History of the fluff service

Fluff was born of the need to find an easy way for users to distribute files that were too big to be sent by email.

Before fluff was written, the Help Desk would receive calls from users that went something like this:

Advisor: Good morning, Computer Centre Help Desk. How can I help?
User: I've got this file I need to send as an attachment, but I get a message back saying it's too big. What can I do?
Advisor: Well, you should put the file on the web, or on an FTP server, and send the URL to the people who need to read it.
User: I don't know how to do that ....

Most people don't have access to an FTP server, and putting files on the web required using telnet to log on to a Unix server, an FTP client to copy the files to the Unix server, a crash course in file permissions and how to use a command-line interface, and was generally a painful experience for both sides.

There had to be a better way!

Fluff was announced as being "under development" in October 2001, and testing started on 13th May 2002 by members of the Computer Users' Forum and other computer support staff around the University.

The service was formally announced on 29th October 2002.