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FTPEXT Working Group                                              R. Elz
Internet Draft                                   University of Melbourne
Expiration Date: January 1998
                                                              P. Hethmon
                                                        Hethmon Brothers

                                                               July 1997

        Extended Directory Listing and Restart Mechanism for FTP


Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
   documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas,
   and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check the
   "1id-abstracts.txt" listing contained in the Internet-Drafts Shadow
   Directories on ftp.is.co.za (Africa), nic.nordu.net (Europe),
   munnari.oz.au (Pacific Rim), ds.internic.net (US East Coast), or
   ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).


   In order to overcome the problems caused by the undefined format of
   the current FTP LIST command output, a new command is needed to
   transfer standardized listing information from Server-FTP to Client-
   FTP.  Commands to enable this are defined in this document.

   This proposal also extends the FTP protocol to allow character sets
   other than US-ASCII[1] by allowing the transmission of 8-bit
   characters and the recommended use of UTF-8[2] encoding.

   Much implemented, but long undocumented, mechanisms to permit
   restarts of interrupted data transfers in STREAM mode, are also
   included here.

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Internet Draft       draft-ietf-ftpext-mlst-02.txt             July 1997

   This version contains corrections and additions agreed on the mailing
   list.  Some sections incomplete in the previous draft have been
   completed.  Several editorial adjustments have been made.  This
   version is still not nearly complete.  This paragraph will be deleted
   from the final version of this document.

Table of Contents

          Abstract  ................................................   1
    1     Introduction  ............................................   3
    2     Document Conventions  ....................................   3
    2.1   Basic Tokens  ............................................   3
    2.2   Pathnames  ...............................................   4
    2.3   Times  ...................................................   5
    2.4   Server Replies  ..........................................   6
    3     File Modification Time (MDTM)  ...........................   6
    3.1   Syntax  ..................................................   7
    3.2   Error responses  .........................................   7
    3.3   FEAT response for MDTM  ..................................   7
    4     File SIZE  ...............................................   8
    4.1   Syntax  ..................................................   8
    4.2   Error responses  .........................................   8
    4.3   FEAT response for SIZE  ..................................   9
    5     Restart of Interrupted Transfer (REST)  ..................   9
    5.1   Restarting in STREAM Mode  ...............................   9
    5.2   ERROR RECOVER AND RESTART  ...............................  10
    5.3   Syntax  ..................................................  11
    5.4   FEAT response for REST  ..................................  11
    6     Listings for Machine Processing (MLST and MLSD)  .........  12
    6.1   Format of MLST Request  ..................................  13
    6.2   Format of MLST Response  .................................  13
    6.3   Filename encoding  .......................................  15
    6.4   Format of Facts  .........................................  16
    6.5   Standard Facts  ..........................................  16
    6.6   FEAT response for MLST  ..................................  23
    6.7   OPTS parameters for MLST  ................................  24
    7     Interpretation of STAT command output  ...................  24
    7.1   FEAT response for STAT  ..................................  25
    8     Impact On Other FTP Commands  ............................  25
    8.1   Impact on Pathnames and Filenames  .......................  26
    9     Character sets and Internationalisation  .................  26
   10     Security Considerations  .................................  26
   11     References  ..............................................  26
          Acknowledgements  ........................................  27
          Editors' Addresses  ......................................  28

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1. Introduction

   This document amends the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) [6].  Four new
   commands are added: "SIZE", "MDTM", "MLST", and "MLSD".  Two existing
   commands are modified, those are "REST" and "STAT".  Of those, the
   "SIZE" and "MDTM" commands, and the modifications to "REST" have been
   in wide use for many years.  The others are new.

   These commands allow a client to restart an interrupted transfer in
   transfer modes not previously supported in any documented way, and to
   obtain a directory listing in a machine friendly, predictable,

2. Document Conventions

   This document makes use of the document conventions defined in BCP14
   [9].  That provides the interpretation of capitalized imperative
   words like MUST, SHOULD, etc.

   This document also uses notation defined in STD 9 [6].  In
   particular, the terms "reply", "user", "NVFS", "file", "pathname",
   "FTP commands", "DTP", "user-FTP process", "user-PI", "user-DTP",
   "server-FTP process", "server-PI", "server-DTP", "mode", "type",
   "NVT", "control connection", "data connection", and "ASCII", are all
   used here as defined there.

   Syntax required is defined using the Augmented BNF defined in [3].
   Some general ABNF definitions are required throughout the document,
   those will be defined later in this section.  At first reading, it
   may be wise to simply recall that these definitions exist here, and
   skip to the next section.

2.1. Basic Tokens

   This document imports the core definitions given in Appendix A of
   [3].  There definitions will be found for basic ABNF elements like
   ALPHA, DIGIT, SP, etc.  To that, the following terms are added for
   use in this document.

        PRCHAR         = %x21-7E          ; a printing character, ! to ~
        TXTCHAR        = PRCHAR / SP / %x09  ; printing plus white space
        RCHAR          = ALPHA / DIGIT / "," / "." / ":" / "!" /
                         "@" / "#" / "$" / "%" / "^" /
                         "&" / "(" / ")" / "-" / "_" /
                         "+" / "?" / "/" / "\" / "'" /
                         %x22            ; <"> -- double quote character

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   The PRCHAR, TXTCHAR, and RCHAR types give basic character types from
   varying sub-sets of the ASCII character set for use in various
   commands and responses.

        token          = 1*RCHAR

   A "token" is a string whose precise meaning depends upon the context
   in which it is used.  In some cases it will be a value from a set of
   possible values maintained elsewhere.  In others it might be a string
   invented by one party to an FTP conversation from whatever sources it
   finds relevant.

        error-response = error-code SP *TXTCHAR CRLF
        error-code     = ("4" / "5") 2DIGIT

   Note that in ABNF, string literals are case insensitive.  That
   convention is preserved in this document.  However note that ALPHA,
   in particular, is case sensitive.  That implies that a "token" is a
   case sensitive value.  That implication is correct.

