(?) Need help with ftp

From Carolyn

Answered By Dan Wilder, Ben Okopnik, Rick Moen

This originally arrived with an automated confidentiality note. She later responded into the thread, so I assume she knows this is a webzine, but I have kept her anonymous other than by first name.
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(?) I am an AIX administrator who has been made responsible for several preconfigured Linux servers. I know little or nothing about Linux.

Situation: I need to be able to ftp a virus .dat file nightly to the Linux machines.

Info: All are running Linux v7 and using xinetd. FTP does not appear to be installed on the systems.


What is wu-ftp? I see it referenced in many docs on the ftp subject.

Which daemon should I be using ftpd or wu-ftpd & why?

Where can I find the downloads for the appropriate daemon?

Once installed, how do I configure a service file for the xinetd daemon?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give...

(!) [Dan] What Linux distribution are you running? For example, is it Red Hat, Debian, SuSE,

(?) How can I tell that??

(!) [Dan] If the systems have monitors attached, take a look at the login screen or prompt. There'll be some clue there, if it hasn't been removed by a previous sysadmin.
If not, and if you can ssh or telnet in, look at the welcome message. If it doesn't ring any bells, post it.
(!) [JimD] In most cases you can run the following command to find out your Linux distribution name and version with the following command:

echo /etc/*_ver* /etc/*-rel*; cat /etc/*_ver* /etc/*-rel*
... Red Hat derivatives and other RPM bases systems usually have a file named something-release (RedHat-release, SuSE-release, etc) in /etc. Debian based systems have a file named /etc/debian_version (Progeny, LibraNet, etc might namem it /etc/progeny_version, etc).
As for your original question, regarding automatically moving files to these systems. I prefer scp (a part of the OpenSSH package at: http://www.openssh.org ). rsync (by the author Samba at: http://www.samba.org/rsync ) can also transparently use an ssh tunnel. rsync also has the distinct advantage in that it can efficiently determine which files, and portions of files, to transfer (for minimal bandwidth utilization).
The advantage of using ssh (in both cases) is that you can configure these systems for reasonably secure client server access using the public keys that ssh supports.
(!) [Dan] I ask because there may be ftp packages installed or available, and your least-hassle option is to use a pre-built package.
How and where you get that will depend on which distribution you're running.
If you're comfortable building from source, that's an option too.
My own favorite du jour is pureftpd:
pre-built binaries are available there for SuSE, Mandrake, Polish, Stampede, Slackware, Multilinux, Sorcerer, Gentoo, and there are links for binaries for several other UNIX-y OSs.
(!) [Ben] Me, I'm a real "oftpd" fan, at least for "read-only" access. It's nicely secure (lots of code reviews), tiny (easily fits on a floppy - including source, docs, etc.), and builds on pretty much every Unix out there.
(!) [Rick] It's amusing to see everyone listing my personal favourite choices. In case it helps, I maintain a list of all known ftp daemons for *ix, at http://linuxmafia.com/pub/linux/security/ftp-daemons
I think one could make a case for any of these:

aftpd (Ranum's version), but only on *BSD
Libra FTP Server
Also worth looking into:

lukemftpd (portable edition)
Twoftpd & twoftpd-anon
Also possibly of interest:
(!) [Ben] <laugh> Now that you've reminded me, that's where I got the original idea to use "oftpd".
(!) [Heather] My current personal favorite is muddleftpd. Nice app, very configurable, tunable for virtual hosting and other odd things. It's sendfile optimized (on BSD too!) and can throttle.
I don't recall when I discovered it, but it rocks. Sadly google would imply that its home is ancient. That's its original author. The current maintainers are here: http://www.nongnu.org/muddleftpd
This presumes, of course, that sftp or plain scp isn't able to do what I need.

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Published in Issue 84 of Linux Gazette, November 2002

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