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Kermit Alive and Well on the Space Station

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the i-don't-want-to-go-on-the-cart dept.

Space 356

An Ominous Cow Erred writes " reports on the use of the fantastic Kermit "program" being used to communicate with devices on the international space station. While the article's author doesn't seem to have a quite perfect grasp on what Kermit is (and effuses about how Kermit is being used to help war-torn Bosnia and advance AIDS research) it brought a smile to my face to imagine the old protocol from my BBS days (which was scorned in favor of Zmodem) being used on the greatest technological achievement of humankind."

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Did he "pork" Ms. Piggy? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684299)

Hi-ho there! It's not easy being a weightless, green frog while trolling slashdot!


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684302)

SCO acquires a new business partner - GNAA

Darl here, with another fine Fr1st P0st. After all -- SCO did everything first, and the rest of the responses to this story will owe their heritage to a foundation built on SCO's staff of talented programmers.

You may be wondering why SCO salesmen are not answering your numerous calls while you try to order more SCO licenses. Well, we aren't answering the phones because we're too busy celebrating our newest business partner. Rather than explaining it myself, I'll let our formal press release do the talking. Take it away, Mr. Reuters...

LINDON, Utah, Sept. 8/PRNewswire - FirstCall/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOX [] - News [] ), the owner and licensor of the core UNIX operating system source code, today announced its second Fortune 500 clent for the SCO Linux IP license, the GNAA (Nasdaq: RHAT [] - News [] ), developer of fine Slashdot trolls on #GNAA, also well-known for revolutionizing small business development with its "Step 2: ??????" profit model. The availability of the SCO Intellectual Property License for Linux affords Linux deployments to come into compliance with international law for the use of all 2.4 and future kernels. The run-time license permits the use of SCO's intellectual property, in binary form only, as contained in Linux distributions.

By purchasing a SCO Intellectual Property License, customers avoid infringement of SCO's intellectual property rights in Linux 2.4 and Linux 2.5 kernels and assure Darl financial security for the purchase of his second home. Because the SCO license authorizes run-time use only, customers also comply with the General Public License, under which Linux is distributed. Source may still be distributed under the terms of the GPL, however source distributors are held accountable for all violation of SCO's IP. Indemnification is provided for customers of runtime clients only. Read that twice, dirty hippy. You're not in the clear yet.

GNAA spokesperson penisbird said of the licensure, "coming into compliance affords us a new competitive advantage with the other Slashdot authors. By being in the right, we can thumb down our noses at not only the Windows users and the BSD-thieving Mac Users, but also the unwashed Linux hippies running stolen code on their parents' PCs." VP of anus enlargement goat-see added, "fr1st p0st? damn i miss. how do i next story?"

Mr. Darl McBride concurred with GNAA's analysis, adding "We soon hope to convince additional clients such as Trollklore and Cabal of Logged In Trolls of the benefits of licensing SCO's valuable IP. Also, I <3 GNAA bunny. (@.@)" JesuitX clarified the nature of the SCO and GNAA alliance, adding "We're more than just a licensing client. We're also going to be helping to bring these other potential licensors into compliance. We can break them in little by little as paying sublicensors. The alternative is pretty horrible. Our lawyers can take a reticent client from virgin to hello.jpg [figure 2 [] ] in under an hour, and believe me -- it is not pleasant."

Commander Taco was unavailable for comment, however Cowboy Kneel was said to ask for a print of [figure 2] for his basement apartment. Simoniker remained British and unable to spell "color," while Timothy responded by posting the same story six times, and Hemos reposted a seventh time, the submission differing only from his application of that damned Einstein icon.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

| ______________________________________._a,____ |
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ |
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ |
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ |
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ |
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ |
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ |
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ |
| ______-"!^____________________________________ |
` _______________________________________________'

sheeesssh... (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684305)

Kermit Alive and Well on the Space Station

This place is starting to sound like the Weekly World News [] .
"Archie disappears, Veronica suspect! Gopher dug the hole far aWAIS!"

Re:sheeesssh... (2, Funny)

John Zebedee (659358) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684365)

I don't know whether to be saddened or amused by a /. reader having the WWN bookmarked.

Anyone else here (3, Funny)

IANAL(BIAILS) (726712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684308)

Immediatly have the image of a large green frog floating around in the weightlessness?

