The File Transfer Protocol, FTP, was used for the first time 50 years ago, in April 1971. Since then, it has been one of the backbones of the Internet.
The passage of the years has done its thing and today, we can see how little by little it begins to lose support. Mozilla recently announced that FTP links can no longer be opened directly from Firefox, giving only the option to open them through an external application.
Firefox no longer directly open FTP links
The idea of discontinuing support for direct handling of links under this protocol in Firefox was communicated a year ago by Mozilla. However, this decision was postponed as a result of the pandemic, to avoid interfering in the routine of those people who depended on this tool to fulfill their functions.
The first step of this movement took place in February, with the deactivation of this feature of their compilations of the Nightly channel. Beta channel versions will disable this feature starting April 19, with the release of Firefox 88.
The removal will be completed with the arrival of Firefox 90, an edition that, along with permanently removing the function of the stable version of the browser, will also have this protocol discontinued in its counterpart for Android.
Through the Firefox developer forum In Google Groups, Mozilla stated that this decision was based on security reasons. FTP is an insecure protocol and there is no reason to prefer it over HTTPS for downloading resourcescommented Michal Novotny, as spokesman for the team behind the navigator.
Providing details on the dangers identified, Novotny suggested that some of the FTP code is very old, insecure and difficult to maintain and that in the past we found a lot of security bugs in it.
A significant change in the symbolic, but a minor change in practice
When opening a link preceded by the ftp: // protocol through Firefox, instead of displaying a login window and a file tree, its management will be transferred to an external application of your choice, among the options installed in it. team; following a dynamic similar to that of magnet links of torrent transfers, or those of specific applications such as Zoom, Spotify and others.
For those of you who have been involved in activities related to the web or remote file transfer for years, this announcement may arouse some nostalgia. However, in practice, the opening of these links is still possible through transfer managers such as FileZilla or web-based solutions, such as those offered by some hosting providers.
Taking as a precedent that Chrome took a similar determination in 2019Of course, this will be a change that sooner or later will affect most browsers.