Mac Tip: Use Curl

Posted on
Tags: , , ,

Apple includes quite a few nice UNIX utilities with Mac OS X. One that I find useful is curl. According to the manual, curl "is a tool to transfer data from or to a server... " I find it useful when downloading large files from the web. Isn't it annoying when you need to download a large file and you keep getting disconnected? With curl, you simply type a command into Terminal and let it work. Curl will download your file and automatically resume downloading if your connection is somehow disrupted.

Lets say that you wanted to try out the latest version of Ubuntu Linux on your Mac Mini or iMac. You go to the Ubuntu site and find the link to the latest Live CD for PowerPC processors. Control Click on the link and select Copy Link.

copy your link

Now, open up Terminal (found in Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) and type "curl -O", then press Command V to paste the address to the Ubuntu Live CD

your curl command

Hit Return and just let it run. Curl gives you some nice stats to show the download progress, you can watch all those pretty numbers, or just let it run in the background while you do your other work. Loose your dial-up or WiFi connection? No worries! As soon as your connection is established again, curl will continue downloading your large 600 MB file.

This is just one simple and useful task that you can do with curl. For more info, type "man curl" in a Terminal window and read the curl manual.