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cURL > Docs > History of curl

HISTORY -- how did this happen

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                          How cURL Became Like This

In the second half of 1997, Daniel Stenberg came up with the idea to make currency-exchange calculations available to Internet Relay Chat (IRC) users. All the necessary data are published on the Web; he just needed to automate their retrieval.

Daniel simply adopted an existing command-line open-source tool, httpget, that Brazilian Rafael Sagula had written. After a few minor adjustments, it did just what he needed.

Soon, he found currencies on a GOPHER site, so support for that had to go in, and not before long FTP download support was added as well. The name of the project was changed to urlget to better fit what it actually did now, since the http-only days were already passed.

The project slowly grew bigger. When upload capabilities were added and the name once again was misleading, a second name change was made and on March 20, 1998 curl 4 was released. (The version numbering from the previous names was kept.)

(Unrelated to this project a company called Curl Corporation registered a US trademark on the name "CURL" on May 18 1998. That company had then already registered the domain back in November of the previous year. All this was revealed to us much later.)

SSL support was added, powered by the SSLeay library.

August 1998, first announcement of curl on

October 1998, with the curl 4.9 release and the introduction of cookie support, curl was no longer released under the GPL license. Now we're at 4000 lines of code, we switched over to the MPL license to restrict the effects of "copyleft".

November 1998, configure script and reported successful compiles on several major operating systems. The never-quite-understood -F option was added and curl could now simulate quite a lot of a browser. TELNET support was added.

Curl 5 was released in December 1998 and introduced the first ever curl man page. People started making Linux RPM packages out of it.

January 1999, DICT support added.

OpenSSL took over where SSLeay was abandoned.

May 1999, first Debian package.

August 1999, LDAP:// and FILE:// support added. The curl web site gets 1300 visits weekly.

Released curl 6.0 in September. 15000 lines of code.

December 28 1999, added the project on Sourceforge and started using its services for managing the project.

Spring 2000, major internal overhaul to provide a suitable library interface. The first non-beta release was named 7.1 and arrived in August. This offered the easy interface and turned out to be the beginning of actually getting other software and programs to get based on and powered by libcurl. Almost 20000 lines of code.

August 2000, the curl web site gets 4000 visits weekly.

The PHP guys adopted libcurl already the same month, when the first ever third party libcurl binding showed up. CURL has been a supported module in PHP since the release of PHP 4.0.2. This would soon get followers. More than 16 different bindings exist at the time of this writing.

September 2000, kerberos4 support was added.

In November 2000 started the work on a test suite for curl. It was later re-written from scratch again. The libcurl major SONAME number was set to 1.

January 2001, Daniel released curl 7.5.2 under a new license again: MIT (or MPL). The MIT license is extremely liberal and can be used combined with GPL in other projects. This would finally put an end to the "complaints" from people involved in GPLed projects that previously were prohibited from using libcurl while it was released under MPL only. (Due to the fact that MPL is deemed "GPL incompatible".)

curl supports HTTP 1.1 starting with the release of 7.7, March 22 2001. This also introduced libcurl's ability to do persistent connections. 24000 lines of code. The libcurl major SONAME number was bumped to 2 due to this overhaul.

The first experimental ftps:// support was added in March 2001.

August 2001. curl is bundled in Mac OS X, 10.1. It was already becoming more and more of a standard utility of Linux distributions and a regular in the BSD ports collections. The curl web site gets 8000 visits weekly. Curl Corporation contacted Daniel to discuss "the name issue". After Daniel's reply, they have never since got in touch again.

September 2001, libcurl 7.9 introduces cookie jar and curl_formadd(). During the forthcoming 7.9.x releases, we introduced the multi interface slowly and without much whistles.

June 2002, the curl web site gets 13000 visits weekly. curl and libcurl is 35000 lines of code. Reported successful compiles on more than 40 combinations of CPUs and operating systems.

To estimate number of users of the curl tool or libcurl library is next to impossible. Around 5000 downloaded packages each week from the main site gives a hint, but the packages are mirrored extensively, bundled with numerous OS distributions and otherwise retrieved as part of other software.

September 2002, with the release of curl 7.10 it is released under the MIT license only.

January 2003. Started working on the distributed curl tests. The autobuilds.

February 2003, the curl site averages at 20000 visits weekly. At any given moment, there's an average of 3 people browsing the site.

Multiple new authentication schemes are supported: Digest (May), NTLM (June) and Negotiate (June).

November 2003: curl 7.10.8 is released. 45000 lines of code. ~55000 unique visitors to the site. Five official web mirrors.

December 2003, full-fledged SSL for FTP is supported.

January 2004: curl 7.11.0 introduced large file support.

June 2004:

curl 7.12.0 introduced IDN support. 10 official web mirrors.

This release bumped the major SONAME to 3 due to the removal of the curl_formparse() function

August 2004:
Curl and libcurl 7.12.1

Public curl release number: 82 Releases counted from the very beginning: 109

 Available command line options:           96
 Available curl_easy_setopt() options:     120
 Number of public functions in libcurl:    36
 Amount of public web site mirrors:        12
 Number of known libcurl bindings:         26

April 2005:

GnuTLS can now optionally be used for the secure layer when curl is built.

September 2005:

TFTP support was added.

More than 100,000 unique visitors of the curl web site. 25 mirrors.

April 2006:

Added the multi_socket() API

September 2006:

The major SONAME number for libcurl was bumped to 4 due to the removal of ftp third party transfer support.

November 2006:

Added SCP and SFTP support

February 2007:

Added support for the Mozilla NSS library to do the SSL/TLS stuff

November 2008:

Command line options: 128
curl_easy_setopt() options: 158
Public functions in libcurl: 58

 Known libcurl bindings:       37
 Contributors:                 683

145,000 unique visitors. >100 GB downloaded.

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