Setup & Configuration

The main part of configuration regarding rTorrent-PS itself is already done, if you followed Manual Turn-Key System Setup or used pimp-my-box for it. If you used neither, look into what does (see also rTorrent Configuration), in order to get all the features described in the User’s Manual, which in large part rely on those standard configuration snippets.

This chapter contains hints on what you might need to do regarding the runtime environment and your system setup.

You can skip to the next chapter to learn about the special rTorrent-PS features and come back to this later, provided everything looks OK to you when you first started rTorrent-PS (especially that all special characters render correctly).

Setting up Your Terminal Emulator

General Concerns

There are two major obstacles for a proper display of the extended canvas, and that is selecting the right font(s) and providing a terminal setup that supports 256 or more colors.

Read the following sections on how to solve any problems you might encounter within your environment.

Font Selection & Encoding Issues

Whatever font you use in your terminal profile, it has to support the characters used in the column headers and some of the displayed values, else you’re getting a degraded user experience. Also, your terminal must be set to use UTF-8, which nowadays usually is the default anyway.

On Linux, that means LANG should be something like en_US.UTF-8, and LC_ALL and LC_CTYPE should not be set at all! If you use a terminal multiplexer like most people do, and the display doesn’t look right, try tmux -u or screen -U to force UTF-8 mode.

Also make sure you have the locales package installed on Debian-type systems, and the en_US.UTF-8 locale actually created. See Setting Up Locales for that.

The following command lets you easily check whether your font supports the most important characters and your terminal is configured correctly:

PYTHONIOENCODING=utf-8 python -c 'print(u"\u22c5 \u22c5\u22c5 \u201d \u2019 \u266f \u2622 " \
    u"\u260d \u2318 \u2730 \u28ff \u26a1 \u262f \u2691 \u21ba \u2934 \u2935 \u2206 \u231a " \
    u"\u2240\u2207 \u2707 \u26a0\xa0\u25d4 \u26a1\xa0\u21af \xbf \u2a02 \u2716 \u21e3 \u21e1 " \
    u"\u2801 \u2809 \u280b \u281b \u281f \u283f \u287f \u28ff \u2639 \u2780 \u2781 \u2782 " \
    u"\u2783 \u2784 \u2785 \u2786 \u2787 \u2788 \u2789 \u25b9\xa0\u254d \u25aa \u26af \u2692 " \
    u"\u25cc \u21c5 \u21a1 \u219f \u229b \u267a ")'

In case you have unsolvable problems with only a few specific glyphs, see Defining Your Own Columns below on how to change them to ones working for you, or even switch them to plain ASCII.

Terminal Setup on Windows

To get full coverage of all Unicode glyphs used in the extended canvas, the steps below show you how to use font linking to make Everson Mono complement DejaVu Sans Mono when used in PuTTY version 0.70 or higher.

  1. Download and install the DejaVu Sans Mono and Everson Mono fonts.

  2. Next, add or edit a multi-string value for your preferred font under this Windows registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontLink\SystemLink

    To do that start regedit and go to that folder. Any key there names a font for which fallback fonts are registered. So add/edit the DejaVu Sans Mono key, and add fallback font references as its value.

    • Right click SystemLink and select New, then Multi String Value.

    • Use DejaVu Sans Mono as the key’s name.

    • Double-click the new key, and enter this as the value:

      Everson Mono.ttf,EversonMono
  3. After closing regedit, logout from Windows and back in again to activate the font link, but a full reboot is safer (hey, it’s Windows, you should be used to it).

  4. Start PuTTY and select Change settings from the menu.

    • In Window Appearance select DejaVu Sans Mono.
    • Set UTF-8 in Window / Translation
    • Under Terminal check Use background colour to erase screen.
    • In SSH Data, make sure to use putty-256color for the terminal setting.
  5. Connect, and check the display.

Other fonts that were suggested are Andale Mono, and GNU Unifont. You have to try out yourself what looks good to you and works with your specific system and terminal emulator. Read more about fallback fonts on

– based on feedback by @NoSubstitute, with help from and MSDN

Terminal Setup on Linux

When you use gnome-terminal, everything should work out of the box, given you use the start script, which sets TERM and LANG correctly. Also always call tmux with the -2u options.

If you use urxvt, you have to provide fallback fonts as on Windows. Add the following to your ~/.Xresources:

URxvt*font: xft:DejaVu Sans Mono:style=regular:pixelsize=15,xft:Noto Sans Mono CJK JP:pixelsize=15,xft:FreeSerif

Note that 15pt is a threshold for the font size, below it urxvt thinks there’s not enough space to render the glyphs.

Generally, to cope with problems like this or find other fonts that suit you better, the ttfdump tool can help to check out fonts on the technical level. Another helper is the gucharmap GUI tool, that allows you to explore your installed fonts visually.

Supporting 256 or More Colors

Having 256 colors available means you can select very dark shades of grey, and that can be used for subtle even / odd line backgrounds in the collapsed canvas of rTorrent-PS.

