Symantec bumbles: Users upset

Symantec turned off LIST access to their FTP server, forcing customer to go through their website to get patches, documentation, etc.  Click Read More to see what I think of that.

A while ago, I posted a similar blog entry about how Symantec wasn't making it easier to patch their software.  At least we had the FTP option.  Well, apparently, they've now taken that away.  You can point your web browser to, but you will be greeted with a rather non-friendly error that says that the LIST command is disabled.  You'll get the same if you login to using an FTP client. This means that you'll have no choice but to use the not-so-easy-to-use web page to find ever manual and patch that you need. 

This isn't so bad if you're downloading one or two patches.  But what if you just upgraded to 6.5.1 and want all the manuals?  You have to point and click your way through dozens of pages to get the files you want.  Prior to this change, a simple "mget *pdf" would do.

I've heard two versions of the story behind this story.  One says that this was an accidental consequence of what supposed to be an "invisible" move to a new FTP server, and that it will be corrected.  Another says that this was done on purpose.  If that's what Symantec is telling you when YOU call, I would suggest you scream LOUDLY — VERY LOUDLY.

Come on Symantec.  Do the right thing.  Put the LIST command back. 

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

6 thoughts on “Symantec bumbles: Users upset

  1. tkimball says:

    Actually I’m surprised that they still allowed FTP.

    Sun turned off patch access from FTP years ago (in part due to Solaris 10’s update model, but a well-crafted wget can go far in downloading files automatically anyway).

    EMC’s public FTP site is much more restricted than it used to be when it was Legato’s, and I’m sure that many can attest to Powerlink’s ‘so-so’ interface for our download/update needs.

    So it would not surprise me if they’re simply doing the same thing everyone else is. Not that I *like* that change of heart (I’m a loyal Ghost user at home), but I wish the community luck in getting FTP ‘fixed.’


  2. cpjlboss says:

    FWIW, I blasted Sun on this blog when they did that.

    Explain to me the business reason for making it harder for customers to get patches and documentation.

  3. tkimball says:

    Never said I liked Sun’s change either – pretty much our entire group has been unhappy about that since it happened (in particular since the work proxy at times will drop the end of a large HTTP download).

    Personally I think Sun has been of two minds about that, and as their recent ‘open source’ mentality takes root the patch/doc issues may partially revert back to the old days. I’m awaiting the results of the ‘wiki’ replacement for SunSolve before posting final judgement.


  4. rrjlboss says:

    Even more frustrating since they don’t want to send the media to people either. The last client install I went to, they had to pull teeth to get the Symantec folks to send them the CD’s. At another install, the only access to the servers was command-line, no gui, therefore no web access, therefore no way to get the software to the servers. Had to yell and scream to get a special ftp directory temporarily put in place to download the software via ftp. The delay to the project did not make the customer happy. At least there, I could download the patches without any grief, unlike now.

    I don’t understand this trend at all. Is it that companies really don’t want people to use their software? Does it suck that much? Is their licensing that weak that they think everyone will just run it illegally? What’s with all the export restrictions? Are there nuclear launch sequences embedded in the coding? Do any of these measures stop any of their concerns, whatever they may be, or just hinder those of us trying to get our job done? When it’s easier to get unauthorized copies via some bit torrent rather than through the appropriate channel, then it seems like something is seriously broken.

    I can only imagine that it is some prelude to LiveUpdate and if we just use that everything will magically update itself, seemlessly, while solving world hunger even.

    Sorry for the rant.

  5. rrjlboss says:

    Since I had to go through this again today, I thought I’d share this.

    If you have wget, then create a file with a list of the files you wish to download. Here are some that I downloaded today:


    Then just run this:
    for i in `cat file`;-)o
    echo “Downloading $i”
    echo “Done with $i”

    That worked for me, though it doesn’t have any error checking.

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