Re: Bug in NetPresenz

From: John Cowan (
Date: Mon Jul 28 1997 - 11:21:29 EDT

Due to network problems, I can read mail at, but
can't post/reply/send from there. Please direct all private replies
to , not the HotMail address. Thanks.

Jeremy, the Stairways support droid, writes:

> If it is the bug I think it is, then it is a bug in Netscape's
> implementation of FTP [...]. > A single / indicates that the path
> follows from wherever the FTP client gets dumped when it starts.
> A double / (//) indicates that you should take the path from the
> very top of the accesible structure, the root.

This may be what *some* clients do, but Netscape is conforming to the
relevant RFC on URLs. RFC1738, section 3.2.2, says:

# The url-path of a FTP URL has the following syntax:
# <cwd1>/<cwd2>/.../<cwdN>/<name>;type=<typecode>
# Where <cwd1> through <cwdN> and <name> are (possibly encoded)
# strings [...]
# The url-path is interpreted as a series of FTP commands as follows:
# Each of the <cwd> elements is to be supplied, sequentially, as the
# argument to a CWD (change working directory) command [...].
# Within a name or CWD component, the characters "/" and ";" are
# reserved and must be encoded. The components are decoded prior to
# their use in the FTP protocol. In particular, if the appropriate
# FTP sequence to access a particular file requires supplying a string
# containing a "/" as an argument to a CWD or RETR command, it is
# necessary to encode each "/".
# For example, the URL <URL:ftp://myname@host.dom/%2Fetc/motd> is
# interpreted by FTP-ing to "host.dom", logging in as "myname"
# (prompting for a password if it is asked for), and then executing
# "CWD /etc" and then "RETR motd". This has a different meaning from
# <URL:ftp://myname@host.dom/etc/motd> which would "CWD etc" and then
# "RETR motd"; the initial "CWD" might be executed relative to the
# default directory for "myname".

So "//" is out and "/%2F" is in. Nonetheless, for ease of use
I suggest that modify its FTP server to leave callers
in the (fictitious) root rather than in the Public directory.

RFC1738 goes on to add:

# On the other hand, <URL:ftp://myname@host.dom//etc/motd>, would
# "CWD " with a null argument, then "CWD etc", and then "RETR motd".

but RFC959 (the FTP RFC) does not define CWD with a null argument;
I would say the most probable result is a no-op.

John Cowan             
        Please do not use "Reply"
        e'osai ko sarji la lojban.
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