Downloading Mandriva Linux with BitTorrent

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Mandriva Linux releases are made available for download using the BitTorrent protocol. BitTorrent is a file transfer system in which users downloading a particular file or set of files (a torrent) exchange parts of the torrent as they go. Once a user has completed the torrent, they become a seed, no longer downloading but uploading parts of the torrent to other users who are still downloading. This system takes advantage of the bandwidth available to all of those trying to access the torrent, and solves the problem of popular downloads causing the servers on which they are hosted to exceed their capacity. It is a very efficient way to transfer large files which a large group of people all want to access at roughly the same time. This page explains where you can find Mandriva Linux BitTorrent downloads, and how to use and configure BitTorrent both in Linux and in Windows.


Finding Mandriva Linux torrents

All current Mandriva Linux torrents that are available to the general public can be found on the public torrent tracker. These usually consist of the publicly available editions of the last few Mandriva Linux releases.

The commercial edition of Mandriva Linux, Powerpack, is available by yearly subscription. Those who have bought a yearly subscription to the Powerpack editions can download these from the Mandriva private torrent tracker. To access these torrents:

  • Log in to the download area using your my.mandriva account
  • Select the torrent corresponding to the version you wish.

Downloading via BitTorrent

Mandriva Linux 2008 and later

If you are using Mandriva Linux 2008 or later, an appropriate BitTorrent client should be installed and available by default. If you use the KDE desktop, the KTorrent client will be used. If you use the GNOME desktop, in Mandriva Linux 2008, the Deluge client will be used. In Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring and later, the Transmission client will be used. You should simply be able to click on the torrent file you wish to download, and the appropriate client will run and allow you to choose where you wish to download the files to.

Mandriva Linux 2007 Spring and earlier

If you are using Mandriva Linux 2007 Spring or earlier, a BitTorrent client may be installed and used by default, but it may have difficulty correctly downloading particular torrents (especially those larger than 4GB in size). On Mandriva Linux 2007 Spring or Mandriva Linux 2007, we recommend you download the latest available version of the KTorrent or Deluge client from the /backports repositories. For information on enabling and using the /backports repositories, please see this page. Once you have installed one of these clients, you should simply be able to click on the torrent file you wish to download, and the appropriate client will run and allow you to choose where you wish to download the files to.

Other Linux distributions

If you are using another Linux distribution, you may find that a BitTorrent client is installed and available by default. Try simply clicking on the torrent file you wish to download. If a client is available, it will open and allow you to begin the download. If no BitTorrent client is available by default, please refer to your distributor's website or community forums for information on the preferred clients available for that distribution, and how to install and configure them.

Microsoft Windows

There are several BitTorrent clients available for Microsoft Windows. We recommend the use of the µTorrent client. Download the installer for the latest version of µTorrent, run it, and follow through the installation procedure. Now you should simply be able to click on the torrent file you wish to download, and µTorrent will run and allow you to choose where you wish to download the files to. Please note that the FAT32 filesystem previously used by Microsoft Windows operating systems cannot handle files exceeding 2GB in size. If you wish to download one of the Mandriva Linux DVD editions, you must store it to an NTFS filesystem. Recent versions of Microsoft Windows include tools for converting FAT32 filesystems to NTFS.

Configuring BitTorrent correctly

As BitTorrent relies on uploading (sending) as well as downloading (retrieving) data, it is sometimes necessary to alter the configuration of your BitTorrent application, your system's networking, or your router in order for BitTorrent to work properly. If your BitTorrent downloads do not seem to work well, or are not very fast, please consider the following points.

Required open ports

For BitTorrent to be able to upload data, at least one port must be open for it in your firewall, if you are using one. Most BitTorrent clients default to using the port 6881. Some clients require another open port for each torrent you have running simultaneously with the first; in this case they usually use ports numbered sequentially from the first. To confirm the ports being used by your BitTorrent client, check its Preferences section. The port used can usually be seen (and changed) here.

If you are using Mandriva Linux and have not altered the default firewall configuration, you can use the Mandriva firewall configuration tool to open the appropriate ports. Run the Mandriva Control Center and select the Security tab, then click on Set up your personal firewall. Click the 'Advanced' drop-down arrow. In the 'Other ports' dialog, type 6881/tcp. Hit the OK button, then close the Control Center.

If you are using another Linux distribution, or another operating system, please consult the documentation for the distribution, operating system, or firewall tool for instructions on how to open the required port.

