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Re: EMAIL != FTP
From: Valdis.Kletnieks () vt edu
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 02:32:13 -0400


On Fri, 25 May 2001 16:03:21 PDT, Scott Francis said:
that's why ftp is needed. Fourth, you probably wouldn't have shell access
and ftp space from your provider with a regular account. Fifth, assuming

you don't NEED shell access or ftp space! Just click the link in your email,
or copy/paste to your browser, and *poof* the file is on your local machine.

I do believe he meant that "you as the user *sending* the file need
shell access and FTP space".

And there's something that people are overlooking here - the *clean up*
afterwards.  Sure - I can upload the file to a server and send an e-mail
with a pointer to it.

BUT WHEN AND HOW DOES THAT FILE GET CLEANED UP?

This is particularly interesting in the case of multiple recipients.
Just yesterday, I had to send a draft of a white paper out to some 25
people who wanted to review it.  Point, click, attach, send - and now
I am *fairly* confident that unless I get a bounce message back, that
all 25 people have a copy (no, it's not perfect, but things usually
work quite well - it either arrives or bounces - mail evaporating is
quite rare in the global scheme of things).

Now let's say I had uploaded it to a server.  When do I know that it's
safe to remove it?  If I wait 3 days and remove it, I've possibly
screwed somebody over.  Forget that - I'll just leave it on the server
indefinitely.  So now instead of needing 1M of spool space for the few
minutes it takes to send it out, I'm tying up 1M of spool space
until I clean it up by hand.  Somehow, this is just *screaming* a
"tragedy of the commons" scaling failure at me ;)

Oh - and did I mention that the prior business relationship with most
of these 25 was a business card from last week's SANS?  This means
that if I had uploaded it to a server, I'd have to worry about how
to grant access rights for that document.  I'm lucky that there's
nothing confidential in *that* white paper - I'm pretty sure that
I'd hit any number of snags and screw-up trying to put a .htaccess
restriction that actually worked....

                                Valdis Kletnieks
                                Operating Systems Analyst
                                Virginia Tech


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