Age is just a number or two

Kjell, a friend of mine, mailed me a zip file this morning saying he’d found an earlier version of “urlget” lying around. Meaning: an older version than what we provide on the curl download page. urlget was the name we used for the command line tool before we changed the name to curl in March 1998.

I’ve been reckless with some of the source code and keeping track of early history so this made me curios and when I glanced through the source code for urlget 2.4, shipped in October 1997. Kjell had found a project of his own where he’d imported the urlget sources as that was from before the days curl was also a library.

In this source code I also found the original URL to the home page for urlget and its predecessor, httpget: http://www.inf.ufrgs.br/~sagula/urlget.html

I don’t know if I have this info stored somewhere else too, but the important thing here is that it then struck me that I hadn’t checked the Internet Archive for what it has archived for this URL!

The earliest archived version of the urlget page is from February 16 1998. I checked, but there’s no archived version from slightly earlier when the tool was named just httpget. I did however find source code from httpget that was older than I had saved from before: httpget 1.3! 320 lines of hopelessly naive code. From April 14, 1997.

That date is also the only one that has content as the next archived one is just a redirect to the first curl web site over at http://www.fts.frontec.se/~dast/curl/

Two birthdays?

I used this newly found gem to update the curl history page with exact dates for some of the earliest releases and events, as it was previously not very specific there as I hadn’t kept notes.

I could now also once and for all note that the first release of HttpGet (version 0.1) was done on November 11, 1996. My personal participation in the project began at some days/weeks after that, as it is recorded that I provided improvements in the HttpGet 0.2 release that was done on December 17 the same year.

I’ve always counted the age of curl from March 20, 1998 which is when I first released something under the name “curl”, but since we released it as curl 4.0 that is certainly a sign that the time up to that point could possibly also be counted into its age.

It’s not terribly important of when to start the count.

What’s more fun with the particular HttpGet 0.1 release date, is that it is the exact same date Wget was released the first time under that name! It had previously been developed and released under a different name (“geturl”) and exactly on November 11, 1996 Hrvoje Nikši? released Wget 1.4.0 to the world.

Why not go with Wget?

People sometimes ask me why I didn’t use wget to get currencies that winter day back in 1996 when I found HttpGet and started to work on that HTTP client, but the fact is then that not only was the search engines and software hosting alternatives clearly inferior back in those days so finding software could be difficult, wget was also very new to the world. I didn’t learn about the existence of wget until many months later – although I can’t recall exactly when or how.

I also think, looking back at myself in that time, that if I would’ve found wget then, I would probably have thought it to be overkill for my use case and opted to use something else anyway. I mean, I was “just getting a HTTP page” and the wget package was 171KB compressed, while HttpGet 1.3 was still less than 8K in a single source code file… I’m not saying that way of thinking was right!

One thought on “Age is just a number or two”

  1. So funny to hear. Nice that my old finding made you find something even older.

    Now I don’t have to look for older versions. 🙂

    AND – I got a fresh start if I want to fork HttpGet… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.