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Download Managers

Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Internet Apps
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Download managers are one type of app that came into existence in order to fix a specific problem. As the size of files being sent over the Internet overtook average bandwidth, the need to pause, resume, and recover downloads became very important. Wasting several days of downloading a monolithic Linux distro or game demo because your OS/browser crashed or ISP went down, quite frankly, sucked.

Download managers are now largely useless; most browsers have most of their key features built-in. However, if you still have low-speed Internet access or simply don't trust your browser not to crash, download managers still fulfill the same needs. I used the official direct download link for Linux Mint 7, an up-and-coming distro based on Ubuntu, as my test file.

MultiGet (v. 1.2.0)

MultiGet has a very clean and simple interface, yet is robust enough for even heavy downloaders. It handles regular HTTP and FTP perfectly, but has no support for BitTorrent. MultiGet has a drop icon that works flawlessly, like KGet.

Unlike KGet, MultiGet does not open files using KDE default apps, mainly because it does not have the option to open any files. It's left-hand sidebar divides downloads into software, package, music, image, movie, publish, picture, and unknown categories, which makes sorting through completed downloads a breeze.



Uget (v. 1.4.9.1)

Uget is probably the easiest and most stable lightweight download manager available. I had no crashes or buggy behavior (the same goes for wxDFast and GWget).

While you cannot drag and drop links into this app, simply doing a right-click Copy Link Location within your browser will automatically input the link into Uget's new download address box from your clipboard, without pasting. The only error that I experienced was when pausing the last/only active download, at which point the 'all downloads complete' popup notification appeared, along with an irritating event sound. It's too bad that this app isn't available in more repos or as a deb or rpm package.



Kget (v. 2.2.2)

KGet is the native KDE download manager. This app handles regular HTTP direct downloads, as well as FTP and BitTorrent.

The first thing that you are sure to notice is the floating KGet icon that appears in the middle of your screen.

Simply drag a link from your Web browser to the floating icon in order to begin downloading a file. This will work for any link, be it a regular download, jpeg, pdf, Web page, FTP download, or BitTorrent file. Don't worry; you can move the icon anywhere on the desktop that you wish. If that's not enough, you do have the option to remove the icon and input downloads into Kget by simply pasting URLs into the new download function.

Like all download managers, Kget gives you the ability to pause and resume downloading. One issue I had with Kget was that it used KDE default apps instead of my own defaults. For instance, when you open the destination folder of a downloaded file, KGet uses Dolphin (the new KDE file manager) instead of Ubuntu's Nautilus. When opening a saved Web page, KGet opens Konqueror (KDE's default browser), instead of my default, Firefox. As usual with KDE apps, KGet is going to be much more attractive if you are using KDE as your GUI.



Downloader for X (v. 2.5.7.1)

Downloader for X is a great little download manager for HTTP and FTP. As with any download manager, Downloader for X can pause and resume transfers. You can drag and drop links into the app's main window, along with the obligatory URL paste, to begin transferring files. This app also allows you to create and manage different sets of queues, which is ideal for those of us who download massive quantities of files. My only issue with Downloader for X is a minor one: horrendous Final Fantasy fanfare-like “music” plays when you open the app. You can easily turn sound events off with a single check box in the Options/general menu. 



GWget Dowload Manager (v. 1.0.1)

GWget is simple. This app has the most standard features that you would expect from a download manager: pause/resume, and that's about it.

You must manually type or paste a file's URL into this app. Dragging a link from your browser into GWget causes one of the worst crashes that I've seen on a Linux system in many years. It will lock GWget, your browser, and slow your system to a slideshow for several minutes (longer if you don't hit force-quit quickly, as it will lock your panel buttons too).

Fortunately, it recovers from crashes just fine. But you'll have to restart your downloads from scratch, including remembering to save the files in the same place as before. If you're not in the habit of dragging links into your download manager, GWget gets the job done. Otherwise, avoid it.



WXDownloadFast (v. 0.6.0)

WXDownloadFast, or wxDFast, is a simple and easy-to-use download manager. It handles HTTP and FTP downloads, but unfortunately not BitTorrent. Like many of the download managers featured here, wxDFast will auto-populate the target URL from your clipboard. This app crashes a lot. Resuming and sometimes even stopping a download can cause wxDFast to close. Also, the scheduling feature seems to lock a download into an unchangeable state of 'paused' until you restart the app.

