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Basic Unix - Networking
This article describes an overview of networking functions in Unix.
One of the things Unix does best is connecting you to a wider world. In this section, you'll discover a handful of the many tools it has for doing this.
Networked sources of information
A great deal of information is now published electronically by universities and research institutions, over various kinds of networks. (A network consists of groups of computers able to communicate among themselves; networks can be as small as an office local-area network of two or more microcomputers -- or as large as the worldwide Internet, connecting tens of thousands of mainframes and minicomputers.)
Networked information can take the form of electronic conferences or discussion groups devoted to specific topics. Other networked information sources can come in many forms, including bibliographic indexes, complex databases, and archives of data and textual documents.
With the explosion of networking and accepted standards for communicating between computers, there are a number of ways to move data between different kinds of hardware and operating systems. (Be aware that when you merely move, or transfer, a file between computers, you won't be changing the format of the file. If you want to, say, make a database or word processing file usable by an entirely different program, you'll need to use additional software to convert it to a different format.)
If you are working on a machine connected to the campus network or elsewhere on the Internet, you can transfer files to or from a Unix system using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Many different machines on campus support FTP; if you're using a networked Macintosh or Windows machine, you'll need to consult the manual for your communications package (such as Fetch, Fugu or Ws_FTP) to learn how to open a connection. While the 'ftp' command on the Unix side requires a little work to understand, it does have a man page.
Many computers connected to the Internet -- over thirty thousand, in fact -- allow you to connect to them as file servers, using the 'ftp' command, by logging in with the login name "anonymous" and your full email address as a password; once connected, you can transfer any of a variety of files. Data available ranges from computer software to the works of medieval poets to current weather reports and maps.