Microsoft ftpd Madness

So, to transfer files between computers there’s this protocol called FTP – File Transfer Protocol. It’s been around forever, and on dozens of different Unix operating systems when you do a directory listing it looks something like this:

-rw-r--r--   1 187         6358 Jul 18  2005 index.html

Then along comes Microsoft. For some reason, this return string format is not good enough for them, so they decide to do it like this, instead:

01-30-06  10:15AM                 7064 index.html

Well, great if you use Internet Explorer as your FTP client! But if you’re running automated publishing systems that rely on interoperability, this is broken. Granted, because the specification does not elaborate the directory listing return format, the Microsoft software is not officially out of line. But why the heck couldn’t they do it like everyone else? Is this a good place to express your unique vision of how an ftp daemon should describe a directory listing? (With, BTW, far less information presented.) Couldn’t they just try to fit in a bit, and go with the existing flow? Accept that perhaps the old way, utilized by hundreds of thousands if not millions of other servers, might just be good enough?
This is why people hate Microsoft. There was an existing de facto standard, and they made gratuitous changes that reduce interoperability with non-Microsoft systems. This is why Microsoft holds a 20% share of the web server market, while the open-source Apache has 67%. People who have to make technology systems work together are tired of this crap.
So here’s the solution to several problems of this variety: Go visit the Apple Store, and pick yourself out a nice, new, powerful, Unix-based, easy-to-use Mac – laptop or desktop. When the transaction is complete, stand up, and open your office window. Unplug your existing Microsoft-OS computer, and disconnect it from the network. Pick it up, and carry it to the window. Say a short ritual prayer to the deities with which you resonate, and throw that piece of junk computer out the window. Hopefully it will fall several floors and smash to bits upon landing, or land in a snowbank or pond, so it will be unusable by anyone who finds it. Then take a few days vacation until your new Mac arrives. If everyone did this together many future wasted hours would be recovered and we could all ftp together again with joy, love, and happiness.