"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, 1755
What's the first thing you see when you successfully connect to an FTP host site? Well, with a graphic FTP client, you will see the root directory displayed as soon as you successfully complete your connection; in a command-based system, you'll have to type the "dir" command at the waiting prompt in order to bring up the root menu.
In either case, the remote site will take you to the root menu and display for you a list of available directories and files. If you have a graphic browser, most likely, the menu will be displayed in a fairly friendly format, listing files/directories available, and the date and time each was last altered. If your FTP client returns something like the following, however, don't panic.
dr-xr-xr-x 2 root daemon 512 Mar 4 1994 bin dr-xr-xr-x 2 root daemon 512 Aug 17 1993 dev dr-xr-xr-x 3 root daemon 512 May 26 1994 etc dr-xrwxr-x 23 ftp ftpmaint 512 Mar 17 20:55 pub drwx------ 4 26002 gopherma 1024 Oct 4 15:34 tmp
Relax! It's really not as incomprehensible as it first appears. The right-most column lists the extension names of files or directories accessible at the root level (here we see "bin", "dev", "etc", "pub", and "tmp"). Always look for the "pub" directory because that where you will usually find the files available to anonymous ftp users.
The left-most column tells you if the item is a file or a directory. If the very first letter of each line is a "d" or an "l," it's a directory; otherwise it's a file. What you're looking at above are directories. To get to files, you'll have to go to the next level. Remember: most clients only allow you to transfer individual files, not directories to your local system; so, on command-based systems, you must first open the directory to get to the files stored in it. That means you'll have to move from the root directory to the "pub" directory, by entering the command:
(NOTE: Most clients will allow you to transfer multiple files from a directory using the MGET command and wildcards; e.g., MGET *.txt would get all files with the '.txt' suffix from the current directory. Many graphic clients will allow you to select a complete directory for transfer by selecting it with the mouse.)The remote system will change directories from the root to the "pub" directory, inform you when the job is done, and wait for the next command. If you're working from a command-based site, you will once again have to prompt the remote system to display the directories and files available at the "pub" level, by entering the command:
Now, the display looks something like this:
-rwxrwxr-x 1 root gopherma 301 Feb 9 13:39 .cache drwxrwxr-x 2 1002 gopherma 512 Jan 31 16:41 .cap drwxrwsr-x 3 1002 gopherma 512 Aug 5 1994 about -rw-rw-r-- 1 1002 gopherma 1917 Jan 31 16.40 release drwxrwxr-x 5 1002 gopherma 1024 Dec 23 08:18 results
Here, you see 3 directories and 2 files. Remember --
Lines that begin like this: drwxr-x-x are directories Lines that begin like this: -rw-rw-r- are files
You don't have to understand the combination of letters and dashes that make up the rest of the directory/file headings. They are "flags" that tell the FTP site who can look at and manipulate the files. In fact, you may safely ignore the figures on each line until you come to the set of numbers immediately preceding the date. These figures tell you, in bytes, how large the file is. For a directory, the number will usually be very large; a directory listing of 400-500 bytes is quite small.
The information on size is followed by a date telling you when the file or directory was last altered. When you go from the root directory to, say, the "pub" directory, everything will look pretty much the same except that, on the far right-hand side, you'll now see the subdirectory or file name.
Names can be rather complicated (long and perhaps in mixed case) and if you're using a command-based FTP program, you'll need to be careful to type them EXACTLY as they are listed when you reference them! Otherwise, the FTP server will be unable to locate the appropriate directory path for you.
If you're using a command-based system and you haven't located the file you want at this level, you may have to travel through several directories and subdirectories. Picture the directory paths looking like this:
directory --> subdirectory --> subsubdirectory --> filename.ext
If you're using a graphic FTP program, you won't be typing in commands at all; you'll be selecting files/directories with your mouse and sending commands by selecting pull-down menu options or buttons.
and you are working from a system that won't accept such a convoluted filename, you should rename it when you "get" the file (graphic FTP clients will supply you with a box for specifying the new filename). For example:
get Vanishing_Rainforests+in_New-Guinea rainfor.txt
(NOTE: Many command-based FTP clients will also let you specify not only a local filename, but also the local subdirectory where you want the retrieved file to be written. On many systems this command is: lcd (meaning "change the directory on my computer"; the 'l' stands for 'local'). Before getting a file, if you want it to be written to a specific path, try using the lcd command, for example: lcd a:/mystuff )
Here's what you do:
ftp to this site: mel.csd.sc.edu login as: anonymous password: your email address change directory command: cd pub/bck2skol list directory command: dir check the transfer mode: ascii transfer the file: get FTP1.HLT say goodbye: quit
NOTE: While it is not necessary to use the "dir" command when you are given specific instructions for fetching a file, doing so will help you understand the directory paths you are following in this exercise.
Leave the subject line blank and, remembering that you are talking to a machine, stick to the following commands:
(you insert the the hostname/path/filename)
For example, to download the bck2skol.health file in your assignment above,
from a WEB browser, open the URL:
|"BCK2SKOL" is a free electronic library classroom created by Ellen Chamberlain, Head Librarian, University of South Carolina Beaufort, and Miriam Mitchell, Sr. Systems Analyst, USC Columbia. Additional support is provided by the Division of Libraries & Information Systems, University of South Carolina Columbia.|
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