Re: how to ftp doc

"Mark D. Baushke" <> Mon, 07 June 1993 09:00 UTC

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To: April Marine <>
Subject: Re: how to ftp doc
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In-Reply-To: Mail from April Marine <> dated Sun, 06 Jun 1993 14:50:28 PDT <>
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1993 00:06:39 -0700
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From: "Mark D. Baushke" <>

Hi April,

My comments are below. I think it could go as it exists with the
addition of documentation for gzip/ungzip (rough copy included below).
I also raised some random points that I recall from past discussion
which I did not see fully addressed in this document (I am not sure if
the points were made outside the Boston meeting or not... it has been
a year since I attended an IETF meeting and I won't be at the next

On Sun, 6 Jun 1993 14:50:28 -0700, April Marine
<> said:

amarine> Hi all.  Hope this mailing list still works as I am now vague on
amarine> which group is responsible for the how to ftp doc we were working on.
amarine> I apologize for the delay in getting it out.  I had a lag while I
amarine> looked for work.

You have indeed reached the correct working group. 

amarine> So, here it is again.  It is NOT, btw, an Internet Draft, even though
amarine> it has the I-D look to it, sort of.  

Why not publish this as an I-D ?

I am also confused about the expiration date of August 1993 given that
six months should take us to December 1993.

amarine> ...

amarine> Expiration Date

amarine> This Internet Draft expires August 1993.

December 1993 would be better.

amarine> ...

amarine> What is an Archive Site?

amarine> An archive site is a host that acts as a repository of
amarine> information, much like a conventional library.  Information
amarine> stored on these Internet hosts is made available for users
amarine> to transfer to their local sites.  Users run software to
amarine> identify this information and transfer it to their own
amarine> hosts.  Such a transfer is done with a program that
amarine> implements the File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

At the Boston IETF, I believe we mentioned that multiple repositories
may be found to logically live on a single host acting as an archive
site. Should we mention this distinction here, or was that for the
follow-on document describing how to run an anonymous FTP site?

amarine> What is Anonymous FTP?

amarine> Anonymous FTP is a means by which archive sites allow
amarine> general access to their archives of information.  These
amarine> sites create a special account called "anonymous."  User
amarine> "anonymous" has limited access rights to the archive host,
amarine> as well as some operating restrictions.  In fact, 
amarine> the only operations allowed are logging in using FTP, listing the
amarine> contents of a limited set of directories, and retrieving
amarine> files.  Note that "anonymous" users are not usually allowed
amarine> to transfer files TO the archive site, but can only retrieve files
amarine> from such a site.

Note: Some anonymous ftp sites also provide restrictions to listing
various directories. You can fetch the file if you have the name, but
you are not able to generally list the contents of some of the
directories in the repository.

amarine> Traditionally, this special anonymous user account
amarine> accepts any string as a password, although it is common to
amarine> use either the password "guest" or one's electronic mail
amarine> (e-mail) address.  Some archive sites now explicitly ask for
amarine> the user's e-mail address and will not allow login with the
amarine> "guest" password.  Providing an e-mail address is a courtesy
amarine> that allows archive site operators to get some idea of who
amarine> is using their services.

Metion was made that some sites may have other requirements such as
the ability to DNS resolve a PTR query of the IP address of the
requesting host. Is it desirable to mention this here?

amarine> What Information Do You Need to Know?

amarine> To retrieve a specific file, a user needs to know what host
amarine> it is on, and the pathname of the file.  A pathname tells
amarine> the directory (and possibly subdirectories) that house the
amarine> file, and the name of the file.  Often discussions of
amarine> available files will not specifically say, "This file is
amarine> available for anonymous FTP from X host with Y pathname."
amarine> However, if a file is publicly announced as available and
amarine> referred to as something like pub/good-stuff on
amarine>, it is a good assumption that you can try to
amarine> transfer it.

I know that this is mentioned later when the various transfer modes
are discussed, but it seems reasonable to add an extra paragraph here
saying that you might need to know what kind of system you are on and
how it relates to other systems... something like this:

You may also need to know if your machine is an ASCII or EBCDIC or
other character set to know if a transfer of 'binary' information will
likely work or requires other keywords (like tenex).

In the general case, we may assume that an ASCII transfer will always
do the 'right thing' for plain text files, however, more and more
information is being stored in various compressed formats so knowing
the binary characteristics of your machine may be important.

amarine> The following is an example of connecting to the
amarine> host to retrieve RFC 959, "File Transfer Protocol (FTP)."

amarine> Note several things about the session.

amarine>  1. Every response the FTP program at the archive site gives
amarine>     is preceded by a number.  These numbers are called
amarine>     Reply Codes and are defined in the FTP specification,
amarine>     RFC 959.  The text that accompanies these reply codes
amarine>     can vary in different FTP implementations, and usually does.  Note
amarine>     that the administrator has chosen to provide
amarine>     a list of directories to users when they log in.  This
amarine>     is unusual; normally users interested in knowing the
amarine>     list of accessible directories must give a command to
amarine>     list them.

Also note that some FTP client implementations (eg, MVS systems) may
not echo the reply codes or text as transmitted from the remote host
and may generate their own status lines or just 'hide' the non-fatal
replies from you. For the purposes of this document, the more popular
UNIX interface to the FTP client will be presented.

amarine> ...

amarine> The Packaging and Naming of Files

amarine> Several widely used conventions allow for efficient storage and
amarine> transmission of information stored at archive sites.

13) gzip/gunzip

The Free Software Foundation GNU project is now distributing files in
GNU gzip format. gzip currently uses by default the LZ77 algorithm
used in zip 1.9 (the portable pkzip compatible archiver). The gzip
format was however designed to accommodate several compression
algorithms. Files resulting from the "gzip" program are by convention
terminated iwth the ".gz" filename extension. 

Note: The gzip software is freely redistributable and has been ported
to most UNIX systems as well as amiga, atari, msdos, os2, and vms

amarine> Expiration Date

amarine> This Internet Draft expires August 1993.

Again, I recommend using December 1993.

I have no real objections to seeing the posted 'How to FTP' document
being made an informational RFC as is (although it might be nice to
incorporate some additions as noted above).

	-- Mark