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 6:39 AM
    tacoslavemy web machine runs on linux and i find the experience to be quite satisfying but i still game on windows.

    I run Linux on my old notebook and the experience is more than just satisfying. In fact most of the office work I do on that notebook is now done in linux an Win are used only to play. If linux only got some more games...
  • 12 Hide
    charlesxuma , September 15, 2009 7:04 AM
    allow me to say this in a simple minded manner ...

    for the dumb there is OS X
    for the weak there is windows
    for the rest there is LINUX

    If u find my statement offensive, then DO something about it dont just sit there winning about it. (LEARN) Remember we were all DUMB ONCE.

    p.s : GAMERS NOT INCLUDED :) 
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    tacoslave , September 15, 2009 6:29 AM
    my web machine runs on linux and i find the experience to be quite satisfying but i still game on windows.
  • 15 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 6:39 AM
    tacoslavemy web machine runs on linux and i find the experience to be quite satisfying but i still game on windows.

    I run Linux on my old notebook and the experience is more than just satisfying. In fact most of the office work I do on that notebook is now done in linux an Win are used only to play. If linux only got some more games...
  • 12 Hide
    charlesxuma , September 15, 2009 7:04 AM
    allow me to say this in a simple minded manner ...

    for the dumb there is OS X
    for the weak there is windows
    for the rest there is LINUX

    If u find my statement offensive, then DO something about it dont just sit there winning about it. (LEARN) Remember we were all DUMB ONCE.

    p.s : GAMERS NOT INCLUDED :) 
  • 4 Hide
    Hellbound , September 15, 2009 7:19 AM
    CharlesXumaallow me to say this in a simple minded manner ... for the dumb there is OS Xfor the weak there is windows for the rest there is LINUXIf u find my statement offensive, then DO something about it dont just sit there winning about it. (LEARN) Remember we were all DUMB ONCE.p.s : GAMERS NOT INCLUDED


    ding fries are done....
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 7:21 AM
    For FTP you can also simply use nautilus, the file manager. Just click file->connect to server (or in the menu bar places->connect to server)
  • 1 Hide
    cybrcatter , September 15, 2009 8:12 AM
    CharlesXuma:
    You truly covered all of you bases in that post.

    I was hoping that with the recession, perhaps companies who were really trying to make more efficient use of their capital would start to look at Linux as a tempting prospect.
    I wounder if there are any intriguing statistics about this.
  • 1 Hide
    mitch074 , September 15, 2009 8:26 AM
    I'm a Linux user. I'm not a big gamer.

    Still, that Nexuiz thingie gives my RadeonHD 4850 a workout. Chromium B.S.U. might be old but it's nice looking and addictive. And TORCS is not for the faint of heart. And...

    Well, if you go and dig into the results of 'linux games' in Google, you can find nice stuff.
  • 1 Hide
    dragoon190 , September 15, 2009 9:15 AM
    Thought you can run most of the games through wine
  • 0 Hide
    charlesxuma , September 15, 2009 9:42 AM
    u actually can run most of your games through wine, however if ur a hardcore gamer that installs and plays many (as in 20+) new games, wine still needs development for these kinds of users, your better off having windows os on the side, for that task in particular.

    There is an exception, but it will cost you a monthly fee, that hooks wine on to a software that updates installation and compatibility on a regular basis.(for the ones who can't configure wine themselves.)
  • -2 Hide
    crash27 , September 15, 2009 9:46 AM
    The mouse lag drives me nuts.
    got a gmae server up but it took so long I reinstalled windows and hit the install button. Server was up in less than 2 minutes.

    Linux is great if you have hours and hours to get it all working......
    oh and if you don't mind waiting to se where you moved your mouse all the time.
    No wait move it back just a little.....
  • 1 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 9:55 AM
    cybrcatterCharlesXuma:You truly covered all of you bases in that post.I was hoping that with the recession, perhaps companies who were really trying to make more efficient use of their capital would start to look at Linux as a tempting prospect.I wounder if there are any intriguing statistics about this.


    I'm afraid that for the most companies "efficient use of their capital" means outsourcing (and "downsizing" the number of workers).
    As for companies SWITCHING from Windows to Linux there are many obstacles, like in the process of doing so the working process in the company would be affected or even partially halted; employees often don't like to change the software they are used to work with (although working with most software packets in Linux is not so much different than in Windows - especially office applications); possible hardware compatibility problems; but most of all the biggest problem is Windows licensing: you can hardly buy a computer without Windows already installed - if you switch to Linux you "throw away" the money paid for the license.

