Re: FTP advisory messages

Ross Patterson (
Wed, 16 Sep 1987 15:47:52 EDT


    According to RFC 959, the SYST command should be used for
verifying the type of server you're using. It's documented as having
no parameters, and returning as the first word of the response, a
system name defined in the Assigned Numbers RFC (whatever it's called
this week). The SITE command is specifically intended for necessary,
but non-universal, parameters. The only system I've seen that
actually uses it (UCLA's IBM MVS implementation) has 20 different
parameters that it accepts. It can specify the disk on which to store
a file; what sort of disk it is; whether to do tab expansion, and if
so, how wide; disk storage format (record lengths, etc); even that
the next file sent is to be run as a batch job.

    My point is that any attempt to standardize the use of the SITE
command is improper. If you want a standard facility, change another
command or add a new one. SITE is for those systems that have other
needs and/or capabilities, beyond the standards.

Ross Patterson
Rutgers University

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