Meet Archie - NetLingo The Internet Dictionary: Online Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms, Acronyms, Text Messaging, Smileys ;-)

Meet Archie - How to use Archie

Print this page
from: Purdue Engineering Computer Network

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:

	% archie string
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.

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: /usr/unsup/bin/archie -s gzip


    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


    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


    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:

	/usr/unsup/bin/archie -s gzip | more
which will stop the output every screen (handy if there are many sites that carry the file you want).

To view the list of archie servers known to the program, as well as the name of the default Archie server, type:

	/usr/unsup/bin/archie -L

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:

archie> prog filename

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.

Example of Using Archie With Telnet

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 <>. You can leave the subject line blank. Inside the message, type:

	prog filename
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:
	prog file1 file2 file3
Within a few hours, archie will write back with a list of procured sites.

Example of Using Archie by Electronic Mail
Summary of the most common commands for the e-mail interface

For more information about archie, type:

	% man archie

Learn Online Jargon