Re: "ftp://user@yourmachine" vs "ftp://user@yourmachine/"

From: Henrik Nordstrom <>
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 22:52:36 +0100

The spec (RFC 1738) is quite clear on how to interpret FTP url's.


Is to be interpreted at ftp to "somehost" (possibly with user info)
then issue a CWD for each path element in the URL.

Actually there is no clean support for entering directories above the
home(start) directory, except encoding a / in the first CWD path using
%2f or using a lot of ../../../../..., but the same goes for plain
ftp... (encoding %2f is the recommended one)

Have you ever tried to run ftp against a "DOS" oriented ftp server where
you can (and have to) do
  cd e:\some\dir

As a result of this "confusion" (or mess), there is no standard way to
enter a directory outside the starting directory on a ftp server,
therfore the URL have to be relative to the starting direcory, and not
to the root (whatever that might be... many systems don't even have a

Squid probably requires some cleanup in the FTP URL parsing part, but it
is mostly correct with respect to the URL spec, but I suspect that it is
hard (or even impossible) to encode strange directory names... (like
starting with a %2f which is interpreated entirely different from a /).
Squid breaks the URL spec on one poing, and that is how path1/path2
should be interpreated. According to the spec this should be
interpreated as
  CWD path1
  CWD path2
but squid does
  CWD path1/path2
to gain some preformance & response time. This might breake some odd FTP
servers, but I don't know of any... but I can imagine that ther is some
system that allows / in directory names, and uses another separator.

a small quote to back this up:

RFC 1738: Uniform Resource Locators (URL)
section 3.2.2. FTP url-path
   The url-path of a FTP URL has the following syntax:

      Each of the <cwd> elements is to be supplied, sequentially, as the
      argument to a CWD (change working directory) command.

And a small example later in the same section:

For example, the URL <URL:ftp://myname@host.dom/%2Fetc/motd> is
   "CWD /etc" and then "RETR motd". This has a different meaning from

Henrik Nordström
Oskar Pearson wrote:
> Hi All
> If you run netscape, there is a difference between the above.
> The one with "/" at the end will take you to the root of the
> unix filesystem, while no end-slash will take you to your home directory.
Received on Mon Feb 24 1997 - 14:49:44 MST

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