Re:Anyone else here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684330)

Aww come on... I make the same damn joke in my f1rst p0st and get modded "troll," while this shmuck gets "insightful!?!" UGH!

Re:Anyone else here (4, Funny)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684353)

Nope. We all had the image of an old file transfer protocol. After all, this IS Slashdot.

Re:Anyone else here (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684521)

Nope. We all had the image of an old file transfer protocol

Yeah, I never did figure out why a puppet frog would be named after a transfer protocol

Mental Picture (4, Funny)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684381)

<ghostly announcer voice>




</ghostly announcer voice>

PIGS (3, Informative)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684478)

That is all.

Re:Anyone else here (4, Funny)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684395)

Ditto, I'm thinking, "What did, did Dr. Evil kidnap him and he wants us to give into his demands or the muppet gets shot out an airlock!?!?!"

Re:Anyone else here (3, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684585)

"Ditto, I'm thinking, "What did, did Dr. Evil kidnap him and he wants us to give into his demands or the muppet gets shot out an airlock!?!?!"

Do you know what happens to a frog when it's exposed to the cold vaccuum of outer space? The same thing that happens to everything else.

*Straight face.*

Re:Anyone else here (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684456)

Immediatly have the image of a large green frog floating around in the weightlessness?

It's not unlikely, given some of the experiments they are doing in space these days. Scroll down towards Snap-crackle-pop []

transfer protocols comma that suck (3, Interesting)

pheared (446683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684323)

(which was scorned in favor of Zmodem)

With good reason. :)

IceZmodem rocked.

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684342)

>> IceZmodem rocked.

Pft. HS/Link beat your pretty IceZmodem graphics with it's upload and download at the same time. :)

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (1)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684370)

(which was scorned in favor of Zmodem)
With good reason. :) IceZmodem rocked.

Maybe, but you could get Kermit on just about every platform under the sun.

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (2, Funny)

Jondor (55589) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684447)

Which was the only reason why anybody would use it. To upload a compiler and the zmodem sources..

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (1)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684499)

only reason why anybody would use it - upload a compiler and the zmodem sources

True enough, but Kermit saved my bacon this way on many occasions

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (1)

IM6100 (692796) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684581)

I couldn't get Zmodem to build from source on my HP48 calculator.

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (5, Interesting)

Tet (2721) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684422)

Kermit's downfall was the defaults with which it shipped. People (myself included) switched to zmodem simply because by default it gave faster transfer speeds. Yes, by messing around with window sizes, you could get just similar performance out of kermit. But no one could be bothered when zmodem "just worked". To be fair, kermit had a different set of design goals, which probably influenced the default settings. But IMHO they should have shipped kermit with default settings optimized for the common case, rather than for older, slower connections. Oh, and not being fully open source really didn't help its cause, either...

IceZmoden forever! (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684482)

Yes, it did! I loved the minigames while downloading on my 300 baud modem. ;)

It was neat, I started BBSing when 56k modems were out, I was the loser with the 300 baud on a PCjr. After a year or so I got a 386 with a 1200, then a 2400, then a 14400, and right before BBSing in my area "died", I got a 56k. :)

Man I miss all my friends from the old BBSes. Maybe now that I have a static IP I'll make a Telnet WWIV board. :)

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (1)

ShadeARG (306487) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684484)

Anyone remember Zmodem Moby Turbo?

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (1)

qw(name) (718245) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684529)

I was always partial to ZedZap 8k myself since most of what I transferred was netmail and attachments. Fewer verifies meant faster transfers (and higher risks). :-)

Living dangerously at 2400 baud!

Re:transfer protocols comma that suck (1)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684559)

And don't forget about giflink. The protocol that allowed those pr0n .gif files to display as they were being downloaded!.

Seriously though, not all the BBS's supported IceZmodem, so plain 'ole Zmodem was probably the best "widely used" protocol.

Xmodem was for wussies.

da-da, da-da-da-da... bwaaah (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684328)

hi-ho, kermit thee frog here, and welcome to thee ISS.

wait huh? (4, Funny)

buddha42 (539539) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684334)

it brought a smile to my face to imagine the old protocol from my BBS days ... being used on the greatest technological achievement of humankind."

Weren't you using it to download porn back then too?

Hmm (2, Interesting)

Pingular (670773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684335)

the greatest technological achievement of humankind
I think 'debateably' should be added to that.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684385)

i think "tenuously" is more appropriate.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684495)

Or maybe just precede it with a simple "not".

