A text-mode download manager for Linux/Unix

Last Updated on January 11, 2022 by Dave Farquhar

Way back when, I used to use a program in Windows called Gozilla to speed up my downloads. The problem with it was that Gozilla was invasive and contained a spyware payload. Competing programs emerged, but it seemed like the biggest added feature was always more spyware. So I gave up on HTTP download accelerators.

Downloading Linux distributions got me thinking about them again. When I went to download Knoppix, Links was estimating the download would take a day and a half. On DSL.

Forget that. So I went looking for download managers for Linux. I found a couple. Most of them are console (text) based, but since I don’t have X on the machine I wanted to download to, I wanted a console-based tool. I found one called aget. Even if you have X, you may prefer the light weight of a console tool.

Aget is in the FreeBSD ports, and Red Hat RPMs are available. Since there was nothing for Debian, I just downloaded it and compiled it. It compiled in about a minute on my pokey K5-100, so just about anyone ought to be able to download it and compile it quickly.

It works like wget. You type aget [fully qualified URL] and you get your file, just like wget, only faster.

There’s just one thing missing. I remember when you told Gozilla you wanted a file, it would do a comprehensive search and try to find the file elsewhere, and grab from multiple servers if it could, or at the very least from the server with the lowest latency. Aget doesn’t do that. But it’s still an improvement.

[later] It wasn’t 20 minutes later that I came across axel, which does it all, including searching. Precompiled packages are available for a larger number of platforms. And it’s in Debian, so apt-get install axel gets you going if you run the One True Linux Distribution. 🙂

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