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Brian Masney

This document is intended to answer questions that are likely to be frequently
asked by users of gFTP.

  Table of Contents

  1. General_Information

        1.1. What_are_the_requirements_to_run_gFTP?

        1.2. How_do_I_install_gFTP?

        1.3. What_systems_is_gFTP_known_to_run_on?

        1.4. Does_gFTP_have_a_SVN_repository?

        1.5. How_do_I_report_bugs_in_gFTP?

        1.6. How_do_I_force_running_the_text_or_gtk+_version_of_gFTP?

        1.7. Is_there_a_way_for_gFTP_to_download_a_bunch_of_files/directories

        1.8. In_the_GTK+_version_of_gFTP,_do_I_have_to_enter_a_port,_username

        1.9. Where_does_gFTP_store_it's_options?

        1.10. Why_aren't_the_file_sizes_comma_separated?

        1.11. When_using_an_external_editor,_gFTP_does_not_detect_changes_that

        1.12. How_can_I_increase_the_size_of_the_fonts_in_gFTP?

        1.13. I_can't_transfer_certain_file_types_in_binary_mode_using_the_FTP

  2. FTP_Protocol

        2.1. When_gFTP_tries_to_get_the_remote_directory_listing,_the_remote

        2.2. When_gFTP_tries_to_get_the_remote_directory_listing,_I_receive_the

  3. HTTP_Protocol

        3.1. How_do_I_set_up_my_HTTP_Proxy_server?

  4. SSH_Protocol

        4.1. gFTP_will_not_log_into_the_remote_SSH_server_when_using_a_non-

        4.2. I'm_having_problems_getting_SSH2_transfers_to_work._I_keep_getting

        4.3. What_is_the_difference_between_the_SSH_and_SSH2_protocols?

  5. SSL_Issues

        5.1. When_using_the_FTPS_or_HTTPS_protocol,_gFTP_cannot_connect_if_the

  6. Compiling_Problems

        6.1. When_I_try_to_compile_gFTP,_I_see_undefined_symbol


Chapter 1. General Information

1.1. What are the requirements to run gFTP?

* GTK+ 1.2.3 or higher. GTK+/Glib is included with most systems now. If you
  don't have it installed, you may want to check to see if your vendor has a
  package available. If not, you can download the latest version of GTK+ and
  Glib from gFTP will work with either version 1.2
  or 2.x of GTK+, but I would recommend using GTK+ 2.x.
* pthread libraries. Most systems already satisfy this requirement. If you are
  on a platform other than Linux, you may want to take a look at the FSU
  Pthreads library at


1.2. How do I install gFTP?

* If you do not want to compile gFTP yourself, you can check my webpage. I have
  DEBs for Debian and RPMs for RedHat available. If you're looking for Solaris
  binaries, check out
* If you are compiling gFTP yourself, extract the files from the distribution
  with tar -zxvf gftp-<version>.tar.gz
* Go to the gftp-<version> directory and type
  The configure script will generate a Makefile for your machine, and make will
  compile a binary for your machine. By default, when you run configure, it
  will install gFTP with the prefix /usr/local, so the gFTP binary will be /
  usr/local/bin/gftp. You can change this by typing configure --prefix=/usr,
  and it will then install the gFTP binary to /usr/bin/gftp.
* If the compile suceeds without any errors, you can type make install to
  install the binary. This will also copy some necessary files to <install
  prefix>/share/gftp. If you do not have root on your machine to install these
  files, copy the contents of the docs/sample.gftp/ directory to ~/.gftp.
* You may want to glance at the USERS-GUIDE file that comes with this
  distribution. It contains a little bit of information about how to use it.


