FTP and Internet Bit Rot

I just did a bit of cleanup on our server farm. I had an FTP server on eBible.org that has been running for over four decades. When I started it, FTP was an old (already) but useful standard for moving files around the Internet. It was invented in a simpler, more trusting time, when sending passwords in the clear was not considered a problem, and people weren’t actively trying to change the content of files in transit. However, for a bunch of security-related reasons, all major web browsers have now dropped support for FTP. Therefore, it was a great time to evaluate what I had there, and why. Most of the Scripture files there were redundant, so you can now find them at https://eBible.org/Scriptures/. Really the only reasons they were there in the first place was (1) certain developers could get them in bulk with a single command, and (2) a strange billing anomaly made in less expensive for a few people to get them via FTP instead of HTTP or HTTPS. Any developer smart enough to still use ftp for a bulk download can also use wget, so that is not an issue. The strange billing anomaly no longer exists, so that isn’t a problem, either.

I also had some cryptography-related files there that are of academic interest to a few people, so I moved those to cryptography.org. There was also some really old freeware and shareware that I had posted long ago, but which were primarily targeted at the old MS-DOS operating system. Those just got deleted. Anyone still using MS-DOS who cares about those programs probably already has a copy archived on a floppy disk somewhere.

The only thing left on the FTP server at ftp.ebible.org (which is currently on a different machine than eBible.org) is a Sword project repository. That is totally redundant with the same repository at https://ebible.org/sword/, but there are still many Sword project front end programs that can only access the FTP repository, and not the HTTPS repository. I keep the FTP server going just for them, now. The technology may be old and fragile, running on devices that wear out, but God’s Word lasts forever. Like the scribes of old, we keep copying and translating the Holy Bible so that it lasts, and so that more people can get the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ!