As you should know, we maintain this curl comparison table on the curl web site, and it lists a set of free tools and how they compare against curl and each other in various aspects. If you want more features compared or other tools included, please tell. Also if you disagree with any of the facts stated there, just shout!
The other day I got an email asking me to add aget to the table, and since it is a free tool (original BSD licensed) with a similar purpose it would indeed fit.
So I downloaded aget 0.4 and had a go at it.
- The “stable” 0.4 version doesn’t build out of the tarball. It does wrong assumptions on “errno” and thus I had to manually poke on 3 source files to make it generate a fine binary! While this error is claimed to be fixed in the “devel” version, the devel version fails to build on compiler errors instead!
- My first test was to download aget’s own home page with aget… and it failed. It says the page is 0 bytes and it doesn’t download anything and outputs something about a bad seek 0 bytes!
- This really turned me off, but then I thought I should report this back to the guys rather than just blog it… but there’s no email address in the package that seems suitable, and when checking on the site I find a reference to a mailing list but when trying to read the list’s archive it just redirects back to the main page! So blogging it is.
- aget 0.4 from 2002, the aget devel version is from June 2004. Development seems to have stopped.
- I decided aget isn’t going to be added to the table by me at this time. It’ll have to mature some more first (and given the age of the tarballs I doubt that’ll happen…). I also read through the source code a bit and it really gives the impression of being a young project that hasn’t yet have time to settle since there are numerous of suspicious conclusions and source code doing “funny” things.
gmail is fancy and offers lots of space
gmail is often praised these days by people all over, and yeah it is a neat web app and the amount of disk space they offer for this free service is daunting!
I do however have several arguments against using gmail that make me not using it myself for anything that is critical.
gmail blocks zip files
The main and major complaint can be phrased like this:
(reason: 552 5.7.0 Illegal Attachment p9si2809195fkb)
That’s the exact message gmail includes in the reject mail when I try to mail my own account with a zip file attached. The zip file itself is perfectly harmless (and contains source code).
I actually get completely legitimate zip files from people every now and then, perhaps even once per week or so and having it reject these mails without even properly explaining why to the user is quite a show-stopper!
gmail spam filter is inferior
The other issue I have with gmail is its annoying spam filter. This too is often claimed to be one of the better things with gmail, and given that they have millions of users and can do pretty detailed statistics on received mails they do have the opportunity to make a decent filter.
But, given that the spam filter is one huge you-have-no-choice-but-our-way there’s no way for me to alter configs, tweak it for my specific spams or make it better deal with the false positives that it picks. And I’ve had it catch far more false positives than my regular spamassassin filter on my main mail account and then I get probably a thousand times more mail and spam on that account.