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Columbia University Ending the Kermit Project

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 years ago | from the how-will-ms-piggy-transfer-files-now dept.

Software 146

An anonymous reader writes "Columbia University has announced that the Kermit Project will be ended in July 2011, after more than 30 years in existence. Open Kermit (C-Kermit) will remain available, but without any support or ongoing development. Kermit-95, which cannot be open-sourced, will remain available for license purchases but without support or maintenance."

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Is anyone using kermit anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750366)

I remember it as an option when bbs'ing. I never used it for much that I recall. Has it simply lost relevance?

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750698)

Yes, it is used a lot in the embedded world. One of the few tools available to recover a bricked RS232-only based device. Used on things like the gumstix, beagleboard, and lots of other SBC like ARM based embedded devices. If you make/order custom versions or your own shipping product does not contain alternatives like MMC/SD card boot capabilities, c-kermit is one of the few things out there to allow you to boot, load code, and then go to console all from one tool on such devices. Saved my (and my employers) ass many times on bricked or buggy embedded devices.

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 3 years ago | (#35750892)

hmm, the embedded devices I worked on the "debricking" procedure was to use JTAG to rewire the flash (AIUI the programmer software uses JTAG to take control of the CPUs address/data lines and uses those address/data lines to program the flash). It was a bit slow but it didn't rely on any functional code being on the device at all.

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (2)

NotQuiteInsane (981960) | about 3 years ago | (#35751168)

Depends if the box is completely bricked or "bootloader bricked".

If you can't even get a bootloader prompt then JTAG is the only game in town. You use JTAG to flash a bootloader and erase the rest of the flash ROM so the bootloader drops into a command prompt instead of trying to boot a kernel. Once you have a working bootloader, you typically use XMODEM to transfer the kernel and rootfs binaries across. Alternatively you use Ethernet or some other high-speed interface (USB, anyone?)

If you have a working bootloader, then you interrupt it on boot, drop to the command prompt and upload a new, (hopefully) working kernel and rootfs.

JTAG is only really necessary if your bootloader is totally screwed.

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (1)

Bork (115412) | about 3 years ago | (#35750708)

It one of the methods of uploading a revision of software into a Cisco router. Used it once to get a router back that I could not get a network interface to come up on.

Fixing routers via dialup to the console port (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#35752194)

Sometime last year I was working on a router or maybe a firewall at some remote site that I could only access by dialup modem, because the WAN hadn't been installed yet. It was very nice to notice that it supported xmodem, as did my terminal program, so I was able to back up the configuration files instead of cutting and pasting them all from the screen. Dragged up a lot of old memories...

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (1)

DarthBart (640519) | about 3 years ago | (#35750828)

I use it all the time talking out a serial port. Minicom blows dog.

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#35751116)

In what ways is kermit superior to minicom? I use minicom a lot, but only for file transfer to my various retro computers. Should I be using kermit, or is it superior in ways that I wouldn't benefit from?

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 3 years ago | (#35751458)

I used minicom with sz to upload images over zmodem, however being Linux-based, device had sufficient resources to run another copy of rz. I did not need it after firmware got full Ethernet support, however then it was a nice way of updating chunks of flash without slow JTAG.

I guess, devices with serial-only bootloader would rather implement xmodem with the same software on the "terminal" side. C-Kermit in this way is worse than minicom -- it still requires external sz/rz but does not automatically start them when it sees a signature coming from the serial line. Kermit-95 apparently has built-in support for xmodem and zmodem, however I don't know how convenient it is. I have never seen actual Kermit protocol (built-in) used for anything other than testing between two boxes running Kermit.

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750894)

Anyone remember HSlink? It let you upload/download simultaneously *and* chat while doing so. This was awesome when your phone line was being tied up and you were uploading/downloading to a friend. The only problem is that it made it awkward downloading from BBSes where the SysOp wanted to talk to you out of boredom. You end up thinking to yourself "How long will I have to keep this conversation going in order to not be disconnected 'by accident?'"

