Tag Archives: cURL and libcurl

curl 8.3.0

Welcome to this new curl release!

Release video

Numbers

the 251st release
9 changes
49 days (total: 9,308)

174 bug-fixes (total: 9,415)
296 commits (total: 30,942)
1 new public libcurl function (total: 92)
0 new curl_easy_setopt() option (total: 303)

2 new curl command line option (total: 257)
80 contributors, 50 new (total: 2,977)
40 authors, 20 new (total: 1,193)
1 security fix (total: 146)

Numbers notes:

  1. the release counter now also includes project releases done before the name was changed to curl.
  2. The number of security fixes is adjusted due to the recently rejected CVE-2023-32001

Security

We publish a security advisory in association with today’s release.

HTTP headers eat all memory

[CVE-2023-38039] When curl retrieves an HTTP response, it stores the incoming headers so that they can be accessed later via the libcurl headers API.

However, curl did not have a limit in how many or how large headers it would accept in a response, allowing a malicious server to stream an endless series of headers and eventually cause curl to run out of heap memory.

Changes

curl: make %output{} in -w specify a file to write to

The super handy option –write-out become even more convenient now as it can redirect its output into a specific file and not just stdout and stderr.

curl: add “variable” support

The new variable concept now only lets users use environment variables on config files but also opens up for new ways to use curl command lines effectively.

remove gskit support

The gskit TLS library is no longer a provided option when building curl.

remove NSS support

The NSS TLS library is no longer a provided option when building curl. curl still supports building with twelve different TLS libraries even after the removal of these two.

configure –disable-bindlocal builds curl without local binding support

As a next step in the gradual movement to allow more and more features to get enabled/disabled at build time, the time came to the bindlocal function, which is the feature that binds the local end of a connection. Primarily intended for tiny-curl purposes when you aim for a minimal footprint build.

make tracing available in non-debug builds

Starting now, libcurl offers curl_global_trace and curl offers –trace-config to ask for what specific details to include in the verbose logging output. This is a way for a non-debug build to provide more protocol level details from transfers in ways that were previously not possible. Allows for users to report bugs better and provide more insights from real-world problematic scenarios.

CURLOPT_MAXREDIRS defaults to 30

As a precaution, we change the default from unlimited to 30.

CURLU_PUNY2IDN – convert punycode to IDN

The URL API gets the ability to convert to an International Domain Name when given a punycode version. Previously it could only do the conversion in the other direction.

wolfssl: support loading system CA certificates

curl built with wolfSSL now can use the “native CA” option which then makes it possible to use the native CA store on several platforms instead of using a separately provided external file.

Bugfixes

More than 160 bugfixes are logged for this release, but here are a few selected highlights.

accept and parse IPv6 addresses in alt-svc response headers

Previously curl would not parse and accept such hosts.

c-ares: reduce timeout to 2000ms

The default c-ares DNS timeout is set to the same time that c-ares itself has changed to in their next pending release.

make CURLOPT_HAPROXY_CLIENT_IP set the source IP

It was wrongly set as destination instead of source.

cmake: ten separate improvements

Numerous smaller and larger fixes that made the cmake build of curl several notches better.

stop halving the remaining connect timeout when less than 600 ms left

When curl connects to a host that resolves to multiple IP addresses, it allows half the timeout time for the current IP before it moves on to attempt the next IP in the list. That “halving” is now stopped when there is less than 600 milliseconds left to reduce problems with too short times.

docs: rewrite to present tense

Most of the curl documentation now says “this option does this” instead of “this option will do this”

escape all dashes (ASCII minus) to avoid Unicode hyphens in curl.1 man page

It turns out the curl man page as generated previously, would make the man command use a Unicode hyphen instead of ASCII minus when displayed. This broke copy and paste and it made it impossible to properly search for minus/dash when viewing the man page.

accept leading whitespace on first HTTP response header

curl is now less strict if the first HTTP/1 response header starts with space or tab, thus looking like it is a “fold” when it not. Other commonly used tools/browsers accept this kind of bad syntax and so does curl now.

avoid too early HTTP/2 connection re-use/multiplexing

When doing lots of parallel transfers curl might need to create a second connection when the first reaches its maximum number of streams. In that situation, curl would try to multiplex on that new connection too early, already before it was properly setup and be ready for use, leading to transfer errors.

