Title: ftplib: command response shift - mismatch
Type: behavior Stage:
Components: Library (Lib) Versions: Python 3.7, Python 3.6, Python 3.3, Python 3.4, Python 3.5, Python 2.7
Status: open Resolution:
Dependencies: Superseder:
Assigned To: Nosy List: Ivan.Pozdeev, giampaolo.rodola, peterpan
Priority: normal Keywords:

Created on 2015-10-22 10:35 by peterpan, last changed 2016-12-14 22:48 by Ivan.Pozdeev.

File name Uploaded Description Edit peterpan, 2016-03-09 11:59 patched peterpan, 2016-03-09 12:04 test for patched
ftp_error_illustration.txt Ivan.Pozdeev, 2016-12-09 17:33
Messages (15)
msg253326 - (view) Author: Peter Pan (peterpan) Date: 2015-10-22 10:35
When handling the transfer socket manually the asynchronous status message "226 transfer complete" on the control socket is falsely taken as response for the last sent command.
ftplib reads the response too late and the command/response order becomes invalid.

I can avoid that by using the undocumented ftplib internal method FTP.getline() after the transfer socket is closed and not sending more commands while the transfer socket is open.

It would be useful, if ftplib empties the response socket buffer before sending the next command. But maybe the best solution is an optional function callback when the "226" response appears, while it is ignored when not matching the last sent command.

Example code that triggers the problem:

import ftplib
import socket
import re

ftp = ftplib.FTP()
ftp.connect('', timeout=10)
ftp.sendcmd('TYPE A')

s = ftp.transfercmd('LIST')

#manual transfer socket - should result in same behaviour
r = ftp.sendcmd('EPSV')
r ='\|([0-9]+)\|', r)
port = int( )
s = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
s.connect(('', port))

fp = s.makefile('r')

#ftplib falsely sees "226 transfer complete" as response to next command
msg261374 - (view) Author: Giampaolo Rodola' (giampaolo.rodola) * (Python committer) Date: 2016-03-08 19:53
I'm not sure I understood the problem. Perhaps if you provide a patch that would make things more clear and you'd have more chances to see this issue fixed.
msg261389 - (view) Author: Peter Pan (peterpan) Date: 2016-03-08 22:43
The problem in my example is ftplib reports a "226" response to command "NOOP" which is nonsense. ftplib received "226" before "ftp.sendcmd('NOOP')" was called.

Since "transfercmd()" returns a socket, ftplib was planned to allow for manual transfer socket handling, but it is currently unable to handle the asynchronous responses from the server when the transfer is done. This is a bug or design error.

Multiple changes are needed to support manual transfer socket handling. I suggest the following:

Since asynchronous responses from the server are possible on the command socket, "set_debuglevel(1)" must report them at once, but this would require multithreading. A good compromise is to debug print and clear any buffered status right before sending the next command.
We also need a method to check the last status code, in order to know the result of the last manual transfer. ftplib has to store it separately as an attribute.

New attribute

this.last_status_code = None #has no effect to any command or debug output

New internal method

#loop: look for buffered status response; if present, print debug and assign this.last_status = buffer.pop()

New user methods

#Set last status to None so we can use "get_last_status" to check/poll for the next one.
 this.last_status_code = None
 this.last_status_message = ""

#Return the last status received from the server; if there is one on the buffer, unbuffer and return that.
 return [this.last_status_code, this.last_status_message]
msg261417 - (view) Author: Peter Pan (peterpan) Date: 2016-03-09 11:59
I've updated "" from the 3.5.1 source code release.
This should fix issues:
msg261418 - (view) Author: Peter Pan (peterpan) Date: 2016-03-09 12:04
Here is a small test for the new version.

(To see the original version failing copy+paste the code from my initial post into a python file and run)
msg282775 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-09 12:16
The current solution looks fishy to me. We should stick to . In particular, 226 is sent when the server closes the auxiliary socket, so the module should react accordingly. Debug printing and/or issuing warnings is an obvious no-go.

Also attached a text file illustrating the problem.
msg282793 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-09 17:33
Found the root problem: a 1xx response doesn't complete a LIST command, it should wait further for a 2xx one. See RFC 959 section 6 (state diagrams).

