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Kermit Books

Frank da Cruz
21 August 2021
Also see:   Online books   Kermit bibliography

Kermit books and manuals were published in English and several other languages between 1987 and 1997. This page features the final editions of each of the English-language books, which, although out of print, are sometimes available from Amazon, Alibris, Bookfinder, EBay, and other outlets.


Using C-Kermit

C-Kermit Book
Frank da Cruz and Christine M. Gianone, Using C-Kermit, Second Edition, Digital Press / Butterworth-Heinemann, Woburn, MA, 1997, 622 pages, ISBN 1-55558-164-1: Still recommended for serious users of C-Kermit (for Unix and VMS) and of Kermit 95 (for Microsoft Windows) (casual users can find online tutorials HERE and HERE, and K95 users can find the manual for its Windows-specific features HERE). The book explains all the basics of Kermit's operation and command language, including the syntax of the block structured scripting language that was introduced with C-Kermit 6.0 and is the form still used today. It's full of tables (notably of 8-bit Roman, Cyrillic, and Hebrew character sets), tutorials (notably serial data communications), and all sorts of reference material, plus an extensive index. In its present form, C-Kermit supports serial-port and modem connections as well as Internet Telnet and FTP protocols (both secure and non-secure), plus SSH connections. It is the only full-function Kermit program still in development, and is mainly used on UNIX (which these days is mostly Linux and its derivatives) but originally it was portable to about eight different operating systems, including VMS, AOS/VS, VOS, OS-9, Plan 9, etc. Also published in German. The second edition is current for C-Kermit 6.0; the new features of C-Kermit 7.0 are described in the C-Kermit 7.0 Update Notes; the new features of C-Kermit 8.0 are described in the C-Kermit 8.0 Update Notes; new features of C-Kermit 9.0 are described in the C-Kermit 9.0 Update Notes.

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This book is now available online as a PDF file, CLICK HERE to see it.

The First Edition (1992) of Using C-Kermit is also available in Google Books.

The Kermit File Transfer Protocol

Kermit book
Kermit: A File Transfer Protocol, Frank da Cruz, Digital Press (1987). The original Kermit book, 1987, in print for 15 years - includes Kermit protocol specification complete with C-language source code, as well as a minimal implementation in BASIC for bootstrapping a real Kermit program onto a PC through its serial port (from the days when PCs were still delivered with ROM BASIC). Foreword by Donald Knuth; illustrated by George Ulrich. The book actually appeared in 1986 but had a copyright date in the future to make it appear more modern.

In the wake of the International Kermit Conference held in Moscow in 1989, a Russian edition by Akademia Nauk was in preparation at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union (SEE SAMPLE CHAPTER).

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Using MS-DOS Kermit

Using MS-DOS Kermit
MS-DOS Kermit was, by far, our most popular Kermit software from 1981 until the late 1990s when Windows 95 and its successors eclipsed DOS. An amazingly feature-full yet compact program written by the Kermit Project at Columbia University and further developed by professor Joe Doupnik at Utah State University. It runs on all versions of DOS, including on many of the non-IBM compatibles from DOS's early days (DEC Rainbow, Heath/Zenith 100, Victor 9000, NEC APC, etc) and includes a script programming language and its own built-in TCP/IP stack. Using MS-DOS Kermit, written by Kermit Project business manager Christine Gianone, saw two editions. The second edition, shown here, documents MS-DOS Kermit 3.14. The book was a best-seller and received excellent reviews. It was also published in French and German, plus a Japanese volume about the NEC pc9801 version of MS-DOS Kermit. The book includes the software itself on a 3.5-inch diskette.

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The original Kermit 95 manual

K95 printed manual 1996
The Kermit 95 manual was published in 1995 along with Kermit 95 itself, and packaged in a big box with the software diskettes and a copy of Using C-Kermit, first edition, total weight several pounds. The cover of the Kermit 95 book is, well, horrible. Our sketch for a design was given to a designer who evidently favored Hot Wheels and Dungeons and Dragons. We were thinking more VW Beetle or Mini Cooper, exploring a friendlier landscape, not the Mountains of Doom (after the first release of K95, the manual was online only). Authors rarely get approval of book covers, and worse, even of the titles. The title of the first Kermit book should have been The Kermit File Transfer Protocol but the designer changed it for, well, design reasons. By the way, the cover of that book shows an IBM PC/AT on the left, connected to a DEC VAX, which is accessed by a DEC Rainbow, DEC's answer to the IBM PC.

Online manual

Notes about the books

The English-language Kermit books (except the K95 one) were published by Digital Press, the publishing house of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). After DEC disappeared, the Digital Press imprint passed to Butterworth-Heinemann and from there to Reed-Elsevier, or simply Elsevier. The production quality is high, with thorough peer review, copy editing, and professional design. Translations were published in Germany and France, licensed from Digital Press to Verlag Heinz Heise and Heinz Schiefer & cie. The English versions were typeset by the authors using the Scribe documentation preparation system, a remarkable improvement over its successors (as Mark Crispin might have said), and input using the EMACS text editor (both before and after it became GNU EMACS) on the DECSYSTEM-20 and later on various Unix platforms.

Kermit Manuals / Columbia University / kermit@columbia.edu / 2011-03-11 / Updated: Fri Aug 20 19:49:15 2021