Re:Is anyone using kermit anymore? (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about 3 years ago | (#35751282)

hum that must be the reason somebody wrote the Emacs Doctor, I wonder what is the option to automatically speak to your emacs kermit mode buffer....

somewhat sad... (1)

ak_hepcat (468765) | about 3 years ago | (#35750372)

Although I really only ever used kermit so i could download zmodem...

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

Xyverz (144945) | about 3 years ago | (#35750420)

Heh, I used kermit until zmodem became available. Yeah, I'm fairly saddened by this as well.

Re:somewhat sad... (3, Interesting)

Marillion (33728) | about 3 years ago | (#35750536)

I feel as if a movie star I hadn't watched in forever has just passed away. "I didn't know he was still alive?"

Jim Henson. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750750)

I thought Kermit (and Ernie) passed away in May 1990

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

Third Position (1725934) | about 3 years ago | (#35751290)

I remember using Kermit to download my first SLS distro, sometime around 1992 or 93 through my college internet connection.

I feel old.


Re:somewhat sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751546)

In Soviet Sesame Street - Kermit ends YOU!

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 3 years ago | (#35750576)

I only used it to transfer data between my HP 48SX and my PC at the time.

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | about 3 years ago | (#35752098)

Same here! I always liked its name though..

I'd suggest we start using that name for something else now.. maybe something a little bit more evil..

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 3 years ago | (#35750634)

I'm glad that my memory isn't totally shot. The first thing that came to mind was using kermit to transfer files. Zmodem was definitely the way to go though.

Re:somewhat sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751128)

Only if you never used HS/Link.

Re:somewhat sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750650)

Weird. I could never stand all those crappy *modem things. No compatibility, no extensibility. Kermit was much better engineered, and the difference in perfomance tiny as long as you used a decent implementation, like the Columbia ones. I still use it in preference to other packages under Linux.

It was always crippled on the windows platform by the non-free code, though. Sounds like it stayed crippled - the free C-Kermit will live on.

Re:somewhat sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750846)

The site indicates Kermit-95 included encryption capabilities that are (or were) restricted by the US Fedgov, and at least some source modules Columbia does not have the right to release to open source..

Re: ZModem. In fact the later Kermit versions (like C-Kermit) could be set to operate very quickly as long as both ends were compatible. Larger packet sizes, larger windows, and you could compete performance-wise with Z-modem and the like. Plus you could do it between almost any two oddball platforms that Kermit supported, which was _many_ more than ever ran Z-modem. Especially given Omen Technologies rather stringent licensing and restrictions.

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#35750902)

Ymodem-G baby. If your connection didn't suck it allowed substantially better throughput than even zmodem =)

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

SonofSmog (1961084) | about 3 years ago | (#35751634)

Error correction? Y-Modem G all day! Come-on kids. You know you have to roll the U.S. Robotics Courier Dual-Standard if you want to get on any elite boards for warez. I think I "carded" my first one when I was 15!

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 years ago | (#35751370)

When I worked in IT at a college in the 1990s, the Kermit protocol was the most readily available lingua franca for transferring files between our VAXen and PCs. I remember creating an icon of Kermie (kermit.ico) for running the Kermit terminal emulator for DOS under Windows 3.1, so people could log in to a VAX and offload copies of their mail onto floppies, or maybe up/download a WordPerfect document. Another bit of my youth, consigned to history.

Re:somewhat sad... (1)

dunng808 (448849) | about 3 years ago | (#35751794)

Oh yeah, this takes me back ... except I was talking to an early Xenix box. Kermit was everywhere, THE standard, slow but ultra reliable.

Oh Well (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#35750376)

Did a lot of kermit scripting in my early years, mainly using it to script uploads of inventory to mainframes. I only know of one guy who still uses it in my area now, though.

I guess they ran out of money? (4, Funny)

stillnotelf (1476907) | about 3 years ago | (#35750400)

It's not easy needing green...