Re:Hmm (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684516)

Average lifespan doubling due to medicine and sanitation or big metal thing in space.


Can't help agree with the parent. "Debateably" should definately be added.


Re:Hmm (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684519)

or perhaps 'debatably'?

Dear God I'm anal today. Apologies.

Zmodem rules. (4, Interesting)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684341)

Zmodem allowed asynchronous communications which provided faster data transfer rates and better error detection. In particular, Zmodem supported larger block sizes and enables the transfer to resume where it left off following a communications failure.

In the BBS days, where the goal was to leech files... there's a reason why other protocols where replaced.

Kill the spammers. [] Let the irony of this sig sort em' out.

Ruled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684407)

HTTP replaced Zmodem for most file transfers.

Re:Zmodem rules. (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684449)

It sure did. Zmodem was as least 5 times faster than kermit at file transfers.

Re:Zmodem rules. (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684493)

Jeebuz, man, give it a rest.

Kermit is dead. Zmodem is dead. The argument died ten years ago! Get over it!

It's not pinin', it's passed on! This protocol is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of value, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the Space Station it'd be pushing up the daisies! Its CPU usage is now zero! It's off the box! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!


Sheesh, if you want an argument to die around here, you've got to complain 'til you're blue in the face.

clap clap clap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684542)

Nicely done. I especially enjoyed "Shuffled off its mortal coil."

Re:clap clap clap (1)

plover (150551) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684588)

I can't take all the credit; this is just the old Monty Python "Dead Parrot Sketch" with the word 'parrot' crossed out and the word 'protocol' written in in crayon.

I (incorrectly) figured anyone who got it would also be a Monty Python fan.

Re:Zmodem rules. (5, Interesting)

Krellan (107440) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684509)

That's true. The purpose of ZMODEM is to transfer data as fast as possible, on a fairly modern system with clean phone lines, plentiful memory for buffering, and fast I/O that doesn't block. On a modern system, ZMODEM is the best character-based protocol out there (there were a few that were more advanced or had special purposes, like BiModem, but they are irrelevant now that everything now uses packet-based data and TCP/IP).

The purpose of Kermit is to be 100% compatible with pretty much every piece of technology, going all the way back to the earliest mainframe computers!

Different character set (ASCII, EBCDIC, UTF-8, etc.)? Kermit will translate the data as it is transferred.

Strange record length requirement (data must be transferred in units of 80 bytes or so, and can't be addressed as individual characters)? This was common on mainframes. Kermit will pad data as required to make this work.

Limited I/O that can't use the comm port and storage device at the same time? This was common on old DOS PC comm programs that could not multitask. Kermit will delay as needed in order to let data be stored before continuing with the communications, and synchronize this with the other side so that data is not lost.

Noisy phone line? Kermit will do complete error correction, without stalling or aborting the transfer (as ZMODEM was known to do).

Low memory for buffering? Kermit will do handshaking to ensure that the other side doesn't send data until the current data has been fully processed, minimizing the need for memory to buffer data.

Alien directory structure (VAX, etc.)? Kermit includes a mini-OS that can be used interactively to browse directories and initiate file transfers, and it abstracts the local storage conventions of the system's OS into a simple hierarchy that is the lowest common denominator. As an example of what this means, have you ever done a "ftp" into an old DOS system, and found yourself unable to change drive letters, because FTP (being a UNIX-based program) has no concept of drive letters? Kermit to the rescue here.

Now that computers and protocols are beginning to become standardized, thanks in part to the popularity of the Internet, the need for Kermit is fading. Still, it's good to read about interesting uses of Kermit such as this. Kermit joins the old DOS shareware program "Compushow" as having The Right Stuff.... :)

talk about a flash back. (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684343)

Talk about flash back. .... remembering the days of logging on to my colleges VAX with my old 2400 baud modem and using kermit to download files. then I also remember swtching to Zmodem which was alot better. no more of that ASCII crap.

Re:talk about a flash back. (2, Interesting)

NickDngr (561211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684400)

Talk about flash back

I still use Kermit almost daily. I intereact with my casino's slot system with a VT100 terminal emulator. If I want to download reports to use in another application, I have to use Kermit to get them.

Re:talk about a flash back. (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684518)

I remember dialing up to BBS's with a 300 bps modem, using XModem to download files. You know when you're a geek when you start to get all misty-eyed over a protocol!

