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Surfraw help.png
Developer(s)Julian Assange
Stable release
2.3.0 / Jan 2018
Operating systemUnix-like
LicensePublic domain

Surfraw (Shell Users Revolutionary Front Rage Against the Web) is a free public domain POSIX-compliant (i.e. meant for Linux, FreeBSD etc.) command-line shell program for interfacing with a number of web-based search engines.[1] It was created in July 2000 by Julian Assange[2] and is licensed in the public domain[3] and written in the Bourne shell language.

It uses what it calls "elvi" (a tribute to Elvis); elvi are interface widgets for specific engines and databases such as Google, AltaVista, Wikipedia, Dejanews, Freshmeat, research index, Slashdot, ArXiv, and a number of others. It allows options for configuration of using a shell browser (lynx, w3m) or a graphical browser (Firefox, Mozilla, Konqueror).

According to Assange: "Surfraw provides a fast unix command line interface to a variety of popular WWW search engines and other artifacts of power. It reclaims google, altavista, dejanews, freshmeat, research index, slashdot, and many others from the false-prophet, pox-infested heathen lands of html forms, placing these wonders where they belong; deep in unix heartland, as god-loving extensions to the shell."


  1. ^ Marco Fioretti (29 August 2012). "Surfing the World Wide Web, raw style". TechRepublic. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  2. ^ David Leigh; Luke Harding. WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy. Surfraw mention highlighted via Google Books: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-0-85265-239-8. {{cite book}}: External link in |location= (help)CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ Julian Assange; The Surfraw-Devel Team. "COPYING". Debian Git. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014.

External links[edit]