Re:I guess they ran out of money? (1)

LizardKing (5245) | about 3 years ago | (#35750726)

And for those who thought this sounded familiar but couldn't place it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpiIWMWWVco [youtube.com]

Re:I guess they ran out of money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752782)

My guess is if you don't know that reference, you're not old gonna be old enough to know what the Kermit protocol is either.

That's okay. I don't know the different Pokomon dudes, and if you do, your kids probably won't. The "you know you grew up in the 80s if..." has been replaced with the "90s" and I didn't know 1/2 the references.. and probably the "00s" will be appearing soon enough...

Ah, how time flies... [youtube.com]...

Kermit. 1988, 300 baud to college VAX (1)

iguana (8083) | about 3 years ago | (#35750426)

(bows head)

Used Kermit from a 286 running MS-DOS 3.3, dialing 300 baud to our college's VAX. Ahhh, memories.

Re:Kermit. 1988, 300 baud to college VAX (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | about 3 years ago | (#35751702)

Wow, if you were going to splurge on a 286 why did you cripple yourself with 300 baud? I had a 1200 baud modem in my XT clone.

Re:Kermit. 1988, 300 baud to college VAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752044)

Kermit, 486, 1997, university sun spark server. Memories indeed...

heh (4, Funny)

sentientbeing (688713) | about 3 years ago | (#35750432)

Poor Kermit. He was never the same after he got laid off from that theater group. He didnt like the managment choices. Said it was a puppet regime.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751256)

Funny, when I talked to him he wouldn't say anything. Must've had a frog in his throat.

That's a shame, but figured it'd already happened (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 3 years ago | (#35750434)

Being more of an Amiga BBS guy, I never got into Kermit over Zmodem and other similar protocols. I mean, I know Kermit is more than just a protocol, but in practice that's how I saw it used 99% of the time. I've only used Kermit once - uploading machine language to a 68HC11 in the 90s - and was genuinely surprised to see that it was still officially a live project until now.

Re:That's a shame, but figured it'd already happen (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 years ago | (#35750552)

Kermit was and may still be useful when your connection is terrible. I am willing to bet that today it is used more than zmodem or xmodem.

Re:That's a shame, but figured it'd already happen (1)

GCsoftware (68281) | about 3 years ago | (#35750936)

It's also much more tolerant of non-8bit-clean links, like Telnet by default.

Incredibly useful (1)

fermion (181285) | about 3 years ago | (#35750480)

The hours that Kermit saved me. I was able to hook up my modem and connect to the university mainframe from many different location. I did not have to go the computer lab or be inconvenienced when it was closed on holidays or all the terminals were taken. It was one of those things that had an incalculable effect on productivity, positive that is, unlike trade wars.

We'll miss ya Kermit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750574)

That's too bad. I remember Kermit - nice protocol before zmodem came out. Ahhh, the joys of the BBS-era and writing your own code with a US Robotics Sportster 2400 Baud Modem (fastest at the time!)...

Nostalgia. (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#35750598)

More than Duke Nukem or anything else I've heard referenced recently, none have blasted me back to my youth more than hearing the words "kermit" and "zmodem". Right around the same time that you could go down to the local Hacker Shack (later renamed, due to conflicts with Radio Shack) and thumb through thousands of 5.25" floppies organized like mini-albums and you'd pay a buck just for a floppy with a looping black and white video you could watch on your grainy CGA.

God damn, I miss those days. I'm glad the internet is widespread and aiding tens of millions of people in their life on a daily basis, but there was something delightful about being part of a tiny group of weirdos connecting to each other with ATA commands and some guy's hobby board.

Re:Nostalgia. (2)

dave562 (969951) | about 3 years ago | (#35750664)

but there was something delightful about being part of a tiny group of weirdos connecting to each other with ATA commands and some guy's hobby board.

There sure was. At one point it was a matter of pride for me to be able to type faster than the modem buffer could handle.

