New FTP Working Group at IETF

Posted by Anthony Bryan on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 @ 03:55 AM

FTP is quite a stable protocol. It's been used for nearly 4 decades to transfer files. FTP is defined in a series of RFCs (Internet Standards or specifications that describe how to implement the protocol) which are published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a standards developing organization.

A new FTP Working Group has been formed at the IETF to discuss current implementations of FTP and possible new features. A Working Group basically consists of Internet Drafts (Internet Standards in progress) and people discussing them on the mailing list. People will read, critique, and offer improvements to the drafts until consensus is reached. The end process should result in more RFCs which are stable references for implementing features. The last FTP Working Group was around 13 years ago and resulted in a number of new FTP commands like FEAT, among others.

What's on our plate for this new FTP Working Group?

There are four official goals: a HOST command for virtual hosts that allows multiple FTP servers to be hosted on the same IP address but different DNS names, a HASH command for hashing files, internationalized text, and an extension for IPv4/IPv6 transition.

There are also unofficial new commands (which may or may not be finalized depending on interest) such as a way to specify the start and end point of a transfer so a small chunk could be re-transferred and replaced, deflate transmission mode (MODE Z), and some commands to request thumbnails of remote images, remove entire directory trees, request the amount of storage space available to the user, and to request the size of a remote directory and its contents.

Are there any new features you'd like to see in FTP? Something you've always felt that FTP was missing?

Now is your chance! Come join the discussion on the mailing list. Share your expertise and make an impact on the Internet!

Topics: JSCAPE MFT Server, Managed File Transfer, File Transfer Clients, FTP