The FileZilla FTP client. Application 16 of 24

We talk about the FTP client

Continuing with my list of essential open source applications by 2024, It's the turn of the Filezilla FTP client.

If you create websites you will need to upload them to the server where it is hosted, while if You download large files that are not available from many sources, neither the browser nor the Bittorrent client are good options.

A Little History

The first recorded connection between computers is a project developed in the 50s for the United States Air Force by MIT. Its objective was to protect that country's airspace from Soviet missiles by developing SAGE, an early warning system that would allow them to be intercepted and destroyed before they reached their destination.

We had to wait a little more than 10 years, until 1969, before data could be transferred in real time.. The ARPANET network connected teams at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Stanford Research Institute (SRI), University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Utah.

Two years later, in 1971, a method for transferring complete files between files was achieved thanks to the development of the FTP protocol. It was a joint work between a group of researchers from Harvard and MIT universities led by Abhay Bhushan. The first transfer was between the MIT devices and the Terminal Information System (TIP) of the NASA Ames Research Center.

Other protocols

Although FTP remained the preferred standard in the 80s as companies focused on expanding computer networks.s, some alternatives kept appearing:

  • Kermit: It was a combination of software and protocol that allowed files to be shared between computer systems of different types, including networks, connection via modem and serial port.
  • UUCP (Unix-to-Unix Copy Protocol): It was the standard for UNIX systems for exchanging files and emails.
  • TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol): This was a version of FTP without the advanced features. It was mainly used to transfer files within a local network.
  • RCP (Remote Copy Protocol): Another useful protocol for transferring files on UNIX systems, although it does have the features that FTP provided.

In the nineties, with the appearance of the Internet, Concern began about the security of the protocol and variants and alternatives focused on the issue appeared:

  • SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol): It is the application of the SSH (Secure Shell) network protocol to file transfers. With this protocol, both commands and data are encrypted. This makes interception and attacks over the network more difficult.
  • SCP (Secure Copy Protocol): Although it also uses SSH to transfer files and does so faster, it lacks all the features of SFTP.
  • FTPS (FTP over TLS): It is a version of FTP that adds extra support that includes the security layers of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security). Basically it is responsible for encrypting the data and commands that are exchanged between the client computer and the server computer. It also allows you to verify the server by checking its digital certificate.

The FileZilla FTP Client

Here we have the typical case of an open source application with a free and paid version. The free version allows file transfer using FTP, SFTP and FTPS protocols. The paid one also allows you to work with commercial cloud storage services.

Some of its characteristics are:

  • Identification of accessed sites by color.
  • Storage of access passwords.
  • Support for transferring files larger than 4 GB
  • Manual (On website)
  • Pause and resume downloads.
  • Editing files using the text editor.
  • Bandwidth limitation for uploading and downloading.
  • Comparison between directories.
  • Drag and drop files using the mouse.
  • Network configuration wizard.

The program (In its free version) is installed from the Flatpak store with:

flatpak install flathub org.filezillaproject.Filezilla

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