Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Deluge: an interesting experience thus far

So all my torrents reached share ratios where I felt comfortable stopping them, and I closed Azureus and started Deluge installing.

It churned away for a little bit and popped up something about installing GTK 2.12. Can't it see that I already have it installed? I couldn't install GTK from there because Pidgin was still running and using it. It was the exact same version anyway, so I didn't really need to install, and had I tried it would have failed since it would be trying to overwrite files that were in use. So I pressed on without it and the install finished.

After deleting the icon from my desktop that it never bothered to ask me if I wanted, I went to start it up. I really wanted the web ui, but I figured for kicks I'd start the GUI first. No dice, a command prompt window comes up and disappears immediately and nothing happens. Not even a rogue deluge.exe in task manager.

But that doesn't really matter, since all I really wanted was the web ui. So I start that up and visited the url it told me in Firefox. The url by default is ht­tp://localhost:8112/, but you can change the port, and I promptly changed it to 8147. It pops up asking for a password. I go "lol wut", then notice that there's an FAQ link at the top of the page, so I click that and find that the default password is "deluge". So I'm in. Next it asks about its daemon, and I'd noticed a shortcut in its start menu entry for that, so I clicked that shortcut and sure enough deluged.exe popped up in task manager just below deluge.exe. A neat feature of Deluge is the daemon. It handles all the torrent traffic, regardless of the frontend you're using to view the relevant data and tell the daemon to do stuff.

The extra special neat thing is that you could run the daemon and web ui on another computer and just access it remotely, or install the frontend and configure it to act as a thin client. So if you wanted to have all your torrents running on a dedicated box with a lot of hard drive space, maybe running RAID, etc., it's really easy to do with Deluge. It even has a setting for a directory to monitor for torrent files to automatically start up, so you could just have a torrent dropbox network share and add torrents by dropping the file in it. And of course you can configure it to move finished files to a specific directory when it's done, so once again you could have another network share for that on your file server.

I just might do this once I get my shit sorted out and build a file server. I've needed to modularize my computer usage for some time now so I don't have to worry about free hard drive space on the computer I use for general web access and multimedia. Though honestly all the multimedia would probably reside on the fileserver too, and I'd just access it over the network. net use drive: \\remote-server\share-name FTW.

Anyway, enough about Deluge itself. On to the RSS feed plugin for its web ui, called feeder.

Deluge plugins are .egg files, which is once again neat because you just download a single file, plop it in the plugins directory, and restart Deluge to install them. Then in the web ui you go to Plugins, check the one you want to use, and hit Save. Therein lies the problem, however. Feeder doesn't create its configuration tab when you activate it. I don't even think it's loaded. I added the two plugins it came with, Labels and Blocklist, and both of them created config pages and .conf files, but I have neither a config page nor a .conf file for feeder.

A quick trip through feeder's thread on Deluge's forums found me a possible solution: for whatever reason feeder has an external dependency that it doesn't have the common courtesy to tell the user about, so it just silently fails to load, being the exact opposite of helpful. This external dependency is a Python script called feedparser. Deluge is written in Python anyway, so it makes sense. Someone posted saying "I had to do this to get it to work on Windows" so I went and tried to follow their instructions, but the directory they say to put feedparser in doesn't exist on my install.

I really don't want to have to be stuck with Azureus any longer, but as long as I can't get a proper RSS feed scanner working in Deluge, I don't really have a choice. I'd write my own but that would require learning both Python and Deluge's API, and hours upon hours of debugging just to reinvent the wheel and have fewer features than those supposedly offered by feeder. The thread is full of people who have gotten it to work and/or had it Just Work™. I've posted my issue and hopefully soon I can join the ranks of those who have it working.

Deluge verdict: a nice torrent client. A little rough around the edges but overall very usable with neat features for those who need them.

feeder verdict: it'd be less of a steaming pile of crap if I could get it to load.

Overall verdict: for now, back to Azureus :(

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