What is ARCHIE
Archie is a service which helps users to locate files and direc-
tories on anonymous FTP servers anywhere on the Internet.
Administrators all over the world register anonymous FTP servers
with the archie service; once a month the archie service runs a
program which scans the directories and filenames contained in
each of the registered FTP servers, and generates a grand merged
list of all the files and directories contained in all the regis-
tered servers. More than 1000 anonymous FTP sites are now repre-
sented in this list, which is referred to as the archie database.
The archie database currently contains more than 2,100,000 file-
The archie database is made available on several archie servers,
all of which contain the same information.
Administrators can also provide a short description of software
packages contained in the files or directories at their site, but
do not have to do so. The descriptions may or may not be kept up
to date: there is no pressure on administrators to do this.
Files made available at anonymous FTP sites contain software
packages for various systems (Windows, MS-DOS, Macintosh, Unix,
etc.), utilities, information or documentation, mailing lists or
Usenet group discussion archives. At most FTP sites, the resourc-
es are organized hierarchically in directories and subdirecto-
ries. The archie database contains both the directory path and
the file names.
Who can use ARCHIE
The archie database is available to all users of the Internet,
and can also be accessed via electronic mail. See the section
Using ARCHIE below for details.
How to get to ARCHIE
The archie database is maintained in the following locations:
| Host Country |
| archie.au Australia |
| archie.edvz.uni-linz.ac.at Austria |
| archie.univie.ac.at Austria |
| archie.uqam.ca Canada |
| archie.funet.fi Finland |
| archie.th-darmstadt.de Germany |
| archie.doc.ic.ac.uk Great-Britain |
| archie.ac.il Israel |
| archie.unipi.it Italy |
| archie.kuis.kyoto-u.ac.jp Japan |
| archie.wide.ad.jp Japan |
| archie.kr Korea |
| archie.sogang.ac.kr Korea |
| archie.nz New Zealand |
| archie.rediris.es Spain |
| archie.luth.se Sweden |
| archie.switch.ch Switzerland |
| archie.ncu.edu.tw Taiwan |
| archie.ans.net USA |
| archie.internic.net USA |
| archie.rutgers.edu USA |
| archie.sura.net USA |
| archie.unl.edu USA |
There are three ways to access the archie database: via a local
client, interactive Telnet session or electronic mail. Each type
of access is described below in the Using ARCHIE section.
You are requested to respect a few basic rules when you look for
information on an archie server:
* avoid connecting during working hours; most of the archie
servers are not dedicated machines - they have local func-
tions as well.
* make your queries as specific as possible; the response will
be quicker and shorter.
* user interfaces installed on your computer help to reduce the
load on the server sites, so please use them.
* use the archie server closest to you and, in particular,
don't overload the transatlantic lines.
The three ways of accessing the archie database, via a local
client, via an interactive Telnet session or using electronic
mail, are described below.
Note that version 3.0 of the archie server is now available, and
some of the commands for interactive access and the e-mail inter-
face are slightly different from previous versions of the server
(2.11 and earlier). Command formats marked with a (+) are valid
in version 3.0 only, those marked with a (*) are acceptable only
in previous versions. You can use the version command to find
out which version is installed at any particular server.
Using a local client:
You are encouraged to use a local archie client because the
archie server does not then have to provide you with an interac-
tive interface: requests from your local client to the archie
server will be non-interactive, and will thus place less of a
burden on the server. Server performance will be increased and
response time will improve for all users.
Public domain clients for accessing archie servers are available
for: Macintosh, MS-DOS, OS/2, VMS, NeXT, Unix and X-Windows
system. All these platforms support a simple command line client;
the xarchie client for the X-Windows system provides a graphical
user interface. The clients are available from the archie sites
using anonymous FTP, and are in the directories
/pub/archie/clients or /archie/clients.
Archie client command and parameters
A graphical interface (GUI), enables you to access the archie
functions by pressing mouse buttons in order to select menu
Archie clients written for use without a graphical user interface
require you to type in the command archie, followed by one or
more parameters. If you omit the parameters you are given a list
of the possible parameters with a short description of each one.
A description of the parameters is given below, where angle
brackets (<>) indicate an optional parameter and a vertical bar
(|) indicates a choice of parameters.
| archie <-parameters> string | pattern |
where the optional parameters are:
o specifies an output file name to store the results (not
available with all clients).
l lists the result one match per line. This form is suitable
for parsing by programs.
t sorts the result by date.
m# specifies maximum number of matches to return (# within the
range 0 to 1000). The default value is 95.
specifies which archie server should be used; if this
parameter is not given, then the query will be sent to the
default archie server, if one is defined.
L lists known servers and current default server.
