SUMMARY: Problems with Sun's ftp sites

From: Matthew Atkinson (
Date: Thu Apr 29 1999 - 05:23:43 CDT

Dear All,

Thanks very much for the replies, which have completely solved the
riddle, but have left me (and others) very annoyed with Sun.

If you look at the "Check it out..." link from's
home page, you will see the answers to most of the problems I was
having. Included in this page is information that contract ftp has
been disabled, and suggesting that we use a utility called wget to
automatically get patches in the future.

According to the document, this is for security reasons, as, and I
quote "All services requiring login must be removed from our
servers". Instead of being able to just use ftp, we have to download
configure and compile a free utility called wget, which essentially
does ftp over http. But of course you can still only access patches
if you've got a contract, so you have to (yes you've guessed it!)
supply a login and password to wget, just as you do to access some
parts of the Sunsolve Web site. So much for removing all services
requiring login.

I therefore downloaded wget, and configured it and compiled it,
for I am fortunate to have a compiler installed on my system. Quite
why Sun cannot supply a pre-compiled version is beyond me. However,
the instructions for wget
( are
different today from yesterday, and now don't work! If you try to
download patchdiag.xref using today's instructions, you get two
html documents, neither of which is the right file. Yesterday's
instructions work fine, using the following line works okay for me:
wget -q --http-user=<sunsolve login> --http-passwd=<password> \
    -O patchdiag.xref \

Patches likewise can be retrieved by replacing patchdiag.xref
with for example 103934-09.tar.Z

Interestingly, as "ganeshan" pointed out, the patchdiag.xref file
has been reinstated onto the anonymous ftp site now, dated yesterday
at 08:00. I don't know which time zone this machine uses, but
assuming it's one of the American ones, this is approximately the
same time as I posted my original message. Coincidence.

I should also add that Sun haven't yet got back to me with the
answer to the problem. Maybe they didn't even tell their own staff!

Whilst this all now works, what really annoys me are the following:

1. Although I pay thousands of pounds a year for a Sun contract,
   they did not see fit to tell me about this major upheaval. I get
   deluged with Sun sales literature, so surely a letter wouldn't
   have been too much trouble, or even an e-mail?

2. It seems as if wget has been rushed through at the last minute,
   with the instructions given on the web page being complete
   rubbish, yet the correct instructions are given in the patchdiag
   user manual on the web site.

3. If they were going to rely upon a public utility, couldn't they
   have at least compiled it for us? They do the same with such
   things as sendmail, xntpd etc., so I don't see why they shouldn't
   do it with wget.

I'll be contacting my Sun contract rep. about these points, and
will let you know the outcome if it's at all interesting.


Matthew Atkinson                      Phone:  +44 (0) 1904 462120
Sun Systems Technical Administrator   Fax:    +44 (0) 1904 462111
Information Systems Team
Central Science Laboratory            E-mail:
Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, England  Web:

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