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7.4. Using FTP

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is one of the oldest Internet protocols for file sharing that is still in use. It consists of a simple command set for getting lists of available files from servers, as well as for performing file downloads and uploads. (To learn about Mac OS X's more modern and Finder-friendly notions of file sharing, see Section 7.2.)

The most common FTP transactions occur through anonymous, read-only logins to an FTP server, letting you browse through world-readable directories and download the files found therein. Internet Explorer (or any other web browser; see Section 7.3.1) handles this sort of functionality seamlessly; pointing it at a URL with an ftp prefix, such as ftp://ftp.gnome.org, begins an anonymous FTP session with that location. You can also put a username and password into the URL like this: ftp://username:password@host (but see the warning below).


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