The Death of FTP?
I have long used (and, actually, still use) FTP as a means to update websites as a webmaster, but the day of FTP may soon be behind us!
Tedium – By: Ernie Smith – “Here’s a small piece of news you may have missed while you were trying to rebuild your entire life to fit inside your tiny apartment at the beginning of the COVID crisis: Because of the way that the virus shook up just about everything, Google skipped the release of Chrome version 82. Who cares, you think? Well, users of FTP, or the File Transfer Protocol. During the pandemic, Google delayed its plan to kill FTP, and now that things have settled to some degree, Google recently announced that it is going back for the kill with Chrome version 86, which deprecates the support once again, and will kill it for good in Chrome 88. (Mozilla announced similar plans for Firefox, citing security reasons and the age of the underlying code.) It is one of the oldest protocols the mainstream internet supports—it turns 50 next year—but those mainstream applications are about to leave it behind. Today’s Tedium talks about history of FTP, the networking protocol that has held on longer than pretty much any other.
The year that Abhay Bhushan, a masters student at MIT who was born in India, first developed the File Transfer Protocol. Coming two years after telnet, FTP was one of the first examples of a working application suite built for what was then known as ARPANET, predating email, Usenet, and even the TCP/IP stack. Like telnet, FTP still has a few uses, but has lost prominence on the modern internet largely because of security concerns, with encrypted alternatives taking its place—in the case of FTP, SFTP, a file transfer protocol that operates over the Secure Shell protocol (SSH), the protocol that has largely replaced telnet.
FTP is so old it predates email—and at the beginning, actually played the role of an email client
Of the many application-level programs built for the early ARPANET, it perhaps isn’t surprising that FTP is the one that stood above them all to find a path to the modern day.
The reason for that comes down to its basic functionality. It’s essentially a utility that facilitates data transfer between hosts, but the secret to its success is that it flattened the ground to a degree between these hosts. As Bhushan describes in his requests for comment paper, the biggest challenge of using telnet at the time was that every host was a little different.
‘Differences in terminal characteristics are handled by host system programs, in accordance with standard protocols,’ he explained, citing both telnet and the remote job entry protocol of the era. ‘You, however, have to know the different conventions of remote systems, in order to use them.'”
For the rest of this interesting article, check out Tedium at this link: FTP Fadeout