Archie is a tool for indexing FTP archives, allowing people to find specific files. It is considered to be the first Internet search engine. The original implementation was written in 1990 by Alan Emtage, Bill Heelan, and J. Peter Deutsch, then students at McGill University in Montreal.
The earliest versions of archie simply contacted a list of FTP archives on a regular basis (contacting each roughly once a month, so as not to waste too much resources of the remote servers) and requested a listing. These listings were stored in local files to be searched using the Unix grep command. Later, more efficient front- and back-ends were developed, and the system spread from a local tool, to a network-wide resource, and a popular service available from multiple sites around the Internet. The collected data would be exchanged between the neighbouring Archie servers. The servers could be accessed in multiple ways: using a local client (such as archie or xarchie); telneting to a server directly; sending queries by electronic mail; and later via a World Wide Web interface.
The name derives from the word "archive" without the v. Alan Emtage has said that contrary to popular belief, there was no association with the Archie Comics and that he despised them.
A legacy Archie server is still maintained active for historic purposes in Poland at University of Warsaw .
Archie—A Darwinian Development Process. Peter Deutsch. IEEE Internet computing, January/February 2000, 4(1):69-71. Part of Millennial Forecasts, doi:10.1109/4236.815849.
Full article ▸