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I spent about 30 minutes looking into this for a similar problem, although mine occurred just during a normal FTP session.
See if you have patch 114564-04 (or later) installed - that included a bump to the internal limit on the FTP NLST command (aka ls).
I have the same problem. I connect to FTP server (Version wu-2.6.2+Sun) on SunOS 5.9. There is already patch 114564-09 installed. I try type "ls <directory>" command, where directory includes about 20 thousand files and FTP server returns: "550 Arguments too long".
When I try "ls /directory2" command, where directory2 is empty, FTP server returns:
550 /directory2/*: No such file or directory.
This behaviour is same as behaviour of unix "ls" command, if I had type "ls /directory2/*" in the command line on the empty directory and on the directory with too many files.
My conclusion: FTP server on SunOS have a new bug. It takes file list with "ls" command and appends to directory name "*" (asterisk).
Can anybody help me? Is there some patch to solve this problem?