Re: [RFC 959] FTP in ASCII mode

Peter Dambier <> Mon, 20 February 2006 16:25 UTC

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Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 17:25:14 +0100
From: Peter Dambier <>
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Subject: Re: [RFC 959] FTP in ASCII mode
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Once upon a time the used to be computers speaking ASCII or EBCDIC. The
ASCII computers where unix mostly. The EBCDIC where mainframes. ASCII
mode meant that EBCDIC card decks with fixed lenght of mostly 80 characters
per line would be translated into variable lenght records terminated by
CR/LF before sending them. Also they would be translated from 8 bit
EBCDIC code to 7 bit ASCII code. Unix would have to replace their single
LF character by a CR/LF sequence before sending. The result could be
punched to 7 bit punched tapes automatically adding a parity bit to the
tape. Or you could print it directly on an ASR-33 terminal.

Binary means take it as it is. Dont touch the formatting or character

As the ASR-33 terminal did not know UTF-8 it is not a good idea to use
ASCII mode for UTF-8. But you can send it only to systems who understand

Peter and Karin Dambier

Sandeep Srivastava wrote:
> Hi,
> RFC 959, says that FTP supports two modes to transfer files -- ASCII and 
> Binary. Now, if I have a UTF-8 (or any other encoding) encoded text 
> file, containing, say Japanese characters, would it be correct to choose 
> the transfer mode as ASCII? And if I choose the transfer mode as ASCII, 
> is there a possibility that the content of the file on the receiving end 
> is garbled?
> In a nutshell, does ASCII mode means that only ASCII encoded text files 
> are supported?
> Thanks,
> Sandeep.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Peter and Karin Dambier
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