Creating Killer Grahics Requires Killer Apps --  ColorWorks V2 and V1+
NeoLogic FTP Server for OS/2- by Lief Clennon

Possibly the easiest part of NeoLogic Network Suite to overlook is the FTP daemon. However, like the rest of the Network Suite, it is rich in features, and surprisingly easy to configure and use. For those of you who were wondering what the "NeoLogic FTPD" icon in the Network Suite folder is, "FTPD" (File Transfer Protocol Daemon) is the typical name for FTP server software. This is NeoLogic's offering for those of you who have been looking for the ability to set up an FTP site on your local machine.

Setup

Setup is a snap: simply start the daemon, and it begins listening to port 21 for incoming FTP requests; however, a bit more configuration is needed before it can actually be used. First, you need to set up at least one user; this is done using the Add User notebook. The administrator (you) specifies a name, password, and home directory for the new user. To enable anonymous logins, you create a user named "anonymous" and enter the directory to drop anonymous users in. While you must type something in the password field, it is ignored in this case.

The second and third pages of the Add User notebook deal with read and write permissions. You can enable or disable full access to any drive or you can be more selective, entering a directory name and selecting the Read and Write buttons to give access of either or both forms. Unfortunately, this does not recurse to subdirectories; every directory must be individually specified. Also, if you specify Write but not Read access, files may be sent to the directory, but the user can not enter the directory, or list its contents.

As one would expect, there is also an Edit User (GIF, 7k) notebook, which is identical to Add User, except that the User Name field is a drop-down list of all currently configured users. There is a fairly annoying bug here: the directory access page is occasionally cleared if you switch to it from the Edit User notebook, forcing you to reenter every directory if you want to add one.

There is also a User List dialog, which displays all the current users with accounts. You can hilight the names in the list, but unfortunately you can't go directly to the Edit User notebook with a button or double-click. Finally, there is Remove User, which is the same dialog as the User List, with the addition of a Remove button.

Log Details

Once you have a user configured, and directories set up, the daemon can run on its own. However, as it is doing so, it keeps a detailed running log of what's happening. You can toggle logging (GIF, 10.4k) on individual commands, as well as what information to put in front of each log entry. In addition, you can open a window with information, albeit far more sparse, about the users currently and recently logged on (GIF, 5k). One peeve here: if you close this window, rather than minimizing it, you can not re-open it without restarting the daemon.

Other options in the configuration notebook (GIF, 9.3k) include setting the maximum number of users to allow (there are separate fields for named and anonymous), and setting a directory message filename, which will be sent to the user the first time he or she switches to a directory containing a file of that name. Also, for security, you can set the read-only attribute on files sent by anonymous users. This will prevent them from being deleted or overwritten by other users.

From the command line, you can tell the server to start minimized, to listen to a port other than 21, or to mimic a Unix FTPd, which removes some features, but ensures compatibility with almost all possible clients. Notably, some web browsers such as Netscape and WebExplorer may need this Unix compatibility feature turned on. (NeoLogic FTPd is RFC 959 and RFC 1123 compliant so any client that is also compliant with RFC standards should work fine.)

Pros and Cons

There are many advantages to having an FTP daemon, even if you only have a modem connection. First and foremost is speed; FTP transfers are far faster than UUEncoded e-mail, or DCC transfers on IRC. Secondly, you don't have to monitor progress: just fire up the daemon, and anyone can download the files you have made available, or upload to an incoming directory if you have set one up. If you can afford to have a 24-hour connection, this makes it far easier to coordinate transfers with people on the other side of the world. Or, if you know a file will be coming in sometime in the next three hours, you can log in, set up the daemon, leave to do your laundry or a bit of photo retouching in ColorWorks, and come back to find your file waiting for you.

I am an avid IRC user, and lately have found myself getting quite a kick out of saying, "No, don't DCC that. Let me set up the FTP daemon. Okay, I'm done, you can send it now!" After all, it's nothing but a double-click, and uses very little in the way of system resources. It's also useful when you've got something you send fairly often. For instance, in my FTP directory is the DOS version of RAR 2.0, my favorite archiver, which you're going to need if you get any other files from me.

Conclusions

NeoLogic FTPd is a multitasking and multithreading server suitable for casual or dedicated FTP serving. The program documentation claims that the, "server has no real limits except those imposed by the operating system." What this means to you is that you may be able to use the software to host 800 to 900 concurrent users. For those with more casual needs I found the performance when only serving to a few people at a time to be phenomenal; FTPd did not affect the rest of the system at all, except in terms of the modem bandwidth used for the transfers. I've tested NeoLogic FTPd on computers ranging from a 486DX2/66 with 8M RAM, to a P6/200 with 128M RAM, with no noticeable difference in performance or impact on the rest of the system.

All in all, while I don't use the FTP daemon nearly as often as the rest of the NeoLogic Network Suite, it has proven to be quite a time and labor saver, and I applaud the folks at NeoLogic for having the foresight to add something that is normally nonstandard in an end-user software package to their Network Suite.


 * NeoLogic FTP Server for OS/2
by NeoLogic Inc.
MSRP: US$30
Lief Clennon is a Team OS/2 member living in the backwoods of Northern California. His hobbies include badgering people on IRC, and reinstalling OS/2 after one tweak too many.

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