This could be `urllib`'s rather than `ftplib`'s fault: the former calls low-level subroutines of the latter.
msg282796 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-09 18:45
Darn, my problem _is_ in urllib and thus is different that the one in this ticket. Though it too results in a "command response shift".
msg282797 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-09 19:09
The solution for the OP's problem is:

* after closing the data socket (whether it was returned by `transfercmd()'/`ntransfercmd()' or opened manually), an additional `FTP.getresp()'/`FTP.voidresp()' is required to process the 226 response.

The built-in `retrbinary()' and `retrlines()' do implement this logic.

But the documentation doesn't mention this requirement in `transfercmd()'/ntransfercmd()` entries (and `getresp()'/`voidresp()' are undocumented outright).

`urllib' authors have fallen into this same trap: they use `transfercmd' directly but don't call `voidresp()' afterwards.
msg282899 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-11 03:55
Spawned the `urllib' issue to issue28931.
msg283073 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-13 04:42
I tried to fix `urllib' and ultimately failed. In a nutshell, handling of the aftermath of an `ntransfercmd' is broken.

Since `ntransfercmd'/`transfercmd' returns a socket, handling of an end-of-transmission response is done in independently invoked code - upon the socket's close. So, if any other operation on the command connection is attempted before that, `ftplib's handling of the session breaks.

The plan to fix follows, but first, some background:

According to , FTP actually doesn't, and is not designed to, handle transfers in "background". In that you surely can send a further command on the socket, but the server won't actually read it until it's done with the transfer.

According to , data connections cannot be reused.

(RFC959 is vague on both points)

Now, the proposed fix design:

* upon starting a transfer, an FTP object sets a flag, `transfer_in_progress'.
* any public subroutine that would send a further command checks the flag. Then, there are a few options:
    a) refuse any further commands outright until the user explicitly closes the socket (whose close handler would also handle the end-of-transfer response)
    b) check the wire for an end-of-transfer response and if it's there, handle it and allow the command. Closing the socket may or may not handle the response in its own right.
    c) allow the command even if there's no end-of-transfer response. Then handling of the transfer response is done with the function parsing the response for the new command - which will hang until the transfer is complete.
* the code handling the end-of-transfer response clears the flag.

Each option has drawbacks, so I'm not sure which one is the most pythonic.
I would go with b) because it would allow syntax like urllib.urlopen(<...>).read() which it does allow for HTTP.
msg283125 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-13 17:11
One more concern about the fix (so that you don't assume I didn't think of this ;) ) - handling of errors signified by the end-of-transfer response.

Handling a response in a close handler prevents us from actually checking its code:
* destructors like a close handler cannot raise exceptions because that would disrupt the resource release process
* and they're routinely called from `finally', so an exception would mask the current one if there's any (it's impossible to check within a finally block if it was was called as a result of an exception -

* The errors where the transfer never starts are detected by `ntransfercmd' either when opening the socket (425) or checking the first response (55x)
  * an exception when opening the socket would result in the response not being read.
* The errors when the transfer ends prematurely
  * are either handled by the socket (connection reset/timeout)
  * or can be detected by checking data length against the real one if it's available <- these are not currently handled
    * if it results from the user closing the socket prematurely (426), it _should_ be ignored
    * otherwise, we can wrap recv(), too, and check the response if the underlying fn returns ''
* If the error is local (an exception is raised in other code), the server's response doesn't matter

Looks like fixing this part warrants a separate ticket, though it does affect which option to take at this step - it speaks in favor of wrapping the data socket.

I'll ask at python-dev for some feedback before I go any way.
msg283215 - (view) Author: Giampaolo Rodola' (giampaolo.rodola) * (Python committer) Date: 2016-12-14 19:57
Maybe it's me but I still fail to understand what's the issue here. From what I understand from the last message(s) it seems there is complaint about not being able to use ftplib with threads.
FTP is a "command - response" protocol which is designed to handle one request at a time, meaning you send a command then you are supposed to *wait* to get a response back. 
If you want to do multiple transfers in parallel then you need a separate connection, not a separate thread using the same connection.
ftplib should *not* be thread-safe because of how FTP works.
msg283217 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-14 20:49
* The initial msg253326 has a code snippet using ftplib directly and showing the error.
* The linked issue28931 has another snippet that uses ftplib through urllib and results in the same error.