2.2. Pathnames

   Various FTP commands take pathnames as arguments, or return pathnames
   in responses.  When the MLST command is supported, as indicated in
   the response to the FEAT command [10], pathnames are to be
   transferred in one of the following two formats.

        utf-8-name     = <a UTF-8 encoded Unicode string>
        raw            = <any string not being a valid UTF-8 encoding>

   Which format is used is at the option of the user-PI or server-PI
   sending the pathname.  UTF-8 encodings contain enough internal
   structure that it is always, in practice, possible to determine
   whether a UTF-8 or raw encoding has been used, in the cases where it
   matters.  Note that ASCII is a subset of UTF-8.

   Unless otherwise specified, the pathname is terminated by the CRLF
   that terminates the FTP command, or by the CRLF that ends a reply.
   Any trailing spaces preceding that CRLF form part of the name.
   Exactly one space will precede the pathname and serve as a separator
   from the preceding syntax element.  Any additional spaces form part
   of the pathname.  See [4] for a fuller explanation of the character
   encoding issues.  All implementations supporting MLST MUST support

   Implementations should also beware that the control connection uses
   Telnet NVT conventions [11], and that the Telnet IAC character, if
   part of a pathname sent over the control connection, MUST be

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   correctly escaped as defined by the Telnet protocol.

2.3. Times

   The syntax of a time value is:

        time-val       = 12DIGIT [ "." 1*DIGIT ]

   The leading, mandatory, twelve digits are to be interpreted as, in
   order from the leftmost, four digits giving the year, with a range of
   1000-9999, two digits giving the month of the year, with a range of
   01-12, two digits giving the day of the month, with a range of 01-31,
   two digits giving the hour of the day, with a range of 00-23, two
   digits giving minutes past the hour, with a range of 00-59, and
   finally, two digits giving seconds past the minute, with a range of
   00-60 (with 60 being used only at a leap second).  Years in the tenth
   century, and earlier, cannot be expressed.  This is not considered a
   serious defect of the protocol.

               [ Ed-Note: Should we permit 12*DIGIT (or maybe
               12*13DIGIT) so times in the 101st century and beyond can
               be represented? ]

   The optional digits, which must be preceded by a period, give decimal
   fractions of a second.  These may be given to whatever precision is
   appropriate to the circumstance, however implementations MUST NOT add
   precision to time-vals where that precision does not exist in the
   underlying value being transmitted.

   Symbolically, a time-val may be viewed as


   The "." and subsequent digits are optional.

   Time values are always represented in UTC (GMT), and in the Gregorian
   calendar regardless of what calendar may have been in use at the date
   and time indicated at the location of the server-PI.

   The technical differences between GMT, UTC, UT1, UT2, etc, are not
   considered here.  A server-FTP process should always use the same
   time reference, so the times it returns will be consistent.  Clients
   are not expected to be time synchronised with the server, so the
   possible difference in times that might be reported by the different
   time standards is not considered important.

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2.4. Server Replies

   Section 4.2 of [6] defines the format and meaning of replies by the
   server-PI to FTP commands from the user-PI.  Those reply conventions
   are used here without change.  Implementors should note that the ABNF
   syntax (which was not used in [6]) in this document, and other FTP
   related documents, sometimes shows replies using the one line format.
   Unless otherwise explicitly stated, that is not intended to imply
   that multi-line responses are not permitted.  Implementors should
   assume that, unless stated to the contrary, any reply to any FTP
   command (including QUIT) may be of the multiline format described in

   Throughout this document, replies will be identified by the three
   digit code that is their first element.  Thus the term "500 reply"
   means a reply from the server-PI using the three digit code "500".

3. File Modification Time (MDTM)

   The FTP command, MODIFICATION TIME (MDTM), can be used to determine
   when a file in the server NVFS was last modified.  This command has
   existed in many FTP servers for many years, as an adjunct to the REST
   command for STEAM mode, thus is widely available.  However, where
   supported the "mtime" fact which can be provided in the result from
   the new MLST command is recommended as a superior alternative.

   When attempting to restart a RETRieve, if the User FTP makes use of
   the MDTM command, it can check and see if the modification time of
   the source file is more recent than the modification time of the
   partially transferred file.  If it is, then most likely the source
   file has changed and it would be unsafe to restart in the middle of
   the file transfer.

   When attempting to restart a STORe, the User FTP can use the MDTM
   command to discover the modification time of the partially
   transferred file.  If it is older than the modification time of the
   file that is about to be STORed, then most likely the source file has
   changed and it would be unsafe to restart in the middle of the file

   Note that using MLST (described below) where available, can provide
   this information, and much more, thus giving an even better
   indication that a file has changed, and that restarting a transfer
   would not give valid results.

   Note that this is applicable to any RESTart attempt, regardless of
   the mode of the file transfer.

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3.1. Syntax

   The syntax for the MDTM command is:

        mdtm          = "MdTm" SP ( utf-8-name / raw ) CRLF

   The server-PI will respond to the MDTM command with a 213 reply
   giving the last modification time of the file whose pathname was
   supplied, or an error response if the file does not exist, the
   modification time is unavailable, or some other error has occurred.

        mdtm-response = "213" SP time-val CRLF /

3.2. Error responses

   Where the command is correctly parsed, but the modification time is
   not available, either because the pathname identifies no existing
   entity, or because the information is not available for the entity
   named, then a 550 reply should be sent.  Where the command cannot be
   correctly parsed, a 500 or 501 reply should be sent, as specified in

3.3. FEAT response for MDTM

   When replying to the FEAT command [10], a FTP server process that
   supports the MDTM command MUST include a line containing the single
   word "MDTM".  This MAY be sent in upper or lower case, or a mixture
   of both (it is case insensitive) but SHOULD be transmitted in upper
   case only.  That is, the response SHOULD be

        C> Feat
        S> 211- <any descriptive text>
        S>  ...
        S>  MDTM
        S>  ...
        S> 211 End

   The ellipses indicate placeholders where other features may be
   included, and are not required.  The one space indentation of the
   feature lines is mandatory [10].