http/http2/http3: fix sending large requests

Logic for all supported HTTP versions had (different) issues in handling sending very large requests.

aws-sigv4: canonicalize the query

Using aws-sigv4 authentication would fail if the query part was not manually crafted to be correct: sorted, uppercase %-encoding and all the name/value pairs alpha-sorted. Now curl does this itself.

make aws-sigv4 not require TLS to be used

The –aws-sigv4 option no longer requires an HTTPS:// URL to be used.

lib: move mimepost data from ->req.p.http to ->state

The moving of internal data from one struct to another made data survive between two requests and thus fixed a bug involving redirects with MIMEPOST that needed to rewind.

use PF_INET6 family lookups when CURL_IPRESOLVE_V6 is set

Turns out curl would still resolve both IPv4 and IPv6 names even if ipv6-only connections were being requested, thus getting some extra names in vein.

system.h: add CURL_OFF_T definitions on HP-UX with HP aCC

Starting now, curl builds properly on more HP-UX machines.

tests: update cookie expiry dates to far in the future

curl’s test suite now runs fine even when executed in a year after 2038.

tool_filetime: make -z work with file dates before 1970

The -z option can get the file date off a local file and use that in a HTTP time condition request, but if the file was older than January 1 1970 it would act wrongly.

transfer: also stop the sending on closed connection

When curl sent off a HTTP/1 request and the connection was closed before the sending was complete, curl could end up not detecting that and ending the transfer correctly.

don’t set TIMER_STARTTRANSFER on first send

Adjustments were made to make this timestamp work as actually documented.

make zoneid duplicated in curl_url_dup

This dup function did not correctly duplicate the zone id from the source handle, making it an incomplete duplicate.

quic: don’t set SNI if hostname is an IP address

curl would wrongly populate the SNI field with the IP address when doing QUIC connections to such.

Next

This is a dot-zero release. If there are any important enough regressions shipped in this version, we will do a follow-up release within shortly. Report all and any problems you spot.

Bogus CVE follow-ups

On August 26 I posted details here on my blog about the bogus curl issue CVE-2020-19909. Luckily, it got a lot of attention and triggered discussions widely. Maybe I helped shed light on the brittleness of this system. This was not a unique instance and it was not the first time it happened. This has been going on for years.

For example, the PostgreSQL peeps got a similarly bogus CVE almost at the same time. Not a real problem either.

UB

Some people did in discussions following my blog post insist that a signed long overflow is undefined behavior in C and since it truly is undefined all bets are off so this could be a security issue.

I am not a fan of philosophical thought exercises around vulnerabilities. They are distractions from the real matters and I find them rather pointless. It is easy to test how this flaw plays out on numerous platforms using numerous compilers. It’s not a security problem on any of them. Even if the retry time would go down to 0, it is not a DOS to do multiple internet transfers next to each other. If it would be, then a browser makes a DOS every time you visit a website – and curl does it when you give it two URLs on the same command line. Unexpected behavior and a silly bug, yes. Security flaw: no.

Not to even mention that no person or script actually would use such numbers on the command line that trigger the bug. This is the bug that never triggered for anyone who did not deliberately try to make it happen.

Who gets to report a CVE

A CVE Id is basically just a bug tracker identifier. You can ask for a number for a problem you found, and by the nature of this you don’t even have to present many details when you ask for it. You are however supposed to provide them when the issue goes public. CVE-2020-19909 certainly failed this latter step. You could perhaps ask why MITRE even allows for CVEs to get published at all if there isn’t more information available.

When you request a CVE Id, there are a few hundred distributed CVE number authorities (CNAs) you can get the number from.

CNA

A CNA can (apparently) require to be consulted if the ask is in regards to their scope. To their products.

I have initiated work on having curl become a CNA; to take responsibility for all CVEs that concern curl or libcurl. I personally think it is rather problematic that this basically is the only available means to prevent this level of crap, but I still intend to attempt this route.

Lots of other Open Source projects (Apache, OpenSSL, Python, etc) already are CNAs, many of them presumably because they realized these things much faster than me. I suspect curl is a smaller shop than most of the existing CNAs, but I don’t think size matters here.

