There are many ways to get a file from Machine A to Machine B, ranging from good old-fashioned floppy disks to modern secure protocols that involve multiple authentication levels and specialized clients. Your choice depends on your environment, security needs, and user requirements. In this chapter, we focus on several network file transfer methods that are included in the Fedora Core distribution: FTP, SCP/SFTP/SSH, and WebDAV.
In the old days, files moved across networks through File Transfer Protocol, or FTP. Because security was not of particular concern in the days of trusted networks, FTP is a clear text protocol. Neither the file transfer nor any login authentication is encrypted. Clear text transfer methods are rapidly being replaced by encrypted text protocols, which scramble the transferring data as it passes across insecure network connections. A number of encrypted FTPs have been developed to replace FTP, such as SecureFTP (sftp) and SecureCopy (both based on SSH), FTP-SSL, and WebDAV over SSL.
Though this is a Linux book, this chapter contains some information about Microsoft FrontPage. Most Linux administrators consider FrontPage to be unstable, insecure, and broken, but we often have to administer it anyway. See the File Transfer Resource section at the end of the chapter for some help if you find yourself forced into this situation.