One of the biggest problems on the Internet has always been finding what you know exists. Anonymous FTP servers sprang up early on, giving you the ability to get files from repositories on the network, but users still had the problem of knowing "which" FTP site had "what" file(s). Enter Archie, a system which allows you to search indexes to locate files that are available on public servers. It's the place you should start if you are searching for programs, data, or text files. Archie queries an archie anonymous FTP database looking for the specified string, finding out what is available on the Net.
The general method of use is of the form:
This will go to the archie server and ask it to look for all know systems that have a file named string in their FTP area. Archie will wait, and print out any matches.
% archie string
There are three ways to ask archie to find a file for you: through 1) a "client" Archie program on your own host system , 2) telnet or 3) e-mail. All three methods let you type in a full or partial file name and will tell you where on the Net it's stored.
Archie Using a Client
ECN has our own archie program that takes your request for information and passes it onto the nearest archie database. This database host is set as the "default". Archie is located in
/usr/unsup/bin because it is not a supported ECN program. To use archie, for example, to find the program gzip, you would type:
% /usr/unsup/bin/archie -s gzip
The -s modifier tells archie to ignore case in a file name andlets you search for partial matches. The modifiers control the search.
Your output would be:
ups.ecn.purdue.edu% /usr/unsup/bin/archie -s gzip Host a.cs.uiuc.edu Location: /pub DIRECTORY drwxr-xr-x 512 Apr 25 14:09 gzip Location: /pub/gzip FILE -rwxr-xr-x 172648 Apr 25 14:09 gzip Host akiu.gw.tohoku.ac.jp Location: /.u2/BSD/386bsd-0.1/unofficial/from-ref/public DIRECTORY drwxrwxr-x 512 Jul 12 07:04 gzip Location: /.u2/BSD/386bsd-0.1/unofficial/patch-kit/0.2.2-0.2.3/patch/bin FILE -rw-r--r-- 61440 Apr 19 1993 gzip Location: /.u2/BSD/386bsd-0.1/unofficial/patch-kit/0.2.3/patch/bin FILE -rw-r--r-- 61440 Apr 19 1993 gzip Location: /.u2/BSD/FreeBSD/Old/FreeBSD-current/src/gnu/usr.bin DIRECTORY drwxrwxr-x 512 Aug 18 06:26 gzip Location: /.u2/BSD/NetBSD/NetBSD-current/src/gnu/usr.bin DIRECTORY drwxrwxr-x 1024 Jul 8 09:12 gzip Location: /.u2/BSD/NetBSD/NetBSD-current/src/sys/arch/amiga/floppy DIRECTORY drwxrwxr-x 512 Aug 6 06:28 gzip Location: /bin FILE ---x--x--x 155648 Jul 11 13:47 gzip Host campus.mty.itesm.mx Location: /bin FILE ---x--x--x 128768 Dec 7 1993 gzip-----------------
The "Host" is the system that has the file. The "Location" tells you which directory to look in when you connect to that system.
You may want to type it this way:
which will stop the output every screen (handy if there are many sites that carry the file you want).
/usr/unsup/bin/archie -s gzip | more
To view the list of archie servers known to the program, as well as the name of the default Archie server, type:
To connect to one of the Archie servers listed, type:
This will connect you to the archie server at Rutgers University. The best server to use is one that is geographically close. Using a server in Australia from the U.S. might be cool, but it is a poor use of slow transoceanic network links. By default, ECN Archie connects to a server in the USA.
Using Archie With Telnet
Then you can use telnet to a hostname. It will come back with a standard UNIX login prompt, to which you respond with the login name archie and press ENTER or RETURN. When you connect, the key command is prog (search for a file by name), which you use in this form:
followed by ENTER, where filename is the program or file you are looking for. If you are unsure of a file's complete name, try typing in part of the name.
Using Archie by Electronic Mail
In addition to logging into an Archie server directly, you can use Archie via electronic mail. You may want to use this if you do not have time or want to wait for the results of the search, or you may be forced to use this method if your network does not allow you to contact Archie via telnet.
The commands for using Archie by mail are similar to those available using telnet. You build a message with search commands in it and sent it to:
Send a message to
<firstname.lastname@example.org>. You can leave the subject line blank. Inside the message, type:
where filename is the file you are looking for. You can ask archie to look up several programs by putting their names on the same "prog" line:
Within a few hours, archie will write back with a list of procured sites.
prog file1 file2 file3
For more information about archie, type:
% man archie
- Controlling Filename Matching
- Controlling a Search Geographically
- Searching the Descriptive Index
- Other Archie Commands
- Archie Configuration Variables
- Archie Under the XWindow System (Xarchie)
- ArchiePlex (nice WWW interface).
Subscribe to Word of the Day - Email this Page to a Friend