    The interesting statistics would be how many of NEW FOUNDED companies are using Linux as they don't all the problems mentioned above and are also strapped of cash.
  • -7 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 9:59 AM
    cybrcatterCharlesXuma:You truly covered all of you bases in that post.I was hoping that with the recession, perhaps companies who were really trying to make more efficient use of their capital would start to look at Linux as a tempting prospect.I wounder if there are any intriguing statistics about this.


    I'm afraid that for the most companies "efficient use of their capital" means outsourcing (and "downsizing" the number of workers).
    As for companies SWITCHING from Windows to Linux there are many obstacles, like in the process of doing so the working process in the company would be affected or even partially halted; employees often don't like to change the software they are used to work with (although working with most software packets in Linux is not so much different than in Windows - especially office applications); possible hardware compatibility problems; but most of all the biggest problem is Windows licensing: you can hardly buy a computer without Windows already installed - if you switch to Linux you "throw away" the money paid for the license.

    The interesting statistics would be how many of NEW FOUNDED companies are using Linux as they don't have all the problems mentioned above and are also strapped of cash.
  • -4 Hide
    ibnsina , September 15, 2009 10:33 AM
    No doubt Linux is more stable and reliable than Windows, however where it falls behind is graphics user interface and usability. A simplified and cut down version of Linux should be made for the mass market, with a smooth user-friendly GUI that can match Windows.

    Even then it would be still unlikely Linux can threat windows, because the dollar rules, major software companies are here to make money.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 10:59 AM
    Linux developers need to learn how to design a efficient user interface. The fact that a commercial Unix (OS X) has the most usable interface between the hundreds of linux/unix distros is a testament of their flawed philosophy of "open software is always better"
  • 0 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 11:22 AM
    Quote:
    ibnsinaNo doubt Linux is more stable and reliable than Windows, however where it falls behind is graphics user interface and usability. A simplified and cut down version of Linux should be made for the mass market, with a smooth user-friendly GUI that can match Windows. Even then it would be still unlikely Linux can threat windows, because the dollar rules, major software companies are here to make money.


    There already is an cut down version of Linux with a smooth user friendly GUI - it is called OS X (the mass market aspect is questionable though) :) .

    As pretty much everything with Linux the graphical interfaces come in various shapes and sizes (so to say). In Windows you are pretty much locked in AERO GUI but there are several different GUI's.
    Most popular are GNOME and KDE - and at least they don't lack in usability compared to Windows.
  • 1 Hide
    sanctoon , September 15, 2009 1:05 PM
    ibnsinaNo doubt Linux is more stable and reliable than Windows, however where it falls behind is graphics user interface and usability. A simplified and cut down version of Linux should be made for the mass market, with a smooth user-friendly GUI that can match Windows. Even then it would be still unlikely Linux can threat windows, because the dollar rules, major software companies are here to make money.


    My Jaunty GUI is much more efficient than any windows one. Thats the beauty of it all, the customizability. If you ever think, oh it would be nice if my GUI could do that or look like this, chances are, with a bit of google you could do it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 1:08 PM
    Thanks for the list toms!
    If this where an article that covered all programs it wouldn't be up by 100%, but 100x.
    There are nearly 1000 free apps for Linux, and a couple of hundred payed or semi payed apps.

    It also greatly differs from which version of Linux. Most apps talked about here work in a gnome/denian based Linux. There's also Slaxx, or redhat based linux.
    Programs that work in Ubuntu may not always work in Mandriva, or DSL.

    But it's a good list of options in case I would want to switch to a Buntu style Linux.
  • 3 Hide
    syedcdp , September 15, 2009 1:15 PM
    At last, I see an article related Linux after a very long time on TH. Did I miss any articles btw?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 2:11 PM
    pepe_2: I assume you're completely ignorant to Linux, Linux is very, very useable, but the UI isn't dumbed down to MacOSX levels, and I wouldn't want it to be. I take it you're a Mac user, is that 2-button mouse a bit too complicated for you?


    PS: Nice article, I appreciate the attempts to spread awareness. I use Linux as my main OS, and I would never go back to Windows now, most people don't switch just because they don't realize that Linux can do everything they need it to. Kubuntu9.10 is just amazing, I tried the alpha live CD, with the new video driver, it runs fast even on my crappy 5 y/o Intel IGP.
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