The line of Kermits (5, Interesting)

shura57 (727404) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684344)

After Kermit 95, there probably will be Kermit 98, followed by Kermit NT, Kermit ME, Kermit 2000, and finally Kermit XP.

But somehow, I can't imagine Kermit Longhorn as a species... :-)

Seriously, it definitely was (is?) a great program, especially when communicating between less common platforms. It saved my day more than once when I needed to transfer files between the VAX and Amiga, both quite ancient, and without ethernet hardware on Amiga. Many thanks to the creators!


Re:The line of Kermits (5, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684434)

But somehow, I can't imagine Kermit Longhorn as a species... :-)

That's because it goes by the nickname: "Horny Toad".

Re:The line of Kermits (1)

parliboy (233658) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684592)

But somehow, I can't imagine Kermit Longhorn as a species

What, you've never heard of the Horned Toad before?

Greatest technological achievement of humankind (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684347)

The American democratic process, you mean?

That's an interesting bulk licensing scheme... (4, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684360)

...outlined here [] .
Quantity Discount Unit Price
100-249 84.38% 10.00
250-499 86.72% 8.50
500-999 88.75% 7.20
1000-2499 90.63% 6.00
2500-4999 92.19% 5.00
5000-9999 93.75% 4.00
10000-19999 94.84% 3.30
20000-39999 95.23% 3.05
I wonder how many bulk orders they get these days...

Scorned because it was slow... (2, Informative)

zjbs14 (549864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684364)

And sometimes a resource hog. I was told by the admins of the public Sun boxes at UT (circa late 80's)not to use it any more since it kept using all of the CPU. Fun stuff.

What is Kermit? .. from the official website. (5, Informative)

junkymailbox (731309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684367)

Kermit [] is an extensible file transfer protocol first developed at Columbia University in New York City in 1981 for transferring text and binary files without errors between diverse types of computers over potentially hostile communication links, and it is a suite of communications software programs from the Kermit Project at Columbia University. The Kermit protocol and software are named after Kermit the Frog, star of the television series, The Muppet Show; the name Kermit is used by permission of Henson Associates, Inc.

Over the years, the Kermit Project has grown into a worldwide cooperative nonprofit software development effort, headquartered at and coordinated from Columbia University [] . The Kermit Project is dedicated to production of cross-platform, long-lasting, standards-conformant, interoperable communications software, and is actively engaged in the standards process [] .

Since its inception in 1981, the Kermit protocol has developed into a sophisticated and powerful transport-independent tool for file transfer and management, incorporating, among other things:


The feature that distinguishes Kermit protocol from most others is its wide range of settings to allow adaptation to any kind of connection between any two kinds of computers. Most other protocols are designed to work only on certain kinds or qualities of connections, and/or between certain kinds of computers, and therefore work poorly (or not at all) elsewhere and offer few if any methods to adapt to unplanned-for situations. Kermit, on the other hand, allows you to achieve successful file transfer and the highest possible performance on any given connection.

Unlike FTP or X-, Y-, and ZMODEM (the other protocols with which Kermit is most often compared) Kermit protocol does not assume or require:

  • a connection that is transparent to control characters;
  • an 8-bit connection;
  • a clean connection;
  • big buffers all along the communication path;
  • physical-link-layer flow control.

(although Kermit does not require any of these conditions, it can take advantage of them when they are available). A feature article on Kermit protocol by Tim Kientzle in the February 1996 issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal [] noted that "Kermit's windowing approach is faster than protocols such as XModem and YModem . . . What many people don't realize is that under less-than-ideal conditions, Kermit's windowing approach is significantly faster than ZModem, a protocol with a well-deserved reputation for fast transfers over good-quality lines."

Thus Kermit transfers work "out of the box" almost every time.

Re:What is Kermit? .. from the official website. (0)

Sparkle (131911) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684522)

junkymailbox is correct. Kermit is a fantastic product and has been ported to just about every platform imaginable. In the hands of a knowledgeable user, it can communicate where other tools wither. Support your friendly Kermit project!

Frogs in Spaaaace (4, Funny)

Cosmik (730707) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684369)

In space, no-one can hear you croak.

Screenshots (0)

pt99par (588458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684374)

Here is a screenshot of kermit:

Life imitating art ? (2, Funny)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684384)


Come on, did *no-one* else think of that muppets sketch ?


