Wget is not welcome here any more (sort of)
Today, someone at a large chipmaker that will go unnamed decided
(or apparently decided) that they would like their own archived
copy of Wandering Thoughts. So they did what one does
here; they got out
pointed it at the front page of the blog, and let it go. I was lucky
in a way; they started this at 18:05 EST and I coincidentally looked
at my logs around 19:25, at which point they had already made around
3,000 requests because that's what wget does when you turn it loose.
This is not the first time that people have had the bright idea to
just turn to wget to copy part or all of Wandering Thoughts (someone
else did it in early October, for example), and it will not be the
last time. However, it will be the last time they're going to be
even partially successful, because I've now blocked wget's default
I'm not doing this because I'm under any illusions that this will stop people from grabbing a copy of Wandering Thoughts, and in fact I don't care if people do that; if nothing else, there are plenty of alternatives to wget (starting with, say, curl). I'm doing this because wget's spidering options are dangerous by default. If you do the most simple, most obvious thing with wget, you flood your target site and perhaps even spill over from it to other sites. And, to be clear and in line with my general views, these unfortunate results aren't the fault of the people using wget. The people using wget to copy Wandering Thoughts are following the obvious path of least resistance, and it is not their fault that this is actually a bad idea.
(I could hope that someday wget will change its defaults so
that they're not dangerous, but given the discussion in its manual
about options like
--random-wait, I am not going to hold my breath
on that one.)
Wget is a power tool without adequate safeguards for today's web, so if you are going to use it on Wandering Thoughts, all I can do is force you to at least slow down, go out of your way a little bit, and perhaps think about what you're doing. This doesn't guarantee that people who want to use wget on Wandering Thoughts will actually set it up right so that it behaves well, but there is now at least a chance. And if they configure wget so that it works but don't make it behave well, I'm going to feel much less charitable about the situation; these people will have chosen to deliberately climb over a fence, even if it is a low fence.
As a side note, one reason that I'm willing to do this at all is that I've checked the logs here going back a reasonable amount of time and found basically no non-spidering use of wget. There is a trace amount of it and I am sorry for the people behind that trace amount, but. Please just switch to curl.
(I've considered making my wget block send a redirect to a page
that explains the situation, but that would take more energy and
more wrestling with Apache
.htaccess than I currently have.
Perhaps if it comes up a lot.)
PS: The people responsible for the October incident actually emailed me and were quite apologetic about how their wget usage had gotten away from them. That it did get away from them despite them trying to do a reasonable job shows just how sharp-edged a tool wget can be.
PPS: I'm somewhat goring my own ox with this, because I have a set of little wget-based tools and now I'm going to have to figure out what I want to do with them to keep them working on here.
Comments on this page:Written on 03 December 2018.