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Curl should expand `~` and env vars in `~/.curlrc` #2317

nagromc opened this Issue Feb 16, 2018 · 4 comments


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nagromc commented Feb 16, 2018

I've read,, and Maybe I'm missing something. If so, please excuse me.

I did this

$ echo "--config ~/.curlrc_local" > ~/.curlrc
$ cat ~/.curlrc
--config ~/.curlrc_local
$ echo "--head" > ~/.curlrc_local
$ cat ~/.curlrc_local
$ curl
Warning: error trying read config from the '~/.curlrc_local' file
<!doctype html>
    <title>Example Domain</title>

Curl does not expand ~ before running the command.

I've tried the following content in ~/.curlrc. None of them worked:

  • --config "~/.curlrc_local"
  • --config '~/.curlrc_local'
  • config = ~/.curlrc_local
  • config = "~/.curlrc_local"
  • config = '~/.curlrc_local'

Same if I try to replace ~ by $HOME.

I expected the following

I expected to have HTTP headers.

$ echo "--config ~/.curlrc_local" > ~/.curlrc
$ cat ~/.curlrc
--config ~/.curlrc_local
$ echo "--head" > ~/.curlrc_local
$ cat ~/.curlrc_local
$ curl
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Content-Type: text/html
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:03:08 GMT
Etag: "1541025663+gzip"
Expires: Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:03:08 GMT
Last-Modified: Fri, 09 Aug 2013 23:54:35 GMT
Server: ECS (dca/2486)
X-Cache: HIT
Content-Length: 1270

When running the previous commands, I was expecting Curl to expand ~ into my home directory (here /home/morgan) to parse my custom configuration.

It does work well if:

  • I write directly in ~/.curlrc before, obviously:
    echo "--head" > ~/.curlrc
  • I "expand" manually:
    echo "--config /home/morgan/.curlrc_local" > ~/.curlrc
    echo "--head" > ~/.curlrc_local

curl/libcurl version

$ curl -V output
curl 7.55.1 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.55.1 OpenSSL/1.0.2g zlib/1.2.11 libidn2/2.0.2 libpsl/0.18.0 (+libidn2/2.0.2) librtmp/2.3
Release-Date: 2017-08-14
Protocols: dict file ftp ftps gopher http https imap imaps ldap ldaps pop3 pop3s rtmp rtsp smb smbs smtp smtps telnet tftp 
Features: AsynchDNS IDN IPv6 Largefile GSS-API Kerberos SPNEGO NTLM NTLM_WB SSL libz TLS-SRP UnixSockets HTTPS-proxy PSL

operating system

$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 17.10
Release:        17.10
Codename:       artful
$ uname -a
Linux xxx 4.13.0-32-generic #35-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jan 25 09:13:46 UTC 2018 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

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bagder commented Feb 18, 2018

I think it's a fair suggestion. Since this is not a bug, we will probably close this issue soon unless someone wants to work on it at once. As explained here:


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bagder commented Feb 19, 2018

A very easy work-around for you is to instead do:

$ echo "--config $HOME/.curlrc_local" > ~/.curlrc

... as then the shell will expand it for you to the current home directory. I'm not convinced this is a feature curl really must have.


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nagromc commented Feb 20, 2018

Thanks for your feedback.

Of course, Curl doesn't need this feature. But it was quite confusing when I stumbled upon this issue, because Git, ssh, vim, tmux, and probably others support this.

The idea is to track my ~/.curlrc in my dotfiles repository with general options, and add an optional non-tracked ~/.curlrc_local for a specific machine. By making Curl expand ~, I can add the --insecure option to ~/.curlrc_local only at work (because of our very intrusive proxy). But at work, my username is not the same as at home. That's why I cannot use an absolute path.

So your following workaround would not work since my ~/.curlrc is tracked.

$ echo "--config $HOME/.curlrc_local" > ~/.curlrc

@bagder bagder closed this in cf7b009 Mar 20, 2018


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bagder commented Mar 20, 2018

Added to the TODO file with the hopes that someone will work on it in a future.

@lock lock bot locked as resolved and limited conversation to collaborators Jun 19, 2018

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