Re:Life imitating art ? (1)

Cosmik (730707) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684473)

With my post above confirming it, I sure did. You'd have to feel for Kermit though - not many places to hide from Miss Piggy.

Re:Life imitating art ? (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684576)

Damn! Just pipped to the post :-)


Re:Life imitating art ? (1)

CaptainPuppydog (516199) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684603)

Heh. Anyone else read this as:


Kermit (3, Funny)

tds67 (670584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684390)

While the article's author doesn't seem to have a quite perfect grasp on what Kermit is...

It can be hard when grasping Kermit...just ask Miss Piggy.

Article text (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684393)

Posted anonymously, like saltwater taffy.

International Space Station Incorporates Columbia's Kermit Software Program

slap on a kermit and save the day
by Michael Larkin
New York - Dec 09, 2003
Created almost 25 years ago by Columbia's academic computing center to help manage the high demand on the University's mainframes, a software program known as Kermit has leapt all the way to the International Space Station where it is being used in a scientific experiment.
Designed to allow two different computer systems to interact, Kermit was used to solve a compatibility problem on the space station. Using two versions of program, one of which was modified specifically for NASA, an experimental device referred to as CLSM-2 can now share information with another computer on board the space station that transmits data back to earth.

"Kermit and Kermit 95 have been invaluable tools to improve our computing efficiency, both in development and in the final operational system," wrote Dave Hall, senior engineer, ZIN Technologies on Kermit's Columbia Web site.

The significance of Kermit is not entirely its invention or its inclusion in the state-of-the-art experiment, but its ability to evolve and to retain its viability in the always-expanding computer industry.

And as one of its creators admits, it was never imagined that Kermit would develop the way it did. "Nobody expected the protocol and software to become a worldwide de facto standard, but even if we had, there are not many things we would have done differently, except in choosing a name," said Frank da Cruz, a manager who has worked on the project since its inception. He recalled amusingly how a picture of the friendly green amphibian swayed his judgment when it came time to name the project.

According to da Cruz, Kermit was borne out of a project to alleviate the strain on the University's academic mainframe computers in the late 1970's, which could only provide 35KB of storage per student. Columbia employees developed a protocol to transfer information from the mainframes to floppy disks through microcomputers that were installed around the university. The first Kermit file transfer occurred in April 1981.

The introduction and the ensuing popularity of IBM's personal computer (PC) prompted the next stage in Kermit's evolution. The university adapted the Kermit protocol to address the PC's incompatibility with Columbia's other computers and released it in January 1983. The PC version proved widely popular and was the subject of books published in English, French, German and Japanese.

At the same time, Kermit programs were developed for minicomputers being used in several Columbia departments. Its popularity continued to grow through the mid-1980s, and by 1986, Kermit was well established at Columbia and a fixture at many other universities, government agencies and companies worldwide.

Through the years, hundreds of Kermit programs have been written at Columbia and elsewhere and distributed through the project. In the early 1990s Kermit software was engineered to handle Russian, Hebrew, Japanese, Polish and many other languages via both their traditional character sets and Unicode, the new Universal Character Set.

"At conferences in Europe, the Soviet Union, and Japan, we quickly came to appreciate the enormous demand for computer communication in diverse languages and writing systems, and worked to make it a reality," said da Cruz.

Kermit 95, which was created for Windows 95 and its successors, was licensed to universities such as Oxford, Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton and the entire SUNY college system; and was bulk licensed to over 800 companies and government agencies worldwide.

Kermit was initially shared with other organizations at no cost, despite the fact that it used a great amount of resources to coordinate the writing of new programs to archive results and to distribute the software. But in 1986, the Kermit Project was formed and distribution fees were established. Today, the project is entirely self-sufficient.

Despite the requirement to fund itself through the commercial licensing of its products, the Kermit Project has remained dedicated to making sure the program is available for humanitarian causes. Kermit was used in the relief mission in Bosnia and by HIV/AIDS researchers in England, and it provided the communications backbone for the 1994 Brazilian national elections, the largest and most complex in history up to that time.

"We enjoy the work, the technical challenges, the contact with people around the world, and the chance to lend a hand when we can," said da Cruz.

In recent years, the Internet and the World Wide Web have surpassed Kermit as a popular desktop communications tool for "ordinary users," but Kermit continues to be an invaluable asset in more specialized areas, such as the Space Station experiment.

