Google Chrome 82 won’t support FTP anymore according to the recently published “Intent to Deprecate: FTP Support” document by Google.
All modern web browsers support FTP at the time of writing. Users may click on ftp:// links or type them manually in the browser’s address bar to open a connection to the site.
Google argues that the implementation of FTP in Chrome does not support encrypted connections and that usage is too low, the company said that 0.1% of users use FTP, to justify spending resources on integrating secure FTP functionality in the browser.
The company opened a bug on the official Chromium bug tracker in 2015 to remove built-in support for FTP from Chrome and this bug has been revived recently to remove FTP components from Chrome.
A bug was filed by Mozilla on Bugzilla, Firefox’s bug tracking site that referred to Google’s bug; Mozilla decided against the removal at the time and the last entry dates back two years.
Mozilla did implement an option in Firefox 60 in 2018 however to disable FTP support in the browser.
Chrome 72 started to block support for fetching resources from FTP and rendering top level FTP resources, Firefox 61 introduced the blocking of resources from FTP as well, and Chrome 76 dropped proxy support for FTP.
Google made the decision to remove the two remaining FTP capabilities from Google Chrome, namely displaying a FTP directory listing and downloading resources from FTP directly.
We would like to deprecate and remove this remaining functionality rather than maintain an insecure FTP implementation.
The timeline for FTP deprecation in Chrome:
Chrome 78: Start of FTP deprecation. Finch controlled flag and enterprise policy for controlling overall FTP support
Chrome 80 (Q1 2020): gradual turndown of FTP in stable.
Chrome 82: FTP related code and resources are removed.
When Chrome 82 or newer encounter FTP resources, Chrome attempts to redirect the request to the default FTP handler on the system. Google has not revealed how it plans to handle configurations in which Chrome is the default FTP handler.
Chrome users who use to load PAC scripts from FTP need to “migrate to other means for fetching PAC scripts” according to Google once Chrome 82 is released to the stable channel. Under 0.0002% of users fetch PAC scripts over FTP according to Google.
Are companies that develop browsers based on Chromium affected by the decision as well? Yes they are as Vivaldi, Microsoft, Opera or Brave all use Chromium as the base. Companies who want to continue supporting FTP would have to change the code to make sure support remains available in the browser.
It seems likely that most browsers won’t support FTP anymore at the end of 2020. FTP is not going away just yet though; FTP clients, e.g. FileZilla or FTP Rush are available and may be used to access these resources.
Now You: What is your take on the FTP deprecation in Chrome? (via Techdows)
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