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4. File SIZE

   The FTP command, SIZE OF FILE (SIZE), is used to obtain the transfer
   size of a file from the server-FTP process.  That is, the exact
   number of octets (8 bit bytes) which would be transmitted over the
   data connection should that file be transmitted.  This value will
   change depending on the current STRUcture, MODE and TYPE of the data
   connection, or a data connection which would be created were one
   created now.  Thus, the result of the SIZE command is dependent on
   the currently established STRU, MODE and TYPE parameters.

   The SIZE command returns how many octets would be transferred if the
   file were to be transferred using the current transfer structure,
   mode and type.  This command is normally used in conjunction with the
   RESTART (REST) command.  The server-PI might need to read the
   partially transferred file, do any appropriate conversion, and count
   the number of octets that would be generated when sending the file in
   order to correctly respond to this command.  Estimates of the file
   transfer size MUST NOT be returned, only precise information is

4.1. Syntax

   The syntax of the SIZE command is:

        size          = "Size" SP ( utf-8-name / raw ) CRLF

   The server-PI will respond to the SIZE command with a 213 reply
   giving the transfer size of the file whose pathname was supplied, or
   an error response if the file does not exist, the size is
   unavailable, or some other error has occurred.  The value returned is
   in a format suitable for use with the RESTART (REST) command for mode
   STREAM, provided the transfer mode and type are not altered.

        size-response = "213" SP 1*DIGIT CRLF /

4.2. Error responses

   Where the command is correctly parsed, but the size is not available,
   either because the pathname identifies no existing entity, or because
   the entity named cannot be transferred in the current MODE and TYPE
   (or at all), then a 550 reply should be sent.  Where the command
   cannot be correctly parsed, a 500 or 501 reply should be sent, as
   specified in [6].

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4.3. FEAT response for SIZE

   When replying to the FEAT command [10], a FTP server process that
   supports the SIZE command MUST include a line containing the single
   word "SIZE".  This word is case in-sensitive, and MAY be sent in any
   mixture of upper or lower case, however it SHOULD be sent in upper
   case.  That is, the response SHOULD be

        C> FEAT
        S> 211- <any descriptive text>
        S>  ...
        S>  SIZE
        S>  ...
        S> 211 END

   The ellipses indicate placeholders where other features may be
   included, and are not required.  The one space indentation of the
   feature lines is mandatory [10].

5. Restart of Interrupted Transfer (REST)

   To avoid having to resend the entire file if the file is only
   partially transferred, both sides need some way to be able to agree
   on where in the data stream to restart the data transfer.

   The FTP specification [6] includes three modes of data transfer,
   Stream, Block and Compressed.  In Block and Compressed modes, the
   data stream that is transferred over the data connection is
   formatted, allowing the embedding of restart markers into the stream.
   The sending DTP can include a restart marker with whatever
   information it needs to be able to restart a file transfer at that
   point.  The receiving DTP can keep a list of these restart markers,
   and correlate them with how the file is being saved.  To restart the
   file transfer, the receiver just sends back that last restart marker,
   and both sides know how to resume the data transfer.  Note that there
   are some flaws in the description of the restart mechanism in RFC 959
   [6].  See section of RFC 1123 [7] for the corrections.

5.1. Restarting in STREAM Mode

   In Stream mode, the data connection contains just a stream of
   unformatted octets of data.  Explicit restart markers thus cannot be
   inserted into the data stream, they would be indistinguishable from
   data.  For this reason, the FTP specification [6] did not provide the
   ability to do restarts in stream mode.  However, there is not really
   a need to have explicit restart markers in this case, as restart
   markers can be implied by the octet offset into the data stream.

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   Because the data stream defines the file in STREAM mode, a different
   data stream would represent a different file.  Thus, an offset will
   always represent the same position within a file.  On the other hand,
   in other modes than STREAM, the same file can be transferred using
   quite different octet sequences, and yet be reconstructed into the
   one identical file.  Thus an offset into the data stream in transfer
   modes other than STREAM would not give an unambiguous restart point.

   If the data representation TYPE is IMAGE, and the STRUcture is File,
   for many systems the file will be stored exactly in the same format
   as it is sent across the data connection.  It is then usually very
   easy for the receiver to determine how much data was previously
   received, and notify the sender the offset where the transfer should
   be restarted.  In other representation types and structures more
   effort will be required, but it remains always possible to determine
   the offset with finite, but perhaps non-negligible, effort.  In the
   worst case an FTP process may need to open a data connection to
   itself, set the appropriate transfer type and structure, and actually
   transmit the file, counting the transmitted octets.

   If the user-FTP process is intending to restart a retrieve, it will
   directly calculate the restart marker, and send that information in
   the RESTart command.  However, if the user-FTP process is intending
   to restart sending the file, it needs to be able to determine how
   much data was previously sent, and correctly received and saved.  A
   new FTP command is needed to get this information.  This is the
   purpose of the SIZE command, as documented in section 4.


   STREAM MODE transfers with FILE STRUcture may be restarted even
   though no restart marker has been transferred in addition to the data
   itself.  This is done by perhaps the SIZE command, if needed, in
   combination with the RESTART (REST) command, and one of the standard
   file transfer commands.