It does of course add administration and work for us which is unfortunate, because that time and energy could be spent on more productive activities, but it still feels like a reasonable thing to try. Hopefully this can also help combat inflated severity levels.

MITRE: Reject 2020-19909 please

The main care-taker of the CVE database is MITRE. They provide a means for anyone to ask for updates to already published CVEs. I submitted my request for rejection using their online form, explaining that this issue is not a security problem and thus should be removed again. With all the info I had, including a link to my blog post.

They denied my request.

Their motivation? The exact quote:

After review there are multiple perspectives on whether the issue information is helpful to consumers of the CVE List, our current preference is in the direction of keeping the CVE ID assignment. There is a valid weakness (integer overflow) that can lead to a valid security impact (denial of service, based on retrying network traffic much more often than is documented/requested).

This is signed CVE Assignment Team, no identifiable human involved.

It is not a Denial of Service. It’s blatant scaremongering and it helps absolutely no one to say that is.

NVD: Rescore 2020-19909 please

NVD maintains some sort of database and index with all the CVE Ids. They score them and as you may remember, they decided this non-issue is a 9.8 out of 10 severity.

The same evening I learned about this CVE I contacted NVD (nvd@nist.gov), pointed out this silliness and asked them to act on it.

A few days later they responded. From the National Vulnerability Database Team, no identifiable human.

First, they of course think their initial score was a fair assessment:

At the time of analysis, information for this CVE record was particularly sparse. Per NVD policy, if any information is lacking, unclear or conflicts between sources, the NVD policy is to represent the worst-case scenario. The NVD takes this conservative approach to avoid under reporting the possible severity of a given vulnerability.

Meaning: when they don’t know, they make up the worst possible scenario. That is literally what they say and how they act. Panic by default.

However, at this time there are more information sources and clarifications provided that make amendment of the CVSS vector string appropriate. We will break down the various amendments for transparency and to assist in confirmation of the appropriateness of these changes by you or a member of your team.

Meaning: their messed up system requires us to react and provide additional information to them to trigger a reassessment and them updating the score. To lower the panic level.

NVD themselves will not remove any CVE. As long as MITRE says it is a genuine issue, NVD shows it.

Rescore

As a rejection of CVE was denied, the secondary goal would be to lower NVD’s severity score as much as possible.

The NVD response helped me understand how their research into and analyses of issues are performed.

Their email highlighted three specific items in the CVSS score and how they could maybe re-evaluate them to a lower setting. How do they base and motivate that? Providing links to specific reddit discussions for details of the CVE-2020-19909 problems. Postings done by the ordinary set of pseudonymous persons. Don’t get me wrong, some of those posts are excellent and clearly written by skilled and knowledgeable persons. It just seems a bit… arbitrary.

I did not participate in those discussions and neither did any curl core contributor to my knowledge. There are simply no domain experts involved there.

No reading or pointing to code. No discussions on data input and what changing retry delays mean and not a single word on UB. No mention on why no or a short delay would imply DOS.

Eventually, their proposed updated CVSS ends up with a new score of…

3.3

To be honest, I find CVSS calculations exhausting and I did not care to evaluate their proposal very closely. Again, this is not a security problem.

If you concur with the assessment above based on publicly available information this would change the vector string as follows:

AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H - 9.8
AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:L - 3.3

In my response to NVD I wrote:

I have not personally checked the scoring very closely. I do not agree with the premise that this is a security problem. It is bad, wrong and hostile to insist that non-issues are security problems. It is counter-productive for the entire industry.

As they set it to 3.3 it at least takes the edge off this silliness and I feel a little bit better. They now also link to my blog post from their CVE-2020-19909 info page, which I think is grand of them.

Image by Dan Lorenc

The curl-wget Venn diagram

In my view, wget is not a curl competitor. It is a companion tool that has a feature overlap with curl.

Use the tool that does the job.

Getting the job done is the key. If that means using wget instead of curl, then that is good and I don’t mind. Why would I?

To illustrate the technical differences (and some similarities) between curl and wget, I made the following Venn diagram. Click the image to get the full resolution version.

