C-Kermit 7.0 Case Study #16

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Article: 11065 of comp.protocols.kermit.misc
From: fdc@watsun.cc.columbia.edu (Frank da Cruz)
Newsgroups: comp.protocols.kermit.misc
Subject: Case Study #16: Bootstrapping
Date:25 Jan 2000 21:51:11 GMT
Organization: Columbia University

Hardly a week passes without a desperate plea like the following appearing on some newsgroup or other:

Help! I have 20MB of files on a PC with XENIX 2.3.4 [substitute any other old operating system], which does not have a network card, and I need to move them to Windows 98! My XENIX PC has only a 5.25" diskette and my Windows PC has only a 3.5" diskette, and they have no other media in common.

When there is no network, there are no removable media in common, and the two computers are not both UNIX (and therefore do not both have UUCP), Kermit is often the most practical alternative.

But I don't have a copy of Kermit on my XENIX system!

This article tells how to "bootstrap" Kermit onto your old system. The term "bootstrap" refers to "lifting yourself up by your bootstraps"; a paradox (similar to recursion, which we discussed earlier). In this case, the paradox is: "In order to get Kermit onto your computer, you must get Kermit on your computer". It's easier than it seems! The key is G-Kermit, announced here a month ago:


G-Kermit is a compact and portable Kermit program. All it does is transfer files -- no frills, no conveniences. It's small enough to load into your computer without an error-detecting and -correcting protocol. For bootstrapping, we supply uuencoded compressed binaries that are several hundreds lines long each. All you have to do is put the appropriate one on the target computer, uudecode it, and uncompress it. You could do this via diskette or any other means at your disposal, but let's assume the serial port is your only option, and that the target computer:

and that the PC is running DOS or Windows, not UNIX, just so we can illustrate the general principals of bootstrapping without relying on UNIX-specific tricks. Let's also assume you know how to make the connection.

Here are the steps:

  1. Determine whether the target computer has gunzip. Just type "gunzip" and look at the response. If it says something like "gunzip: compressed data not read from a terminal" then you have gunzip. If it says something like "gunzip: command not found", you don't.

  2. FTP the appropriate uuencoded binary to your PC. Get the .gz.uue version if the target computer has gunzip, otherwise get the .Z.uue version. The uuencoded compressed G-Kermit binaries are in:


  3. Use your terminal program on the PC to log in to the target computer via the serial-port or modem connection.

  4. Once you have the shell prompt on the target computer, give an stty command to