To enable 256 colors, your terminal must obviously be able to support them at all (i.e. have a xterm-256color terminfo entry, or similar). But even if that is the case, you often need to give a little nudge to the terminal multiplexers; namely start tmux with the -2 switch (that forces 256 color mode), or for screen start it with the terminal already set to 256 color mode so it can sense the underlying terminal supports them, i.e. use this in your startup script:

if [ "$TERM" = "${TERM%-256color}" ]; then
    export TERM="$TERM-256color"
tmux ...

Then, within the terminal multiplexer’s environment, you must again ensure the terminal is set to a 256 color terminfo entry. See the .tmux.conf by @chros73 for possible solutions for any tmux-related problems.

The reward for jumping through all those hoops is that you can then use color gradients for ratio coloring, and much more appropriate pallid color shades for backgrounds.

Showing a Terminal’s Palette

The script can help you with showing the colors your terminal supports, an example output using Gnome’s terminal looks like the following...


Output of

Trouble-Shooting Guide

Reporting Problems

If you have any trouble during rTorrent-PS installation and configuration, or using any of the commands from the documentation, join the rtorrent-community channel rtorrent-ps on Gitter. You can also ask questions on platforms like Reddit or Stack Exchange.

If you are sure there is a bug, then open an issue on GitHub. Report any problems that are clearly rooted in the rTorrent core to the upstream issue tracker.

Make sure that nobody else reported the same problem before you, there is a search box you can use (after the Filters button). Please note that the GitHub issue tracker is not a support platform, use the Gitter channel or Reddit for any questions, as mentioned above.

And ESR’s golden oldie How To Ask Questions The Smart Way is still a most valuable resource, too.


Please describe your problem clearly, and provide any pertinent information. What are the version numbers of software and OS? What did you do? What was the unexpected result? If things worked and ‘suddenly’ broke, what did you change?

In the chat, don’t ask if somebody is there, just describe your problem. Eventually, someone will notice you – people do live in different time zones than you.

Put up any logs on 0bin or any other pastebin service, and make sure you removed any personal information you don’t want to be publically known. Copy the pastebin link into the chat window.

The following helps with querying your system environment, e.g. the version of Python and your OS.

Providing Diagnostic Information

Python Diagnostics

Execute the following command to be able to provide some information on your Python installation:

deactivate 2>/dev/null; /usr/bin/virtualenv --version; python <<'.'
import sys, os, time, pprint

If enc_fs is not UTF-8, then call dpkg-reconfigure locales (on Debian type systems) and choose a proper locale (you might also need locale-gen en_US.UTF-8), and make sure LANG is set to en_US.UTF-8 (or another locale with UTF-8 encoding).

OS Diagnostics

Similarly, execute this in a shell prompt:

uname -a; echo $(lsb_release -as 2>/dev/null); grep name /proc/cpuinfo | uniq -c; \
free -m | head -n2; uptime; \
strings $(which rtorrent) | grep "client version"; \
ldd $(which rtorrent) | egrep "lib(torrent|curses|curl||cares|ssl|crypto)"; \
ps auxw | egrep "USER|/rtorrent" | grep -v grep

Common Problems & Solutions

Please open an issue on GitHub if you think that you have a problem that happens a lot, or you know several other people have the same problem, and it’s not already mentioned below.

Error in option file: …/05-rt-ps-columns.rc:…: Invalid key

You combined a brand-new pimp-my-box configuration with an older version of rTorrent-PS.

Solution ♯1 (preferred)

Update to a recent build rTorrent-PS.

Also make sure your ~/rtorrent/rtorrent.rc is the newest one with the line…

method.insert = pyro.extended, const|value, (system.has, rtorrent-ps)

This auto-detects the presence of rTorrent-PS, but only works with builds from June 2018 onwards.

Solution ♯2

Replace this line in ~/rtorrent/rtorrent.rc

method.insert = pyro.extended, const|value, (system.has, rtorrent-ps)

with that one…

method.insert = pyro.extended, const|value, 1

Startup Failure: ‘your terminal only supports 8 colors’

See Setting up Your Terminal Emulator for detailed help on proper terminal setup.

If all else fails or you’re in a rush, you can switch to the 8-color theme by calling the echo command as shown and then start rTorrent-PS again:

echo default-8 >~/.pyroscope/color-schemes/.current

If you don’t use the standard configuration (where theme support comes from), then add the ui.color.* commands from this configuration snippet to rtorrent.rc, which does the same thing.

Startup Failure: ‘libxmlrpc_*.so cannot open shared object file’

On newer systems, RPATH is replaced by RUNPATH with consequences regarding the search path for transitive library dependencies (like that of libxmlrpc to the other libxmlrpc_* libraries). In the end, those transitive dependencies cannot be resolved without some extra config.

The solution is to use the provided start script, which explicitly sets LD_LIBRARY_PATH from any RPATH or RUNPATH found in the executable. Or if you use a systemd unit, use an Environment directive to set the library path, e.g. Environment=LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/rtorrent/lib.