Re:Nostalgia. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 3 years ago | (#35750706)

I never was at that point (first modem was 1200 baud), but I did connect to BBS's with ATDT1aaapppnnnn+
yes, there was something awesome about all that.

Re:Nostalgia. (2)

adolf (21054) | about 3 years ago | (#35751440)

I used to be able to tell which user was about to sign into my board by listening to the connect tones from the modem.

The v.32bis Supra I had back then could be tweaked pretty severely. I remember setting the DTMF tone and inter-digit durations to be so short that they were just barely recognized by Ameritech's switch, with busy detection so short that it would trigger after just a few milliseconds. Redial delay was just long enough to reset the switch, and then it'd rinse and repeat until something answered.

It was so perfectly fast that, several times, I was able to catch another sysop trying to call out from his own modem: In the short space between their own redial attempts, I'd duck right in. Their modem would pick up the line to dial out, before it recognized that the line was already ringing.

I'd get a moment of silence on my end instead of a blip of a busy signal, which was instantly recognizable due to the change in cadence. A quick ATX3DT later, and they'd be connected to my Telemate session instead of whoever they thought they were calling.

I'd then dump the hijacked connection into my BBS's login screen. Much confusion ensued on their part.

I had more fun with computers back then. Nowadays, my quad-core desktop mostly sits idle unless I'm reading Slashdot, and I'm far less impressed with the speed of my 12Mbps VDSL circuit today than I was with v.32bis back in the day...

Re:Nostalgia. (4, Interesting)

erice (13380) | about 3 years ago | (#35751730)

I had more fun with computers back then. Nowadays, my quad-core desktop mostly sits idle unless I'm reading Slashdot, and I'm far less impressed with the speed of my 12Mbps VDSL circuit today than I was with v.32bis back in the day...

In those days, getting online was an adventure. There was gold out there. You just had the figure out the right mix of technical and social engineering to get to it. I wrote layers of terminal and REXX scripts to automate the retrieval of freeware and Usenet articles and work around connection destroying misfeatures in the 7171 protocol converters. I used Kermit because nothing else could transfer through 7E1, even if it were available for EBCDIC machines. I wrote a DOS based terminal server to run on a friendly staff member's PC so I could get the sort of clean text interface Unix and VMS people took for granted.

Nowadays, Internet connectivity is something that you buy and it mostly just works. It's a lot more useful but not nearly as much fun.

Re:Nostalgia. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#35751946)

I've always been a bit turned off by how people treat technology, in the last decade.

When I grew up (even in the 90s, which i know is later in the game to many of you), I had to figure out how to build a computer. How a modem worked. How to use a terminal. The difference between the different types of modem protocols. Then uncover awesome local boards. A short time later, I had to learn about the various BBS hosting software, telephony, semaphores and doorgames, some minor coding, FIDOnet and plenty of other things, just to setup a little BBS and communicate with other people around the world.

Getting the technology up and running then allowed me to explore a whole world in which I could create and learn and investigate.

What does someone that same age, today, do with the technology? They blab about themselves on Facebook and Twitter and wank off on instant messaging. While there are still plenty of creators and learners and doers, the almost complete majority does nothing but use it as a consumption device. As a toy. As a brain-numbing facilitator.

I always thought that was sad, since I was able to be involved in the tail end of the era when you could almost guarantee that anyone who had a computer also knew a lot *about* that computer. And computers in general. And wanted to know more.

Re:Nostalgia. (1)

adolf (21054) | about 3 years ago | (#35752942)


I borrowed a 9600 bps account on a local VAX/VMS machine for years before the Internet was popular enough for anyone to actually bother letting me buy access. I used that to connect to io.com in Texas, who were selling FreeBSD shell accounts (with an awesome Netapps backend) and Usenet for $10/month.

The VMS environment was pretty baren, and the combination was almost 8-bit clean. I had my share of fun keeping escape characters from ruining things.