The curl-wget Venn diagram

I have contributed code to wget. Several wget maintainers have contributed to curl. We are all friends.

If you think there is a problem or omission in the diagram, let me know and I can do updates.

More comparisons

CVE-2020-19909 is everything that is wrong with CVEs

This is a story consisting of several little building blocks and they occurred spread out in time and in different places. It is a story that shows with clarity how our current system with CVE Ids and lots of power given to NVD is a completely broken system.

CVE-2020-19909

On August 25 2023, we got an email to the curl-library mailing list from Samuel Henrique that informed us that “someone” had recently created a CVE, a security vulnerability identification number and report really, for a curl problem.

I wanted to let you know that there's a recent curl CVE published and it doesn't look like it was acknowledged by the curl authors since it's not mentioned in the curl website: CVE-2020-19909

We can’t tell who filed it. We just know that it is now there.

We own our curl issues

In the curl project we work hard and fierce on security and we always work with security researchers who report problems. We file our own CVEs, we document them and we make sure to tell the world about them. We list over 140 of them with every imaginable detail about them provided. We aim at providing gold-level documentation for everything and that includes our past security vulnerabilities.

That someone else suddenly has submitted a CVE for curl is a surprise. We have not been told about this and we would really have liked to. Now there is a new CVE out there reporting a curl issue and we have no details to say about it on the website. Not good.

I bet curl users soon would like to know the details about this.

Wait 2020?

The new CVE has an ID containing 2020 and that is weird. When you register a CVE you typically get it with the year you request it. Unless you get an ID for an old problem of the past. Is that what they did?

Sources seem to indicate that this was published just days ago.

What is this CVE?

Of course the top link when you search for this CVE is to NVD. Not the most reliable organization, but now we can’t be too picky. On their site they explain this with very few details:

Integer overflow vulnerability in tool_operate.c in curl 7.65.2 via crafted value as the retry delay.

And then the craziest statement of the year. They grade it a 9.8 CRITICAL issue. With 10 as a maximum, this is close to the worst case possible, right?

The code

Let’s pause NVD in their panic state for a moment because I immediately recognized this description. Brief as it is.

I spend a lot of time in the curl security team receiving reports, reviewing reports, reviewing source code, assessing claims and figuring out curl security issues. I had seen this claim before!

On July 27, 2019, a Jason Lee file an issue on hackerone, where he reported that there was an integer overflow problem in curl’s --retry-delay command line option. The option accepts number of seconds and then internally converts to milliseconds by multiplying the value by 1000. The option sets how long time curl should wait until it makes a retry if the previous transfer failed with a transient error.

This means that on a 64 bit machine, if you write

curl --retry-delay 18446744073709552 ...

The number will overflow the math and instead of waiting until the end of the universe, it might retry again within the next few seconds. The above example apparently made it 384 seconds instead. On Windows, which uses 32 bit longs, you can get the problem already by asking for more than two million seconds (roughly 25 days).

A bug, sure. Security problem? No. I told Jason that in 2019 and then we closed the security report. I then filed a pull-request and fixed the bug. Credits to Jason for the report. We moved on. The fix was shipped in curl 7.66.0, released in September 2019.

Grading issues

In previous desperate attempts from me to reason with NVD and stop their scaremongering and their grossly inflating the severity level of issues, they have insisted that they take in all publicly available data about the problem and make an assessment.

It was obvious already before that NVD really does not try very hard to actually understand or figure out the problem they grade. In this case it is quite impossible for me to understand how they could come up with this severity level. It’s like they saw “integer overflow” and figure that wow, yeah that is the most horrible flaw we can imagine, but clearly nobody at NVD engaged their brains nor looked at the “vulnerable” code or the patch that fixed the bug. Anyone that looks can see that this is not a security problem.

The issue listed by NVD even links to my pull request I mention above. There is no doubt that it is the exact same bug they refer to.

Spreading like a virus

NVD hosts a CVE database and there is an entire world and eco system now that pulls the records from them.

NVD now has this CVE-2020-19909 entry in there, rated 9.8 CRITICAL and now this disinformation spreads across the world. Now when we search for this CVE number we find numerous sites that repeats the same data. “This is a 9.8 CRITICAL problem in curl” – when it is not.