"By keeping pace with evolving technology and the increasing demand for security and automation, Kermit has grown into a powerful tool for the creation of secure communications application and continues to thrive in the medical, scientific, engineering, manufacturing, and business sectors," said da Cruz.

Yep (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684398)


Have a nice day.

Kermit is a program! (4, Informative)

Furry Ice (136126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684403)

The author of the article has a very nice grasp of what Kermit is. It's not just a protocol, but a program complete with scripting capabilities, modem dialing, transfers using several protocols (including Kermit of course). It can even do TCP transfers now. It's a great program, but it's a little hard to use and mostly surpassed by simpler tools now. Still, I needed to use it a few years ago to automate modem uploads to a mainframe.

It's a program, it's a protocol (5, Funny)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684451)

Man:It's a flyswatter!

Woman:It's a spatula!

Man:It's a flyswatter!

Woman:It's a spatula!

Man:It's a flyswatter!

Woman:It's a spatula!

Announcer:Wait! You're both right!

Re:It's a program, it's a protocol (2, Funny)

autiger (576148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684606)

But if you use it for one, you don't want to use it for the other.

Re:Kermit is a program! (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684502)

It's simple in it's complexity. Few terminal packages these days will get out of your way and let you have control over the connection. Kermit can assist you as much or as little as you'd like, which is great when you have an odd physical connection to deal with for some reason, or (horrors) don't have a modem attached to your serial port, or the other end can't tolerate a BREAK, etc...

It's the only program out there where you can tell it what you want to do, and will know for a fact that it will do no more, and no less.

Zmodem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684411)

Wasn't it more like Kermit -> Xmodem -> Ymodem -> Ymodem-G / Zmodem?

kermit v zmodem (4, Insightful)

sir_cello (634395) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684416)

You need to understand the differences.

zmodem is high performance single streaming large packet size negative-acknowledgement only protocol - it fails badly in noisy or lossy style of environments.

kermit is far more robust, can interoperate with various different systems of different character encoding, had adaptive retransmission, and can perform just as well as kermit under the right circumstances.

The BBS implementations of kermit were not as sophisticated as the protocol could be, and most BBS environments didn't need the kind of features that kermit had. kermit is also of the emacs style: it's not just a protocol by an entire interactive terminal in itself: scripts, command line, etc.

Re:kermit v zmodem (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684465)

that's what I remmeber too - kermit with for use with high-noise environments, and zmodem was when you wanted to just get stuff fast over relatively clear lines.

I vaguely remember that most kermit window sizes were set to ridiculously small values because they were defaults.

Then there was sliding window kermit, which was a sort of lame attempt to match zmodem's speed.

Ah, those 300 baud days of old!

Re:kermit v zmodem (2, Funny)

theantix (466036) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684573)

"kermit is far more robust, can interoperate with various different systems of different character encoding, had adaptive retransmission, and can perform just as well as kermit under the right circumstances."

I would be pretty concerned if it didn't perform as well as itself...

Zmodem? Nah! (1)

1984 (56406) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684423)

...which was scorned in favor of Zmodem

The pompously smug and self-important among us preferred Ymodem-G when on an error-corrected link. And now we are relics.

Re:Zmodem? Nah! (1)

BdosError (261714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684563)

I was more of a self-importantly smug type, but I did that YModem-G stuff too -- great with the ol' error corrected connection from my USR Courier 14.4.

Of course, that was really faster than anyone needs. 300 baud Modem7 [] and CP/M should be good enough for anyone, right? You can't read or type faster than that anyway.

And that started me on a nostalgia trip that lead to this [] page. Notice that copyright issues on source were already a problem [] , although in a different way.

Re:Zmodem? Nah! (1)

BdosError (261714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684604)

And, of course, I forgot that I once implemented XModem in interpretted Microsoft BASIC v5.2 (or so) on an Osborne 1. 4MHz Z80A processor and 64k of RAM. Yeesh, I would have rather gotten laid.

Hold on, let me download the article. (5, Funny)

karmaflux (148909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684425)




man screw this


dsgkh$#@^%@26 3421lj __ 34 NO CARRIER

Re:Hold on, let me download the article. (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684608)


Greatest Technological Achievement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684429)

I don't know where your getting that idea from. In 2000 years, when our society is much transformed, just about the most amazing thing we'll be remembered for is the Interstate system. It'll still be around then as ruins for future, alien archeologists.

