FTP server with advanced management features
June 5, 2002
Ghetto FTP server is a curious product, high on aspirations but still rather rough around the edges. FTP, the old File Transfer Protocol, is a workhorse protocol of the Internet, popular for transferring files between machines for over a decade. In recent years, many FTP servers become increasingly sophisticated, layering management and policy controls on top of the core act of transferring files. From ratios to bandwidth limits to user account management, most new FTP features involve policy in one way or another.
We don't know why CorbaSoft chose the name "Ghetto" for its server, or what it is trying to convey with its choice. Perhaps this word has newer connotations that the older Generation X'ers among us just aren't "down with." Installation of Ghetto FTP is simple enough, with its standard Windows installation wizard, and downright "Slim Shady" 742 KB installed footprint.
It's best to be brutally honest here: Ghetto FTP server's strongest asset is its clever on-line HTML documentation. Although Corba Software's Web site is riddled with badly written English, the company documented Ghetto FTP in a smart way -- creating online images of each configuration window, superimposing imagemap links over active areas of the screenshot. You can click on buttons as if they were the "real" application, and see pop-up help explanations. It's a smart idea, and a technique that would benefit many more online documentation efforts.
Ghetto FTP server itself, though, is labeled Beta and we sure hope that is the case. The interface is clunky with its strange nonstandard buttons and menus. We created a test log-in account and attempted to connect to the Ghetto FTP server from a remote Unix shell account, only to be caught in an infinite loop of messages from Ghetto FTP that read "Invalid reply:"
We will give Ghetto FTP this much: Its heart is in the right place. The server offers many advanced policy options typical of more successful FTP servers, including quotas, banning, and group settings; however, it does lack bandwidth metering. The server also offers two unusual and interesting features to the mix: The capability to instruct the server to shut down once all current downloads are complete (a feature Corba Software confusingly names "boot"), and an IP-level log of activity across multiple sessions.Considering that Corba Software's Web site implies that the final release will not be a free download, it's hard to see how Ghetto FTP server (in its current state) will be competitive with other advanced FTP servers for Windows, especially G6 FTP.
Pros: 7 Tiny footprint, could run from a floppy, 7 high aspirations with features typically found in advanced FTP servers, 7 clever online documentation model worthy of emulation
Cons: 7 Rough around the edges, 7 its nonstandard aesthetics and most features implemented better are better in competing and cost-free products.