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Initially, in the realm of programming languages, snarf meant to grab a large document or file and use it without the author's permission. Since the development of UNIX, the UNIX community -- since there is not the same sense of proprietary ownership as there is in the commercial computer industry because it is based on an open source idea -- uses the term to mean the acquisition of a file or set of files across a network. It is a command line resource grabber, transferring files through the HTTP, gopher, finger and FTP protocols without user interaction.

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