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TCP/IP Guide by Charles M. Kozierok

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FTP Data Representation: Data Types, Format Control, and Data Structures

The most general way of designing FTP would have been to make it treat all files as "black boxes." A file would be represented as just as a set of bytes. FTP would pay no attention to what the file contained and would simply move the file, one byte at a time, from one place to another. In this scenario, FTP would seem to be very similar to the Copy command that is implemented on most file systems, which likewise creates a copy without looking into the file to see what it contains.

So what would be the problem with that, you may wonder? Well, for some types of files, this is exactly what we want, but for others, it introduces a problem. Certain types of files use different ...

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