The Archie Server

Zen and the Art of the Internet

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The archie Server
archie is always in lowercase
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.  (FTP-by-Mail Servers, for info on using FTPmail
 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. {See Telnet, for notes on using the telnet program.} They
include (New York, USA) (New Jersey, USA) (Maryland, USA) (Nebraska, USA) (the first Archie server, in Canada) (Finland) (Australia) (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:
Host   (
Last updated 10:30  7 Jan 1992
Location: /packages/X/contrib
FILE      rw-r--r--     15548  Oct  8 20:29   vine.tar.Z
Host   (
Last updated 05:07  4 Jan 1992
Location: /pub/X11/contrib
FILE      rw-rw-r--     15548  Nov  8 03:25   vine.tar.Z