   When using TYPE ASCII or IMAGE, the SIZE command will return the
   number of octets that would actually be transferred if the file were
   to be sent between the two systems.  I.e. with type IMAGE, the SIZE
   normally would be the number of octets in the file.  With type ASCII,
   the SIZE would be the number of octets in the file including any
   modifications required to satisfy the TYPE ASCII CR-LF end of line

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5.3. Syntax

   The syntax for the REST command when the current transfer mode is
   STREAM is:

        rest          = "Rest" SP 1*DIGIT CRLF

   The numeric value gives the number of octets of the immediately
   following transfer to not actually send, effectively causing the
   transmission to be restarted at a later point.  The server-PI will
   respond to the REST command with a 350 reply, indicating that the
   REST parameter has been saved, and that another command, which should
   be either RETR or STOR, should then follow to complete the restart.

        rest-response = "350" SP *TXTCHAR CRLF /

   Server-FTP processes may permit transfer commands other than RETR and
   STOR, such as APPE and STOU, to complete a restart, however, this is
   not recommended.  STOU (store unique) is undefined in this usage, as
   storing the remainder of a file into a unique filename is rarely
   going to be useful.  If APPE (append) is permitted, it MUST act
   identically to STOR when a restart marker has been set.  That is, in
   both cases, octets from the data connection are placed into the file
   at the location indicated by the restart marker value.

   An error-response will follow a REST command only when the server
   does not implement the command, or the restart marker value is
   syntactically invalid for the current transfer mode.  That is, in
   STREAM mode, if something other than one or more digits appears in
   the parameter to the REST command.  Any other errors, including such
   problems as restart marker out of range, should be reported when the
   following transfer command is issued.

5.4. FEAT response for REST

   Where a server-FTP process supports RESTart in STREAM mode, as
   specified here, it MUST include in the response to the FEAT command
   [10], a line containing exactly the string "REST STREAM".  This
   string is not case sensitive, but SHOULD be transmitted in upper
   case.  Where REST is not supported at all, or supported only in block
   or compressed modes, the REST line MUST NOT be included in the FEAT
   response.  Where required, the response SHOULD be

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        C> feat
        S> 211- <any descriptive text>
        S>  ...
        S>  REST STREAM
        S>  ...
        S> 211 end

   The ellipses indicate placeholders where other features may be
   included, and are not required.  The one space indentation of the
   feature lines is mandatory [10].

6. Listings for Machine Processing (MLST and MLSD)

   The MLST and MLSD commands are intended to standardize the file and
   directory information returned by the Server-FTP process.  These
   commands differ from the LIST command in that the format of the
   replies is strictly defined although extensible.

   Two commands are defined, MLST which provides data about exactly the
   object named on its command line, and no others.  MLSD on the other
   hand will list the contents of a directory if a directory is named,
   otherwise a 501 error reply will be returned.  In either case, if no
   object is named, the current directory is assumed.  That will cause
   MLST to send a one line response, describing the current directory
   itself, and MLSD to list the contents of the current directory.

               [ Ed-Note:  Do we need something for recursive listings ?

   In the sequel only MLST will be described.  Other than as previously
   mentioned, MLSD is identical.

   The MLST and MLSD commands also extend the FTP protocol as presented
   in RFC 959 [6] and RFC 1123 [7] to allow that transmission of 8-bit
   data over the control connection.  Note this is not specifying
   character sets which are 8-bit, but specifying that FTP
   implementations are to specifically allow the transmission and
   reception of 8-bit bytes, with all bits significant, over the control
   connection.  That is, all 256 possible octet values are permitted.
   The MLST command allows both UTF-8/Unicode and "raw" forms as
   arguments, and in responses to the MLST and MLSD commands, and all
   other FTP commands which take pathnames as arguments.

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6.1. Format of MLST Request

   The MLST and MLSD commands each allow a single optional argument.
   This argument may be either a directory name or a filename.  For
   these purposes, a "filename" is the name of any entity in the server
   NVFS which is not a directory.  If a directory name is given then
   MLSD must return a listing of the contents of the named directory,
   otherwise it issues a 501 reply, and does not open a data connection.
   In all cases for MLST, only a single fact line containing the
   information about the named file or directory shall be returned.

   If no argument is given then MLSD must return a listing of the
   contents of the current working directory, and MLST must return a
   listing giving information about the current working directory

   No title, or header, lines, or any other formatting, other than as is
   specified below, is ever returned in the output of an MLST or MLSD

   If the Client-FTP sends an invalid argument, the Server-FTP MUST
   reply with an error code of 501.

   The syntax for the MLST command is:

        mlst             = "MLst" [ SP ( utf-8-name / raw ) ] CRLF

6.2. Format of MLST Response

   The format of a response to the MLST command is as follows:

        mlst-response    = initial-response final-response
        initial-response = "150" [ SP response-message ] CRLF /
        response-message = *TXTCHAR
        final-response   = "226" SP response-message CRLF

        data-response    = *( entry CRLF )
        entry            = [ facts ] SP ( utf-8-name / raw )
        facts            = fact *( ";" fact )
        fact             = factname "=" value
        factname         = "Size" / "Modify" / "Create" /
                           "Type" / "Unique" / "Perm" /
                           "Lang" / "Media-Type" / "CharSet" /
                           os-depend-fact / local-fact
        os-depend-fact   = <IANA assigned OS name> "." 1*RCHAR
        local-fact       = "X." 1*RCHAR
        value            = 1*RCHAR

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        end-token        = "End"

   Upon receipt of a MLST or MLSD command, the server will verify the
   parameter, and if invalid return an error-response.  If valid, the
   server will open a data connection as indicated in section 3.2 of
   RFC959 [6].  If that fails, the server will return an error-response.
   If all is OK, the server will return the initial-response, send the
   appropriate data-response over the new data connection, close that
   connection, and then send the final-response.

   The data connection opened for a MLST or MLSD response shall be a
   connection as if the "TYPE L 8", "MODE S", and "STRU F" commands had
   been given, whatever FTP transfer type, mode and structure had
   actually been set, and without causing those settings to be altered
   for future commands.  That is, this transfer type shall be set for
   the duration of the data connection established for this command
   only.  While the content of the data sent can be viewed as a series
   of lines, implementations should note that there is no maximum line
   length defined.  Implementations should be prepared to deal with
   arbitrarily long lines.

