Console Junkie: HowTo use rtorrent, Part I



A couple of days back, I mentioned that my absolute favorite torrent client is Deluge, because it is less of a resource-hog than Azureus. However, recently I’ve become a console junkie, giving up the pleasures of GUI for the far more interesting CLI.

rtorrent is a ncurses based torrent client, that is reputed to be the lightest and fastest client in town. Here is the output of the top command on my comp:

vedang@ninjakombda:~$ top | grep rtorrent
8965 vedang 0 3.3 0:54.82 rtorrent
8965 vedang 0 3.3 0:54.83 rtorrent
8965 vedang 0 3.3 0:54.84 rtorrent
8965 vedang 0 3.3 0:54.85 rtorrent
8965 vedang 0 3.2 0:54.86 rtorrent
8965 vedang 0 3.2 0:54.87 rtorrent
8965 vedang 1 3.2 0:54.89 rtorrent
8965 vedang 0 3.2 0:54.90 rtorrent
8965 vedang 0 3.2 0:54.91 rtorrent

Blogger killed my top output, so I’ve had to format it a bit. My apologies. I don’t know much HTML.

As you can see, it uses less than 1% of my CPU, and only 3.3% of memory. Not to mention that it doesn’t have a hundred dependencies. Also, it is really, really powerful!

So how do we begin installing this? Simple. Download the stable release of libtorrent and rtorrent from (at the time of writing this is libtorrent-0.11.7 and rtorrent-0.7.7) and extract the contents into your favorite directory (I’ve done this in my home directory). Now, run the following commands:

cd libtorrent-0.11.7
sudo make install
cd ..
cd rtorrent-0.7.7
sudo make install

Done! Next post we’ll see how to actually use rtorrent, and make it a torrent-handling beast.



One Response to “Console Junkie: HowTo use rtorrent, Part I”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hey Vedang,

    I have rtorrent up and running on my ARM-powered NSLU2. It sucks about 2% per instance from the humble little processor, and best of all, only 30% of its mighty 32MB of RAM.

    So thank you for your advice – my rc file was by and large acceptable, but it was informative to read someone else’s journey with rtorrent.

    I have not experimented with the way it resolves already-downloaded torrents to act as a seed; we shall see.


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