Frequently Asked Questions

Most recent update: 3 December 2002



This document is in the process of replacing the original Kermit FAQ, which can still be accessed HERE. The original FAQ is organized chronologically; this new one is organized by topic, but is still under construction, and contains mainly just links to other pages. For example:

At first most of these links are to the separate items from the original FAQ, but since some of these are rather dated, they are being replaced as time permits.

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Which Kermit Program(s) Do I Need?

Kermit software can be used for many purposes. If all you want is a terminal emulator for serial or network connections, use Kermit 95 or MS-DOS Kermit, as appropriate. If you want to transfer files, you'll need two Kermit programs, one for each end of the connection. For example, if you want to make a connection from Windows 98 to a Sun Solaris server, you'll need Kermit 95 for Windows 98 and C-Kermit for Solaris.

Here's a quick overview:

UNIX, (Open)VMS, QNX, OS-9, Plan 9, AOS/VS, VOS
(Full-featured network and serial communications and scripting)

UNIX only
(File transfer only).

Windows 95, 98, Millenium Edition, NT, 2000, XP
Kermit 95
(Full-featured network and serial communications and scripting)

Kermit 95
(Full-featured network and serial communications and scripting)

MS-DOS, PC-DOS, DR-DOS, or Windows 3.11 or earlier
MS-DOS Kermit
(Full-featured network and serial communications and scripting)
Note:MS-DOS Kermit is not supported on Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP or OS/2, not even in a "DOS window".

IBM mainframes with VM/CMS, MVS/TSO, or MUSIC
IBM Mainframe Kermit


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Where To Find Things

The Kermit Project started in 1981 and has been developing and accumulating software ever since, so there is a lot of stuff here. Originally it was available only by mail order on magnetic tape. When the ARPANET (later Internet) became more widely available, the master tape directories were made available for public FTP access. Eventually the demand for tapes dwindled away but we still have thousands of files organized "by tape", with naming conventions designed for flat and unstructured tape archives. This makes FTP access somewhat difficult:

But that's OK since almost all access nowadays is through our website:

which provides quick access to our most popular items, such as:

But there are lots more, some of them dating back a decade or two. A concise (but long) list is here:

The list is sorted by the contents of the "Machine" column. "Prefix" refers to the filename prefix, "Tape" refers to the subdirectory of the Kermit FTP site. Here's an example:

  Prefix,                 Operating  Program   Program  Released
   Tape  Machine          System     Language  Version  yy/mm/dd  Contributor
  MU  D  Honeywell        MULTICS    PL/I         2.0h  84/09/20  Oakland U

Kermit 2.0h for Honeywell MULTICS, written in PL/I at Oakland University, released 20 September 1984, is in the kermit/d directory of the FTP site, with filename prefix "mu". Even though the Prefix and Tape designators are listed in uppercase, you must enter them in lowercase because the FTP (and Web) site is now Unix-based. So to get the MULTICS version of Kermit, you would use FTP something like this:

  $ mkdir multics                (create a directory and cd to it)
  $ cd multics
  $ ftp      (make the FTP connection)
  Name: anonymous                (log in as user 'anonymous')
  Password: myuserid@host.domain (supply your actual email address)
  ftp> cd kermit/d               (change directory to kermit/d)
  ftp> prompt                    (allow multiple files)
  ftp> ascii                     (transfer in ascii text mode)
  ftp> mget mu*                  (get all files whose names start with mu)
  ftp> bye                       (log off the FTP server)

For detailed instructions about FTP, CLICK HERE. To find out how to use Kermit itself, instead of FTP, to download from the Kermit site, CLICK HERE.

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Common Misconceptions

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Kermit software licensing is explained HERE.

Licensing is a hot and contentious topic. The public increasingly expects software to be "free" (with various and differing interpretations of the word free), and yet software is the product of human labor, which ultimately must be paid for, particularly if it takes place full-time over a span of decades.

The Kermit Project is composed of a core of full-time computing professionals at Columbia University in New York City, plus volunteers at other locations. Although the University paid for the Kermit Project initially, funding was withdrawn in the mid-1980s, and since then we have been funded solely by the revenue we can generate through sales of books, software licenses, and support contracts.

With the exception of Kermit 95, which must be bought and paid for, Kermit software is free in the sense that you can get it for free -- including the source code -- by downloading it; you can use it for free (even within a commercial setting); and you can even get e-mail technical support for free (within reason).

However, this freedom does not extend to redistribution of the software in a commercial setting: furnishing it to customers or clients, bundling it with products, and so on. If you want to gain commercial advantage from our work, you must help to support our work by licensing the software for redistribution. The specific terms and conditions depend on the product and other factors, and are given on our licensing page. This policy is fair and makes perfect sense: if your product depends on our products, it is in your best interest to keep our product alive and strong.

A recent exception to this policy allows inclusion of C-Kermit with free (in the Open Source sense) operating-system distributions such as Linux and FreeBSD. See the C-Kermit License for details.

Another exception is G-Kermit, which is released under the GNU Public License.

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General Questions

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File Transfer

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Terminal Emulation

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Modems and Dialing

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Kermit 95

Runs on: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, OS/2
Current version: 2.1
Released: 25 November 2002
FAQ: See the
Kermit 95 FAQ

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Runs on: UNIX, VMS, VOS, AOS/VS, QNX, OS-9, Plan 9, BeOS, Commodore Amiga
Current version: 8.0.206
Released: 24 October 2002
FAQ: See the
C-Kermit FAQ, plus the following.

NOTE: "UNIX" is a general term covering the many operating systems that descended from the original Bell Labs UNIX operating system. Examples include: Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, SunOS, AIX, HP-UX, IRIX, OPENSTEP, NeXTSTEP, System V, Tru64, OSF/1, DG/UX, Unixware, Xenix, OpenServer, BSDI/OS, Ultrix, Digital UNIX, SINIX, and many more (for a longer list, CLICK HERE).

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MS-DOS Kermit

Runs on: Windows 3.x and earlier, MS-DOS, PC-DOS, DR-DOS, etc.
Current version: 3.15
Released: 15 Sep 1997

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IBM Mainframe Related

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The Kermit FAQ / The Kermit Project / Columbia University / / 3 December 2002