The only REXX scripting I've ever done was a nifty little kit which fingered the terminal servers at a local ISP, and would deduce the current IP address of a given username. After that it would introduce a healthy dose of ping -f, eventually slowing to the point that the PPP session itself would timeout and it would hang up.

Always was amusing that their terminal servers were so broken that this was possible to do, while my own dialup connection at another ISP never batted an eye at the abuse while it shoved packets their way.

Ah well. I'm too old for that shit, now. ;)

Re:Nostalgia. (1)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#35752202)

More than Duke Nukem or anything else I've heard referenced recently, none have blasted me back to my youth more than hearing the words "kermit" and "zmodem".

Nostalgia? Maybe. All I remember is having no end of trouble as a casual user of BBS. Zmodem is synonymous in my memory with file corruption on large downloads that took forever. What I remember not so fondly is going back to Xmodem out of sheer desperation (and sometimes that worked). I don't doubt that I did not understand the intricacies of zmodem as well as some may argue I should have. I didn't particularly want to understand it. I just wanted to use it to download.

The sad thing is even after decades resumable large downloads seem to be the exception not the rule. And free services have found new and interesting ways to slow down downloads by splitting them up, imposing time limits and restrictions and trying to get you to pay for the privilege of having those restrictions removed. I'd just love to see an estimate of total number of hours per year people spend/waste on something as trivial as obtaining files.

I had C-Kermit source code from college (1)

aschlemm (17571) | about 3 years ago | (#35750620)

I remember I got the C-Kermit source code from college back in 1988. I had to do crazy things to upload the code to a Dual S100 Unix computer at work. I had dial into work via modem and upload each source file using "cat filename" on the remote system and doing ASCII uploads from home. It took me several days but the code compiled and worked so I had Kermit at work now.

The go anywhere protocol (2)

KDN (3283) | about 3 years ago | (#35750624)

Wow, in my college and post college days I used that protocol in so many places and so many ways I can't even begin to count. That was a very conservative protocol that was able to go through almost anything. One time I had it go from a portable computer over a modem connection to an Equinox data switch to an AT&T 3b5 Unix, to a cu back to the Equinox (to change the speed from 300 baud to 9600 baud) to an IBM 7171 protocol converter to an IBM 4361. And it could actually transfer files. Another time I had to stress test a DECNET terminal simulator on a Sun (the old version would fail in the middle of the day on the busiest of days) So I used kermit to connect to host1, then to host 2, back to host 1, back to host 2, I think something like 40 times. Then I did a file transfer through all the connections. It worked.

Re:The go anywhere protocol (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 3 years ago | (#35751040)

I heard a story once (apocryphal, probably) about some military guys who rigged a connection that ran Kermit over a length of barbed wire, when that was all they had.

Re:The go anywhere protocol (1)

Alien Being (18488) | about 3 years ago | (#35752752)

Kermit, maybe. I've heard the barbed wire story. The link layer was Arcnet as I recall. I always think of it as the spark-gap-generator of LAN technology.

still used a lot in embedded world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750628)

I use c-kermit a lot on RS232 based embedded boards, like the beagleboard. It's the only terminal emulator I have found that can easily go into file transfer mode and then back to command prompt.
But I am not too worried. Columbia University hasn't done anything with c-kermit since 2004. It is simple C code that is easy to maintain and will probably be re-compilable for the foreseeable future.

"Open Source" before it was cool (3, Interesting)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 3 years ago | (#35750638)

Kermit was my first foray into the advantages of Open Source, even if it was not Free Software.

The company where I worked in college (Digital Techniques Inc. who made a line of touchscreen computers in the early 80s) had an MS-DOS machine that ran on STD-Bus, non-PC compatible... and with the source-code from Columbia (on 9-track tape!) I was able to write a communication driver for the 2661 DUART (same as in the Zenith Z-100, and as compared to the IBM-PC's 8250 UART). Finally we could zap files up to the VAX at a blazing 19,200 baud! Never could iron out all the interrupt issues for even-higher speeds.

