A few tidbits for people who want to know more.
- What's so great about the BitTorrent protocol? Why not just ftp?
There are a couple of things. One, it allows a site to distribute a file while using very little bandwidth itself, because the downloaders are also sending various bits of the file to each other. So, it's great for the server. Because the file is coming from many different machines instead of just one, its download speed is virtually unlimited. Because the file is sent in pieces, an interrupted download does not really loose any progress. So, it's really great for the clients, too.
- What client software should I use for downloading files via BitTorrent?
There are very many choices out there and they should all work. I prefer rtorrent when I'm in BSD. It's a small, console-based (ncurses) client. When I want to seed a file, I often use rtorrent with GNU screen. On Mac, I use Transmission (http://www.transmissionbt.com/, also available on FreeBSD). On Windows, I like µtorrent (utorrent.com).
- What's a "seeder"?
A seeder is a client who already has the file and leaves his torrent client running for the sole purpose of sharing the file with other people who are or will be downloading it. Oftentimes, when a person finishes receiving a file via BitTorrent, they will stay connected and seed for a while so as to "give back" a little. That is always good manners. However, if you're able and you wish to support some of these projects, being a long term seeder is a great, easy way to do so. (For those interested in helping with long-term seeding of these torrents, it may help you to join our mail list by sending an email here: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. I'll send updates about new releases, we can coordinate our seeding, etc.)
- What's a "leecher"?
A leecher is someone who's still receiving the file. It's not an insult, that's just what it's called!
- What's a "tracker"?
The tracker tells the different clients who else is downloading or seeding a torrent.
- What about firewalls?
This is important! If you're behind an external firewall/NAT, you may need to have the port forwarded for the best performance. BitTorrent can work with firewalls, but it can work much better if there is a hole in the firewall for its listening port. The reason for this is that if two peers are both denying the incoming connections, then neither can connect to the other and they cannot exchange chunks of the file. This, then, may limit the number of peers that you have and reduce your download speed. Put another way, when your listening port is open all possible peers should be available to you. It's well worth the trouble to get the port opened and/or forwarded. Even if your firewall is on the same machine as the torrent client you might need to open the port (depending on the firewall). Some clients have tests and notifications of port status. Use them.
- I clicked one of the download links and nothing happened (or I got a page of binary garbage, or I got an error)?
BitTorrent is its own protocol. For the links to work normally, your browser must "know" about the protocol and what application to call on to handle it. While there are too many browsers for me to try to describe all the ways to fix that here, there is a simple work-around of simply copying the link itself and giving that directly to your BT client. Copying the link can usually be done by right-clicking on it and choosing "Copy Link Location" (for example) in the pop-up menu.
updated 22 January 2013
- Which one should I get?
Briefly, if you're new to unix, PC-BSD is considered the easier, "user friendly" version of FreeBSD. GhostBSD is also intended to be "user friendly". With all images, make sure you choose the right architecture (i386, sparc64, etc.) for your computer. (If you don't know the architecture, it's likely "amd64" if it's a newer computer or "i386" if not.)
- Where are the other BSD's?
Our focus is on FreeBSD and PC-BSD, but we may add more files in the future. If there's a particular BSD that you'd like to see here, please use the email address below and let me know. (NetBSD has torrents here.)
- So, what is the best OS in the world?
updated January 2019
- Why don't you offer collections? That is, why don't you have *CD1 and *CD2 together in one torrent?
Two related reasons: First, in many of these OS's (FreeBSD in particular) the second disk is not necessary, but only carries other packages that wouldn't fit on the first disk. Second, it's preferable to have everyone that's downloading the same image on one torrent rather than divided amongst two torrents.
- Where is X old torrent?
I can't say if any of these still work or have seeders. Also, I am going to take down the tracker at some point. Still, I have a page listing old torrents here: retired torrents page. ... That is, for torrents that were built for and served from this site (in the old days).
- Do you have an RSS feed?
A couple of people have asked about this. I've put a feed together here. It's out of date as of now. If you want to use this with a torrent client that supports feeds, please write and let me know how it works.
- What do you do with all of the money you make from this site?
Very funny. ... If the site ever becomes profitable, I intend to donate the money to The FreeBSD Foundation.