Once you participate in spreading Tails by seeding it over BitTorrent, it is important to make sure you share the latest and greatest version as soon as it's out, so that other users can obtain these updates as quickly as possible. If you run GNU/Linux, then it is fairly easy to automate the process of retrieving and seeding new Tails releases as they are released. The tools involved are rssdler and rTorrent; at least the latter is available in most distributions package repositories.


1. Running at startup

After installing rTorrent, you will want to have it run at boot time.

It greatly depends on the init system your distributions uses.

One way to do this is to install an initscript, such as that (crappy) one, by placing it into /etc/init.d/, editing it to replace USERNAME with your username, and then setting it to run at boot (chkconfig on Red Hat -like systems, rcconf or update-rc.d on Debian-like systems).

This will make it so that rTorrent loads at boot time, creating a screen named 'rtorrent', which you can access giving the following command:

screen -r rtorrent

Alternatively, you can create a desktop launcher with a command similar to:

gnome-terminal --title rtorrent -e 'screen -r rtorrent' 

2. Configuring automation

rTorrent stores it's configuration in a file called .rtorrent.rc in your home directory.

You can modify the official rtorrent.rc or start from this modified rtorrent.rc. The modified version comes pre-configured for randomization of ports, disabled DHT, and forced encryption.

The changes you have to do yourself are:

  1. Modify your directory variable (working dir for rTorrent).
  2. Modify your session variable (session lock dir).
  3. Modify your schedule variable.
  4. Tell it where it will find the .torrent files.
  5. Tell it where to save the data it downloads.


1. Configuration

rssdler check an rss feed periodically and downloads any .torrent file listed in there to wherever place you wish. Its configuration file is in ~/rssdler/config. It should contain something like:

link = https://tails.boum.org/torrents/rss/index.rss
maxSize = 2048
minSize = 10
directory = /home/path/to/torrentfiles/

Now rssdler should know to put .rtorrent files in the directory in which rTorrent is scanning. The final step is getting rssdler to run when you need it.

2. Running at startup

rssdler can be set up to run as a daemon (rssdler -d), or to run only once (rssdler -o). This means you can add rssdler to your session startup, or create a cron job for it.

crontab -e
*/10 * * * * /usr/local/bin/rssdler -o

Adding this to the end of your crontab file will run the task every ten minutes. Alternatively, add rssdler -d to your distribution-specific startup tasks.