1.3. What systems is gFTP known to run on?

I develop gFTP on a Debian GNU/Linux machine. It should run under any other
Linux distributions. Here is a list of other platforms I have received
successful compile reports:

* Solaris
* Digital UNIX
* HP/UX 11

If gFTP compiles and runs on a platform not listed here, please email me about
it and I'll add it to this list. If you are having problems compiling GTK+ or
gFTP on another platform, try using GNU make instead of your vendor supplied

1.4. Does gFTP have a SVN repository?

gFTP is stored in GNOME's SVN repository. For instructions on how to setup your
subversion client, visit the website
In a nutshell, you will need to run the following command to download the
latest code:
svn co gftp
To compile the SVN code, you will need autoconf, automake and gettext installed
on your system. Once you have those packages installed, run the following
series of commands:

* Run ./ to generate the configure scripts.
* If that is successful, run ./configure to generate the Makefiles. By default,
  the binaries will be installed in /usr/local/bin. You can change the install
  location by passing the --prefix argument to configure. For example, let's
  say you want to install the binaries in /usr/bin. Run configure --prefix=/
* If that is successful, run make to build the source.
* Optional: If that is successful, run make install to install the binary on
  your computer.


1.5. How do I report bugs in gFTP?

If you find ANY bugs in gFTP, please check to make sure that you are using the
latest version of gFTP. If you are, please submit all bug reports to GNOME's
Bugzilla. When sending in bug reports, please try to be as descriptive as
possible. Send me what OS/version you are running, what compiler you are
compiling with, the output of gftp --info and any other important information.
If you get gFTP to crash, it would be very helpful if you could send me a
backtrace. If you do not know how to do a backtrace, download the source code
from my website. Edit the Makefile, and make sure that -g appears in the CFLAGS
variable. Then recompile gFTP, but do NOT run make install because it will
install a stripped binary in $PREFIX/bin. Then type gdb ./gftp. Once you have a
(gdb) prompt, type r. When gFTP crashes, go back to that terminal window, and
type bt, and put that output in the bug that you file with bugzilla.
I also have a gftp-users mailinglist setup. I have a link to the archives on my
main webpage. If it is strictly a bug report, please submit it to Bugzilla
instead of the mailinglist. Bugs that are submitted to bugzilla are much easier
for me to track.
Also, if you do not get a response back from me immediately, that is not
uncommon. I usually stay very busy and I don't get to work on gFTP all of the

1.6. How do I force running the text or gtk+ version of gFTP?

To run the text port, you can type gftp-text or to run the gtk+ port, you can
run the gftp-gtk. The gftp command is just a shell script that checks if your
DISPLAY variable is set, and if so it'll run the appropriate version.

1.7. Is there a way for gFTP to download a bunch of files/directories and then
exit when it's completed?

Yes, the text port of gFTP supports this well. You can type:
gftp-text -d
If someplace is a directory, it'll automatically download all of its
subdirectories as well. If you want to transfer a file through ssh instead of
ftp, just change the ftp:// to ssh://.

1.8. In the GTK+ version of gFTP, do I have to enter a port, username and
password to connect to a ftp server?

No you don't. If you leave the port blank, it'll default to the default port
for the protocol you selected (port 21 for FTP). If you leave the username
blank, it will default to logging in as anonymous.

1.9. Where does gFTP store it's options?

gFTP will automatically create a ~/.gftp directory when it is first run. Your
config file is ~/.gftp/gftprc, and this is where all of gFTP's settings are
stored. The config file is well commented, so take a glance at it and see if
there is anything you want to change. Your bookmarks are stored in the file
Every time gFTP is run, it will log the contents of the log window to ~/.gftp/
gftp.log. The contents of this file will be automatically purged this file when
gFTP is started up.

1.10. Why aren't the file sizes comma separated?

If gFTP was compiled with _GNU_SOURCE defined (run gftp --info), then gFTP will
use the printf() modifier %'ld. If your LANG environment is set to C, then no
commas will be inserted. If you are in the US, change your LANG environment
variable to en_US.

1.11. When using an external editor, gFTP does not detect changes that are
being made to the file.

Look at the man page for the editor you are using and see if there is a command
line argument to have the editor run in the foreground (it won't fork to detact
from the current terminal). If you are using one of the graphical VIM editors,
you can add the --nofork argument.

1.12. How can I increase the size of the fonts in gFTP?

You can use the gnome-font-properties program to change the fonts used by all
GTK+ 2.x applications.