A few years later when this Linux thing came along I said, Aha! ... thanks Kermit for being Open before Open was cool.

About the statement of Kermit 95 (2)

Bork (115412) | about 3 years ago | (#35750678)

From the Columbia's web site
"On or before June 30, 2011, there will be Open Source versions of C-Kermit, E-Kermit, and Kermit 95. "

Unless the anonymous reader has some inside information...

Re:About the statement of Kermit 95 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750920)

>> "Briefly, over the next months Kermit software source code will be published with an Open Source license except for a few Kermit 95 source modules to which Columbia does not have publication rights. C-Kermit 9.0 will have an Open Source license, and E-Kermit will also be converted to Open Source. Kermit 95 executables and install packages will not be distributed in a free and open manner because they include strong encryption, whose export is controlled by the United States Government. "

Re:About the statement of Kermit 95 (1)

jackbird (721605) | about 3 years ago | (#35752282)

That's still true? I thought export controls on encryption went away during the Clinton administration.

What could be Kermit's most interesting legacy (3, Informative)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about 3 years ago | (#35750788)

I miss Kermit like I miss my old Kreidler motobike, found memories but I'd probable wouldn't really like it if I would need it again...

But what I would really appreciate from columbia would be a clear and detailled explanation of what parts or "kind of parts" of kermit-95 and why ? cannot be open sourced ?
Are there pieces of code written by Open Source adverse copyright holders ?
Or "lost coypright holders" that have rights but cannot be located
Or legally "challenged" copyright holders (childs who are too young to "agree" to anything but are the sole heir of some copyrights ? for example ?)
Backdoors mandated by some three letters authority that cannot be released under an open source licences :-)
code that implement something patented and the patent holders do not authorise the inclusion in open source code ..
Or contracts with former clients prohibiting "unfair compétition"...
or, or, ....

I know that the value of an Open Source Kermit-95 would be very law, it might be better on Windows than C-Kermit for some values of "better"...
but it's unlikelly that any futur use would be better served with an update of K95 rather than a modificiation of CK.

But the lesson on "freeing" code would be very interesting, and after all Columbia as a quite proheminent law school... so it would be interesting...

Re:What could be Kermit's most interesting legacy (1)

ogrizzo (23524) | about 3 years ago | (#35751026)

But what I would really appreciate from columbia would be a clear and detailled explanation of what parts or "kind of parts" of kermit-95 and why ? cannot be open sourced ?

Just read TFA and follow links:
Regular Kermit 95 binaries can not be made openly available because they include cryptography functions whose distribution is restricted by United States export law. Kermit 95 binaries that include encryption (SSH, SSL/TLS, and Kerberos) will have to be purchased and licensed, as before. Single copies can be purchased from Amazon.com, E-Academy.com, and other retailers. If the stock of shrinkwrapped copies runs out, Kermit 95 will continue to be available from E-Academy.com in both cryptographic and non-cryptographic (safe for export) versions.

Re:What could be Kermit's most interesting legacy (3, Interesting)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about 3 years ago | (#35751248)

Well that cannot be the real reason since as show on the C-Kermit site:
Due to relaxations in USA export law, secure versions of C-Kermit are available in source-code form, supporting Kerberos IV, Kerberos V, SSL/TLS, and SRP. and from the C-Kermit man page it can also make SSH connections through your external SSH client application.

So conceivably an open source Kermit-95 with just the SSH ripped out (if really necessary) could be made avaiable, if that would be all...

Alternativelly a legitimate message could be: C-Kermit is better and allready BSD so it's better in the long run even if Kermit-95 has some adventage in dying old machines ... so we do not bother ..
Or out contracts with Amazon, E-Academy, etc ... prohibits us...

But "we can't", well why ? of course they have no obligation even no "moral" obligation after all they paid for the developpment and it helped lots of people...

