How To Compile rTorrent From SVN In Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx / Debian 5 Lenny With Coloured Interface

Author: Stephan Jau
Revision: v1.0
Last Change: August 28, 2010


rTorrent is a popular command line based bittorrent client. It provides very powerful features yet it is very light on the system - contrary to other bittorrent clients like Vuze. There are a couple of webinterfaces for it but they are not truly need. SSH access combined with the "screen" program provide you all the tools you need.

In the previous howto patches for magnet link support were provided. With the current revision 1169 magnet link support has already been integrated. However some of the inner workings were changed and the colour patch was modified to work in the current revision.

This howto works for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx and for Debian 5 Lenny. The difference is that commands that contain sudo must be executed as root.

In this howto I assume you download and compile the sources from your ~/rtorrent resp. ~/rtorrent/trunk folder.


Notice for Debian Lenny

If you run Debian Lenny, it's recommended that you also update c-ares and curl. This means you'll compile that also. In order to do that, see the very bottom of this howto and then continue at step 4.


1. Remove current rtorrent installation

sudo apt-get remove rtorrent libtorrent*


2. Install necessary packages

sudo apt-get install subversion build-essential libtool automake openssl libsigc++-2.0-dev libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libcppunit-dev


3. Create rtorrent folder

mkdir ~/rtorrent


4. Go into the rtorrent folder

cd ~/rtorrent

Current location: /home/USER/rtorrent


5. Get the rtorrent sources by svn

svn co svn://

Current rtorrent version is: rev. 1169.


6. Get into the trunk folder

cd trunk

Current location: /home/USER/rtorrent/trunk


7. Download the patches

Colour support for rtorrent:


This patch enables you to colorize the rtorrent cli interfaces. It differentiaties between completed/uncompleted torrents and active/inactive ones. I first had to get used to it also but meanwhile I think it's really a good enhancement. The patch was originally supplied here: However that patch does not work with the current rev. 1105. Because of that I fixed it and supply it also from my server.

Torrent Tracker Stats:


This patch shows the number of seeders/leechers/completed as supplied by the tracker in the tracker view. Often it's not accurate however it's usefull for me to check if a tracker has any peers at all listed for a given torrent.


8. Apply the patches

Colour support for rtorrent:

patch -p0 < canvas-color_1169.patch

Torrent Tracker Stats:

patch -p0 < trackerinfo.patch


9. Get into the libtorrent folder

cd libtorrent

Current location: /home/USER/rtorrent/trunk/libtorrent


10. Run the script



11. Configure libtorrent



12. Compile libtorrent



13. Install libtorrent

sudo make install


14. Extend /etc/

echo "include /usr/local/lib" | sudo tee -a /etc/


15. Updated cache

sudo ldconfig


16. Get into the rtorrent folder

cd ../rtorrent

Current location: /home/USER/rtorrent/trunk/rtorrent


17. Run the script



18. Configure rtorrent



19. Compile rtorrent



20. Install rtorrent

sudo make install


21. Extend rtorrent configuration

Magnet Link support as provided by this howto requires a session folder. If there is no session folder defined yet in the ~/.rtorrent.rc config file or if that config file does not exist yet, then it has to be added. An example for an ~/.rtorrent.rc file can be found here: In addition I would also set the DHT option to "on".

You can also just copy the .rtorrent.rc config file from the trunk and then edit it:

cp ~/rtorrent/trunk/rtorrent/doc/rtorrent.rc ~/.rtorrent.rc

To make use of the colour patch, also the colour options need to be added to the ~/.rtorrent.rc config. I use this example below:

# Color / Canvas patch
done_fg_color = 2
#done_bg_color = 2
active_fg_color = 1
#active_bg_color = 4

With these options inactive completed torrents will be displayed as dark green, active ones as bright green, inactive incompleted torrents are displayed in dark red, active ones in bright red. To customize this further you can use those colours: 0 = black; 1 = red; 2 = green; 3 = yellow; 4 = blue; 5 = magenta; 6 = cyan; 7 = white

rTorrent also allows custom views or modify existing views. The rTorrent Common Tasks page has one very useful entry:

schedule = filter_active,30,30,"view_filter = active,\"or={d.get_up_rate=,d.get_down_rate=}\""

Add this also to your .rtorrent.rc config file. Maybe change the value of 30 to 10 or so. Basically this customization allows you to modify that "active view" (view 9) to only show torrents that are currently sending or receiving data from peers.

If you don't have a .rtorrent.rc config file in your home dir then you can get one with the command below. However it needs a lot of work (especially enabling a download and session dir)

wget -O ~/.rtorrent.rc


22. Run rtorrent




rTorrent Coloured



B1. Remove current rtorrent installation

apt-get remove rtorrent libtorrent* libcurl4-openssl-dev


B2. Install necessary packages

apt-get install subversion build-essential libtool automake openssl libsigc++-2.0-dev libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev libcppunit-dev libssl-dev


B3. Create rtorrent folder

mkdir ~/rtorrent


B4. Go into the rtorrent folder

cd ~/rtorrent

Current location: /home/USER/rtorrent

B5. Download c-ares and curl


B6. Extract c-ares and curl

tar xvfz c-ares-1.7.3.tar.gz
tar xvfz curl-7.21.1.tar.gz

B7. Enter c-ares folder, configure, make and install

cd ~/rtorrent/c-ares-1.7.3
make install

B8. Enter curl folder, configure with c-ares, make and install

cd ~/rtorrent/curl-7.21.1
./configure --with-ares
make install

B9. Continue with step 4 of the normal howto by entering the rtorrent folder

cd ~/rtorrent
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