File: access to non-Unix FTP servers

Fred Zwarts, KVI, Groningen, NL. (
Mon, 29 Nov 1993 11:46:47 +0000 (WET)

I like the way WWW allows me to browse through anonymous FTP sites. I did not
succeed, however, to access files from FTP sites with a non-Unix file system.

I tried, for example, to access a file from a FTP site running VMS, but it
failed. The error message suggests that the FTP server rejects the connection,
but FTP access outside WWW succeeds. Looking into HTFTP.c seems to indicate
that the connection to the FTP server succeeds, but that the client only
continues connections with servers that allow file specifications beginning
with a a slash (/).

The FTP protocol itself does not have this limitation, so I must assume that
this restriction has been built into the WWW software. Is there a good reason
for this restriction or is it a remainder from an overlooked possibility for
the use of WWW in its design phase? Are there plans to remove this restriction?

I understand that it is complicated to build additional browsers for other file
systems, (this might be simpeler if the NLST command was used instead of the
LIST command,) but it would be nice if at least a file in a non-Unix format
could be specified.

Fred Zwarts KVI, Groningen, Netherlands Internet:
Phone: (+31)50-633619 Telefax: (+31)50-634003
X400: C=nl;ADMD=400net;PRMD=surf;O=KVI;S=Zwarts;G=Fred