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Re: Hamm frozen, Slink created

dwarf@polaris.net (Dale Scheetz)  wrote on 02.04.98 in <Pine.LNX.3.96.980402193429.2360A-100000@dwarf.polaris.net>:

> On Thu, 2 Apr 1998, Brian White wrote:
> > > > I wonder, have you ever considered using hardlinks? It seems to me
> > > > that would eliminate a lot of problems people have mirroring things
> > > > (if mirror programs handle them correctly), and simplify your work
> > > > too.
> > >
> > > Hard links would specially help with the msdos directory, as several
> > > dos/windows ftp clients don't follow symlinks and the user ends up with
> > > a bunch of zero length files.
> >
> > <puzzled look>  That seems odd.  Wouldn't be the ftp server that deals
> > with following the symlinks to the correct file?  Or does the ftp client
> > read the size out of the "dir" and only allow that many bytes?
> It is the ftp client which decides (if it has the brains) to take
> advantage of the servers ability to follow symlinks (mc has a radio button
> for "follow symlinks" in its copy dialog that works via the ftp file
> system in the desired way)

That seems quite nonsensical. There's *no* way to "not follow" a symlink;  
if you get or cd a symlink, following it is what will happen.

I believe what happens is that some FTP clients try to parse ls -l output,  
and don't understand what ls gives for symlinks, and thus do broken things  
with the result.

> DOS hasn't the faintest inkling of what a symlink is. As a result several
> trumpet-winsock clients don't do the right thing, resulting in an archive
> of zero length files.

No, that can't be the reason. If you simply follow the RFC, there's no  
reason why you should know anything about symlinks for them to work.

The problem lies with software that tries to make the protocol do what  
wasn't designed into it. Mirror is such a software; usually you go parsing  
ls -l output. That output is, of course, not standardized; look how many  
different formats mirror understands, yet there are always new ones. Those  
Windows clients obviously usually only understand "typical Unix" ls -l  
without symlinks.

The right solution to this is the FTP MLST extension that's currently in  
the works (I mentioned it a few days ago in the mirror discussion). That  
one allows you to find out even more about files than ls -l, and it does  
so in a portable way. Hopefully, it will actually get used.

MfG Kai

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