seems to be mixed information on that when I search the Internet. However, I did run across a fork of cTorrent with some enhancements called dTorrent. Here are a couple of links to it:
http://www.t2-project.org/packages/dtorrent.html
https://github.com/rconradharris/dtorrent

If there's a program that has most of the features needed and is just lacking a few, might be possible to go in and add the missing features (especially if there's Open Source examples in other programs of how they've added those features). I've been customizing other applications when they have most everything I want, but just lack a few additions I'd like.

Also, was curious to see what support there was for torrents from RSS feeds. I ran across some third party apps that handled RSS feeds, but didn't find any source that wasn't interpreted (mostly Python, but also a few Perl and lua options). Would be nice to find something that would run fast on older systems (and was compiled not interpreted).
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09-29-2012, 06:29 AM
Post: #5
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
(09-28-2012 02:14 PM)lmemsm Wrote:  Just wondering if anyone's tried aria2 and how it stacks up compared with the other programs mentioned. (The aria2 web site does mention magnet link support.)
When I get some time I can give this one a try on my eeepc because it is available in the Debian repository. We can then compare it to the other clients that ran on the eeepc.

(09-28-2012 02:14 PM)lmemsm Wrote:  However, I did run across a fork of cTorrent with some enhancements called dTorrent. Here are a couple of links to it:
http://www.t2-project.org/packages/dtorrent.html
Unless I'm mistaken, the dtorrent links on this page just link to the ctorrent project on Sourceforge.
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09-30-2012, 06:27 PM
Post: #6
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
(09-29-2012 06:29 AM)westcoaster Wrote:  Unless I'm mistaken, the dtorrent links on this page just link to the ctorrent project on Sourceforge.

I was thinking ctorrent project/source was here:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/ctorrent
However, looks like most groups have already updated to:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/dtorrent/
and just calling it ctorrent instead of enhanced ctorrent.

Would be interested how your comparisons turn out for aria2. Would also be interested in how well it integrates with lynx or dplus and if you think there's any needed functionality missing.
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10-01-2012, 05:05 PM
Post: #7
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
(09-30-2012 06:27 PM)lmemsm Wrote:  I was thinking ctorrent project/source was here:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/ctorrent
However, looks like most groups have already updated to:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/dtorrent/
and just calling it ctorrent instead of enhanced ctorrent
That's confusing....I don't understand it, but that's ok.Tongue Hopefully you do!

I'm interested in the comparison of aria2 too, and experimenting with other browsers, but I'm a bit short of time for the next few days...Sigh.Confused
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10-13-2012, 06:23 AM
Post: #8
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
(09-28-2012 02:14 PM)lmemsm Wrote:  Just wondering if anyone's tried aria2 and how it stacks up compared with the other programs mentioned. (The aria2 web site does mention magnet link support.)

I finally got around to checking out the bittorrent aspect of aria2. It's as follows:

Code:
aria2-v1.15.1                1.0-2.0         0.3         One torrent downloading

aria2-v1.15.1                2.0-4.0         0.5         7 torrents total:
                                                         4 seeding, 2 downloading, 1 idle

(I also added this information to the table in this thread's original post)

It doesn't seem to be quite as efficient as rtorrent and doesn't have an easy user interface. Like Transmission-cli, aria2 seems to me better used in a script.
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10-15-2012, 05:06 PM
Post: #9
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
Thanks for the comparison. I'd probably prefer the scriptable command line interfaces myself.
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10-15-2012, 08:28 PM
Post: #10
RE: some notes on transmission, ctorrent, and rtorrent
And the conclusion is? Big Grin
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