Tue Oct 20 19:53:12 2015
CLICK HERE to see the original
K95 source code page, which is obsolete now but which still has some
useful background information.
In 2013 two programmers, working mostly independently from each other,
attempted to resurrect Kermit 95 communications
software as an Open Source application. Missing modules were excavated and
numerous problems overcome, and each was finally able to build a working
version. But much work remains to be done. Here are the two projects in
their most recent snapshots:
- Project 1 (David Goodwin, New Zealand):
On a New Zealand FTP site as a Zip file:
Github info: [Getting started]
- Project 2 (anonymous):
- Email archive:
- Plain text emails as HTML
(100+ messages, about 7000 lines)
It is unfortunate that the work was not completed, but hopefully by
revealing what has been done so far, someone else can combine the two
branches and do some of the tasks that remain (this is not a complete list):
- A new installer is needed.
- A new name might be needed (see email).
- There is no way to carry forward the K95 Dialer so it will be dropped
and K95, if it is to have a new life, will be as text-only application with
a few GUI dialogs. However, it is likely that any new release of K95 will
still work with the (commercial) K95 2.1.3 Dialer if you happen to have a
- SSL/TLS security needs to be brought up to date.
- SSH support must be totally redone since the K95's original SSH module,
circa 2002, is no longer secure; this might be accomplished using the libssh2 or PuTTY's plink
module; each has its attractions and drawbacks; (see the email archive). UPDATE: As of October 19, 2015,
another likely candidate would be Microsoft's
OpenSSH for Windows.
- XYZMODEM file-transfer protocol will need to be totally redone for Open
Source (the K95 XYZMODEM code was licensed from a company). Failing that,
there will be no XYZMODEM support.
- Kerberos security needs to be changed from MIT to Heimdal, or just dropped.
- The result needs to support
- The result needs to be buildable with GCC or other
open compiler rather than require proprietary Microsoft tools.
- The result will rejoin the main
C-Kermit development branch
as one of the platforms for which C-Kermit is built.
builds on Windows with all modern Microsoft compilers, and
is based on the current K95 and C-Kermit source code, but does not have any
support for SSH or any other form of security. It can make serial-port,
modem, and (clear-text) Telnet and FTP connections.
Project 2 is built on Linux with the mingw32 cross-compiler and
includes the features of Project 1 plus a prototype of plink-based SSH
(which doesn't really do the job because there is no close coordination
between the K95 process and the separate Plink process; that's why it
needs to be a library).
Both versions are pretty close to being buildable with GCC.
What is Kermit 95?
Kermit 95 is Kermit software for Microsoft Windows: briefly, terminal
emulation, file transfer, and scripting of communication tasks over a
variety of communication methods (serial port, modem, Telnet, SSH, etc). Click here
to read more about Kermit software and here
to read more about Kermit 95.
Let me state it another way: K95 is probably
the best terminal emulator ever,
and also the most powerful in terms of automation and customization
features. It is designed and best suited for people who are comfortable
with text-mode user interfaces and command languages, and who are good
typists, because you can do just about everything in K95 without your
fingers ever leaving the keyboard. It has its own built-in programming
language (similar to Unix shell scripting, but different) so you can easily
automate repetitive or error-prone tasks. It has unparalleled key mapping
and keystroke macro capabilities. It supports terminal emulation in many
languages (English, Spanish, German, Icelandic, Greek, Russian,
Vietnamese... see for yourself) and
almost every known character encoding (ASCII, ISO646, ISO8859, UTF-8, PC and
Windows code pages, and on and on). And it
supports inline transfer of both text and binary files in both directions
within your terminal session. It takes some effort to learn how to use it,
but that effort is well spent because you will be orders-of-magnitude more
efficient in your online sessions.
The Columbia University Kermit Project was a pioneer in open software,
founded years before the GNU project or Free Software Foundation. Our
software source code was openly published and shared long before the term
Open Source was invented. Kermit 95 was the Kermit Project's first and
only commercial product, developed and published to generate income to help
fund the project and its noncommercial products at a time when the Kermit
Project had to pay for itself or disappear.
for a Kermit 95 tutorial.
As of July 1, 2011, there is no more
Kermit Project at Columbia University, and all Kermit software has
become Open Source. The last K95 release was version 2.1.3 in 2003 but it
has not yet been released in usable (executable) form because more work is
required, and nobody is being paid to this any more. The new Open Source
version will have a lot of improvements, but will also lack (at least at
first) some previous features that can't be made into Open Source (e.g. some
proprietary code that we licensed). But it will be free for everybody to
download, install, use, and modify.
Why work on Kermit 95?
- It's retro! Experience the look and feel of computing as it was at the
height of the timesharing era, circa
- It's handmade by real programmers.
- It is unbelievably handy for sysadmin, website development and
administration, software development, scripting, and other backoffice tasks.
See the Kermit Script Library for examples.
- Kermit 95 is one of a family of programs that run on many different
operating systems and platforms, offering a uniform and compatible
repertoire of functions, commands, and programmability, allowing the same
scripted procedures to operate on Windows, Linux and all other Unix
varieties (old and new), and VMS. The basis for all these programs
is C-Kermit, which has been evolving all these
years since K95 was last released, so the last release of K95 lags far
behind in its scripting capabilities. The new release (as it stands) is
fully integrated with C-Kermit 9.0.
The Kermit Project hosted by