I will object

I learned about this slap in my face just a few hours ago (and I write this past Friday midnight), but I intend to do what I can to reject this CVE.

Update: I’m glad to see the Ubuntu took the lead and marked it as not-affected.

Update2: MITRE denied my request to reject the CVE. The full reason from them is now included in my description of CVE-2020-19909 on the curl site.

Update3: a follow-up post.

Discuss

Hacker news. Reddit. Lobste.rs.

changes from before it was curl

I have the birthday of curl remembered and I often repeat that it was started on March 20 1998. But that’s just the first time we shipped a version of the tool using the name curl. The tool, the code and the idea started before.

httpget

Back in November 1996 I found the tool httpget when I wanted to set up a cronjob to download currency rates automatically. (I can’t remember how I found it, I presume I used Altavista or something, as this was years before Google…)

I contributed back patches to that tool in late 1996 and quickly became its new maintainer when the original author Rafael Sagula handed over the keys to the kingdom to me. httpget was then a single 300 line C file. With admittedly rather crude code.

We did several httpget releases through 1997 until we after httpget 1.5 added support for FTP. The name of the tool then simply was not suitable anymore so we renamed it. To urlget.

urlget

We kept the version numbering and urlget 2.0 shipped in August 1997. We kept doing more releases and adding more features. With the combination of new upload support (no longer just “get”) and the realization that there were other tools out there already named urlget, I decided to rename the project again. So we bumped the version number and shipped curl 4.0 on March 20 1998.

early changes

The changes we did in the project before it was named curl have been a little lost, primarily because we did not use proper version control back then and not all tarballs have survived the many years since. For a long time, the changelog on the website only showed the changes done since 6.0 (Released in September 1999) but in December 2019 I did the job and added all the missing entries back in time to curl 4.0.

Based on early tarballs and their contents I went back and figured out the missing releases. All the httpget and urlget releases we did before the rename to curl. It turns out there were 29 of them – assuming my counting is correct.

The graph below shows releases per year and is now based on all these releases. Turns out that we have done exactly 250 releases to date.

Since this new extended changelog then also presumably contains all changes and bugfixes ever done, the graph over bugfixes and bugfix speed also grew more complete.

By reading the old changelog entries it is clear that we were not documenting all the bugfixes and changes as thoroughly and as detailed back then as we do these days in the project, so that is one obvious piece to the explanation for the growth in the above plot.

Rebased count

In release presentations and elsewhere I sometimes mention which release “number” we do. This number is now bumped significantly. I don’t think it matters much. It is just a number and this is just a correction of it. For the keen observer, it will of course cause a discrepancy that might look odd, but now I have explained it!

The next curl release becomes release 251. Later this year – the year we celebrate curl turning 25 – we can count 27 years since httpget 0.1 shipped.

Rafael

The original author of httpget kept up with the development and stuck around in the project the first year or two and then slowly dwindled away. His work was rewritten many times since and already by the time curl shipped, there were no traces left of the original httpget code. Everything had already been rewritten.

Unfortunately, Rafael died many years ago so we cannot get his words or memories from these days. But we can remember and honor his work and legacy.

Mastering the curl command line

For the first time ever, I am going to present a single, very long, video class with the title shown above.

This session will be streamed and recorded live on August 31, starting at 16:00 UTC (18:00 CEST, 09:00 PDT) and is expected to take about two and a half hours. Due to many uncertainties, the stream might of course be longer even if the end recording might get edited down a little.

[The slides] [Interactive text version][slides as pdf]

The stream will be done on my usual twitch channel:

https://www.twitch.tv/curlhacker

The agenda for this monster session might still be tweaked a little before it happens but the work in progress version is shown below. It should cover most of what curl can and knows in 2023.

There is no need to sign up. It is entirely free of charge. All you need to do to enjoy it live is to go to the above link at the correct time on the right day. You can participate and ask questions live in the designated chat while the stream is live.

