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LLNL XDIR: An Advanced Graphical FTP Client

XDIR application window


XDIR can simultaneously display many directories of several hosts, both local and remote.

LLNL XDIR manages files in a heterogeneous network. It provides a graphical user interface for drag-and-drop file transfer and for direct manipulation of local and remote directories. LLNL XDIR has the ability to view information in four different formats, including hierarchical and iconic views. Based on UNIX, the C programming language, OSF/Motif, and the file transfer protocol FTP, LLNL XDIR is highly portable.


With LLNL XDIR, the user can manage all files in a network. Specifically, LLNL XDIR can be used to browse directory structures, transfer files, delete files and directories, rename files and directories, and search directories on one or more hosts for entries matching a specified pattern.

XDIR allows users to manage files in a distributed heterogeneous environment. The program uses the familiar folder-icon metaphor to simultaneously display directories of several hosts, both local and remote, with each directory being displayed in its own window. While many existing products manage files on a single system, LLNL XDIR extends this capability to manage files on an entire network.

LXDIR does not have a main window; instead, it consists of a number of windows. Each of these directory windows has a complete set of controls for setting modes and invoking operations. Several other windows are provided for setting user preferences and displaying diagnostic information.


XDIR's ability to display directories in several formats, such as this hierarchical view, makes it easy to browse file systems.

XDIR Hierarchical View

Advanced directory browsing. LLNL XDIR allows users to view each directory in four different formats, such as long lists or tree structures. A number of sophisticated mechanisms are provided for traversing directory structures. Also, the user has the option of caching directory lists from remote hosts during a session, allowing fast redisplay of previously visited directories.

Drag-and-drop file transfer. Using drag-and-drop, LLNL XDIR provides powerful file transfer capability. It is just as easy to copy a file between two remote systems as it is to copy a file from the local host to itself. Files and directories may be transferred either singly or in groups with just a few movements of the mouse.

Powerful name search. One of LLNL XDIR's most powerful features is its ability to search directory structures for files or directory names matching a specified pattern. The user can specify the range and depth of such searches. The search can be restricted to a single directory, or it can be extended across machine boundaries.

Flexible file viewing. The user is able to view local or remote files, using either the built-in viewer or any combination of external viewers of the user's choosing, e.g., EMACS or XV.

History mechanism. LLNL XDIR's history mechanism automatically remembers wild card expressions, previously visited directories, and host and user names used in connecting to remote hosts. This mechanism, along with other features, makes it painless to establish a connection with an anonymous FTP site or other remote host.

Directory manipulation. A number of directory-manipulation features are provided for operating on selected entries. There are several ways to select a group of directory entries to operate on, including direct toggling of entries, sweeping out a rectangular area, and wild card selection. Once entries are selected, the user can rename entries, delete entries (including entire subdirectories), or move entries between directories within the same host. The user is also able to create directories, both on local and remote hosts.

Configurable interface. LLNL XDIR presents the user with a graphical user interface for easily tailoring the program's behavior. The user can specify, for example, whether or not a verification dialog listing entries to be deleted will pop up before the operation is performed.

Online help. LLNL XDIR provides an extensive online help facility, much of which is contextual. However, the user interface is so intuitive that the user may rarely need to access the help package.


Portability was a major concern during design and implementation of LLNL XDIR. To ensure that it would be widely available on a variety of platforms, we chose industry standards for the operating system (UNIX), the programming language (C), the window system (X Window), the file transfer protocol (FTP), and the look and feel (OSF/Motif). As a result, LLNL XDIR can be ported to virtually any UNIX platform with minimal effort. Some of the systems LLNL XDIR has been known to run on include:

Download the LLNL XDIR source code.

LLNL XDIR can be freely used and distributed with a few restrictions. LLNL XDIR is copyrighted, and Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Security, LLC (LLNS) reserves all rights.

To obtain a license to commercialize LLNL XDIR, contact LLNL's Industrial Partnership's Office, P.O. Box 808, L-795, Livermore, CA 94551.

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Last modified on January 28, 2008
For information about XDIR, contact: -- Neale Smith