Having recently made the switch from Ubuntu to Arch Linux, I’m in the process of building my Arch system up to the full desired functionality. One important tool in any Linux user’s system is a torrent client, which is becoming a more preferred method for downloading, as the decentralised download sources spread resource use among the users, rather than having all of the burdens lay on a server somewhere. For example, when downloading new Linux .iso files to test out, I tend to prefer to download them via torrent rather than directly from my web browser.
When it comes to functionality, all Linux torrent clients are more or less the same. They all download specified torrents into whatever directory you choose. There’s not much variation here, nor is there much to talk about. The only real differences between them are the minor differences in the user interfaces, which we’ll be exploring here. There are 4 torrent clients I’ll be comparing here: Transmission, Deluge, qBittorrent, and Vuze.
For reference purposes, here are the system specs used:
4 Linux Torrent Clients
Transmission comes installed by default on Ubuntu, but there is a GTK version available for Arch. Transmission has the simplest, most bare-bones user interface among our selected group of Linux torrent clients, and probably most torrent clients at large. You can open either a downloaded torrent file or a magnet link, select the destination folder, and that’s it. If you like a minimalistic, barebones approach, then Transmission might be worth a try.
Next up is my personal favourite, Deluge, which is slightly less bare-bones than Transmission. You can see a bit more information on the Deluge interface by default, and on my system, the GTK theme seems to fit much better than it did on Transmission. The main window shows currently downloading or seeding torrents, the left panel shows the various states of download (queued, downloading, seeding, etc.), and the bottom panel shows more statistical information (download speed, seeders, etc.). Deluge gives exactly what you need, nothing more and nothing less. It also runs on Python, so it could likely be modified by anyone who’s proficient in coding in Python.
qBittorrent is similar looking to Deluge, with only minor difference. Functionality is almost exactly the same. It can be themed with GTK, as can the previously mentioned torrent clients, and offers all of the same functionality as any other Linux torrent client. It really just comes down to user preference as to which UI works best for you.
Last up is Vuze, formerly known as Azureus. This was the first torrent client I ever learned how to use on Windows, and I used it for years until I discovered more lightweight options. Vuze does have some interesting features, such as a built-in media server, but I find it a bit too heavy and bloated for my taste. For example, anything under the Content Discovery section such as the Vuze StudioHD Network. Is anyone really using that? I personally never have. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, don’t let my personal opinion stop you from trying it out. In my humble opinion, I just prefer to use something more simple and minimalistic, without all the unnecessary bells and whistles; and if you need a media server, Plex is a far better choice.
I would’ve also liked to review the uTorrent, FrostWire, and BitTorrent clients, but it seems that they are not available on Arch Linux, while I’m sure they are available on other distros.
At the end of the day, what really matters as a Linux user is what you like, not what anyone else tells you, you should like. As is one of the popular sayings in the Arch Linux IRC chat, Try It And See™️. The only way to determine what works for you is to try things out for yourself and experiment. The beauty of Linux and open source software it the freedom to choose, rather than being locked down by corporate giants.