Platform-independent toolkit – Swiss File Knife

On the Network

SFK not only helps you manage files, it also offers some useful network commands. For example, sfk ip lets you query you computer's current network address.

The built-in commands also include wget and ftp, but don't let the names confuse you. For example, the SFK "wget" can only use HTTP to download files:

$ sfk wget\

It does not support the extensive functions of its GNU namesake, nor can it continue interrupted downloads or work recursively.

Although the ftp command is just a rudimentary FTP client, at least SFK contains a simple web server and FTP server. Both can be set up without much configuration work: sfk httpserv or ./sfk ftpserv is all it takes.

The two services output all the data that you need to access them at the command line. You can terminate the servers by typing Ctrl+C.

The FTP and HTTP servers both immediately allow read access to the contents of the current directory and all it contains after launching (Figure 7). Although this allows for an easy exchange of data, it also means that any user can access the data. You would thus want to add more parameters, such as the -user parameter, to restrict this option. For example, the

Figure 7: The web server listens by default on port 8080 and delivers the contents of the Music directory to this port.
sfk ftpserv -user=hans

command ensures that only users with username hans can log on to the FTP server. Other supported parameters are output by entering the sfk webserv -help and sfk ftpserv -help parameters.


SFK is a big help for anyone who frequently needs to run complex file, text, and network operations at the command line. The syntax takes some getting used to, and the order of parameters plays an important role. Newcomers are thus advised to check the online help regularly. Although it lacks an introduction, the online help is extremely detailed and leaves very few questions unanswered.

If you do make friends with the peculiarities of Swiss File Knife, however, you will be able to do without additional tools in many situations.

Moreover, SFK on a USB stick can accompany you wherever you go, and it uses identical syntax on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.

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