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Metalink: higher availability and self repairing downloads

From: Anthony Bryan <albryan@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2007 07:08:54 +0000
To: ietf-http-wg@w3.org
Message-Id: <070620070708.3725.468DEA86000DE14500000E8D2200751090020E979D0D040E@comcast.net>


I posted about Metalink a few months ago [1], and it no longer repurposes the fragment identifier like Link Fingerprints.

Metalink is an XML format that lists multiple ways (FTP/HTTP/P2P/rsync) to retrieve files, along with checksums and other metadata. It is mostly used by download managers. Around 21 programs have Metalink support.

"Metalink solves the first problem  how to find the most speedy way to download a file  by grouping different download protocols into one protocol. This enables Metalink clients to automatically switch between different mirror servers without explicit user instructions. Not only multiple server information is described but also meta-data (e.g., the location of the server, document tags and license)." [2]

Metalink is not restricted to just HTTP, but Lisa Dusseault suggested I post here, looking for "expressions of interest in the basic concept, and volunteers to help with the work (at the very least, reviewers)." I would like to turn this into an IETF publication.

Some basic features the information in a metalink can be used for:
- Listing multiple mirrors for higher availability.
- Automatic error recovery and repair of corrupted downloads.
- More information about a download for users. [3]
- Add a file or multiple files to a download queue.
- Share a library of files between filesharing applications.
- Simplified download pages.

An example .metalink:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<metalink version="3.0" generator="Metalink Editor version 1.0.0" xmlns="http://www.metalinker.org/">
    <name>Xi Software</name>
  <identity>Net Transport</identity>
  <description>Net Transport (NetXfer) is a downloading tool.</description>
    <file name="NXSetup_multi.zip">
        <hash type="md5">18148ed6dc0fc6a48f345579f099d6bd</hash>
        <hash type="sha1">01586b2c0ec5d8e985138204404878f5ecbeef58</hash>
        <pieces type="sha1" length="262144">
          <hash piece="0">ce50319f58e846e3e0c66a9ada9015e601126864</hash>
          <hash piece="1">c9e73e336831a364cedcd889259b7330d48f90fd</hash>
          <hash piece="2">a7f5281c629ea63c791f320db3b0df85fdb01861</hash>
          <hash piece="3">e6cf5571185db0ec79b551222596462db445bdd6</hash>
          <hash piece="4">8982e850d2e3ea005119beea3cc05daca28de474</hash>
          <hash piece="5">a0e7a3a3a46f1ae5fb4eb8529b6fb8ee82fa43a8</hash>
          <hash piece="6">96540cfade1ce9d3846f41510fbed46965b29568</hash>
          <hash piece="7">87108128d4dde5ba62ffec1f1cc3fc292fc298ca</hash>
        <url type="http" preference="100">http://www.xi-soft.com/downloads/NXSetup_multi.zip</url>
        <url type="http" location="gb" preference="100">http://nettransport.abangadek.com/NXSetup_multi.zip</url>
        <url type="http" location="hu" preference="100">http://www.axitech.hu/nettransport/downloads/NXSetup_multi.zip</url>
        <url type="ftp" location="cn" preference="100">ftp://nettransport:nettransport@</url>

For more information: http://www.metalinker.org and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metalink

(( Anthony Bryan ... Metalink [ http://www.metalinker.org ]
  )) Easier, More Reliable, Self Healing Downloads

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/2007AprJun/0039.html
[2] http://www.geospatialsemanticweb.com/2007/02/25/metalink-unifies-internet-downloads
[3] http://code.downthemall.net/maierman/metaselect4.png
Received on Friday, 6 July 2007 07:17:02 UTC

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