The following group of optional parameters determines the kind of
search performed on the database. They are mutually exclusive.
s a match occurs if the file/directory name contains string.
The search is case insensitive.
c as above, but the search is case sensitive.
e string must EXACTLY match (including case) the file/
directory name in the database. This is the DEFAULT search
r searches the database using pattern. It contains special
characters which must be interpreted before performing the
There may be slight differences in the options available with
different clients on different platforms.
The result is a list of FTP site addresses which contain files or
directories matching the argument, together with the size of the
file, its last modification date and its directory. By default,
the list is sorted by host address. See the Examples section
below for an example of archie output.
You can use Telnet to connect to an archie server interactively
(see the list of servers in the section How to get to ARCHIE
above). At the login: prompt enter archie. The login procedure
leaves the user at the prompt archie> indicating that the server
is ready for user requests.
Archie servers respond to the commands listed below; the way they
respond can be defined using the special command set, which
changes the values of a set of variables described at the end of
The following commands are available:
exit, quit, bye
invokes the on-line help. If a command-name is
given, the help request is restricted to that com-
mand. Pressing the RETURN key exits from the on-
provides a list of the FTP servers in the database
and the time at which they were last updated. The
result is a list of site names, with the site IP
address and date of the last update in the data-
base. The optional parameter limits the list to
sites matching pattern: the command list with no
pattern will list all sites in the database (more
than 1000 sites!). E.g.
will list all German sites
lists the directories and subdirectories held in
the database from a particular site-name. The
result may be very long.
whatis string searches the database of software package descrip-
tions for string. The search is case-insensitive.
prog string | pattern
find(+) string | pattern
searches the database for string or pattern.
Searches may be performed in a number of different
ways specified in the variable search, which also
determines whether the parameter is treated as a
string or as a pattern. The search produces a list
of FTP site addresses which contain filenames
matching the pattern or containing the string, the
size of the file, its last modification date and
its directory path. The number of matches is lim-
ited by the maxhits variable. The list can be
sorted in different ways, depending on the value
of the sortby variable. By default, the variables
search, maxhits and sortby are set to, respective-
ly, exact match search on string, 1000 hits and
unsorted resulting list. A search can be aborted
by typing the keyboard interrupt character; the
list produced at that point will be displayed. See
the Examples section below for an example of the
prog command and its results.
places the result of the last command in a mail
message and dispatches specified e-mail
address(es). If no mail address is specified as a
parameter, the result is sent to the address spec-
ified in the variable mailto.
displays the value of the given variable. If
issued with no argument, it displays all vari-
ables. The archie variables are shown below with
the details of the set command.
set variable value
changes the value of the specified archie vari-
able. The variables specify how other archie com-
mands should operate.
Variables and values are:
specifies the compression method (none or com-
press) to be used before mailing a result with the
mail command. The default is none.
specifies the encoding method (none or uuencode)
to be used before mailing a result with the mail
command. This variable is ignored if compress is
not set. The default is none.
mailto email <,email2 ...>
specifies the e-mail address(es) to be used when
the mail command is issued with no arguments.
specifies the maximum number of matches prog will
generate (within the range 0 to 1000). The default
value is 1000.
determines the kind of search performed on the
database by the command: prog string | pattern.
sub a partial and case insensitive search is
performed with string on the database,
"is" will match "islington" and "this" and
as above but the search is case sensitive,
"TeX" will match "LaTeX" but not "Latex"
exact the parameter of prog (string) must EXACTLY
match the string in the database (including
case). The fastest search method of all,
and the default.
regex pattern is used as a Unix regular expres-
sion to match filenames during the database
describes how to sort the result of prog.
hostname on the FTP site address in lexical
time by the modification date, most
size by the size of the files or direc-
tories in the list, largest first.
filename on file or directory name in lexi-
none unsorted (default)
Reverse sorts can be carried out by pre-
pending r to the sortby value given (e.g.
rhostname instead of hostname).
term terminal-type >
tells the archie server what type of termi-
nal you are using, and optionally its size
in rows and columns, e.g.:
set term xterm 24 100
Using electronic mail:
Users limited to electronic mail connectivity can access the
archie servers. The domain addresses of the servers are listed in
the section How to get to ARCHIE (e.g. email@example.com).
The electronic mail interface to an archie server recognizes a
subset of the commands described in Using Telnet. These are
described below. An empty message, or a message containing no
valid requests, is treated as a help request.
Archie commands are sent in the body part of the mail message,
but the Subject: line is processed as if it were part of the main
body. Command lines begin in the first column; all lines that do
not match a valid command are ignored.
help sends you the help file. The help command is exclusive,
so other commands in the same message are ignored.
set mailto(+) return-address
specifies a return e-mail address different from that
which is extracted from the message header. If you do
not receive a reply from the archie server within sev-
eral hours, you might need to add a path command to
your message request.
requests a list of the sites in the database that match
pattern, with the time at which they were last updated.