   The facts part of the specification would contain a series of "file
   facts" about the file or directory named on the same line.  Typical
   information to be presented would include file size, last
   modification time, creation time, a unique identifier, and a
   file/directory flag.

   The complete format for a successful reply to the MLSD command would

        facts SP utf-8-name CRLF
        facts SP utf-8-name CRLF
        facts SP utf-8-name CRLF

   Note that the format is intended for machine processing, not human
   viewing, and as such the format is very rigid.  Implementations MUST
   NOT vary the format by, for example, inserting extra spaces for
   readability, including header or title lines, or inserting blank
   lines, or in any other way alter this format.  Exactly one space is
   always required after the set of facts (which may be empty).  More
   spaces may be present on a line if, and only if, the file name
   presented contains significant spaces.  The set of facts must not
   contain any spaces anywhere inside it.

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6.3. Filename encoding

   A FTP implementation supporting the MLST command must be 8-bit clean.
   This is necessary in order to transmit UTF-8 encoded filenames.  This
   specification recommends the use of UTF-8 encoded filenames.  FTP
   implementations SHOULD use UTF-8 whenever possible to encourage the
   maximum interoperability.

   Filenames are not restricted to UTF-8, however treatment of arbitrary
   character encodings is not specified by this standard.  Applications
   are encouraged to treat non-UTF-8 encodings of filenames as octet

   Note that this encoding is unrelated to that of the contents of the
   file, even if the file contains character data.

   Further information about filename encoding for FTP may be found in
   "Internationalization of the File Transfer Protocol" [4].

6.3.1. Notes about the Filename

   The filename returned in the MLST response should be the same name as
   was specified in the MLST command.  Where no argument was given to
   the MLST command, the server-PI may either include an empty filename
   in the response, or it may supply a name that refers to the current
   directory, if such a name is available.

   Filenames returned in the output from an MLSD command should be
   unqualified names within the directory named, or the current
   directory if no argument was given.  That is, the directory named in
   the MLSD command should not appear as a component of the filenames

   If the server-FTP process is able, and the "type" fact is being
   returned, it MAY return in the MLSD response, an entry whose type is
   "cdir", which names the directory from which the contents of the
   listing were obtained.  Where more than one name exists, multiple of
   these entries may be returned.  The server MUST return type "cdir"
   names in a format such that if the user-PI takes a name of type
   "cdir", and appends a name of type which is not "cdir", and which
   appeared in the same MLSD response as the type=cdir name, with no
   intervening separators, then a valid pathname will be produced, using
   which the user-PI can reference the file indicated from its current
   working directory.

   Alternatively, the user-PI can issue a CWD command ([6]) giving the
   name of type "cdir", and from that point reference the files returned
   in the MLSD response from which the cdir was obtained by using the

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   filename components of the listing.  Once having attempted any CWD
   command however, it is no longer guaranteed that a file can be
   referenced by the combination of type "cdir" and other names, whether
   using CWD or name concatenation.

               [ Ed-Note:  This whole scheme is (yet again) open to
               revision or removal - more discussion of its worth and if
               worthwhile, the details of the scheme is needed ]

6.3.2. Examples

   Once upon a (future) time, examples existed here.

6.4. Format of Facts

   The "facts" for a file in a reply to a MLST command consist of
   information about that file.  The facts are a series of keyword=value
   pairs separated by a semi-colon (";") character.  The complete series
   of facts may not contain the space character.

   A sample of a typical series of facts would be: (spread over two
   lines for presentation here only)


6.5. Standard Facts

   This document defines a standard set of facts as follows:

        size       -- Size in octets
        modify     -- Last modification time
        create     -- Creation time
        type       -- Entry type
        unique     -- Unique id of file/directory
        perm       -- File permissions, whether read, write, execute is
                      allowed for the login id.
        lang       -- Language of the filename per IANA[5] registry.
        media-type -- MIME media-type of file contents per IANA registry.
        charset    -- Character set per IANA registry (if not UTF-8)

   Fact names are case-insensitive.  Size, size, SIZE, and SiZe are the
   same fact.

   Further operating system specific keywords could be specified by
   using the IANA operating system name as a prefix (examples only):

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        OS/2.ea   -- OS/2 extended attributes
        MACOS.rf  -- MacIntosh resource forks
        UNIX.mode -- Unix file modes (permissions)

   Implementations may define keywords for experimental, or private use.
   All such keywords MUST begin with the two character sequence "x.".
   As type names are case independent, "x." and "X." are equivalent.
   For example:

        x.ver  -- Version information
        x.desc -- File description
        x.type -- File type

6.5.1. The type Fact

   The type fact needs a special description.  Part of the problem with
   current practices is deciding when a file is a directory.  If it is a
   directory, is it the current directory, a regular directory, or a
   parent directory?  The MLST specification makes this unambiguous
   using the type fact.  The type fact given specifies information about
   the object listed on the same line of the MLST response.

   Five values are possible for the type fact:

        file         -- a file entry
        cdir         -- the current directory
        pdir         -- the parent directory
        dir          -- a directory or sub-directory
        OS.name=type -- an OS or file system dependent file type

   The syntax is defined to be:

        type-fact       = type-label "=" type-val
        type-label      = "Type"
        type-val        = "File" / "cdir" / "pdir" / "dir" /
                          os-type type=file

   The presence of the type=file fact indicates the listed entry is a
   file containing non-system data.  That is, it may be transferred from
   one system to another of quite different characteristics, and perhaps
   still be meaningful. type=cdir

   The type=cdir fact indicates the listed entry is the pathname of the
   directory whose contents are listed.  The value of this entry (the

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   filename part) plus the value of a type=file entry from the same MLSD
   listing together should represent a complete pathname suitable for a
   RETR command.  The value for the type=cdir entry should include any
   necessary system delimiters used between path components.  An example
   would be the forward slash "/" on a UNIX(TM) system, or a back slash
   "\" on an OS/2 or Windows system.