1.13. I can't transfer certain file types in binary mode using the FTP

Edit your ~/.gftp/gftprc file and look at the ext= lines towards the bottom of
the file. These lines control what icon is used for each file type. It also
controls what mode is used for the file transfer. For example, to transfer all
HTML files as binary, change the following two lines:
to the following:

Chapter 2. FTP Protocol

2.1. When gFTP tries to get the remote directory listing, the remote server
complains about either the -a or -L argument to LIST.

If the server is complaining about the -L option, go under FTP->Options->FTP
and disable resolve remote symlinks. If it is complaining about the -a option,
go to FTP->Options->General and disable show hidden files.

2.2. When gFTP tries to get the remote directory listing, I receive the error:
Cannot create a data connection: Connection refused

Go under FTP->Options->FTP and turn off passive file transfers. Instead of
sending the PASV command to open up the data connection on the server side, the
data connection will be opened up on the client side, and the PORT command will
be sent to the server instead.

Chapter 3. HTTP Protocol

3.1. How do I set up my HTTP Proxy server?

Go under FTP->Options and hit the FTP tab. Enter HTTP as the proxy type and
fill in your proxy server info on that screen. Then hit the HTTP tab and enter
your same proxy server info there.

Chapter 4. SSH Protocol

4.1. gFTP will not log into the remote SSH server when using a non-English

Note: This answer only applies to versions of gFTP >= 2.0.18
You will need to download the source code to gFTP and edit the appropriate po/
<lang>.po file. You will need to make sure the following strings are translated
exactly as they appear in the SSH client.

* Enter passphrase for RSA key
* Enter passphrase for key
* Password
* password

Please upload the changes to the PO file to GNOME's SVN or email me the updated
PO file. If you email me the updates, please make sure that you grab the latest
PO file from SVN.

4.2. I'm having problems getting SSH2 transfers to work. I keep getting the
error: Error: Message size XXXXXXXX too big from server

Note: This answer only applies to versions of gFTP <= 2.0.17
What probably is the problem, sftp-server isn't in your path on the remote
server. When you try to connect to the remote server, you'll see the command
gFTP is trying to run, and it'll look something like:
ssh -e none -l username hostname "echo -n xsftp ; sftp-server"
Try running this command. If you get a prompt asking:
The authenticity of host 'hostname (###.###.###.###)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
Tell it yes. gFTP won't even try to answer this question for you at the moment.
Then, if you get the following output:
Enter passphrase for key '/home/brian/.ssh/id_dsa':
bash: sftp-server: command not found
You'll have to set the path to the sftp-server program. Alternatively you could
go under FTP->Options->SSH and enable Use sftp subsys. If you enable this, then
you don't have to know the remote path to your sftp executable. But if you
enable this, gFTP won't be able to send your password over to the ssh client.
So if you're not using ssh-agent, then ssh will spawn the ssh-askpass program
to grab your password.

4.3. What is the difference between the SSH and SSH2 protocols?

Note: This answer only applies to versions of gFTP <= 2.0.15
The SSH protocol uses sftp >= 0.7 from SSH2 uses the
native file transfers found in the commercial SSH2 and in later versions of
OpenSSH. The SSH2 protocol uses the sftp-server executable on the remote host
and the SSH protocol uses the sftpserv executable.
Note: Due to confusion, the origional SSH protocol was removed in gFTP 2.0.15.
It is not shown in gFTP 2.0.14, but there is a config option called
enable_old_ssh to enable this protocol.

Chapter 5. SSL Issues

5.1. When using the FTPS or HTTPS protocol, gFTP cannot connect if the remote
server uses a self signed certificate.

You must add the public key of your self signed CA to your OpenSSL certs
directory. On my Debian box, the OpenSSL certs are installed in /usr/lib/ssl/

Chapter 6. Compiling Problems

6.1. When I try to compile gFTP, I see undefined symbol libintl_gettext. Or,
another error is undefined symbol LC_ALL.

Try running
make distclean ; configure --with-included-gettext.
You could alternatively pass
to configure, and internationalization support will not be compiled in.