In a recent thread, mention was made of downloading files from the Internet via a "torrent". This is a brief introduction to BitTorrent as both a technology and a piece of software. And no primer is complete without referencing Wikipedia. BitTorrent - Wikipedia TLDR: BitTorrent is a way to get a file from the Internet by downloading slices of the file from multiple different sources and re-assembling the full file locally. It lets you leverage the speed of multiple sources to download the file faster than "normally" while not costing the "provider" of the file a ton of money for bandwidth. Personal clients of choice (ALL legitimate clients are free - NEVER pay for a BitTorrent client): uTorrent - µTorrent - a (very) tiny BitTorrent client qBittorrent - qBittorrent Official Website Transmission - Transmission Detail: First, what is BitTorrent? First - BitTorrent is a protocol used to transfer information on the internet. Like HTTP or FTP or e-mail, it has a defined set of criteria (ports, packet size, etc) that are agreed upon and well documented. Second - BitTorrent is a file sharing technology that uses the BitTorrent protocol to share files, typically large files, across the internet. The BitTorrent technology allows for multiple people to have the exact same file (and I do mean EXACTLY the same) and another person can download discreet pieces of the file from many sources and assemble it locally to get their copy of the file. Third - BitTorrent is a piece of software that acts as both a client and a server. BitTorrent is kind of like "kleenex" and "band-aid" in that BitTorrent is a company, but there are many bittorrent clients. So, BitTorrent is a distributed file sharing technology where people download files and in many cases re-share those same files, also called seeding. Originally this general technology was used to pirate software and music. Napster, BearShare and LimeWire are some examples of all but defunct distributed file sharing applications. Napster is still a going concern but they had to radically change their "business model" and become "legitimate". You participate on the BitTorrent network as a client/server by downloading files and then sharing them back out, even without having completed the file. Since you can download slivers of the file for re-assembly, you can also share those slivers as soon as you have downloaded them and ensured they aren't corrupted. Someone who shares files on the network is referred to as a "seeder" because you are seeding the file. Someone who downloads is referred to as a client. Someone who ONLY downloads and disconnects as soon as they are done downloading or has configured their client not to seed is referred to as a "leecher"...for obvious reasons. To get started, you need the client (links at the top of this post). I use uTorrent on Windows and qBitTorrent and Transmission on Linux because they are already available for Fedora. Install is really easy Windows: Run the executable and pay just a tiny bit of attention. Make sure you install the application but uncheck any additional software installs. Any extra software is NOT required and the last time I used it on Windows the install didn't try to drop any software but just pay attention to what you are clicking. That's it...done...next you will run the software. Linux (RedHat/Fedora): From a prompt, run the following command to install without downloading ahead of time. Fedora (any supported version): sudo yum install qbittorrent (or ktorrent or rtorrent) Fedora (18 and above): sudo dnf install qbittorrent (or ktorrent or rtorrent) Linux (Debian/Ubuntu/Mint): I don't run mint, I'll update this later. Mac: I don't run Mac, I'm gonna have to update this later. IOS/Android: Install the client from your App Store. Using it can take a little bit of work The biggest hurdle you may run into with using BitTorrent is finding content...at first. Once you know where to look, content ceases to be an issue. Be warned, there are torrent search sites that constantly catalog what is out there for download (it's one giant distributed network and not secret by any stretch of the imagination) so there's a LOT of content to download...about anything and everything...yes, that too. Be careful what you search for, you might get a surprise what turns up. The key, however, is to get a .torrent file. This is basically a descriptor of the content you actually want to download. Don't try to view it or edit it, it won't work. What it does, however, is look on the giant shared drive that is the Internet for the anyone on the BitTorrent network sharing that file and, if it finds it, starts downloading it from as many people as possible, little bits at a time. It allows people with limited bandwidth to give back to the network in small chunks and when enough people are sharing, you can download VERY large files in a matter of minutes, and nobody has to pay a ton of money for bandwidth. Once you find the .torrent file, using it depends on how you found it. If you use a torrent search service, you likely are on a web page that has something called a "Magnet Link". The icon is...a magnet. The purpose of the magnet link is to launch the torrent client and load the torrent file automatically, rather than having you download the file, launch the client and then find and import the torrent file. It's just a time saver, don't fear the magnet link. If, however, you are already in possession of the .torrent file, you will need to manually open your client, and open/import the torrent file. Each client displays things a little differently and if requested we can throw up some additional posts on each client. Generally, it's "File -> Open" and then determine where to save the files. Once it's up and running, wait a few minutes and you should see the counter start increasing as you begin downloading (and possibly uploading) the pieces of the file you are looking for. Once the download is complete, locate the file and use it as appropriate (read, run, view, whatever). If you are willing to "give back", leave the client running for a while to help seed the file. Warnings: If you move the file after download, but leave the client open and/or don't remove the torrent from your client, it will try to download again the next time you launch the client. If you aren't going to share, be sure to remove the torrent from the window so it doesn't keep uploading and/or try to download again. Be sure to only remove the torrent, not the "torrent and files", otherwise it will pull the torrent out of your client and also delete what you just downloaded (unless it's been moved). You might also find that you can't download because your network firewall is preventing some part of the BitTorrent client traffic. Troubleshooting is really beyond the scope of this post but can be addressed at a later time if there is enough interest or need.