   Note: systems for which no suitable delimiter valid in all situations
   exists can still make use of the "cdir" type by formatting in in a
   way which is recognisable when returned as a pathname, and then
   reformatting the supplied pathname as appropriate for the command it
   is being used as an argument to. type=dir

   If present, the type=dir entry is the name of a directory.  When
   executed with the current directory in the same place in the NVFS as
   it was when the MLST or MLSD command was issued, a CWD with its
   argument being the formed by appending the name with type=pdir to a
   name with type=cdir should succeed (assuming the user has the
   appropriate access rights). type=pdir

   If present, which will occur only in the response to a MLSD command,
   the type=pdir entry represents a pathname of the parent directory of
   the listed directory.  As well as having the properties of a
   type=dir, a CWD command with the appropriate value should change the
   user to the parent directory of the listed directory.  A CDUP command
   may also have the effect of changing to the listed directory.  User-
   FTP processes should note not all responses will include this
   information, and that some systems may provide multiple type=pdir

   For the purposes of this type value, a "parent directory" is any
   directory in which there is an entry of type=dir which refers to the
   directory in which the type=pdir entity was found.  Thus it is not
   required that all entities with type=pdir refer to the same
   directory, the "unique" fact can be used to determine whether there
   is a relationship between the type=pdir entries or not. System defined types

   Files types that are specific to a specific operating system, or file
   system, can be encoded using the "OS." type names.  The format is:

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        os-type   = "OS." os-name "=" localtype
        os-name   = <an IANA registered operating system name>
        localtype = 1*RCHAR

   The "os-name" indicates the specific system type which supports the
   particular localtype.  It should be taken from the IANA maintained
   list of operating systems wherever possible.  The "localtype"
   provides the system dependent information as to the type of the file
   listed.  The os-name and localtype strings in an os-type are case
   independent.  "OS.unix=block" and "OS.Unix=BLOCK" represent the same

6.5.2. The unique Fact

   The unique fact is used to present a unique identifier for a file or
   directory in the NVFS accessed via a server-FTP process.  The value
   of this fact should be the same for any number of filenames that
   refer to the same underlying file.  The fact should have different
   values for names which reference distinct files.  The mapping between
   files, and unique fact tokens should be maintained, and remain
   consistent, for at least the lifetime of the control connection from
   user-PI to server-PI.

        unique-fact  = "Unique" "=" token

   This fact would be expected to be used by Server-FTPs whose host
   system allows things such as symbolic links so that the same file may
   be represented in more than one directory on the server.  The only
   conclusion that should be drawn is that if two different names each
   have the same value for the unique fact, they refer to the same
   underlying object.  The value of the unique fact (the token) should
   be considered an opaque string for comparison purposes, and is a case
   dependent value.  The tokens "A" and "a" do not represent the same
   underlying object.

6.5.3. The modify Fact

   The modify fact is used to determine the last time the content of the
   file (or directory) indicated was modified.  Any change of substance
   to the file should cause this value to alter.  That is, if a change
   is made to a file such that the results of a RETR command would
   differ, then the value of the modify fact should alter.  User-PIs
   should not assume that a different modify fact value indicates that
   the file contents are necessarily different than when last retrieved.
   Some systems may alter the value of the modify fact for other
   reasons, though this is discouraged wherever possible.  Also a file
   may alter, and then be returned to its previous content, which would
   often be indicated as two incremental alterations to the value of the

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   modify fact.

   For directories, this value should alter whenever a change occurs to
   the directory such that different filenames would (or might) be
   included in MLSD output of that directory.

        modify-fact  = "Modify" "=" time-val

6.5.4. The create Fact

   The create fact indicates when a file, or directory, was first
   created.  Exactly what "creation" is for this purpose is not
   specified here, and may vary from server to server.  About all that
   can be said about the value returned is that it can never indicate a
   later time than the mtime fact.

        create-fact  = "Create" "=" time-val

   Implementation Note: Implementors of this fact on UNIX(TM) systems
        should note that the unix "stat" "st_ctime" field does not give
        creation time, and that unix filesystems do not record creation
        time at all.  Unix (and POSIX) implementations will normally not
        include this fact.

6.5.5. The perm Fact

   The perm fact is used to indicate access rights the current FTP user
   has over the object listed.  Its value is always an unordered
   sequence of alphabetic characters.

        perm-fact    = "Perm" "=" pvals
        pvals        = "a" / "c" / "d" / "e" / "f" /
                       "l" / "m" / "p" / "r" / "w"

   There are ten permission indicators currently defined.  Many are
   meaningful only when used with a particular type of object.  The
   indicators are case independent, "d" and "D" are the same indicator.

   The "a" permission applies to objects of type=file, and indicates
   that the APPE (append) command may be applied to the file named.

   The "c" permission applies to objects of type=dir (and type=pdir,
   type=cdir).  It indicates that files may be created in the directory
   named.  That is, that a STOU command is likely to succeed, and that
   STOR and APPE commands might succeed if the file named did not
   previously exist, but is to be created in the directory object that
   has the "c" permission.  It also indicates that the RNTO command is
   likely to succeed for names in the directory.

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   The "d" permission applies to all types.  It indicates that the
   object named may be deleted, that is, that the RMD command may be
   applied to it if it is a directory, and otherwise that the DELE
   command may be applied to it.

   The "e" permission applies to the directory types.  When set on an
   object of type=dir, type=cdir, or type=pdir it indicates that a CWD
   command naming the object should succeed, and the user should be able
   to enter the directory named.  For type=pdir it also indicates that
   the CDUP command should succeed.

   The "f" permission for objects indicates that the object named may be
   renamed - that is, may be the object of an RNFR command.

