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FTP command naming problem (RFC0506)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000003638D
Original Publication Date: 1973-Jun-26
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13
Document File: 1 page(s) / 2K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

M.A. Padlipsky: AUTHOR

Abstract

In using the File Transfer Protocol, I've noticed that the choice of names for two crucial commands is faulty. The commands are STOR, which tell the Server to take a file in, and RETR, which tells the Server to send a file out. The trouble is that telling the Server to "retrieve" a file sounds like a desire for the file to be taken in by the Server rather than be sent out. For that matter, telling the Server to "store" the file sounds like it could be either a command to send it out or a command to take it in. The names of the commands, then, are both connotatively ambiguous and not very mnemonic if they are thought of as commands to the Server. (If they're thought of as commands to the User Host, they make more sense -- but they're not commands to the Use (Host.)

This text was extracted from a ASCII Text document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 100% of the total text.

Network Working Group M.A. Padlipsky

Request for Comments #506 MIT-Multics

NIC #16157 6/26/73

An FTP Command-Naming Problem

In using the File Transfer Protocol, I've noticed that the choice of

names for two crucial commands is faulty. The commands are STOR, which

tell the Server to take a file in, and RETR, which tells the Server to

send a file out. The trouble is that telling the Server to "retrieve" a

file sounds like a desire for the file to be taken in by the Server

rather than be sent out. For that matter, telling the Server to "store"

the file sounds like it could be either a command to send it out or a

command to take it in. The names of the commands, then, are both

connotatively ambiguous and not very mnemonic if they are thought of as

commands to the Server. (If they're thought of as commands to the User

Host, they make more sense -- but they're not commands to the Use

(Host.)

Of course, memorizing the denotations -- despite the connotations -- is

a solution. But it would probably be easier for users if the names were

more suggestive of the functions named. Therefore, I propose that PUSH

and PULL be added to the FTP as synonyms for RETR and STOR, respectively

(I hope). Even GIVE and TAKE would be an improvement. At the very

least, SEND should be a synonym for RETR. (1)

---------------------

(1) Note that by specifying synonyms rather than replacement, existing

correct reflexes -- and "automata" -- are not disturbed, while newcomers

to FTPing are given a better chance of choosing right.

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