YouTube is a video-sharing website, created in February 2005, and purchased by Google in November 2006. The web service lets billions of people find, watch, and share originally-created videos. This service lets you watch a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media video. It also offers a forum for people to communicate with others around the world, and acts as a distribution platform. Mainstream media corporations such as CBS, Vevo, Hulu and the BBC publish some of their catalog via YouTube, as part of the YouTube partnership program.
Although some parents might disagree, YouTube is one of the shining lights of the internet. According to a survey of 1,500 American teenagers commissioned by Variety, the top five most influential celebrities are YouTube stars, with mainstream celebs eclipsed. Moreover, there are many thousands of “YouTube celebs” who have spun a full-time career of creating videos. This new wave of young ‘YouTubers’ threaten mainstream entertainment with their direct video blogs and interaction with their millions of mostly teenage devotees.
A common complaint about YouTube is that to watch the material you need to use a web browser. Fortunately, some funky developers have created applications that allow you to bypass the web-only barrier of YouTube.
Each application featured is released under an open source license, and offers multi-platform support. The software allows users to access YouTube in a different way, creating a TV-like experience.
Here’s our verdict captured in a ratings chart. YouTube rate-limits You-Get and youtube-dl limiting their download speeds to around 50kb/s. yt-dlp employs workarounds that circumvent the rate limiting.
Let’s explore the 5 tools in more detail. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.
|Console-Based YouTube Tools|
|yt-dlp||Fork of youtube-dl offering new features|
|You-Get||Downloader that scrapes the web|
|youtube-dl||Download videos from YouTube and many other sites. Extremely versatile|
|MPS-YouTube||Terminal based YouTube player and downloader|
|youtube-viewer||Offers both a command-line and GTK graphical client|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.