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I'm likely the last person in the world who heard of FlashGot, but better late than never. FlashGot is a Firefox plugin that lets you integrate with an external download manager program. It also lets you download every link on a page via a single menu command, which is either nice or overkill, depending on what you want to do.

Linux doesn't have many (any?) good download managers. There's D4X, but I never cared much for it. I installed GWGET but FlashGot didn't auto-recognize it, and I'm not going through any trouble to get it working.

However I still find FlashGot incredibly useful, for one reason: You can use a custom downloader executable. FlashGot will then call the executable and pass it the download URL as a command line argument. You can also pass other arguments (read about them all here) but the URL is all I really need.

The downloader I use is a simple Ruby script I wrote myself which calls wget. What's the point of this, you ask? Well, you can do some neat things like:

  • Filter your downloads into directories by filetype, filename, source website, or any criteria at all.
  • Spawn massive numbers of parallel downloads with a single click. (Probably not a good idea to hammer servers too much with this though, it's not nice.)
  • Use all the power of wget, which includes:

  • custom timeout duration* download retrying* download resuming* filename timestamping* download speed throttling* FTP suport* (perhaps my favorite) GOOD filename collision resolution, so if you download a file called 1.png and then download a file called 1.png from a different site, wget will save the second one as 1.png.1. This something I miss from Safari. Firefox by default tends to ask you if you want to overwrite the old file, which gets very annoying very quickly.

  • You could even conceivably crawl a web page or do recursive downloads.

Let's say you want every MP3 you download to go into a "music" folder, every PNG you download to go into a "Pictures" folder, and ignore all other files. You could do something extremely simple like this (which I just wrote in 5 minutes and haven't tested):


require 'fileutils'

    ARGV.each do |arg|
        dir = ''
        if arg =~ /mp3/i then
            dir = '/home/chester/music'
        elsif arg =~ /png/i then
            dir = '/home/chester/pictures'
            dir = nil
        if dir then
            FileUtils.mkdir(dir) unless
            Dir.chdir(dir) do
                `wget #{arg}`
rescue Exception => e
    # If you want to see the output
    # when the script crashes, you 
    # could log it here.
    raise e

Point FlashGot to this script and when you "FlashGot All", all linked PNGs and MP3s on a site will be downloaded and sorted, and all other links will be ignored. This would be very useful if you want to grab a whole page of wallpapers for example.

April 17, 2006 @ 3:29 AM PDT
Cateogory: Linux


Quoth aldo on April 28, 2006 @ 9:33 PM PDT

Hiz there. Just in case u didnt know it u can use FireGet to integrate gwget with firefox (

Quoth Brian on April 30, 2006 @ 3:34 AM PDT

Very interesting. Thanks for the link.