File Snarf Protocol.
A file transfer protocol similar to FTP which was popular in the late 1980's and early 1990's. At the time, most users of The Internet were connected via universities or companies. Putting up a file on an anonymous FTP server required getting a fair amount of authorisation, which not everyone was willing or capable of getting. Also, as always, not all file transfers are legal -- and institutions care about those matters!

FSP was used mainly to transfer material, getting around these limitations. Having a high port number for the protocol was important (UN*X machines won't let a non-root process listen on a port with number <1024). For a while, FSP sites proliferated as a source for everything the institutions didn't want on the Internet, whether rightly or wrongly.

While it is affectionately known as the File Snarf Protocol it is more propertly called the File Service Protocol. The initials were thought of first, I'm guessing as an increment, alphabetically, of FTP. Some other suggestions for what FSP should stand for are File Slurping Protocol, Flaky Stream Protocol, and FTP's Sexier Partner.

A quote from the FAQ "FSP is what anonymous FTP *should* be".

It is a very feature rich alternative to FTP when anonymous connections are all that is needed. While it never really caught on I loved this protocol. I don't know that it was intended as a sneaky way of transfering files, but it fit the bill pretty nicely. It has low processor usage, low bandwidth needs, works in a disconnected mannor (each request is independent, like HTTP it is a connection-less protocol), and you can pick up a download where you left off.

The FSP commands:

Common aliases for easy usage of FSP:
  • fcat ("fcatcmd")
  • fcd ("fcdcmd")
  • fget ("fgetcmd")
  • fgrab ("fgrabcmd")
  • fls ("flscmd -F")
  • fll ("flscmd -l")
  • fpro ("fprocmd")
  • fpwd ("echo $FSP_HOST ($FSP_PORT): $FSP_DIR")
  • frm ("frmcmd")
  • frmdir ("frmdircmd")
  • fhost ("set fsp_host=(\!*); source ~/bin/fhost; unset fsp_host") where ~/bin/fhost set $FSP_HOST, $FSP_PORT, and $FSP_DIR

An FAQ can be found at http://www.faqs.org/faqs/fsp-faq/. It hasn't been updated since 1996!

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