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Using Wget to download large distributions

It’s 11:59pm, I’m slouched in front of my computer thinking about a topic for tomorrow while in the background, I’ve initiated the all-night download of the most recent version of Knoppix, all 700 megabytes of it. Hey, if the Senate can stay up spinning their wheels, so can my computer? Provided that the high winds here near D.C. don’t blow down my DSL connection …

… hey wait … Congress is up all night talking … high winds here in Rockville … Canadian cold front my eye! … but I digress ..

Anyway, with the weekend upon us, I thought that those of you looking to download and burninate the latest and greatest distro of Fedora, OpenOffice or some other Linux-based fun, might not be aware that you can use Wget to download large applications … even when blowhards break your connection intermittently.

For those of you who don’t know, GNU Wget is a free software package for retrieving files using HTTP, HTTPS and FTP. It is a non-interactive commandline tool, so it may easily be called from scripts, cron jobs and in my case, a batch file.

By using this Wget with the –continue command to resume getting a partially-downloaded file after getting disconnected, in combination with the –no-clobber directive not to delete existing files … like the partially-downloaded I’ve been downloading all night … I can begin a download at 8pm, and then wake-up at 8am without worrying about disconnections during the time in between.

Below is an example of this in the form of a batch file I created on my Win2k machine to download Knoppix … a script that could just as easily be implemented in bash (just ignore the linewrap):

wget -nc -c http://mirror.csit.fsu.edu/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V3.3-2003-11-03-EN.iso
wget -nc -c http://mirror.csit.fsu.edu/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V3.3-2003-11-03-EN.iso.md5
wget -nc -c http://mirror.csit.fsu.edu/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V3.3-2003-11-03-EN.iso.md5.asc


  1. You should try out bittorrent.

    There are sources for Knoppix – http://torrent.unix-ag.uni-kl.de:6969/ and many other distros available.

    Using bittorrent means you share bandwith across the net, and usually gives you much faster downloads.

  2. Living up here in the north country of Michigan as I do there’s no cable/dsl available. I ordered a Knoppix CD from budgetlinuxcds.com the other day. Four bucks including shipping sure beats a 120 hr download over dial up and I’ll probably get it quicker via snail mail.