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SDB:Metalink

tagline: From openSUSE

Metalink is an open standard that bundles the various ways (FTP/HTTP/BitTorrent) to get files into one format for easier downloads. This makes it good for downloading ISOs; particularly for people who can't use P2P because of restrictions from their ISP or University. It can deliver very fast download speeds since most clients support multiple connections, to multiple mirrors, automatically. In addition, it can do automatic error detection, and correction.


Location of openSUSE metalinks

You can find metalinks for openSUSE images directly on software.opensuse.org.

They are provided by the master download server, which runs MirrorBrain which dynamically generates them. They are also visible on the download server in the same directory where the iso images are found.


Using metalinks

You'll need download manager that can handle the metalink format, some examples are:

Cross Platform

Application Description
DownThemAll! A extension for Firefox, is probably the easiest way for most people to try out Metalinks.
wxDownload Fast (No Mac OS binary) Packages for openSUSE here
Retriever A Java based client

GNU/Linux

Application Description
aria2 aria2 is the recommended Unix command line client, it has the ability to prevent checksum errors.
Packages for openSUSE here)
KGet 2.0 GUI client for KDE4

Mac OS

Application Description
Speed Download Mac OS X Download Manager

Windows

Application Description
Free Download Manager GPL download manager
Orbit Downloader A download manager that can also be run under GNU/Linux using Wine
GetRight
Net Transport


Other clients available for Mac OS, Windows, and Unix not mentioned here.


Example usage of aria2

To download the 11.2 i386 DVD iso, for instance, all you need to do is copy the link and run aria2c:

aria2c http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.2/iso/openSUSE-11.2-DVD-i586.iso

Or, if you've got the metalink file downloaded, present on your local disk, add the -M option:

aria2c -M openSUSE-11.2-DVD-i586.iso.metalink

aria2c preallocates space on your filesystem to mimimize file fragmentation, therefore you will see it counting a progress number to 100% before it actually starts to download. It may take a minute or two to allocate space before the download begins for DVD ISOs, but it will save time later.


Checksums

Metalinks can contain full file checksum information which will automatically be verified with aria2, DownThemAll!, Free Download Manager, GetRight, wxDownload Fast, Orbit, and Speed Download. openSUSE Metalinks also contain repair information to fix errors that may occur during download, but only aria2 0.10.1 and higher currently support this.

If your Metalink program doesn't support this, and you want to be sure that the Metalink transfer did not contain any errors and matches official ISOs, you should compare this number for your own ISO image to checksums listed on download.opensuse.org.

See in the SDB article Download help, section Checksums for an explanation how to do that.

Should you need to repair a broken download, there are instructions at Download help, section Repairing a Download.