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Kermit Software - FTP Instructions and Tips

Not New York City


The primary ftp site for Kermit software is:

Or in non-Web notation (more about this below):

There is no ftp-mail server, and we do not send Kermit software by email -- in most cases it is too big to survive the trip.

In April 2003, due to circumstances beyond our control, our FTP server was moved from a dedicated computer with the Kermit files on a local disk to a central host pool with Kermit files NFS mounted from a RAID filer. Due to glitches in this arrangement, which we do not administer ourselves, sometimes when you make a connection to the Kermit ftp area, no files are visible. If this happens to you, just close the connection and try again.

These days, the easiest way to access the Kermit ftp site is with a Web browser. Our Web address is:


The web pages guide you easily to the files you need, and give you all the other information you might want -- frequently asked questions, licensing information, etc.

But of course there are drawbacks. Many Web-browser FTP clients give you no control over the mode (text or binary) in which the file is downloaded, nor what becomes of the file after it is downloaded. Furthermore, some Web browsers do not allow FTP transfer of file groups -- only one file at a time may be transferred.

Hint: In Netscape, you might have to right-click on a filename and choose "Save" to make it download, rather than appear as garbage on your screen, or have it fed to a random application.
Windows-based graphical FTP clients are especially annoying, as they like to choose "helper applications" for the file you are trying to download, based on its name, on the often erroneous assumption that it's a Windows file. In the Kermit ftp area, ".doc" files are plain text, not Word For Windows; ".hlp" files are plain text, not Windows Help, and so on. Binaries such as "cku197.sunos41c-4.1.3-sparc" or "k11nrs.tsk" are simply to be ftp'd in binary mode and saved, not associated with any Windows application.

Some of the graphical FTP clients can surprise you; they download the file, but then you can't find it afterwards, either because it put it in a directory you weren't expecting, or it changed the name of the file (case of letters, adding numbers to the end, etc). Or they transferred in binary mode when you needed text mode, or vice versa.

If your Web browser or graphical FTP client can't cope with downloads, then use FTP the Old Fashioned Way. Open a Command window on your Windows PC, or a shell window on your UNIX workstation, etc. Then, at the DOS / shell prompt:

  1. (DOS, Windows, or OS/2 only): Type the disk letter of the disk you want to download to, followed by a colon (:), for example, "d:", and then press the Enter key.

  2. Change to the directory that you want to download to, e.g.:

      cd tmp
  3. Type:
      ftp kermit.columbia.edu

    and then press the Enter or Return key.

  4. It will prompt you:
      User (kermit.columbia.edu):
    In response, type the word "anonymous" (lowercase, spelled out in full) and then press the Enter or Return key.

  5. Now it will prompt you for a password. In response, type your email address and then press the Enter or Return key. You should receive a greeting and a brief overview of the available directories, "kermit" among them.

  6. Now type "cd kermit" (lowercase) and press the Enter or Return key. You should receive another orientation message. Read this message and follow the directions.
Now you can cd to the desired subdirectories and look around. Each time you cd, you should receive an orientation message for the new directory. Use the FTP "dir" command to list the files in the current directory, "pwd" to find out which directory you are in.

To download text files, first give the FTP "ascii" command, then use the FTP "get" command to download a single file, or "mget" to download multiple files. Please note: If you download text files in binary mode, their record formats might be wrong, but they should still be readable. If the GET or MGET command fails, see the troublshooting section below.

To download binary files, first give the FTP "binary" command, then use the FTP "get" command to download a single file, or "mget" to download multiple files. Please note: If you download binary files in "ascii" (or text) mode, they will be completely corrupted and you won't be able to use them.

When you are finished, give the ftp "bye" command.

If you download an executable file to UNIX, you have to "chmod +x" the file before you can run it ("man chmod" for details).


The Kermit FTP site should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and serves thousands of files every day to sites all over the world. There are presently no limitations on the number of simultaneous users, the number or size of files you can request, etc. If you have trouble getting into our FTP server, the trouble is almost certainly on your end.

Our FTP server has enough power to keep up with the demand. If you think it is slow, the slowness most likely comes from the Internet connection itself, not from our FTP server. However, in the 24-48 hours after a major Kermit software announcement, the demand can be quite heavy, and this can slow down not only the server, but also key gateways or routers, contention-based network segments, etc. A fact of life. Nevertheless, any time we get complaints that the server is down or not responding, they almost never turn out to be true; inspection of the server usually shows lots of active users at any given time, day or night.

If you have trouble:

There are presently no official ftp mirror sites.

Kermit Software - FTP Tips / Columbia University / kermit@columbia.edu / 13 Jan 2004