File Transfers...again (yet?)

Charlie Summers charlie "at"
Thu, 21 Mar 2002 21:24:31 +0000


   Before I start, let me say how much I appreciate VNC and those here on the
list who support it and its users. I have a small shop with mixed machines
(Mac, Windows, linux) and it has been a godsend for us, keeping the number of
monitors in the place down to managable levels. Thanks to one and all!

   I really _hate_ to bring the topic of file transfers up again, but I'm
hoping someone knows a bit more than I have been able to discover in the
archives and various searches on the Net.

   To recap the usual way this thread works, someone asks for file sharing,
and the suggestions generally fall into two camps; a) use FTP client/servers,
or b) buy commercial software like PC Anywhere (although in keeping with the
cross-platform spirit of VNC, people should probably recommend Timbuktu
instead). Most believe that file transfers should _not_ be incorporated into
VNC, something with which I COMPLETELY agree; VNC does one task, does it
well, and should be improved upon without feature-bloat.

   That said, however, I _do_ have some problems with using FTP
client/servers...primarily that they are a pain in the arse, waste time and
energy particualrly for small file transfers, are insecure, and can be a
security risk (especially if we make the reasonable assumption that the bulk
of those who install and use VNC are neither programmers nor network

   A routine example here is that one machine (a Win32, say) has completed
processing and has a small binary file ready; this file needs to be
transfered to in this example a Macintosh. So an FTP server is started on the
Mac, then a DOS FTP session is started on the Windows box, a connection is
initiated, cd commands are issued, the file is put, the connection is closed,
the server is closed, and the file is now transfered. Could probably do it
faster copying to a floppy disk and walking it across the room.

    So my working assumption is that there should be, somewhere, a
cross-platform peer-to-peer application for file transfers much like VNC;
something that does a single task, does it well, and isn't bloated by
unnecessary features. It should be cross-platform (Mac, Windows, un*x), and
it should be free to the end user. (Open-source would probably be nice, but
doesn't factor in at this point.) It should be simple to use, small, and not
require daemons to be running external to the application itself; launch the
app on two machines, use one to connect to the other via name or IP, and
transfer away.

   Seems so obvious that it _has_ to exist somewhere. I've spent a few hours
searching around, and haven't found anything that suits the requirements yet.
If anyone can supply pointers as I continue the search, I'd appreciate
it...and I have the feeling there are many others on the list who would as

         Charlie Summers
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