I have some strange troubles with opening an url in vim. Judging from this answer, this should be pretty easy, but when I'm doing this:

$ vim http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc7386.txt

I getting a message

:!links 'http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc7386.txt' -source > '/tmp/vmEga7/1.txt'

and empty buffer (there is no /tmp/vmEga7/1.txt file also). I don't fully understand, where I should look for the options that are related to the links (some vim options, xdg configuration, etc.) - probably someone know about this and can explain it to me?

UPD I'm trying to debug this problem

$ vim -V20vimlog http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc7386.txt

and here is the part of vimlog. Is this line

function netrw#Nread..netrw#NetRead..<SNR>24_FileReadable returning #1

means, that resulting temporary file isn't readable?

UPD I'm still struggling with this trouble, no luck. It's strange, but the same is perfectly working in NeoVim. I figured out, that everything is ok about temporary files (they are created well and are readable). It looks like temporary file should be opened here:

   " edit temporary file (ie. read the temporary file in)
   if     rfile =~ '\.zip$'
"    call Decho("handling remote zip file with zip#Browse(tfile<".tfile.">)")
    call zip#Browse(tfile)
   elseif rfile =~ '\.tar$'
"    call Decho("handling remote tar file with tar#Browse(tfile<".tfile.">)")
    call tar#Browse(tfile)
   elseif rfile =~ '\.tar\.gz$'
"    call Decho("handling remote gzip-compressed tar file")
    call tar#Browse(tfile)
   elseif rfile =~ '\.tar\.bz2$'
"    call Decho("handling remote bz2-compressed tar file")
    call tar#Browse(tfile)
   elseif rfile =~ '\.tar\.xz$'
"    call Decho("handling remote xz-compressed tar file")
    call tar#Browse(tfile)
   elseif rfile =~ '\.txz$'
"    call Decho("handling remote xz-compressed tar file (.txz)")
    call tar#Browse(tfile)
"    call Decho("edit temporary file")
    NetrwKeepj e!

but when control flow reaches line NetrwKeepj e! nothing is happening.

  • See if :help netrw-debug will help you with its addtional information on your problem.
    – user21497
    Nov 24, 2015 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


I get a different result when I go this: the buffer consists of garbled text (gziped?). Perhaps your version of links and/or vim does something different with gzip-encoded text.

Netrw, the plugin bundled with Vim which reads URLs tries a bunch of different commands to get the source of a page, but you can also set it explicitly.

For example, to set it to curl:

" Command name
let g:netrw_http_cmd = 'curl'

" Arguments passed to the command
let g:netrw_http_xcmd = '-o'

Or you can try wget:

let g:netrw_http_cmd = 'wget'
let g:netrw_http_xcmd = '-q -O'

Also see :help g:netrw_http_cmd and :help g:netrw_http_xcmd.

  • I've tried to setup curl example, now I got this message: :!curl 'http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc7386.txt' -o '/tmp/vbA49BG/1.txt', but anyway there is nothing in directory /tmp/vbA49BG/. Whem I'm executing this command right from the terminal curl 'http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc7386.txt' -o '/tmp/vbA49BG/1.txt, everything is ok. It looks like something wrong with file creation.
    – erthalion
    Jun 25, 2015 at 15:26
  • @erthalion This is also the case on my system. The /tmp/[...] directory is empty. This is I would expect, since tmp files are exactly that: temporarily... For some reason, the directory is removed later (perhaps there is a reason for this, but it could also be a bug). Jun 25, 2015 at 15:31
  • Not a bug. The directory is reused for other temporary files, and it's removed when you quit Vim.
    – lcd047
    Jun 25, 2015 at 15:43
  • @lcd047 temporary directory is empty even before I quit vim, is that ok?
    – erthalion
    Jun 25, 2015 at 15:52
  • 1
    @erthalion Yes. On UNIX it's ok to delete files from disk while they are still open (the process holding them open won't notice). Doing this is a common practice with temporary files.
    – lcd047
    Jun 25, 2015 at 16:03

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