How To Install rTorrent

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What is rTorrent?
LibTorrent is a BitTorrent library written in C++ for *nix, with a focus on high performance and good code. The library differentiates itself from other implementations by transfering directly from file pages to the network stack. On high-bandwidth connections it is able to seed at 3 times the speed of the official client. The client uses ncurses and is ideal for use with screen or dtach. It supports saving of sessions and allows the user to add and remove torrents.

rTorrent - What you will need:

  1. Copy of rTorrent compiled for Intel OS X. (New version! -April 15, 2008)
  2. An AppleTV (no Take 3, see below) set up with SSH access.
  3. Patience, padawan.

Here is how to install!

As with anything in Unix, there's usually a few ways to do things. Clearly things will differ if you have your own username set up on the AppleTV, if you set up a different sshd, if you used a pre-authorized key, and so on. I will center this on how-to from a relatively stock OS X perspective. First, unarchive the file on your local machine, and use scp (or your favorite ftp or sftp client, such as Cyberduck on OS X, or FileZilla on Windows - see their instructions) to transfer them to your AppleTV. In the following examples, replace with whatever your AppleTV's address is. On OS X, open up and do:

scp -1r rtorrent-0.7.4-osx frontrow@

Now, log in to your AppleTV with SSH:

ssh frontrow@

Once you're in, do:

cd rtorrent-0.7.4-osx
sudo ./installme


Now you may create a file called .profile in your home directory, either by using nano and pasting the following, or just do:

echo export PATH="/bin:/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin" > ~/.profile

CAUTION! This will erase the previous contents of your ~/.profile file, if one already existed!
There is also a more global way of doing this, if you set up your path in the file /etc/profile

Now just run rtorrent, or better yet, screen rtorrent and you have a text-mode BitTorrent client on your AppleTV! What's more convenient than that! The basics of using screen is to type Ctrl+A then Ctrl+D and you can exit out of things, but leave rTorrent running. Next time you need to access it, SSH back in to your AppleTV and type screen -rd and boom!


Some torrent downloads are packaged into lots of little rar files.

download rar for macos x

open rar and scp unrar to /Users/frontrow

sudo mv /Users/frontrow/unrar /usr/local/bin/
chmod +x /usr/local/bin/unrar


one of the options to interface with rTorrent is the excellent ntorrent a java interface that allows to control everything form a user friendly graphical interface.

to connect:

  • HOST: appletv.local
  • PORT: 22
  • SOCKET PORT: 5000
  • USERNAME: frontrow
  • PASSWORD: frontrow

. you can even add files from the java interface download from here:

Failure to install on Apple TV Take 3

On Apple TV Take 3, rtorrent fails to install. The installer exits with this error: dyld: Symbol not found: __ZTIN3KJS11InterpreterE Referenced from: /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/JavaScriptGlue.framework/Versions/A /JavaScriptGlue Expected in: /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaScriptCore.framework/Versions/A/JavaSc riptCore ./installme: line 12: 172 Trace/BPT trap installer -pkg rtorrent- 0.7.9-osx.pkg -target / chown: /Users/frontrow/.rtorrent.rc: No such file or directory

  • Update Install on Apple TV Take 3:

1) Install NitoTv
2) Run Smart Installer
3) Install rTorrent:
>sudo ./installme (let it fail)
>sudo mount -uw /
>sudo DYLD_FRAMEWORK_PATH='/System/Library/Frameworks/OSXFrames/' installer -pkg rtorrent-0.7.9-osx.pkg -target /
>sudo mount -ur /
>sudo chown frontrow:frontrow /Users/frontrow/.rtorrent.rc /Users/frontrow/.rtorrent_session /Users/frontrow/Torrents /Users/frontrow/Downloads


rTorrent site - Read the man page and the common tasks!
Where to get rTorrent for AppleTV - Runs on any Intel Mac
Install SSH without an Intel_Mac - It's a good idea to use the sshd from this how-to, since it supports SSH2 and you don't need to use -1 when SSH'ing anymore.
See also: How To Install Irssi