Tuesday Nov 27, 2007

Metalink takes off!


In a world of unintended consequences, one I often think about is not realizing how many new friends I would make because of my kids. Through numerous events, car-pooling, baby sitting, play dates, parties, and years of schooling with the same kids in their classes, I gained a whole new set of good friends (the parents that is, not the kids!).

Similarly, I hadn't realized when starting my blog that you can make some very interesting connections and virtually meet people who share your interests. It's a great benefit, and here's a great example. Soon after starting my blog, I "met" Anthony Bryan via some thoughtful, intelligent comments he left on subjects I was discussing. He must've found me due to my interest in ESD and download managers -- if you look around, there's simply not that much written about those subjects. And it's always great to find others who share your interests and passions.

I first mentioned Anthony's project, Metalink, almost two years ago, when he was just starting to gain traction. We've kept in touch, and it's really amazing to see how it's taken off since then. It's no accident of course -- it took perseverance, in combination with his clever, well-implemented, open technology. Metalink filled a gap in download managers and systems, providing for much needed enhanced redundancy, load sharing, and fault tolerance for large file downloads.

There's a long list of products now that incorporate Metalink, a sure sign of growing acceptance and success. I was going to mention a few, but I see his home page is up-to-date and says it much better than I can, so take a look. Also, here's an informative interview with Anthony about his project and its benefits.

So, what about Sun Download Manager (SDM), does it use Metalink? Well, no, not yet at least. The main reason is that SDM's primary audience is customers downloading Sun software from Sun Download Center (SDLC). Access to this software is carefully controlled for security and export control reasons. We use load management to distribute the load on multiple servers in our own data centers. As there aren't mirrors our there for this class of software (i.e., mostly not Sun's open source software), we lose one of the main advantages of Metalink. That said, we do know a lot of people use SDM on other sites because it's a good, simple, free, cross-platform download manager. So that sounds like a good argument to build in Metalink support in the future! (I'll say it before Anthony does.) I'll certainly keep it on the radar, but must admit all our engineers are tied up finishing our new download system at the moment.

In the meantime, I see that Metalink is used for OpenOffice distribution and was further pleased to see it mentioned in a number of other Sun blogs

Congratulations Anthony, and I hope Metalink is just the first of many successes for you. 


About

I helped design, build, and manage download systems at Sun for many years. Recently I've focused on web eMarketing systems. Occasionally, I write about other interests, such as holography and jazz guitar. Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/garyzel

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