Low End Mac

    Using Jaguar's Finder for FTP

    by Alan Zisman (c) 2003 First published in LowEndMac ,  February 11, 2003 X-Basics column

    FTP is an old Unix service that has a long history of being used to transfer files. In fact, email messages were originally text files transferred via FTP.

    Jaguar's Go/Connect to Server menu makes traditional FTP software (programs like Fetch) unnecessary for many people. Here's how to do it.

    Jaguar Finder's Go menu

    In the Finder/Go/Connect to Server dialogue, if you type


    you'll be connected to an anonymous ftp server (if available). This might be just what you need. You'll be asked for authentication with user-name and password if that domain doesn't offer an anonymous ftp service.

    My web host, however, maintains an optional anonymous ftp service-- so if I type ftp://zisman.ca, I go there, rather than to my (password-protected) folders, which is where I want to go.

    Finder's Connect to server dialogueIf instead, you type


    you'll get a log-in prompt, with the user name already filled in, waiting for you to enter the password.

    And if you type:


    you'll go right in with no log-in needed (assuming you typed everything correctly!). Of course, doing that, anyone looking over your shoulder can read your password.

    Thanks to Jesse Feiler, author of Osborne Books' Mac OS X Jaguar: The Complete Reference, for help in working this out.

    Unix fans will notice that there's nothing mysterious about this; it's all standard Unix FTP syntax.

    Once connected, a network drive icon will appear on the desktop; opening it allows you to copy files to your Mac from the remote FTP host. Of course, performance will be much more sluggish than working on a local system or on a local area network. (It appears that you can only copy to your Mac; to make changes to the remote site, you'll still need a 'real' ftp program).

    Some may prefer to use the Terminal's command line FTP service. That works fine, you just need to know a little bit more about what you're doing!

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan