File Transfers...again (yet?)

John Roland Elliott John_Roland_Elliott "at"
Thu, 21 Mar 2002 23:21:07 +0000

The scenario you describe does sound cumbersome the way you wrote it out but
I think that's more because of the ftp tools you chose rather than something
systemic to ftp, the file transfer protocol. Have you considered WS-FTP on
the Windows box rather than the command line ftp utility? Have you
considered running an ftp server on the Windows box and using a browser on
the Macintosh to pull the file rather than pushing it?

Maybe if you wrote out a file transfer scenario that you would describe as
ideal --- the same way you wrote out a clearly sub-optimal scenario --- that
might prompt someone to say "Oh, that's the way the Gefeltefish 2.1 utility

Maybe I'm being thick, Charlie, but I don't yet see how it could be much
simpler than ftp and still satisfy the design goals you seem cleave to,
namely secure, cross platform and peer-to-peer-non-daemon/service utility.
Is what you're bemoaning the absence of "a single combination file transfer
utility that is both a client and a server and that has binaries available
for every widely-used platform"?

For my own idle curiosity, why do you prefer a little peer-to-peer utility
to a file service on one of the boxes that has interfaces usable by all your
platforms? I've never done it, but I think I could set up a Windows 2000 box
that had somewhere in its file space an area that was simultaneously
accessible to Windows boxes (via SMB, ftp, http), Macintoshes (via
Appleshare in File Service for Macintosh, ftp, http) and *nix (via nfs in
Services for Unix, ftp, http). If you devised something like that, there
would be no need to transfer the file at all; the Macintosh could access it
right where the Windows box created it.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Charlie Summers" <charlie "at">
To: <vnc-list "at">
Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 4:06 PM
Subject: File Transfers...again (yet?)

> Folks;
>    Before I start, let me say how much I appreciate VNC and those here on
> 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
> 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
> and the suggestions generally fall into two camps; a) use FTP
> or b) buy commercial software like PC Anywhere (although in keeping with
> cross-platform spirit of VNC, people should probably recommend Timbuktu
> instead). Most believe that file transfers should _not_ be incorporated
> 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
> energy particualrly for small file transfers, are insecure, and can be a
> security risk (especially if we make the reasonable assumption that the
> of those who install and use VNC are neither programmers nor network
> administrators).
>    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
> 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
> 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),
> it should be free to the end user. (Open-source would probably be nice,
> doesn't factor in at this point.) It should be simple to use, small, and
> require daemons to be running external to the application itself; launch
> 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
> searching around, and haven't found anything that suits the requirements
> 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
> well.
>          Charlie Summers
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