BTFS (bittorrent filesystem) – a file system for the real pirates

A file system for the real pirates – BTFS (bittorrent file system)

Apart from GUI and Command line downloaders, torrent has been a great source of data downloading and sharing. But, there are times when you just cannot wait for your download to finish and just want to watch the content. Or if you are a programmer and have fun with H/w tools like Raspberry Pi, it is pretty obvious that you don’t have display connected to your Pi all the time, but you can access the files over the network right to your laptop. If you can identify yourself with the above, BTFS is for you.

BTFS Bit Torrent File System :

In order to mount the torrent as a directory and allow the use of torrent-files and magnet-links, Linux supporters have created a new file system BTFS.

BTFS is very simple to work. You will find the magnet link on the torrent tracker and you need to use it with the system mount command. As a result, the contents of the selected torrent are mounted in the directory. Further, when one of the programs tries to open the file for reading, physical content is downloaded on demand. Plus, tools like ls, cat and cp work as expected and it lets you to use it as any read-only directory in your file tree.

There are two advantages to work with torrents with this Unixway-approach:

  1. To manipulate the torrents, you use familiar commands ls, cat, grep, cp, etc.
  2. Right to use the content is transparent to other programs. For instance, you can specify the video player the path to the mounted directory and start playback. The program will not even understand that physically the file is still missing on the disk and is collected in parts from peers.

The program works so:

mkdir mnt_tor
btfs video.torrent mnt_tor
cd mnt_tor
vlc video.mp4

Create the mount point mnt first. Then it binds the content of the torrent (video.torrent) VLC and starts playing the video.

Installation BTFS into Linux Mint:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:johang/btfs
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install btfs

BTFS code does not need intervention into the Linux kernel, as it runs on top of FUSE.

Using BTFS, the whole tracker to the “hard drive of your computer” can be pre-mounted. Only when you refer to that data, will the actual data loading start and you will no longer need the website tracker.

It can turn your VLC App into Popcorn Time. Mount a TV season torrent and watch episodes without necessarily using enough disk space for the whole set or waiting for completion.

Contents are downloaded on demand when accessed by the applications like Vlc  or mPlayer , gedit , fileroller (for zip/tar files)

Source: Mint Guide

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Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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