Opened 7 years ago

Closed 7 years ago

#59 closed enhancement (wontfix)

Support MLSD and MLST

Reported by: ftputiluser Owned by: schwa
Priority: major Milestone:
Component: Library Version:
Keywords: MLSD, MLST, stat Cc: andi@…

Description (last modified by schwa)

I'd like to second the request for supporting the MLSD and MLST commands if available as discussed at

Even though the LIST parser works fine, time resolution is very restricted to days for all files that weren't modified today. The MLS* commands solve that problem.

Change History (4)

comment:1 Changed 7 years ago by schwa

Hello Andi,

Thanks for entering the ticket.

Given what I wrote in my reply to the mail you mention I couldn't yet make up my mind on whether I want to implement MLSD/MLST support for stat/lstat.

How badly are you affected by the current admittedly rather limited precision for older directories and files? What workaround(s) do you use? I'd like to get a feeling for how important the feature is in practice.

comment:2 Changed 7 years ago by schwa

I've looked a bit more into this.

From now on, I'm always talking about getting information for a complete directory per request because that's the basis for the stat caching.

The response to MLSD for the PureFTPd server installed here looks like this:

type=cdir;sizd=4096;modify=20111120085556;UNIX.mode=0755;UNIX.uid=1004;UNIX.gid=1004;unique=805g41401c2; .
type=pdir;sizd=4096;modify=20111120085556;UNIX.mode=0755;UNIX.uid=1004;UNIX.gid=1004;unique=805g41401c2; ..
type=file;size=641;modify=20090722070212;UNIX.mode=0644;UNIX.uid=0;UNIX.gid=0;unique=805g41401d4; CONTENTS
type=OS.unix=slink:;size=11;modify=20090722070039;UNIX.mode=0777;UNIX.uid=0;UNIX.gid=0;unique=805g41401d2; broken_link
type=file;size=13705975;modify=20060817084836;UNIX.mode=0644;UNIX.uid=1004;UNIX.gid=1004;unique=805g41401d3; debian-keyring.tar.gz
type=dir;sizd=4096;modify=20070603143530;UNIX.mode=0755;UNIX.uid=1004;UNIX.gid=1004;unique=805g41401e3; dir with spaces
type=dir;sizd=4096;modify=20090722080040;UNIX.mode=0755;UNIX.uid=0;UNIX.gid=0;unique=805g41401e9; dir_with_broken_link
type=dir;sizd=4096;modify=20060128191352;UNIX.mode=0755;UNIX.uid=0;UNIX.gid=0;unique=805g41401e7; rootdir1
type=dir;sizd=4096;modify=20060128191443;UNIX.mode=0755;UNIX.uid=0;UNIX.gid=0;unique=805g41401d0; rootdir2
type=OS.unix=slink:;size=21;modify=20090722070029;UNIX.mode=0777;UNIX.uid=0;UNIX.gid=0;unique=805g41401e8; valid_link
type=dir;sizd=4096;modify=20090405163514;UNIX.mode=0755;UNIX.uid=1004;UNIX.gid=1004;unique=805g41401d5; walk_test

The corresponding DIR response is

-rw-r--r--    1 0          0                 641 Jul 22  2009 CONTENTS
lrwxrwxrwx    1 0          0                  11 Jul 22  2009 broken_link -> nonexistent
-rw-r--r--    1 1004       1004         13705975 Aug 17  2006 debian-keyring.tar.gz
drwxr-xr-x    3 1004       1004             4096 Jun  3  2007 dir with spaces
drwxr-xr-x    2 0          0                4096 Jul 22  2009 dir_with_broken_link
drwxr-xr-x    2 0          0                4096 Jan 28  2006 rootdir1
drwxr-xr-x    3 0          0                4096 Jan 28  2006 rootdir2
lrwxrwxrwx    1 0          0                  21 Jul 22  2009 valid_link -> debian-keyring.tar.gz
drwxr-xr-x    5 1004       1004             4096 Apr  5  2009 walk_test

Notable differences between the MLSD and the DIR response:

  • The specification for the MLSD and MLST commands doesn't seem to specify which facts (the term is from the RFC) should or even may be included in the response.
  • I was unable to find out whether the user id in the MLSD response is always or even usually the same as the corresponding column in the DIR output. More precisely, I wonder whether the user id may be a number in the MLSD response but a string in the DIR response.
  • At least in this specific example, the MLSD response doesn't contain link targets which are required for FTPHost.stat (which follows links) to work.

These differences mean that even if the remote server supports the MLSD command, the DIR request and the parsing of its response probably are still required. In other words, ftputil needs to send two directory requests and retrieve and process their responses. If the code using ftputil does relatively little file transfer in comparison to getting stat information this will slow down the FTP-related code. So the use of MLSD, even if it's supported by the server, may have to be optional.

comment:3 Changed 7 years ago by schwa

Description: modified (diff)
Summary: support MLSD and MLSTSupport MLSD and MLST

If MLSD support is to be implemented, it will most likely be done as follows:

  • Addition of an MLSD parser in
  • Extend ftp_stat._Stat._stat_results_from_dir so that after using DIR it tries to use MLSD to get more precise values for the time of the item's last modification. If the MLSD command turns out to be unsupported by the server or the MLSD response doesn't contain the modification time, set a flag so that MLSD isn't even tried again for this connection.
  • Add unit tests (usually in form of test-driven development during the implementation).
  • If the use of MLSD should be configurable by the user, extend FTPHost accordingly and describe the API in the documentation.

comment:4 Changed 7 years ago by schwa

Resolution: wontfix
Status: newclosed

Meanwhile I got some feedback by the original ticket author that he can work around the absence of MLSD/MLST with sufficient ease.

I close the ticket as "wontfix" for now. If someone runs into actual problems because of the lack of precision in the modification timestamps, please reopen the ticket and describe your problem in a comment.

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