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The archie Server


A group of people at McGill University in Canada got together and created a query system called archie. It was originally formed to be a quick and easy way to scan the offerings of the many anonymous FTP sites that are maintained around the world. As time progressed, archie grew to include other valuable services as well.

The archie service is accessible through an interactive telnet session, email queries, and command-line and X-window clients. The email responses can be used along with FTPmail servers for those not on the Internet. (See section FTP-by-Mail Servers, for info on using FTPmail servers.)

Using archie Today

Currently, archie tracks the contents of over 800 anonymous FTP archive sites containing over a million files stored across the Internet. Collectively, these files represent well over 50 gigabytes of information, with new entries being added daily.

The archie server automatically updates the listing information from each site about once a month. This avoids constantly updating the databases, which could waste network resources, yet ensures that the information on each site's holdings is reasonably up to date.

To access archie interactively, telnet to one of the existing servers.(6) They include

   archie.ans.net (New York, USA)
   archie.rutgers.edu (New Jersey, USA)
   archie.sura.net (Maryland, USA)
   archie.unl.edu (Nebraska, USA)
   archie.mcgill.ca (the first Archie server, in Canada)
   archie.funet.fi (Finland)
   archie.au (Australia)
   archie.doc.ic.ac.uk (Great Britain)

At the login: prompt of one of the servers, enter `archie' to log in. A greeting will be displayed, detailing information about ongoing work in the archie project; the user will be left at a `archie>' prompt, at which he may enter commands. Using `help' will yield instructions on using the `prog' command to make queries, `set' to control various aspects of the server's operation, et al. Type `quit' at the prompt to leave archie. Typing the query `prog vine.tar.Z' will yield a list of the systems that offer the source to the X-windows program vine; a piece of the information returned looks like: invisible.xbm

 Host ftp.uu.net   (
 Last updated 10:30  7 Jan 1992
     Location: /packages/X/contrib
       FILE      rw-r--r--     15548  Oct  8 20:29   vine.tar.Z
 Host nic.funet.fi   (
 Last updated 05:07  4 Jan 1992
     Location: /pub/X11/contrib
       FILE      rw-rw-r--     15548  Nov  8 03:25   vine.tar.Z

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Copyright © 1998, Software Engineering Laboratory
National Technical University of Athens