Chapter BC2. File Transfer and Sharing

Sooner or later, you're going to want to copy a file to or from another computer system. In pre-networking and pre-e-mail days (which you may not even remember), this usually involved writing a copy of the file to removable media of some sort, such as a floppy disk, carrying that floppy from one system to the other, and then copying the file from the floppy disk to the other system. This was known as "sneaker net"—you just can't beat that nerd humor!

Today, thanks to the fact that networking is almost ubiquitous and that most businesses and many homes have their own networks, electronic file transfer is an important capability. As you'd expect, there are many ways to transfer or copy files between systems, ranging from point-to-point file transfers to the peer-to-peer (P2P) file transfers much beloved of the music and film industries. In point-to-point file transfers, you explicitly copy a file from one system to another, and you therefore know the addresses or identities of both hosts. In peer-to-peer file transfer, groups of systems share files with each other without necessarily knowing or caring about the specific systems from which they are getting the files or to which they are sending them. In peer-to-peer file transfers, somebody obviously has to know what hosts are sharing ...

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