Kermit in Use with HP-48GX & 68k Mac (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684435)

I still use Kermit 0.9(40) to transfer things to and from my HP-48GX. I never did get it working on any new PPC Mac. Thus it is currently relegated to a Powerbook 190cs that I use for the retro applications that only run on a 68k Macintosh.

Michael Sims . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684436)

...enemy of capitalism.

Enemy of reason.

Ayn Rand would TKO your ass within 2 rounds. Get in the ring.

Aaah yes... (2, Insightful)

Treacle Treatment (681828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684440)

...the communications protocol that wants to be an operating system. Somebody (Frank) has too much time on his hands. Reminds me of EMACS. These programs are definitely not in the spirit of UNIX.

Re:Aaah yes... (1)

YouMakeMeSoANGRY (641079) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684578)

As it is not a UNIX only program, why should you expect it to be "in the spirit of UNIX"?

What makes your comment even less relevent, is the fact that the embeded system running Kermit uses MS-DOS.

zmodem (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684443)

..which was scorned in favor of Zmodem

My reaction as I read the first few lines of the post was "zmodem is better". I'm glad the author added that comment, it gave me a good laugh at my own reaction.

The ease of use of zmodem automatically accepting the download and setting the file name did seem like a revolutionary idea to me back then.

ProfQuotes []

LeechZmodem, icezmodem, superzmodem, etc (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684444)

Never forget the ultimate in thieving scum protocols.
It was a mutation of the Zmodem transfer protocol that never sent an acknowledgment packet at the end of a transfer, allowing you to download an entire file, yet signal to the bulletin board system that you'd never received the complete file. End result: your file credits don't change.
I doubt NASA cares, though.

Erm (0, Informative)

kuzb (724081) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684445)

No, kermit was indeed not spurned to use ZModem.

Many other protocols existed between Kermit and Zmodem that made Kermit obsolete long before.

How about XModem? Or YModem? There protocols are both post Kermit and pre ZModem. Kermit was a 7 bit protocol (only capable of uppercase characters) which is why something as simple as XModem could replace it. Not to mention, XModem had extra error checking.

Thank God for Kermit (1)

Morky (577776) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684452)

I wanted to handle all EDI communications and processing on the main database AIX box for our ERP, but couldn't find a good SFTP program for AIX. I had to compile it with OpenSSL support due to ridiculous export restrictions, but it's working perfectly for me now. They even had a sample script for dealing with the IBM Information Exchange mainframe, which is a little hairy. Good stuff!

Takes you right back (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684458)

Boy, it takes me back to read the word "Kermit" when not related to a frog... I actually used to use that... but there was no Slashdot then to talk about it on.

ah the memories (5, Interesting)

KDN (3283) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684462)

Kermit, it wasn't fast, but I swear that protocol could almost talk through mud. I used it through terminal servers, over X.25, over DECNET, over a freaking IBM 7171 converter (anyone else remember these monsters?). I even used it to stress test a Sun to DECNET comm program (keep signing on back and forth between a and b back to a back to b back to a), and then doing a kermit file transfer. Easy way to simulate 40 people using the system simultanously. But a friend of mine has me beat, IP over kermit over a satellite bounce from the south poll.

It's Official (2, Funny)

DogIsMyCoprocessor (642655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684467)

Spacecraft confirms it. The Kermit protocol is dying ...

Kermit is Dying (4, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684490)

Fact: Kermit is dying

It is common knowledge that Kermit is dying. Everyone knows that ever hapless Kermit is mired in an irrecoverable and mortifying tangle of fatal trouble. It is perhaps anybody's guess as to which Kermit is the worst off of an admittedly suffering Kermit community. The numbers continue to decline for Windows but Kermit may be hurting the most. Look at the numbers. The erosion of user base for Kermit continues in a head spinning downward spiral.

All major marketing surveys show that Kermit has steadily declined in market share. Kermit is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Kermit is to survive at all it will be among hobbyist dilettante dabblers. In truth, for all practical purposes Kermit is already dead. It is a dead man walking.

Fact: Kermit is dying

(Inspired by a Win98 / FreeBSD Troll)

"software program" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684492)

Proof enough that the author of the article knows nothing about computers.

Thank god people don't refer to 'hardware motherboards'.

well Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684496)

How do you think my Apple ][+ communicates to /.?

Without Kermit and lynx, I'd never be able to see all the great wisdom that is /.

