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Moving Files In Linux
The Low Security Family
May 22, 2003
Let's face it, most of us are in a rut when it comes to moving our files around. We learned how to use a simple FTP client years ago, and maybe even updated to a GUI FTP client when we were feeling particularly adventurous. There are actually a wealth of tools available for transferring files, and some of them perform automation functions that can easily assist your business in building site mirrors, synchronizing directory contents, and more.
Keep in mind that for many of the tools covered here, there's only really room to skim through their features. Some, such as wget and rsync, are full of useful capabilities for those brave enough to read their man pages and experiment.
I typically try to de-emphasize low security solutions, but there are times when they're perfectly acceptable. Rare times, but they have their uses, such as on a limited network that isn't connected to the outside world, and where you're not worried about someone having installed a packet sniffer. Another time these can be useful is when you really don't care if someone is listening: for example, when setting up a mirror for a publicly accessible web or FTP site, or keeping a directory's contents synchronized with such a site.
These lower security tools include lftp, rcp, rsync, and wget. Many of these programs can handle more than just FTP connections, and some even have their own shell-like syntax for sophisticated use. Let's take a look at how to use each of these, and also at when they are most useful and when you want to hold out for a more secure solution.