But on an other hand it is unlickely that they made any real revenue out of it even over 30 years, so as an historical and econonical case study it would be interesting to see what the motivations for the old licences where, and what the motivations for keeping K95 close are ...

Re:What could be Kermit's most interesting legacy (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 3 years ago | (#35751586)

it's possible that columbia just doesn't want to make a mistake or get tangled up in red tape over a nonprofitable move; crypto still technically needs to be submitted to the government for approval; it's just a rubberstamp for open source projects.

or it could be standard market segmentation tricks. allow a practically-identical version for the technically-proficient hoi polloi with less liability, while using FUD to sell the Official Version to conservative firms and large companies to whom the cost is negligible. even though there's no support now, a lot of companies (ok, probably more like a few companies) will still have Kermit 95 as a requisite and, hey, it's almost free money, since columbia has a central office maintaining downloads anyway.

It was still around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750814)

I remember getting Kermit years ago, for college, then years later for university (and I convocated more than a dozen years ago). I remember it was really good stuff, way back when, but that was about 20 years ago. Sad to see support go, but I don't know how many people are using it anymore (or how many have to). They are talking about Kermit 95 on the site, but I remember Kermit 95 as the 'new version', and I was for quite a few years using the old version. I remember also using it because it worked better than xmodem or ymodem, and also that it could automagically convert from EBCDIC to ASCII.

Wow, takes me back. (1)

AJWM (19027) | about 3 years ago | (#35750824)

I see (thanks google) that in 1985 I contributed c64boot to the Kermit project to get files onto a Commodore 64 ... and at the other end of the scale I was wondering about C-Kermit for UTS (Amdahl's port of Unix to 370-architecture mainframes.) There was actually a connection (uh, sorry) there, both related to the project I was working on at the time.

(And when was the last time you saw an email addy like "ACDMAYER%UOGUELPH.BITNET@WISCVM" ?)

(ob. "All you kids get off my lawn!")

Figures. I just built it into an embedded system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750880)

...a couple of months ago.

'Course I didn't implement any of the snazzy new features like improved checksums and sliding windows.

C64 Term FTW (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 years ago | (#35750960)

That and my speedy VIC-Modem (yes, the one you had to dial using the telephone, slide the switch to data and hang up the receiver)

I'm pretty sure it wasn't even 300 baud

Funny thing, I still have that thing...

Hail Kermit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35750986)

Well, you outlived the Pine project by 12 years. Congratulations on a long and highly-successful run!

Goodbye, farewell, and Amen!

wow, so many old memories coming back this week (1)

ChipMonk (711367) | about 3 years ago | (#35751008)

First, the story about Commodore trying to revive the 64 line, and now this. It was the two of them together, that enabled me to wreck my last year of college beyond all hope of repair.

I had gotten a 300 baud modem for my C=64, but to get something "real" I had to type in a Kermit transfer program in Commodore BASIC, then use that program to download a Kermit program with built-in VT52 emulation. That transfer took over 3 hours, but oh boy was it worth it. I wasted many nights, dialed in to the campus VAX/11-750, chatting and emailing on Bitnet, trying hacks in Pascal, and generally being a kid in a candy store, all from my dorm room.

The good ol' days weren't really that good, but they were exciting, in that it was a thrill to see what dedicated hacking could get a machine to do.

Kermit is a brilliant protocol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751058)

Kermit is a brilliant protocol and the only one which could 'naturally' handle a 7-bit pipe.

Most people's opinion of Kermit was seriously affected by some very poor, lowest common denominator implementations which failed to handle large packets nor proper windowing nor compression. Properly implemented Kermit tools beat the pants of all of the -modem based protocols.

To be honest, I'm surprised they kept it going this long. But it'll remain as a good teaching tool for communication technologies, I'm sure.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751094)

For those in the know - will kermit have a viable future as a truly open source tool, or is it of less interest in this day and age?

