Torrent me, torrent you…
I guessing you already heard of something called a torrent file and how people use it to magically get data on their computers by using a torrent file.
Allow me to explain.. A torrent is used for BitTorrent, this is a peer to peer protocol to share large (and ofcourse also small) amounts of data over the internet. A torrent is nothing more or less then a file (with extension.torrent) that contains metadata about the target file.
Just to be clear here. The target file can be anything, anything at all. I’m well aware that torrents are often associated with illegal downloads but honestly, it is used for a lot of other things as well. For example, you can download Fedora Cora via a torrent file. And that’s just one example, there literally are dozens of websites which allow you to download their product via a torrent.
But, back to business, so.. a torrent only hold information about the location of the different pieces of the target file. Typically a torrent works by dividing the target file into small pieces. These pieces can be found on a virtually unlimited number of different hosts (being for example someone else’s PC).
Once a client has started a torrent download, all the pieces of the file can be found easily based on the data in the torrent itself. All the pieces are downloaded to the client PC and when the torrent is finished (and only then) the pieces will form a useable file.
You probably figured out by now that you’ll need a tool in order to use torrents. And yes, indeed… Interesting to know is that most linux distribution come with a default torrent tool. Windows does not, so here are a few clients you can use:
- Vuze (this was formally Azureus)
- Transmission (This is for linux and mac, delivered with for example fedora core)
Have fun! ;-)