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ncftpspooler(1)                      General Commands Manual                      ncftpspooler(1)

       ncftpspooler - Global batch FTP job processor daemon

       ncftpspooler -d [options]

       ncftpspooler -l [options]

   Command line flags:
       -d      Begin background processing of FTP jobs in the designated FTP job queue directory.

       -q XX   Use  this option to specify a directory to use as the FTP job queue instead of the
               default directory, /var/spool/ncftp.

       -o XX   Use this option to specify a filename to use as the log file.   By  default,  (and
               rather inappropriately) the program simply uses a file called log in the job queue
               directory.  If you don't want a log, use this option to specify /dev/null.

       -l      Lists the contents of the job queue directory.

       -s XX   When the job queue is empty, the program sleeps 120 seconds and then checks  again
               to  see  if a new job has been submitted.  Use this option to change the number of
               seconds used for this delay.

       The ncftpspooler program evolved from the ncftpbatch program.  The ncftpbatch program  was
       originally  designed as a ``personal FTP spooler'' which would process a single background
       job a particular user and exit when it finished; the ncftpspooler program  is  a  ``global
       FTP spooler'' which stays running and processes background jobs as they are submitted.

       The  job  queue directory is monitored for specially-named and formatted text files.  Each
       file serves as a single FTP job.  The name of the job file contains the type  of  FTP  job
       (get or put), a timestamp indicating the earliest the job should be processed, and option‐
       ally some additional information to make it easier to create  unique  job  files  (i.e.  a
       sequence  number).   The  contents  of  the  job files have information such as the remote
       server machine to FTP to, username, password, remote pathname, etc.

       Your job queue directory must be readable and writable by the user that you  plan  to  run
       ncftpspooler as, so that jobs can be removed or renamed within the queue.

       More  importantly,  the  user that is running the program will need adequate privileges to
       access the local files that are involved in the FTPing.  I.e., if your spooler is going to
       be processing jobs which upload files to remote servers, then the user will need read per‐
       mission on the local files that will be uploaded (and directory access permission the par‐
       ent directories).  Likewise, if your spooler is going to be processing jobs which download
       files, then the user would need to be able to write to the local directories.

       Once you have created your spool directory with appropriate  permissions  and  ownerships,
       you can run ncftpspooler -d to launch the spooler daemon.  You can run additional spoolers
       if you want to process more than FTP job from the same job queue directory simultaneously.
       You  can  then  monitor  the  log file (i.e., using tail -f ) to track the progress of the
       spooler.  Most of the time it won't be doing anything, unless job files have  appeared  in
       the job queue directory.

       When  the ncftpspooler program monitors the job queue directory, it ignores any files that
       do not follow the naming convention for job files.  The job files must be prefixed in  the
       format of X-YYYYMMDD-hhmmss where X denotes a job type, YYYY is the four-digit year, MM is
       the two-digit month number, DD is the two-digit day of the month, hh is the two-digit hour
       of  the day (00-23), mm is the two-digit minute, and ss is the two-digit second.  The date
       and time represent the earliest time you want the job to be run.

       The job type can be g for a get (download from remote host), or p  for   aput  (upload  to
       remote host).

       As  an  example,  if  you wanted to schedule an upload to occur at 11:45 PM on December 7,
       2001, a job file could be named


       In practice, the job files include additional information such as  a  sequence  number  or
       process ID.  This makes it easier to create unique job file names.  Here is the same exam‐
       ple, with a process ID and a sequence number:


       When submitting job files to the queue directory, be sure to use a  dash  character  after
       the hhmmss field if you choose to append any additional data to the job file name.

       Job  files are ordinary text files, so that they can be created by hand.  Each line of the
       file is a key-pair in the format variable=value, or is a comment line  beginning  with  an
       octothorpe character (#), or is a blank line.  Here is an example job file:

           # This is a NcFTP spool file entry.

       Job  files  are  flexible  since  they  follow  an easy-to-use format and do not have many
       requirements, but there are a few mandatory parameters that must appear for the spooler to
       be able to process the job.

       op      The operation (job type) to perform.  Valid values are get and put.

               The  remote  host  to  FTP  to.   This  may  be  an IP address or a DNS name (i.e.

       For a regular get job, these parameters are required:

               The pathname of the file to download from the remote server.

               The pathname to use on the local server for the downloaded file.

       For a regular put job, these parameters are required:

               The pathname of the file to upload to the remote server.

               The pathname to use on the remote server for the uploaded file.

       For a recursive get job, these parameters are required:

               The pathname of the file or directory to download from the remote server.

               The directory pathname to use on the local server to contain the downloaded items.

       For a recursive put job, these parameters are required:

               The pathname of the file or directory to upload to the remote server.

               The directory pathname to use on the remote server to contain the uploaded items.