The result is a list with site names, sites IP address-
es and date of each site's last update in the database.
lists the directories and subdirectories of site-name
in the database.
searches the descriptions of software packages for each
string. The search is case insensitive.
uses pattern as a Unix regular expression to be matched
when searching the database. If multiple patterns are
placed on one line, the results will be mailed back in
one message. If several lines are sent, each containing
a prog command, then multiple messages will be
returned, one for each prog line. Results are sorted by
FTP site address in lexical order. If pattern contains
spaces, it must be quoted with single (') or double (")
quotes. The search is case insensitive.
causes the result of the current request to be com-
pressed and uuencoded. When you receive the reply, you
should run it through uudecode, to produce a .Z file.
You can then run uncompress on the .Z file and get the
result of your request.
set compress(+) compress-method
specifies the compression method (none or compress) to
be used before mailing the result of the current
request. The default is none.
set encode(+) encode-method
specifies the encoding method (none or uuencode) to be
used before mailing the result of the current request.
This variable is ignored if compress is not set. The
default is none.
Note: set compress compress and set encode uuencode
would produce the same result as the former compress
quit nothing past this point is interpreted. Useful if a
signature is automatically appended at the end of your
Description of pattern
A pattern is a specification of a character string which includes
characters which take a special meaning. The special meaning is
lost when "\" is put before the character. The special characters
. (period) this is the wildcard character that
replaces any single character, e.g. "...." will match
any 4-character string.
(caret) if "" appears at the beginning of the
pattern, then only strings which start with the substr-
ing following the "" will match the pattern. If
the substring occurs anywhere else in the string it
does not match the pattern, e.g.:
"efghi" will match "efghi" or "efghijlk" but
$ (dollar) if "$" appears at the end of the pattern, then
the searched string must end with the substring preced-
ing the "$". If the substring occurs anywhere else in
the searched string, it is not considered to match,
"efghi$" will match "efghi" or "abcdefghi" but not
If you are using an archie client, and enter the command:
archie -s eudora
or if you send, by e-mail or during a Telnet session, the com-
then archie will send you the following results:
Host ftp.ascii.co.jp (18.104.22.168)
Last updated 03:38 8 Aug 1993
DIRECTORY drwxrwxr-x 2048 bytes 00:00 6 May 1992 eudora
Host ftp.ascii.co.jp (22.214.171.124)
Last updated 03:38 8 Aug 1993
FILE -r--r--r-- 281139 bytes 00:00 21 Oct 1991 eudo-
Host ftp.ci.ua.pt (126.96.36.199)
Last updated 04:53 9 Aug 1993
FILE -rw-r--r-- 438 bytes 12:04 10 Jul 1993 Eudora1.3.readme
Host ftp.ci.ua.pt (188.8.131.52)
Last updated 04:53 9 Aug 1993
FILE -rw-r--r-- 278912 bytes 12:04 10 Jul 1993 Eudo-
If you send the command list \.de$ by e-mail or in a Telnet ses-
sion, then you will get the following results:
alice.fmi.uni-passau.de 184.108.40.206 12:31 8 Aug 1993
askhp.ask.uni-karlsruhe.de 220.127.116.11 12:25 8 Aug 1993
athene.uni-paderborn.de 18.104.22.168 15:21 6 Aug 1993
bseis.eis.cs.tu-bs.de 22.214.171.124 00:18 31 Jul 1993
clio.rz.uni-duesseldorf.de 126.96.36.199 12:10 8 Aug 1993
cns.wtza-berlin.de 188.8.131.52 16:08 31 Jul 1993
If you send the command whatis compression by e-mail or in a Tel-
net session, then you will get the following results:
RFC 468 Braden, R.T. FTP data compression 1973 March 8; 5p.
arc PC compression program
deltac Image compression using delta modulation
spl Splay tree compression routines
squeeze A file compression program
uncrunch Uncompression program
unsqueeze Uncompression programs
Learning more about ARCHIE
However you communicate with the archie server, on-line help is
If you have any questions about archie, write to the Archie
Group, Bunyip Information Systems Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bug reports, comments, suggestions, etc. should be mailed to
email@example.com. In addition, the database administrator
at a particular archie server can be contacted at
Mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe send a mail to: email@example.com
Archie was developed by Alan Emtage, Peter Deutsch, and Bill Hee-
lan from the McGill University Computing Center, Canada. Archie
is now supported by Bunyip Information System Inc., Canada.