The project (10 min)

  • start
  • name
  • products
  • open source
  • development
  • releases
  • issues
  • pull requests
  • asking for help
  • paying for help

Command line (20 min)

  • command line options
    • long vs short names
    • depends on version
  • URLs
    • scheme
    • name and password
    • host
    • port number
    • path
    • fragment
    • browsers’ address bar
    • options and URLs
    • connection reuse
    • parallel transfers
  • trurl
  • URL globbing
  • List options
  • config file
  • passwords
  • progress meter

Using curl (30 min)

  • verbose
    • --trace
    • --write-out
  • version
  • persistent connections
  • Downloads
    • What exactly is downloading?
    • Storing downloads
    • Download to a file named by the URL
    • Use the target file name from the server
    • HTML and charsets
    • Compression
    • Shell redirects
    • Multiple downloads
    • My browser shows something else
    • Maximum file size
    • Storing metadata in file system
    • Raw
    • Retry
    • Resuming and ranges
  • Uploads
  • Transfer controls
    • Stop slow transfers
    • Rate limiting
    • Request rate limiting
  • Connections
    • Name resolve tricks
    • Connection timeout
    • Network interface
    • Local port number
    • Keep alive
  • Timeouts
  • .netrc
  • Exit status
  • SCP and SFTP
  • Reading email
  • Sending email
  • MQTT
  • TFTP
  • TELNET
  • DICT
  • Copy as curl
  • --libcurl
  • h2c

TLS details (15 min)

  • ciphers
  • enable TLS
  • verifying server certificates
  • OCSP stapling
  • client certificates
  • TLS backends
  • SSLKEYLOGFILE

Proxies (20 min)

  • Discover your proxy
  • PAC
  • Captive portals
  • Proxy type
  • HTTP proxy
  • SOCKS proxy (tor)
  • MITM proxy
  • Authentication
  • HTTPS proxy
  • Proxy environment variables
  • Proxy headers

HTTP (30 min)

  • Protocol basics
  • Method
  • HTTP response codes
  • Responses
  • Authentication
  • Ranges
  • HTTP versions
  • Conditionals
  • HTTPS
  • HTTP POST
  • Multipart formpost
  • -d vs -F
  • Redirects
  • Modify the HTTP request
  • HTTP PUT
  • Cookies
  • HTTP/2
  • Alternative Services
  • HTTP/3
  • HSTS

FTP (10 min)

  • Authentication
  • Directories
  • Uploading
  • Custom FTP commands
  • Two connections
  • Directory traversing

Rounding off (5 min)

  • How to dig deeper
  • Where is curl going

curl write-out to files

The curl option –write-out is one of my personal favorites and offers users an excitingly powerful way to output information from a transfer. Over time, it has been extended to provide more and more features.

It was for example not that long ago we added the ability to output the content of specific headers with %headers{} to this option.

Now (shipping in the coming curl 8.3.0, merged in commit 1032f56efa) we take the next step and add yet another little nifty function to this option that makes it even more powerful and allows you to use it for more purposes better going forward.

It can now save the selected info to a specific file instead of just outputting to stdout or stderr. Or to multiple files. Or append to files. With %output{}.

Examples

Write the used IP address of the remote host to a file named “remote.txt”:

curl -w "%output{remote.txt}%{remote_ip}" https://example.com

Get the same information, but append it to the remote.txt file:

curl -w "%output{>>remote.txt}%{remote_ip}" https://example.com

Output the HTTP response code from the HTTP server to stderr and then append it to the file “log.txt” as well:

curl -w "%{response_code}%output{>>log.txt}%{response_code}" https://example.com

Enjoy!

introducing curl command line variables

If you are anything like me, you appreciate solving your every day simple tasks directly from the command line. Creating crafty single shot command lines or a small shell script to solve that special task you figured out you needed and makes your day go a little smoother. A fellow command line cowboy.

Video presentation

Background

To make life easier for curl users, the tool supports “config files“. They are a set of command line options written in a text file that you can point the curl tool to use. By default curl will check for and use such a config file named .curlrc if placed in your home directory.

One day not too long ago, a user over in the curl IRC channel asked me if it was possible to use environment variables in such config files to avoid having to actually store secrets directly in the file.

Variables

This new variable system that we introduce in curl 8.3.0 (commit 2e160c9c65) makes it possible to use environment variable in config files. But it does not stop there. It allows lots of other fun things.