Space Station (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684503)

greatest technological achievement of humankind


Most responsible scientists acknowledge the ISS is a heap of useless space junk designed to fund Congressional district voters and nothing else.

Kermit (1)

bbroerman (715822) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684526)

Well, I've written implementations of Xmodem, Ymodem, Ymodem-1k, Ymodem-G, Zmodem, and Kermit... For bad lines, or through bad telnet sessions, or very different kinds of computers, Kermit rules for reliability... Nice UI for the day too... Although, I agree on the standard BBS' with a 2400 or 14.4, Zmodem ruled as a protocol...

Greatest technological acheivement (3, Funny)

demachina (71715) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684531)

... being used on the greatest technological achievement of humankind.

You mean they are running it on Linux??? No, that couldn't be it. You couldn't possibly be referring to the ISS could you? If so exactly what about the ISS is a great achievement other than they managing to spend staggering sums to accomplish nothing. The ISS is in a close race with the war in Iraq in that category.

Oh the humanity! (0, Troll)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684544)

Please, someone make the flashbacks stop!

What's that? Stop logging into /.??

Muppets in space.. (0, Offtopic)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684545)

I hereby welcome our cute, reptilian, space-faring overlords (and the pork chops that love them)!!

Sorry had to post it.....

Re:Muppets in space.. (1)

PoorLenore (608332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684590)

That's 'amphibian'.

Ah Kermit... (2, Interesting)

xchino (591175) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684555)

I found my introduction to the BBS community when I was 8 or so and going through everything that came with our new computer. While playing with lotus 1-2-3 I came across a bunch of options I didn't understand, but one said Kermit, like the frog, so I checked that out. This brought me to the (horrible) built in terminal and gave me some options for dialing numbers. That's what gave me a clue as to what that one weird shaped port was on the back of the computer, so I hooked up the phoneline and dialed PKWare's BBS, which was the first BBS I ever connected to. After hours of long distance charges all over the country, much to my parents displeasure, I had a good terminal program (Terminate FYI :) and a decent list of local BBS.

So I guess kermit played a crucial role in my life, as now I'm a network engineer :) Of course I ditched kermit for Zmodem, and a few other nutty protocols. Anybody remember the ones that would let you play tetris and such? Those were great back in the days of 2400 baud and single tasking operating systems.

And since I'm feeling nostalgic I'll just throw these in at random.

-Annoying people by creating insanely large and annoying ANSI sigs.
-ANSI Bombs
-Legend of the Red Dragon
-TradeWars 2002
-Horrible misconfigured MajorBBS sites.
-Wardialing (ToneLoc!)
-Can I have Co-Sys?

If you understand anything in that list, you're probably a geek. If you understand everything in the list, you were probably as annoying of a punkass as I was :)

Kermit is not *free* (0, Flamebait)

zulux (112259) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684557)

Kermit is just another closed protocall/application that you have to pay to use.

I anddtion, C-Kermit/Kermit 95 is just a huge kitchen sink peice of software. NOT THE UNIX WAY AT ALL.

Ketmit is to protocall as Micsoroft Office is to text editing.

I belongs in the dustbin of history: wight next to PCAnywhere and Microsoft MAPI.

Kermit is more than a protocol (2, Informative)

HazMat (29849) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684562)

Kermit is much more than a file transfer protocol.

Besides Serial communication, it can handle many network protocols: FTP, Telnet, HTTP, SSH to name a few. It can use the telnet comm control, to handle network attached modems. It has a macro/programming language. For those jobs where one needs to recognize success or failure of a transfer, this is a boon.

And in the Windows version it has a large number of terminal emulations.

Just a satisfied customer.

The greatest technological acheivement of humans? (2, Funny)

couch_potato (623264) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684565)

being used on the greatest technological achievement of humankind

Now, am I the only one who thinks the space station is not the greatest technological achievement of humankind? To me, the greatest invention is obvious: the Thermos cup. It keeps hot stuff hot, and it keeps cold stuff cold. But how does it know the difference??

Re:The greatest technological acheivement of human (4, Funny)

Hayzeus (596826) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684600)

You are incorrect. The true genius of man shines through in that late 20th century innovation: cheese in a aerosol can.

It's all that separates us from the apes.

Duh ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684569)

and people complain about Debian Stable being outdated....

Good! (1)

TexVex (669445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684597) imagine the old protocol from my BBS days...
Good! The cylons can't hack that old technology. It's just the new stuff you got to worry about!
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