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Tons of Files

Hundreds of systems connected to Internet have file libraries, or archives, accessible to the public. Much of this consists of free or low- cost shareware programs for virtually every make of computer. If you want a different communications program for your IBM, or feel like playing a new game on your Amiga, you'll be able to get it from the Net.

But there are also libraries of documents as well. If you want a copy of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, you can find it on the Net. Copies of historical documents, from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence are also yours for the asking, along with a translation of a telegram from Lenin ordering the execution of rebellious peasants. You can also find song lyrics, poems, even summaries of every "Lost in Space" episode ever made. You can also find extensive files detailing everything you could ever possibly want to know about the Net itself. First you'll see how to get these files; then we'll show you where they're kept.

The commonest way to get these files is through the file transfer protocol, or ftp. As with telnet, not all systems that connect to the Net have access to ftp. However, if your system is one of these, you'll be able to get many of these files through e-mail (see section Advanced E-mail).

Starting ftp is as easy as using telnet. At your host system's command line, type

ftp site.name

and hit enter, where "site.name" is the address of the ftp site you want to reach. One major difference between telnet and ftp is that it is considered bad form to connect to most ftp sites during their business hours (generally 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time). This is because transferring files across the network takes up considerable computing power, which during the day is likely to be needed for whatever the computer's main function is. There are some ftp sites that are accessible to the public 24 hours a day, though. You'll find these noted in the list of ftp sites (see section Some Interesting FTP Sites).

How do you find a file you want, though?

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