   The "l" permission applies to the directory file types, and indicates
   that the listing commands, LIST, NLST, and MLSD may be applied to the
   directory in question, and that MLST, LIST, NLST, and STAT may be
   applied to objects in the directory.

   The "m" permission applies to directory types, and indicates that the
   MKD command may be used to create a new directory within the
   directory under consideration.

   The "p" permission applies to directory types, and indicates that
   objects in the directory may be deleted, or (stretching naming a
   little) that the directory may be purged.  Note: it does not indicate
   that the RMD command may be used to remove the directory named, the
   "d" permission indicator indicates that.

   The "r" permission applies to type=file objects, and for some
   systems, perhaps to other types of objects, and indicates that the
   RETR command may be applied to that object.

   The "w" permission applies to type=file objects, and for some
   systems, perhaps to other types of objects, and indicates that the
   STOR command may be applied to the object named.

   Note: That a permission indicator is set can never imply that the
        appropriate command is guaranteed to work - just that it might.
        Other system specific limitations, such as limitations on
        available space for storing files, may cause an operation to
        fail, where the permission flags may have indicated that it was
        likely to succeed.  The permissions are a guide only.

   Implementation note: The permissions are described here as they apply
        to FTP commands.  They may not map easily into particular
        permissions available on the server's operating system.  Servers
        are expected to synthesize these permission bits from the

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        permission information available from operating system.  For
        example, to correctly determine whether the "D" permission bit
        should be set on a directory for a server running on the
        UNIX(TM) operating system, the server should check that the
        directory named is empty, and that the user has write permission
        on both the directory under consideration, and its parent

        Some systems may have more specific permissions than those
        listed here, such systems should map those to the flags defined
        as best they are able.  Other systems may have only more broad
        access controls.  They will generally have just a few possible
        permutations of permission flags, however they should attempt to
        correctly represent what is permitted.

6.5.6. The lang Fact

   The lang fact describes the natural language of the filename for use
   in display purposes.  Values used here should be taken from the
   language registry of the IANA.

        lang-fact  = "Lang" "=" token

   Server-FTP implementations MUST NOT guess language values.  Language
   values must be determined in an unambiguous way such as filesystem
   tagging of language or by user configuration.  Note that the lang
   fact provides no information at all about the content of a file, only
   about its name.

6.5.7. The size Fact

   The size should always reflect the approximate size of the file.
   This should be as accurate as the server can make it, without going
   to extraordinary lengths, such as reading the entire file.  The size
   is expressed in units of octets.

   Given limitations in some systems, Client-FTP implementations must
   understand this size may not be precise and may change between the
   time of a MLST and RETR operation.

   Clients that need highly accurate size information for some
   particular reason should use the SIZE command as defined in section
   4.  The most common need for this accuracy is likely to be in
   conjunction with the REST command described in section 5.  The size
   fact, on the other hand, should be used for purposes such as
   indicating to a human user the approximate size of the file to be
   transferred, and perhaps to give an idea of expected transfer
   completion time.

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        size-fact  = "Size" "=" 1*DIGIT

6.5.8. The media-type Fact

   The media-type fact represents the IANA media type of the file.  The
   list of values used must follow the guidelines set by the IANA

        media-type  = "Media-Type" "=" <per IANA guidelines>

   Server-FTP implementations MUST NOT guess media type values.  Media
   type values must be determined in an unambiguous way such as
   filesystem tagging of media-type or by user configuration.

6.5.9. The charset Fact

   The charset fact represents the IANA character set name for the
   encoded names in a MLST response.  The default character set is UTF-8
   unless specified otherwise.  FTP implementations SHOULD use UTF-8 if
   possible to encourage maximum interoperability.

        charset-type  = "Charset" "=" token

6.6. FEAT response for MLST

   When responding to the FEAT command, a server-FTP process that
   supports MLST, and the related commands, MLSD, and the modified STAT,
   plus internationalisation of pathnames, MUST indicate that this
   support exists.  It does this by including a MLST feature line.  As
   well as indicating the basic support, the MLST feature line indicates
   which MLST facts are available from the server, and which of those
   will be returned if no subsequent "OPTS MLST" command is sent.

        mlst-feat     = SP "MLST" [SP factlist] CRLF
        factlist      = factname ["*"] *( ";" factname ["*"] )

   The initial space shown in the mlst-feat response is that required by
   the FEAT command, two spaces are not permitted.  If no factlist is
   given, then the server-FTP process is indicating that it supports
   MLST, but implements no facts.  Only pathnames can be returned.  This
   would be a minimal MLST implementation, and useless for most
   practical purposes.  Where the factlist is present, the factnames
   included indicate the facts supported by the server.  Where the
   optional asterisk appears after a factname, that fact will be
   included in MLST format responses, until an "OPTS MLST" is given to
   alter the list of facts returned.

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               [ Ed-Note: Perhaps the sense of the "*" should be
               reversed?  That is, make the asterisk indicate those
               facts not returned? ]

6.7. OPTS parameters for MLST

   For the MLST command, the Client-FTP may specify a list of facts it
   wishes to be returned in all subsequent MLST commands until another
   OPTS MLST command is sent.  The format is specified by:

        mlst-opts     = "OPTS" SP "MLST"
                        [ SP factname *(";" factname) ]

   By sending the "OPTS MLST" command, the client requests the server to
   include only the facts listed as arguments to the command in
   subsequent output from MLST commands.  Facts not included in the
   "OPTS MLST" command must not be returned by the server.  Facts that
   are included should be returned for each entry returned from the MLST
   command where they apply.  Facts requested that are not supported, or
   which are inappropriate to the file or directory being listed should
   simply be omitted from the MLST output.  This is not an error.  Note
   that where no factname arguments are present, the client is
   requesting that only the file names be returned.  In this case, and
   in any other case where no facts are included in the result, the
   space that separates the fact names and their values from the file
   name is still required.  That is, the first character of the output
   line will be a space, and the file name will start immediately

