Getting files through a terminal window

This is a technique I had to use numerous times for a previous job where I would need to transfer files from servers that could not be connected to directly. In the majority of companies there will be numerous networks, where “jump boxes” are required to get across various networks and get to the server in question.

The usual approach of moving files to servers would be through a variety of means (FTP/SCP/NFS/CIFS etc.), however in the case of numerous jump boxes and networks would mean that having to transfer the file between each jump/network. It is possible to use copy and paste however this would only work in the case of text files, trying to display or copy binary data can cause all manner of issue and really mess up your terminal window. So for me the best solution is to UUEncode the binary data into ansi text which can be safely copied out of the terminal window, pasted into a file on your local machine and UUDecoded back to binary data again.

To do this simply UUEncode a file, and the output will be presented to STDOUT i.e. the terminal window.

$ uuencode test.rpm test.rpm

Note: the double typing of the name is required as the first argument is the file to uuencode, whilst the second argument is the name of the file that will be outputted. The output will be presented to STDOUT as shown in an example :

begin 644 test.rpm
M"GP]+2TM+2TM+2T]6R!796(@=G5L;F5R86)I;&ET:65S('1O(&=A:6X@86-C
M97-S('1O('1H92!S>7-T96T@73TM+2TM+2TM+2T]?`I\/2TM+2TM+2TM+2TM

The next step is simply to copy everything from the word “begin” to the word “end” out from the terminal window and then paste it into a text editor of your choice on your local machine under a temporary name. This will then need opening with uudecode, which will then process the text and spit out the file under the filename specified with the encoder.

$ uudecode temporary.uua

In the same location will be the decoded file.