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IETF URI Working Group
Internet-Draft
draft-ietf-uri-url-finger-03
Expires January 11, 1996

                             finger URL Specification

Status of This Memo

     This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
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Abstract

A new URL scheme, "finger", is defined. It allows client software to
request information from finger servers that conform to RFC 1288.

1. Description

Many Internet hosts publish information through the finger protocol, as
described in RFC 1288. In order to allow that information to be located
in a standard fashion, a "finger" URL is needed.

The "finger" URL has the form:

     finger://host[:port][/<request>]

The <request> must conform with the RFC 1288 request format.

A finger client could simply send the <request> followed by a <CRLF> to
the host designated in the first part of the URL at the specified port after
decoding any escaped characters. The default port is 79. Client software
that resolves "finger" URLs may choose to ignore the optional port
number in order to increase security.

2. Encoding

RFC1738 requires that many characters in URLs be encoded. This affects
the finger scheme in that some requests may contain space (" ", ASCII
hex 20) and forward slash ("/", ASCII hex 2F). These characters must be
encoded in the URL following the rules in RFC 1738.

Clients should not decode CR and LF characters in a URL.

3. Examples

Typically, a finger URL will be something like:

     finger://space.mit.edu/nasanews

RFC 1288 allows null requests. The URL for such a request might look
like:

     finger://status.nlak.net

However, note that some requests might look like:

     finger://host2.bigstate.edu/someuser@host1.bigstate.edu

and:

     finger://host1.bigstate.edu/%2FW%20someuser

4. Security

RFC 1288 contains a detailed section on both client and host security that
should be read by anyone implementing clients that allow the finger URL.
Specifically, client software should check for any unsafe characters and
character strings received before displaying the results of a query. Further,
since each URL is for a single request, the client software should be careful
not to decode CR and LF characters in a URL.

As explained in RFC 1738, URLs that use non-standard port numbers pose a
potential security risk for users of those URLs. If a port other than 79 is
specified in a finger URL, the finger client might warn the user or reject
the URL altogether.

5. Author contact information:

Paul E. Hoffman
Proper Publishing
127 Segre Place
Santa Cruz, CA  95060 USA
Tel: 408-426-6222
phoffman@proper.com


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