   Note, there is no "OPTS MLSD" command, the fact names set with the
   "OPTS MLST" command apply to both MLST and MLSD commands, and to the
   STAT command when used with a file name argument and no transfer in

7. Interpretation of STAT command output

   Where a server-FTP process supports the MLST and MLSD commands, it
   MUST also support the format of the STAT command that allows a
   pathname to be given ([6] section 4.1.3).  Further, the response to
   that STAT command MUST be in MLST format, just as if an MLST command
   for the same argument had been given, but slightly modified for
   transport over the control connection rather than over a data

   To construct the response to this form of the STAT command, the
   server-PI should first construct the MLST output for the file named
   by the argument.  That should then be broken that output into
   segments no longer than 79 octets each.  Each segment should have a

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   space prepended, and CRLF appended.  Then send a multi-line reply,
   where the first line is "211-<any text at all>", the subsequent lines
   are those created above, with NUL after CR insertion (other than the
   CR in the end of line CRLF) and IAC escaping, as required.  Finally a
   terminating line "211 <any text at all>" is sent.

   The leading space on each line guarantees that none of the MLST
   output can be mis-interpreted as the terminating line.  Server-PIs
   are free to be creative in splitting the MLST output in creative ways
   should they desire, however this should be relevant only to human
   end-users who happen to see the raw form of the output.  User-PIs
   receiving this form of STAT output should simply reconstruct the MLST
   format response by ignoring the leading and terminating lines, after
   checking that no error occurred of course, deleting the leading space
   from each interior line, deleting the terminating CRLF, and
   performing escape character reduction (remove the NUL after each CR,
   and delete any IAC escapes) then join the remaining lines in order,
   to produce the original MLST response.

               [ Ed-Note: this is a very cumbersome description of a
               very simple procedure... ]

7.1. FEAT response for STAT

   There is no output in the FEAT command that specifically indicates
   that the STAT command behaves as described above.  Implementations
   must infer this from support of the MLST command by the server, which
   is indicated in the FEAT output.

8. Impact On Other FTP Commands

   Along with the introduction of MLST, traditional FTP commands must be
   extended to allow for the use of more than US-ASCII or EBCDIC
   character sets.  In general, the support of MLST requires support for
   arbitrary character sets wherever filenames and directory names are
   allowed.  This applies equally to both arguments given to the
   following commands and to the replies from them, as appropriate.


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   The arguments to all of these commands should be processed the same
   way that MLST commands and responses are processed with respect to
   handling embedded CRs and NULs.  See section 2.2.

8.1. Impact on Pathnames and Filenames

   The design of MLST requires the Server-FTP to allow concatenation of
   certain elements of a MLST response.  Specifically, a typical
   response would include an element which indicates the current
   directory and one or more elements which are files in the indicated
   directory.  A Server-FTP must be able to accept a simple
   concatenation of these two names even if the underlying operating
   system does not accept a simple concatenation.  The Server-FTP must
   perform any translation of the concatenated name to local

9. Character sets and Internationalisation

   This section will set out just what is going on with char sets, what
   data is part of the protocol, and always appears exactly as is
   specified (and could almost as easily be numbers, or any other kind
   of encoding), and what is text for users, which should be able to
   appear in their language of choice, or otherwise be handled in some
   kind of rational way.  That is, it will once it is written.  This is
   merely a placeholder.

10. Security Considerations

   This memo does not yet discuss security.  It is possible that no new
   security concerns are raised in this memo above what already exists
   within the FTP protocol.  However, the working group needs to
   consider this carefully.

11. References

   [1]  Coded Character Set--7-bit American Standard Code for Information
        Interchange, ANSI X3.4-1986.

   [2]  Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of Unicode and ISO
        10646", RFC 2044, October 1996.

   [3]  Crocker, D., "Augmented BNF for Syntax Specifications: ABNF",
        Work In Progress <draft-ietf-drums-abnf-03.txt>, March 1997.

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   [4]  Curtin, W., "Internationalization of the File Transfer Protocol",
        Work In Progress <draft-ietf-ftpext-itln-02.txt>, June 1997

   [5]  Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. http://www.isi.edu/div7/iana/
        Email: iana@iana.org.

   [6]  Postel, J., Reynolds, J., "File Transfer Protocol (FTP)",
        STD 9, RFC 959, October 1985

   [7]  Braden, R,. "Requirements for Internet Hosts -- Application
        and Support", STD 3, RFC 1123, October 1989

   [8]  ISO 3307 (need a citation for this please!)

   [9]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
        Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997

   [10] Hethmon, P., Elz, R., "Feature negotiation mechanism for the
        File Transfer Protocol",  Work in progress,
        <draft-ietf-ftpext-feat-01.txt> July 1997.

   [11] Postel, J., Reynolds, J., "Telnet protocol Specification"
        STD 8, RFC 854, May 1983


   The following people have contributed to this document:

        Alex Belits
        D. J. Berstein
        Martin J. Duerst
        Mark Harris
        Alun Jones
        James Matthews
        Keith Moore
        Stephen Tihor
        and the entire FTPEXT working group of the IETF.

   The description of the modifications to the REST command and the MDTM
   and SIZE commands comes from a set of modifications suggested for
   RFC959 by Rick Adams in 1989.  A draft containing just those
   commands, edited by David Borman, has been merged with this document.

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Editors' Addresses

   Robert Elz
   University of Melbourne
   Department of Computer Science
   Parkville, Vic   3052

   Email: kre@munnari.OZ.AU

   Paul Hethmon
   Hethmon Brothers
   2305 Chukar Road
   Knoxville, TN 37923 USA

   Phone: +1 423 690 8990
   Email: phethmon@hethmon.com

Elz & Hethmon            [Expires January 1998]                [Page 28]

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