Made my Mom's career change possible (2)

yogidog98 (1800862) | about 3 years ago | (#35751226)

I know this is going to sound sappy, but when I was around 12, my Mom went back to school to change careers from teaching to computer science. I don't know how she could have done it without a tool like Kermit, which allowed her do much of her coursework from home, around her family, instead of having to spend late nights in the school labs.

Looking over my Mom's shoulder, Kermit gave me my first glimpse of email, my first experience with vi (her preferred email editor), and indirectly I guess, put me on the engineering career path to where I am today... Curse you Kermit!

Re:Made my Mom's career change possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752934)

Sappy, but lovely depiction of the human impact technology has.

I hope some mods appreciate this.

Bootstrapable on PDP-11 and VAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751372)

I bootstrapped Kermit onto both PDP-11s and VAXs for years. It seemed like I never had it on whatever media I needed whether it was 8 inch floppy or RL02. You could copy a hexified version of the program in through a serial port and then convert it to an executable. After that it was smooth sailing.

Rest In Peace Kermit. It's well deserved.

Blast from the past (1)

putaro (235078) | about 3 years ago | (#35751394)

I actually wrote an implementation of the Kermit protocol in Basic Plus for the DEC PDP 11/70 back in about 1983. Used to bring the whole system to its knees transferring a file.

Worst mail system I ever used (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#35752156)

Back in ~1994 the place I was working had a mail system for PCs and servers that the IT department had cobbled together out of Kermit and airplane glue. If you had more than 200KB of mail it would crash your computer and die in ugly ways. It was really annoying, after having been on Unix mail systems since the late 70s, and having used Kermit successfully to do real work as well. Worse than IBM PROFS, worse than Prodigy over 300 baud, much less capable than Fidonet or most 1980s BBS systems. And the IT department always worked in their offices with PCs that were on a LAN, while out in the field we used laptops and dialup.

"will be ended"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751406)

Is "will be ended" the new way to say "will end"?

Such progress in linguistics.

I use Kermit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751504)

I still use Kermit to connect to serial terminals nearly every day. Few other programs are easily scriptable and can handle the myriad of communication tweaks you might need (flow control, carrier detection, sending breaks, etc). The only part that annoys me is that it's not free, and it doesn't support LF->CRLF translation on incoming text (although it does support CR->CRLF, go figure)

But, Kermit will never die... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35751584)

I've been telling since the 90s to friends, seeing me using Windows, why I do so: it's the evolutionary spin-off of Kermit: provides I/O, minimal control over the local hardware, can occasionally drive a printer, has some configuration options -you don't really strive to back it up- and, if it ever breaks, you just reinstall it! Long live Kermit!

Old Farts (1)

Longbow (28366) | about 3 years ago | (#35751942)

Notice that those posting their memories have UID's under 10000. You could probably filter out anyone who even knows that Kermit exists by their UID's alone.
And yes my UID is in the 20k's but only because I forgot to get a /. account the first day.

The frog is dead. Long live the frog.

How Kermit Got Its Name (1)

rssrss (686344) | about 3 years ago | (#35752730)

One of the programmers on the original Kermit project at Columbia University was a grad student who had a 2 yro daughter. We lived on the same street and also had a 2 yro daughter. The two girls played together a lot at the neighborhood playground in Riverside Park near Columbia, and we got to know the family pretty well.

The grad student's daughter loved the Muppets and especially Kermit. He named the program he was working on for her favorite Muppet.

memories (1)

satsuke (263225) | about 3 years ago | (#35752850)

I remember an old Perkin Elmer minicomputer that was used at a laboratory testing oil samples.

The only way to get anything in or out of the thing was kermit over async serial line.

At the time I wasn't quite as UNIX headed .. I thought it very funny that the day that we installed brand new HP high volume / high capacity laser printers was the day I was asked if it had a serial interface available (why they didn't just do LPD I'll never know).

How will I download from my local BBS now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752862)

I depend on my local BBS for shareware and stuff. How will I download files through my dial-up connection now? Will I need to fall-back to X-Modem? Oh noooooooooooo!

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