BitTorrent Sync (btsync) Desktop Packages Packaging and GUI project for delivering and deploying BitTorrent Sync (aka btsync or syncapp) on Debian derived (Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Raspbian, etc.) Linux workstations and servers

BitTorrent Sync Desktop Packages

If you are using Ubuntu, Debian, Raspian or other derived distributions based on Debian and you are searching for an easy way to deploy BitTorrent Sync on your systems, this topic is definitively for you. Here you will find information about a family of easy to install deb-packages that offers both a solution for the need of typical server/cloud operators as for interactive users.

BitTorrent Sync Desktop

The desktop user packages are explicitly intended for desktop usage and provide a user experience similar to BitTorrent Sync on Windows or Mac OSX by still giving the user the possibility to customise his installation if he has special needs.

BitTorrent Sync Desktop


The deb-packages are available for the same architectures as released by BitTorrent Inc.:

  • i386 - Intel/AMD 32 Bit
  • amd64 - Intel/AMD 64 Bit
  • armel - ARM EABI
  • armhf - ARM hard float
  • powerpc - PowerPC

Since the packages still have not been tested with KDE, LXDE, Cinnamon and Linux Mint, any related feedback is highly appreciated.

Bug Reports, Contribution and Sources

If you want to contribute to the development of the packages or if you are curious how this all works, you may find the current sources of the deployment scripts and packaging on GitHub (

The full source of the great indicator applet written by Mark Johnson is also hosted on GitHub (

If you have experienced a reproducible issue that is related to the packaging and not to BitTorrent Sync itself you are strongly encouraged to open an issue on the project's GitHub Page. Issues related to the native functionality of BitTorrent Sync should instead be discussed by creating a new topic or partecipating to an already existing topic in the BitTorrent Sync Forum.

Adding the Repositories

Debian and Debian based distributions (Linspire, Xandros, Ubuntu, and Mepis to name a few) use a tool called APT (Advanced Packaging Tool) to manage all software on the system. The term "package" refers to an individual file with a .deb extension that contains either all or part of an application.

Your distribution comes with some default repositories that are already setup, but these contain only the software officially distributed by the creator of your distribution. In order to install the btsync packages, you have to add the specific repositories where btsync is hosted.

If you are using Ubuntu, you may also use the Launchpad PPA instead of the default repositories. Although it is easier to install, there are some disadvantages:

  • The PPA only supports Ubuntu versions that are supported (currently lucid, precise, quantal, raring, saucy and trusty)
  • The PPA only supports the i386 and amd64 architectures
  • Often it takes some hours for the packages to be published

If you are OK with this, you can add the Launchpad PPA by issuing the following commands:

`which sudo` add-apt-repository ppa:tuxpoldo/btsync
`which sudo` apt-get update

After this, you can directly proceed with the installation.

If you are not using Ubuntu or you are using an unsupported version or architecture or by any other reason you prefer the default repositories, continue here.

The btsync packages are all signed with a key in order to guarantee their authenticity. Before using the repository, you should add the key to the package manager. To do that, run the following command:

`which sudo` apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 6BF18B15

On success you should see an output like this:

gpg: requesting key 6BF18B15 from hkp server
gpg: key 6BF18B15: public key "Leo Moll <>" imported
gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:               imported: 1

Now you can easily add the package sources, by executing the following commands:

CODENAME=$(lsb_release -cs | sed -n '/lucid\|precise\|quantal\|raring\|saucy\|trusty\|squeeze\|wheezy\|jessie\|sid/p')
echo deb ${CODENAME:-sid} main > ~/btsync.list
echo deb-src ${CODENAME:-sid} main >> ~/btsync.list
`which sudo` mv ~/btsync.list /etc/apt/sources.list.d/btsync.list
`which sudo` chown root:root /etc/apt/sources.list.d/btsync.list

Remember to update the local cache:

`which sudo` apt-get update

After that you can proceed with the installation.

Installation of the BitTorrent Sync Desktop Version

The installation of btsync-user is really easy:

`which sudo` apt-get install btsync-user

After the successful installation, you have to initially start BitTorrent Sync. You have different possibilities to do this:

  • Log out and login again. Since BitTorrent Sync is started on logon, it will start automatically.
  • Select BitTorrent Sync from the menu or Unity-Launcher
  • Start it from the console by issuing the command:
btsync start

More details can be found in the usages notes:

Usage Notes

This package of BitTorrent Sync is explicitly intended for generic desktop usage and provide a user experience similar to BitTorrent Sync on Windows or Mac OSX: When the user logs in, an instance of BitTorrent Sync is automatically launched under the user's credentials and a tray applet is launched to show the status and manage the running instance.

By default the user instance has an automatical created configuration file in ~/.config/btsync/btsync-auto.conf and keeps its internal data in the directory ~/.btsync

A user specific desktop shortcut to the web UI is installed into the system. Since every user has it's web UI on a different port number, only the desktop shortcut or the indicator applet should be used to invoke the web UI.

In order to give more freedom to the advanced user, there is also a possibility to launch BitTorrent Sync with a custom configuration file instead of the automatically created file: the startup routine of BitTorrent Sync checks, if there is a file named btsync-user.conf in the configuration directory ~/.config/btsync of the user. If this file is found, then it is used as configuration file. If not, BitTorrent Sync uses the automatically created default configuration file ~/.config/btsync/btsync-auto.conf that will be recreated on every restart.

The simplest way to create a custom configuration file, is to create a copy of the default configuration file and then to edit it according to your needs:

cp ~/.config/btsync/btsync-auto.conf ~/.config/btsync/btsync-user.conf

When you are ready with your modifications, you can restart BitTorrent Sync by executing the command:

btsync restart

Ā  on the command line.

In addition to the desktop shortcuts and menu functions in the indicator applet, BitTorrent Sync can also be controlled from the command line using the tool btsync. The tool provides usage instructions by issuing the command:

btsync -h

More comprehensive help can be found on the corresponding manpage:

man btsync
This page was last updated on May 18, 2014, 17:52:59