Interview: aria2, for Flexible Downloads

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 26, 2008

Are you familiar with aria2? It's a flexible open source utility for downloading files that supports numerous protocols, including HTTP(S), FTP, BitTorrent, Metalink and more. It has a number of unique features, including the ability to download files from multiple sources, and you can stop and then resume downloads. We caught up with Tatsuhiro Tsujikawa, administrator and lead developer, and asked him about the application and his thoughts on open source.

OStatic: What is your specific involvement on this project?

Tatsuhiro Tsujikawa: I'm administrator and developer. Most of aria2 was written by me.

OStatic: What motivates you to participate in open source, and then freely give your work away?

Tatsuhiro Tsujikawa: It is just fun to write software, and I'm simply really happy if my software makes people's lives easier. I'm also really interested in how my software is used in ways I've never imagined. I've been using Linux for more than 10 years, and I really appreciate the developers and communities, so this is my little contribution back to open source.

OStatic: What technologies does aria2 use?

Tatsuhiro Tsujikawa: aria2 uses a SAX parser to parse Metalink files. In its BitTorrent implementation, aria2 uses a distributed hash table.

OStatic: What products are your closest alternatives?

Tatsuhiro Tsujikawa: I think the closest alternatives are wget and curl. They are well deployed for many platforms. wget also retrieves web content recursively, and curl supports many protocols. The advantages aria2 has over these are segmented downloading ability to accelerate download, and Metalink support to provide self-healing and reliable content transfer. aria2 also features BitTorrent downloads. It even integrates http/ftp/BitTorrent downloads, so you can download
files fast via http/ftp, then upload the data in a BitTorrent swarm.

OStatic: Who is your typical user?  How do you support your users?

Tatsuhiro Tsujikawa: I think a typical user is the desktop end user who downloads large files such as iso images, and needs faster and more reliable transfers.  I use public forums and a bug/feature request tracker to support users.

OStatic: What does the Open Source movement need?

Tatsuhiro Tsujikawa: Users need to be more aware of open source projects. I think there are many good projects, but so many are unknown to users. This is very sad. I think OStatic is trying to promote OSS projects, which I think is very helpful.

OStatic: Thanks Tatsuhiro.