       The rest of the parameters are optional.  The  spooler  will  attempt  to  use  reasonable
       defaults for these parameters if necessary.

       user    The  username to use to login to the remote server.  Defaults to ``anonymous'' for
               guest access.

       pass    The password to use in conjunction with  the  username  to  login  to  the  remote

       acct    The account to use in conjunction with the username to login to the remote server.
               The need to specify this parameter is extremely rare.

       port    The port number to use in conjunction with the remote hostname to connect  to  the
               remote server.  Defaults to the standard FTP port number, 21.

       host-ip The  IP  address  to use in conjunction with the remote hostname to connect to the
               remote server.  This parameter can be used in place of the hostname parameter, but
               one or the other must be used.  This parameter is commonly included along with the
               hostname parameter as supplemental information.

       xtype   The transfer type to use.  Defaults to binary transfer type (TYPE I).  Valid  val‐
               ues are I for binary, A for ASCII text.

       passive Whether  to use FTP passive data connections (PASV) or FTP active data connections
               (PORT).  Valid values are 0 for active, 1 for passive, or 2 to try  passive,  then
               fallback to active.  The default is 2.

               This  can  be  used to transfer entire directory trees.  By default, only a single
               file is transferred.  Valid values are yes or no.

       delete  This can be used to delete the source file on the source  machine  after  success‐
               fully  transferring the file to the destination machine.  By default, source files
               are not deleted.  Valid values are yes or no.

               This isn't used by the program, but can be used by an entity  which  is  automati‐
               cally  generating  job files.  As an example, when using the -bbb flag with ncftp‐
               put, it creates a job file on stdout with a job-name parameter so you  can  easily
               copy  the  file  to the job queue directory with the suggested job name as the job
               file name.


               These parameters correspond to the -W, and -Y options of  ncftpget  and  ncftpput.
               It is important to note that these refer to RFC959 File Transfer Protocol commands
               and not shell commands, nor commands used from within /usr/bin/ftp or ncftp.


               These parameters provide hooks so you can run a custom program  when  an  item  is
               processed  by  the  spooler.   Valid values are pathnames to scripts or executable
               programs.  Note that the value must not contain any command-line arguments  --  if
               you  want  to do that, create a shell script and have it run your program with the
               command-line arguments it requires.

       Generally speaking, post-shell-command is much more useful than pre-shell-command since if
       you  need  to  use  these options you're more likely to want to do something after the FTP
       transfer has completed rather than before.  For example, you might want  to  run  a  shell
       script  which  pages an administrator to notify her that her 37 gigabyte file download has

       When your custom program is run, it receives on standard input the  contents  of  the  job
       file  (i.e.  several  lines  of  variable=value key-pairs), as well as additional data the
       spooler may provide, such as a result key-pair with a textual  description  of  the  job's
       completion status.

       post-shell-command update a log file named /var/log/ncftp_spooler.

           #!/usr/bin/perl -w

           my ($line);
           my (%params) = ();

           while (defined($line = <STDIN>)) {
                $params{$1} = $2
                     if ($line =~ /^([^=\#\s]+)=(.*)/);

           if ((defined($params{"result"})) &&
             ($params{"result"} =~ /^Succeeded/))
                open(LOG, ">> /var/log/ncftp_spooler.log")
                     or exit(1);
                print LOG "DOWNLOAD" if ($params{"op"} eq "get");
                print LOG "UPLOAD" if ($params{"op"} eq "put");
                print LOG " ", $params{"local-file"}, "\n";

       The  log  file  should be examined to determine if any ncftpspooler processes are actively
       working on jobs.  The log contains copious amounts of useful  information,  including  the
       entire FTP control connection conversation between the FTP client and server.

       The recursive option may not be reliable since ncftpspooler depends on functionality which
       may or may not be present in the remote server software.  Additionally, even if the  func‐
       tionality is available, ncftpspooler may need to use heuristics which cannot be considered
       100% accurate.  Therefore it is best to create individual jobs for each file in the direc‐
       tory tree, rather than a single recursive directory job.

       For  resumption of downloads to work, the remote server must support the FTP SIZE and MDTM
       primitives.  Most modern FTP server software can do this, but there are still a number  of
       bare-bones  ftpd implementations which do not.  In these cases, ncftpspooler will re-down‐
       load the file in entirety each time until the download succeeds.

       The program needs to be improved to detect jobs that have no  chance  of  ever  completing
       successfully.   There  are  still  a  number  of  cases where jobs can get spooled but get
       retried over and over again until a vigilant sysadmin manually removes the jobs.

       The spool files may contain usernames and passwords  stored  in  cleartext.   These  files
       should not be readable by any user except the user running the program!

       Mike Gleason, NcFTP Software (http://www.ncftp.com).

       ncftpbatch(1), ncftp(1), ncftpput(1), ncftpget(1), uucp(1).

ncftpspooler                              NcFTP Software                          ncftpspooler(1)

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