Subject: Re: ftp(1) man page
To: None <>
From: David H. Gutteridge <>
List: netbsd-docs
Date: 01/20/2004 18:04:34
As a point of clarification, my second paragraph really refers to the 
behaviour of ftp when it's making use of the .netrc file.  It seems mostly 
applicable to macdefs created inside an interactive ftp session as well, 
though users can define a macro without a corresponding machine definition 
and use it in a subsequent connection.  After the connection is closed, the 
macdef gets deleted.


>Subject: ftp(1) man page
>To: None <>
>From: David H. Gutteridge <>
>List: netbsd-docs
>Date: 01/20/2004 16:06:36
>A problem with the ftp(1) man page across the various Un*x systems I've 
>used (NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Linux, HP-UX) is that the discussion of the 
>macdef command is missing important information.  Specifically, although 
>the man page notes that "there is a limit of 16 macros and 4096 total 
>characters in all defined macros", it doesn't mention that macdef names are 
>allotted a maximum of eight characters.  (Another way of putting it would 
>be that only the first eight characters provide unique identification.)
>It also doesn't note that macdefs have to be associated with a preceding 
>machine definition (except for "init" I infer), and are not generically 
>applicable to any machine definition (or indeed any session not associated 
>with a machine definition).  One might possibly infer the latter point 
>(which I find rather counterintuitive) from reading the .netrc-specific 
>section on machine definitions, but it's very subtle.  (I literally wasted 
>an hour trying to figure out why a colleague's .netrc file wouldn't work on 
>Solaris 7 before I resorted to looking at the NetBSD implementation for 
>I assume there's no central clearing-house for this sort of information 
>anymore, rather, each of these flavours of Un*x used the same BSD 4.x man 
>page and continue to do so without having updated it in a long time.  
>(Given all the flavours I listed above effectively provide the same man 
>My question to the NetBSD developers is: do you agree the documentation 
>should be updated to include these caveats?  (I don't see why not, but 
>maybe there's something I'm missing.)  If so, I will provide a suggested 
>patch for the man page.
>David Gutteridge

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