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Migrating to the Mac, Part II

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One little annoyance I’ve had in my switch from Linux to the Mac was the lack of wget. wget is a neat little command-line utility that allows you to grab things from the Web using http, https or ftp. “But Alan,” you say, “I can just do that in my browser!” Sure, and for one or two files that’d be the way to go. But what happens when you need to get everything on this page? That’s where wget is particularly handy. Here’s the command:

wget -r --no-parent http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/slackware/slackware-current/slackware/l/

and wget downloads the entire folder right in your working directory. (If you use the “-r –no-parent” option (I’ve found that they’re inseparable), be ABSOLUTELY SURE that you’ve got that / at the end, or it will try to download the entire Web, starting at the url you entered. That is only a slight exaggeration. (If you run into this problem, hit ctrl-c and it will stop.))

Every Linux distribution I’ve ever used comes with wget preinstalled, but for whatever reason OS X does not. They’re both UNIX, wget is a UNIX utility, so why the hell not? Not to fear! wget is written in portable (hahaha) C, and OS X has a C compiler, so here’s what you do:

  • Go to the wget source downloads page linked here
  • Find the most recent version ending in .tar.bz2 (as of right now it’s 1.13.4)
  • Ctrl-click, Save As… (or Download Linked File As…)
  • Save it to Downloads (and don’t change the name!)
  • When it’s done, open up Terminal
  • Type in ‘cd ~/Downloads (again, ignore the quotes)
  • Now type ‘tar -xvjf wget-1.13.4.tar.bz2′ (replacing this version with the most current)
  • ‘cd wget-1.13.4′
  • ‘./configure –with-ssl=openssl’ (H/T to this guy for the necessary config option)
  • ‘make’
  • ‘sudo make install’
  • When it prompts you for a password, use the password you use to log in to your Mac (be advised that it won’t echo anything back at you, so you won’t know how many characters you’ve typed; if you make a mistake, hit ctrl-u and start over)

That’s it! You now have wget! If you need to know anything, Google it or post a comment on this webzone (or type ‘man wget’ in the Terminal to see its manual). Happy downloading!

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