There isn't a single mention of "thread" in either.
Could you just run either of them and see for yourself?

I can rub your nose in it, but I thought you're better than that :)

Oh well...

Python 2.7.12 (v2.7.12:d33e0cf91556, Jun 27 2016, 15:19:22) [MSC v.1500 32 bit Intel)] on win32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import ftplib
>>> ftp = ftplib.FTP()
>>> ftp.connect('', timeout=10)
'220 FTP server'
>>> ftp.login('anonymous','')
'230 Login successful.'
>>> ftp.sendcmd('TYPE A')
'200 Switching to ASCII mode.'
>>> s = ftp.transfercmd('LIST')
>>> fp = s.makefile('r')
'drwxr-xr-x    9 1176     1176         4096 Dec 14 15:08 debian\r\n'
>>> fp.close()
>>> s.close()
>>> # Now the session is broken:
>>> ftp.sendcmd('NOOP')
'226 Directory send OK.'
>>> ftp.dir()
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "C:\Py\lib\", line 534, in dir
    self.retrlines(cmd, func)
  File "C:\Py\lib\", line 437, in retrlines
    conn = self.transfercmd(cmd)
  File "C:\Py\lib\", line 376, in transfercmd
    return self.ntransfercmd(cmd, rest)[0]
  File "C:\Py\lib\", line 334, in ntransfercmd
    host, port = self.makepasv()
  File "C:\Py\lib\", line 312, in makepasv
    host, port = parse227(self.sendcmd('PASV'))
  File "C:\Py\lib\", line 830, in parse227
    raise error_reply, resp
ftplib.error_reply: 200 Switching to ASCII mode.
msg283225 - (view) Author: Ivan Pozdeev (Ivan.Pozdeev) * Date: 2016-12-14 22:48
Python 3.5.2 (v3.5.2:4def2a2901a5, Jun 25 2016, 22:01:18) [MSC v.1900 32 bit (Intel)] on win32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import ftplib
>>> ftp.sendcmd('NOOP')
'226 Directory send OK.'

There are no changes in and `ntransfercmd' between 2.7 and default branches save for cosmetic ones.
Date User Action Args
2016-12-14 22:48:22Ivan.Pozdeevsetmessages: + msg283225
2016-12-14 20:49:26Ivan.Pozdeevsetmessages: + msg283217
2016-12-14 19:57:54giampaolo.rodolasetmessages: + msg283215
2016-12-13 17:11:25Ivan.Pozdeevsetmessages: + msg283125
2016-12-13 04:42:38Ivan.Pozdeevsetmessages: + msg283073
2016-12-11 03:55:21Ivan.Pozdeevsetmessages: + msg282899
2016-12-09 19:09:00Ivan.Pozdeevsetmessages: + msg282797
2016-12-09 18:45:26Ivan.Pozdeevsetmessages: + msg282796
2016-12-09 17:33:20Ivan.Pozdeevsetfiles: - ftp_error_illustration.txt
2016-12-09 17:33:11Ivan.Pozdeevsetfiles: + ftp_error_illustration.txt

messages: + msg282793
2016-12-09 12:16:32Ivan.Pozdeevsetfiles: + ftp_error_illustration.txt

messages: + msg282775
2016-12-09 12:02:45Ivan.Pozdeevsetnosy: + Ivan.Pozdeev

versions: + Python 2.7, Python 3.3, Python 3.4, Python 3.5, Python 3.7
2016-03-09 12:04:15peterpansetfiles: +

messages: + msg261418
2016-03-09 11:59:44peterpansetfiles: +

messages: + msg261417
2016-03-08 22:43:31peterpansetmessages: + msg261389
2016-03-08 19:53:13giampaolo.rodolasetmessages: + msg261374
2016-01-16 08:18:48SilentGhostsetnosy: + giampaolo.rodola

versions: + Python 3.6, - Python 3.4
2015-10-22 10:35:52peterpancreate