First off, you can set named variables on the command line. Like :

curl --variable name=content

or in the config file:

variable=name=content

A variable name must only consist of a-z, A-Z, 0-9 or underscore (up to 128 characters). If you set the same name twice, the second set will overwrite the first.

There can be an unlimited amount of variables. A variable can hold up to 10M of content. Variables are set in a left to right order as curl parses the command line or config file.

Assign

You can assign a variable a plain fixed string as shown above. Optionally, you can tell curl to populate it with the contents of a file:

curl --variable name@filename

or straight from stdin:

curl --variable name@-

Environment variables

The variables mentioned above are only present in the curl command line. You can also opt to “import” an environment variable into this context. To import $HOME:

curl --variable %HOME

In this case above, curl will exit if there is no environment variable by that name. Optionally, you can set a default value for the case where the variable does not exist:

curl --variable %HOME=/home/nouser

Expand variables

All variables that are set or “imported” as described above can be used in subsequent command line option arguments – or in config files.

Variables must be explicitly asked for, to make sure they do not cause problems for older command lines or for users when they are not desired. To accomplish this, we introduce the --expand- option prefix.

Only when you use the --expand- prefix in front of an option will the argument get variables expanded.

You reference (expand) a variable like {{name}}. That means two open braces, the variable name and then two closing braces. This sequence will then be replaced by the contents of the variable and a non-existing variable will expand as blank/nothing.

Trying to show a variable with a null byte causes error

Examples

Use the variable named ‘content’ in the argument to --data, telling curl what to send in a HTTP POST:

--expand-data “{{content}}”

Create the URL to operate on by inserting the variables ‘host’ and ‘user’.

--expand-url “https://{{host}}/user/{{user}}”

Expand variables

--variable itself can be expanded when you want to create a new variable that uses content from one or more other variables. Like:

--expand-variable var1={{var2}}
--expand-variable fullname=’Mrs {{first}} {{last}}’
--expand-variable source@{{filename}}

Expansion functions

When expanding a variable, functions can be applied. Like this: {{name:function}}

Such variable functions alter how the variable is expanded. How it gets output.

Multiple functions can be applied in a left-to-right order:
{{name:func1:func2:func3}}.

curl offers four different functions to help you expand variables in the most productive way: trim, json, url and b64:

  • trim – removes leading and trailing whitespace
  • json – outputs the variable JSON quoted (but without surrounding quotes)
  • url – shows the string URL encoded, also sometimes called percent encoding
  • b64 – shows the variable base64 encoded

Function examples

Expands the variable URL encoded. Also known as “percent encoded”.

--expand-data “name={{name:url}}”

To trim the variable first, apply both functions (in the right order):

--expand-data “name={{name:trim:url}}”

Send the HOME environment variable as part of a JSON object in a HTTP POST:

--variable %HOME
--expand-data “{ \"homedir\": \"{{HOME:json}}\” "

Discuss

On hacker news.

curl 8.2.1

Welcome. Due to some annoying regressions in the previous release we think we owned it to everyone to do a quick patch follow-up.

Download curl 8.2.1 from https://curl.se.

Release presentation

Numbers

the 221st release
0 changes
7 days (total: 9,259)

27 bug-fixes (total: 9,194)
37 commits (total: 30,646)
0 new public libcurl function (total: 91)
0 new curl_easy_setopt() option (total: 303)

0 new curl command line option (total: 255)
20 contributors, 7 new (total: 2,927)
13 authors, 3 new (total: 1,173)
0 security fixes (total: 146)

Bugfixes

Here are some the most important fixes in this release

configure: check for nghttp2_session_get_stream_local_window_size

We use this function now, introduced in nghttp2 1.15.0, released in September 2016.

return IPv6 first for localhost resolves

Resolving “localhost” did not return the (fixed) addresses in the correct order. It now returns IPv6 as the first.

http2 regression on upload EOF handling

When we added an optimization in the previous release we missed a code path that sometimes lead to “hanging” uploads over HTTP/2.

os400: correct EXPECTED_STRING_LASTZEROTERMINATED

curl builds fine for “IBM i” again.

quiche: fix lookup of transfer at multi

Doing multiplexed HTTP/3 over multiple connections with quiche works much better.

