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lftp deserves an award

lftp is really amazing. Perhaps it seems odd I’m saying this for a command-line utility, but it does what I mean, virtually every single time. I’ve hardly glanced at the manual because it follows the user interface conventions of shells and FTP clients where appropriate, gracefully extending and varying the functionality where it makes sense.

Consider what I tried tonight:

lftp odin:~/zilles/profiling/Maximum bias 0.4> mput -d **/*.pdf

As a zsh user, I’d expect that **/*.pdf would expand to all items with a .pdf suffix in the current directory and subdirectories. Indeed, lftp did what I expected; my files are transferring now.

Aside from edit-in-BBEdit-style functionality, for which I still use MacSFTP, lftp has completely replaced the other command-line and graphical FTP/SFTP clients I used to use. It does a better job than wget at mirroring Web sites. Its caching autocompletion is just the sensible thing to do, and the ability of the fish:// protocol to simulate SCP/SFTP has let me exchange files with old and broken systems: no hassle, no problem.

If you’ve ever struggled with command-line FTP, or SFTP, or wget mirroring, or if you felt the wall between your shell and file transfer client needed breaking down, check out lftp.

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