One of my favourite things about Linux is its ability to transform a formerly useless elderly computer into something really useful indeed. This is the first in a series of posts covering some great projects to breathe new life into old machines using Linux.
What’s the Project?
BitTorrent is a fantastically useful distribution mechanism – when downloading updated Linux distro ISOs, it regularly exceeds the speeds available through centralised (HTTP/FTP) download repositories, and the sharing of bandwidth and ease of distribution are a great fit for online communities and fan groups (Zappateers, for example). Unfortunately, BitTorrent tends to be a total disk I/O hog, constantly reading and writing tiny chunks of file all over your disk. This causes big slowdowns for all other running programs which need access to your hard disk, not to mention the stress it puts on the drive itself.
We’re going to use an old computer, GNU/Linux and the Transmission BitTorrent client to offload this resource-intensive process to a networked machine, freeing up your main machine to get on with business unfettered. Sacrificing convenience, however, is not an option. Therefore, we’re going to implement the following convenience features:
- Administering the client through a web browser
- Sharing content over the local network
- Creating a zero-setup process for starting new transfers