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Easy FTP passes to MPE

HP 3000s do lots of duty with data from outside the server. The 3000's FTP services sit ready to handle transfers from the world of Windows, as well as other systems, but PCs far outnumber the non-Windows computers networked to 3000s. Several good, free FTP clients on Windows communicate with the 3000, even though MPE/iX still has some unique "features" in its FTP server.

John Burke of Burke Consulting Services reported that his MPE/iX 6.5 HP 3000 emits a second line of text during an FTP session that can confuse one of the newer, more popular open source FTP clients, FileZilla:

FileZilla issues the PWD command to get the working directory information. On every other system I've tried, the result is something like 257 "home/openmpe" is the current working directory However, MPE responds with something like 257-"/SYSADMIN/PUB" is the current directory. 257 "MGR.SYSADMIN,PUB" is the current session. The second line appears to be confusing FileZilla because it reports the current directory as /MGR.SYSADMIN,PUB/, which of course does not work.

Craig Lalley took note of a worthy freeware program, WS-FTP from IP Switch. Another user suggested a free program from Whisper Technology, makers of The Programmer Studio development environment for HP 3000s. But an MPE setting even removed the problems that were choking up FileZilla.

Lalley, who runs the 3000 consultancy Echo Tech, offered this advice about WS-FTP, and another freeware offering:

I have used it for several years now, without any problems.  I also have used Bullet FTP and CuteFTP, both of which I think are free. Finally, I just tried the built in FTP with Interet Explorer (IE).  Don't go there.

Chris Thompson of The Internet Agency, another 3000-friendly vendor, echoed the praise of WS-FTP and added another resource from a company based in the UK;

WS-FTP is a really good product. I believe you can still get a free copy from this location: This is the Lite version. There is also the Professional 2006 version, which can be downloaded on trial from Also, try FTP Surfer which is freeware from Whisper Technology Limited. Usually we use this product to FTP to our 937. It's always worked well.

But as might be expected, there's a way to make HP's FTP behave in less unique and more compliant way. Lars Appel, who ported Samba to the HP 3000 and left HP's support team last year, delivered the answer that makes FileZilla work with the 3000:

John, have you tried the "SITE POSIX ON" command in your FTP session already (or the respective POSIX=ON setting in the SETPARMS.ARPA.SYS config file to change the default, in case the FileZilla session cannot issue "site")? See for details of this enhancement.

Burke reports that "POSIX = ON in the SETPARMS file did the trick, eliminating the message that confused FileZilla. I maintain (via FTP) a number of web sites on all kinds of different machines, including MPE, and it would be nice to use the same process. I've been using FileZilla for all my ad hoc ftp needs for some time now —works great to all manner of Unix, Windows and Linux systems."

HP's James Hofmeister, who's led the effort to keep FTP up to date on the 3000, took issue with claims that the 3000 doesn't play well with Web-based FTP clients:

Lots of work went into an implementation of the FTPSRVR to support web access to the 3000... The "SITE POSIX ON" command can be sent by a FTP client and the 3000 FTPSRVR will emit Posix "standard" FTP output and will react like a Posix host (including file naming conventions).

It also is possible as documented to specify "POSIX=ON" mode in the file and achieve this functionality system-wide for all non-3000 client to 3000 FTPSRVR connections; again the FTPSRVR will emit Posix "standard" FTP output and will react like a Posix host (including file naming conventions).

Warning:  Before you specify "POSIX=ON" mode in the file, make sure you read the FTPDOC file closely; as you are warned that MPE file syntax will "no longer" work; The 3000 FTPSRVR is acting in Posix mode.