KGet, KDE’s download manager, was ok in KDE 3 but lacking in many areas.

KGet in KDE3

Below you can see a screenshot of KGet in KDE3 (taken from Wikipedia):

..and it had some nice things about it:

  • Easy to track multiple downloads and their speeds in one window
  • Integrates well with KDE

But it had a lot of not-so-nice things about it: far too many cluttered and unclear toolbar entries, old-fashioned look, and not that powerful in terms of download capabilities. Anyway, enter KDE4’s KGet:

KGet in KDE4

KGet in KDE4

And a lot of nice things to notice here. Of course the Oxygen icons and style make it look wonderful, but there’s been a lot of shuffling around in the UI here: only four clear text-aligned icons now, for the very common download actions. Downloads can now be sorted into groups, and you can choose to have the view of any particular download expanded:

KGet Download

Save to Location by Extension

This feature was already available in KDE3’s KGet, but it is very handy, not well-known, and can save a lot of time. Here you can also see the changes that the configuration settings of KGet received as well:

KGet’s Config

Metalinks

Torrent support isn’t available in the 4.0 branch, but work for it is being worked on and available in trunk. Another very exciting fact about the new KGet is the Metalink support. Metalinks are one of the best ways for releasing downloads such as ISOs, which are large and can receive a lot of hype around a release time.

They are small XML files that, when plugged into the client, can use multiple mirrors for download (hence spreading the load), can connect with torrents as well, and also have checksum support so they’re one of the best ways to download large files reliably. In the early stage of a distribution release while the torrents are taking time to pick up, with Metalinks you’ll be downloading from multiple mirrors so you will always get pretty much the maximum speed.

With KGet now all you need to do is drag the Metalink file and the download will start straight away! Above you can see one of these metalink downloads.

Wrapping Up

KGet has probably become the world’s best downloader thanks to the great new work from the developers. If you use KDE, you should seriously consider making it your default download manager (just start it up).

If you’re on openSUSE 10.3, you can install the latest version of it with this 1-click-install:

KGet 1-click-install