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These posts are the creation of Doran L. Barton (AKA Fozziliny Moo). To learn more about Doran, check out his website at

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Using BitTorrent to download Linux installation media

Posted: 22 October 2007 at 18:45:00

The next episode of Solitary World is going to feature a segment of Living Free which is targeted at the complete Linux Newbie who has never installed Linux on a computer before in their life. The segment is going to talk about using a BitTorrent client to download a DVD or set of CD images to do the software installation with.

What follows is a rough resemblance of the script for this segment. If you're interested in installing Linux on your computer but have no idea where to start, this information will be of value to you.

The problem

To get started, you need installation media -- a data DVD or a set of data CDs that you can install the Linux software from. You could buy this media at a store or an online outlet, but most people just take advantage of their broadband Internet connection and download an image--or an .ISO file--of the media to their computer and burn it to blank CDs or a blank DVD.

Traditionally, when you download data over the Internet, you go to a web site or an FTP site, select the file you want to download, and the data begins transferring from the remote server to your computer. Many factors can affect the speed of the download. The biggest factor would be the speed of your Internet connection. The speed of the Internet connection for the server you're downloading from is also a factor. And then there are an endless number of things between you and the server you're downloading from that may slow things down.


A popular method for downloading large files like Linux install media, video files, and music files, is a system called BitTorrent. You may have heard of BitTorrent before in relation to illegal downloads of copyrighted software, music, or video and it can be used for that, but it was originally intended for downloading software like Linux distributions. It's perfectly legal to use BitTorrent to download a Linux distribution.

All you need to use BitTorrent is a BitTorrent client program on your computer.