We interview the inventor, developer of cURL

We interview the inventor, developer of cURL

Henry Dalziel | Pentesting Tools | July 21, 2016

What will I learn from this interview?
We are delighted to post this interview from the cURL developer and inventor. A big thanks to Daniel Stenberg, for the time his took in helping us spread his advice and experience. In this interview you will learn all about cURL, how it came to be, and the future of the project.

What is cURL?
cURL (official site) stands for “Client URL Request Library” which is a command based tool for receiving or sending files using simple URL syntax. This tool supports common protocols, currently including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP, TFTP, LDAP, LDAPS, DICT, TELNET, FILE, IMAP, POP3, SMTP and RTSP.


The Interview: July 21, 2016

Henry, Concise
cURL has been a huge succees with hundreds of companies using the command line tool. Did you imagine it to become so sucessfull?

Daniel, cURL Inventor
I certainly did not. When I first started cURL, it was just to fulfill my own desires to get a tool that did the job I wanted done. Of course I realized that there could be others who could potentially want a similar tool and I wanted to contribute back to the open source would who I already then enjoyed so much. It then just gradually grew from there until one day we suddenly were at a situation where cURL is just *everywhere*. It still amazes me.

Henry, Concise
For all those budding security developers out there trying to create tools, how do you recommend they promote their work? Perhaps presenting research at conferences? Any other ways?

Daniel, cURL Inventor
I honestly don’t know how to promote things in a world with tens of thousands of existing FOSS projects. I think the primary focus of every project is to make a solid product/service that can be used and understood. If the foundation is solid and the service is wanted, then the users will come. Slowly at first, but then more and faster as the word of mouth travels.

Back in the day, putting things up on Freshmeat or Sourceforge would be a way to also make a project “visible” and shown to be “available” for users, but these days we don’t really have such central repositories for people to go find software. In some ways I think it has become harder to promote and market your new projects unless you don’t already have some sort of platform to do that.

Personally when I create something new these days, I just put things up on web sites, posts about it on mailing lists and mention things on twitter and my blog. But I realize I am one of those with a sort of established platform so I’m in a luxury position…

Henry, Concise
What is the future for cURL? What would be your ideal roadmap for cURL development?

Daniel, cURL Inventor
cURL is about doing internet transfers. The future of cURL is therefore partly tightly connected with how internet transfer protocols develop (more HTTP improvements, QUIC, HTTP/3, TLS 1.3 and all the other things coming) and partly about improving what it already does so that it can do more and solve more problems in better ways.

But I’d like to emphasize that cURL is a small project both in terms of how many people that are actually in the “core team” (people that have stuck around in the project for a few years) and in terms of number of lines of code. We rely completely on what people willingly donate to us. We can only take cURL to where people actually make it do. There’s no fixed roadmap and we don’t really plan much ahead as it all depends on who’s going to show up and write the code for it. If someone shows up with code, energy and ideas for something we didn’t think of before, that can very well become the new next thing for the roadmap!

The cURL project is over 18 years old now, but there are no signs of development slowing down…

In summary
A big thanks again to Daniel for having taken the time to answer our questions.

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