mkhelp: strip off escape sequences

The command sequence that generates the man page display code for the --manual option did at some point regress to include escape sequences. Now those sequences are properly filtered out.

fix build when SIZEOF_CURL_OFF_T > SIZEOF_OFF_T

A build problem was fixed for these rare platforms.

do not clear the credentials on redirect to absolute URL

Yet another regression that we allowed because we apparently did not have a test for this! Now we have a test and redirects to the same origin when using -u for credentials now send the credentials even in the redirected request.

curl 8.2.0

Welcome to another curl release. You know how this dance goes…

Numbers

the 220th release
5 changes
50 days (total: 9,252)

122 bug-fixes (total: 9,167)
177 commits (total: 30,606)
0 new public libcurl function (total: 91)
1 new curl_easy_setopt() option (total: 303)

4 new curl command line option (total: 255)
55 contributors, 34 new (total: 2,922)
35 authors, 20 new (total: 1,170)
1 security fixes (total: 146)

Release presentation

Security

fopen race condition (medium)

CVE-2023-32001. libcurl can be told to save cookies, HSTS and/or alt-svc data to files. When doing this, it called stat() followed by fopen() in a way that made it vulnerable to a TOCTOU (Time of Check, Time of Use) race condition problem.

By exploiting this flaw, an attacker could trick the victim to create or overwrite protected files holding this data in ways it was not intended to.

Changes

curl: add –ca-native and –proxy-ca-native

The command line tool (and library) got new options to ask it to use the systems “native” CA storage. Currently only work on Windows when curl is built to use an OpenSSL fork.

curl: add –trace-ids

This option makes the trace log files include connection and transfer identifiers, which greatly helps debugging transfers doing many (parallel) transfers.

CURLOPT_MAIL_RCPT_ALLOWFAILS replaces CURLOPT_MAIL_RCPT_ALLLOWFAILS

Provide the option without the typo!

add –haproxy-clientip flag to set client IPs

Now users of the tool (and library) pass on specific IP addresses instead of simply using the current one.

add CURLINFO_CONN_ID and CURLINFO_XFER_ID

Two options that allows the application to extract the connection and transfer “Id” of the current transfer, presumably from a debugfunction callback and the likes.

Bugfixes

We have again fixed more than a hundred problems in this release cycle. Here follows a subset that I suspect might be among the most interesting ones.

examples: we’ve added and extended numerous

The ambition is to gradually over time provide examples that show use of all curl_easy_setopt options. We are still way off from that.

http2: numerous smaller and larger fixes

Several regressions and cleanups have been done that improves how HTTP/2 works compared to previous releases.

http2: send HEADER and DATA together

When sending POST requests, libcurl now does a better job in putting the initial outgoing HEADER and DATA frames together, most likely in the same TLS frame.

http3: upload EAGAIN handling

EAGAIN handling for HTTP/3 uploads was fixed, like it was for HTTP/2 as well.

http: fix the outgoing Cookie: header length check

The check that would prevent too long outgoing cookie headers was off by up to a few hundred bytes.

libssh2: use custom memory functions (again)

Bring back use of custom memory functions with libssh2 as otherwise it actually cannot be used with a debug build of curl (or when libssh2 is used as a DLL on windows) due to naive presumptions in the libssh2 API.

runtests: many improvements, leading to -j

Introducing parallel tests.

sectransp: fix EOF handling

A regression caused curl misbehave on end of connection using TLS when built to use Secure Transport.

timeval: use CLOCK_MONOTONIC_RAW if available

For platforms with this clock option, curl now prefers that in an effort to avoid a time that can go backwards.

tool_writeout_json: fix encoding of control characters

The output of control codes in the generated JSON with --json now works better.

urlapi: have *set(PATH) prepend a slash if one is missing

Setting a path using the URL API without a leading slash would previously generate a broken URL when it was extracted. Starting now, libcurl will prepend a slash if there is none.

urlapi: scheme must start with alpha

The URL parser would previously allow a few other characters to start a scheme as well. No more.

tool_parsecfg: accept line lengths up to 10M

The config file parser now allows lines to be up to 10 megabytes. For those odd users generating files with huge data components embedded.