If you connect to the Internet via a router, you also need to configure the router to open the specified port, and forward it to the IP address of your machine on the local network. Consult your router manual for instructions on how to do this. Some BitTorrent clients are capable of using the UPNP system, which when used with a compatible router, will forward the necessary port automatically through the router. However, if you are unsure whether this is working, disable the UPNP support in your BitTorrent client and configure the port forwarding manually. If you wish to use BitTorrent on more than one machine on the local network, you should configure each machine's BitTorrent client to use a different port, and forward the ports from the router appropriately (for example, configure Machine A to use port 6881, and Machine B to use port 7881: from the router, forward port 6881 to the IP address of Machine A, and port 7881 to the IP address of Machine B). Also remember to adjust the firewall configuration on each machine.

Upload speed limit

By default, many BitTorrent clients have no limit on the upload speed. If you are accessing a popular torrent, your entire upload bandwidth may be consumed by the BitTorrent client, causing other operations that use the network to run very slowly. To avoid this, you should configure your BitTorrent client to limit the upload speed to 80% of your maximum upload transfer rate.

Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) specify the maximum transfer rate in megabits or kilobits per second. The information for your account will likely specify a maximum transfer rate of, for example, 1Mbit/sec download and 256Kbit/sec upload. Most BitTorrent clients specify the transfer rate in kilobytes (not kilobits) per second. A byte is eight bits, so you should divide the figure provided by your ISP by 8 to arrive at the figure you should specify in your BitTorrent client. In the above example, the maximum upload bandwidth would be 32Kbyte/sec (256 divided by 8), so you should specify around 24Kbyte/sec as the maximum upload speed for the BitTorrent client.

Some ISPs also restrict the amount of data transfer you are allowed per month. In this case, you may wish to restrict the upload speed more in order to avoid exceeding this restriction. However, unless a substantial amount of BitTorrent users upload at least as much data as they download, the system will not work efficiently, so you should upload as much data as you are allowed to in order to help other users.

If your ISP restricts BitTorrent traffic

Some ISPs attempt to restrict BitTorrent traffic in order to reduce the load on their networks. If you are sure you have configured BitTorrent correctly as described above, but your downloads are still slow, consider the advice in this section.

The simplest change you can make to avoid this kind of throttling is to change the port your BitTorrent client uses. Most clients default to port 6881, so the simplest mechanisms for detecting BitTorrent traffic simply look for traffic on port 6881. By switching to a different port, you can avoid these systems. Use your BitTorrent client's configuration section to change the port - pick a random number between 32768 and 65535. Make sure you adjust your firewall and router configuration, as described above, to the new port.

Some ISPs use more sophisticated systems for detecting BitTorrent traffic that will not be deterred by the change of port. If you change port but your transfers still appear sluggish, you may want to consider using encryption for your BitTorrent transfers. Several recent BitTorrent clients - including the ones formerly mentioned on this page, KTorrent, Deluge and µTorrent - support encrypting BitTorrent transfers. This method should avoid detection by most systems. In KTorrent, you can enable encryption from Settings > configure KTorrent > General > Use protocol encryption. In Deluge, go to Edit > Preferences > Network > Encryption ('Forced' means you will exchange data only with other peers who use encryption). In µTorrent, go to Options > Preferences > BitTorrent > Protocol Encryption and set Outgoing to Enabled. Again, Forced' means you will exchange data only with other peers who use encryption. Whether Enabled or Forced works best will depend on your particular circumstances, and the configurations of the other users downloading the same torrent.

Common problems

404 error messages, sudden failure to connect to subscription torrent

If your BitTorrent client reports 404 error messages, or you suddenly can no longer connect to a private (Powerpack subscription) torrent that previously worked, it is likely that your ISP has changed your IP address. In this case, simply re-download the torrent file, open the 'new' file in your BitTorrent client, and select the same location as you did previously. It should continue the download from the point where it left off.

Problems caused by use of a transparent proxy

If your internet connection is via a transparent proxy, the Powerpack subscription torrents may not work. One easy fix for this issue which works for many users is to download the torrent file via https instead of http. On the My Torrents page, copy the link to the torrent file to the clipboard (you can right-click the link and select "Copy Link Location" in Firefox: other browsers usually have similar options). Paste the link back into the URL bar of the browser, change the http:// at the start to https:// , and hit Enter. Now proceed as normal. If you still cannot use the torrents, it would probably be best simply to use the alternative FTP / HTTP download methods for Powerpack subscribers.

Writing and installing the downloaded images

Once you have successfully completed your download with BitTorrent, please see Writing CD and DVD images and Installing Mandriva Linux for instructions on writing the downloaded images to disc and installing Mandriva Linux.

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