Kermit - Technical Support
The Broadway Local. Next stop: Columbia University.
Photo courtesy of David
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HOW TO GET TECHNICAL SUPPORT
The Kermit project offers technical support in the following ways.
- Manuals. The published manuals
and other documentation should answer the majority of your questions. Please
consult them before asking for technical support:
- Kermit 95 users: Please consult the online Kermit 95 manual,
which you can access from the Help menu of the Dialer or the GUI version of
K95 itself. Also look at the Kermit 95 FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions) before reporting problems; the most commonly
reported problems are discussed there.
- C-Kermit users: Please consult Using C-Kermit, the various supplementary
files that accompany C-Kermit (the update notes, "beware" files, installation
instructions, etc), and also look at the C-Kermit
FAQ before sending questions or reporting problems.
- G-Kermit users: Please look at
the G-Kermit documentation
for hints and tips before sending questions or reporting problems.
- MS-DOS Kermit users: Please consult
Using MS-DOS Kermit
and the KERMIT.BWR and NETWORKS\SETUP.DOC files in your
KERMIT directory before sending questions or reporting problems. If you are
having problems with MS-DOS Kermit on Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP or OS/2,
please switch to Kermit 95, which is native to those
platforms and fully supported.
- Telephone support is available by calling +1 (212) 854-5126.
This number may be called from anywhere in the world.
Charges are as follows:
- There is no charge to tech-support liaisons at sites that have
purchased site licenses, bulk right-to-copy licenses, or support contracts.
- There is no charge anyone who has purchased Kermit 95 and is having
difficulties installing it. Kermit 95 serial number required.
- Phone support for other catagories of calls costs $25.00 USD per call,
chargeable to a MasterCard or Visa account.
- Technical support is also available at no direct charge as follows:
- On the Web. Point your Web browser at
and look through the Kermit FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and other topic
- By netnews. Read and post questions to
Members of the Kermit team will respond to questions on a best-effort
basis. Others may also respond. Please don't post large messages
(e.g. debug or packet logs, long scripts) to the newsgroup -- use email for
that (next item).
- By email to
email@example.com. Members of the Kermit team will respond
within several days, usually faster. Please do not send the same question
to the newsgroup and to the kermit-support email address. This causes
confusion, duplication of effort, and wasted time. When sending mail,
please use nonproprietary formats such as plain text, ZIP, uuencode,
MIME, etc. Please do not send Microsoft Word documents. Please don't
use exotic encodings such as BinHex.
NOTE: We are receiving increasing amounts of email that cannot be
replied to. If you think we are ignoring your email, you are wrong. We reply
to every message that arrives at the kermit-support address (except spam,
chain letters, etc). If you do not
receive a reply, please check that your messages have a valid Internet
From: or Reply-to: address. If you are mailing from a Web browser, make sure
that your Web browser is configured to know your return address; for example,
in Netscape, fill in the Options -> Mail and News Preferences -> Servers
Mail section with your mail host and email ID, and send a test message to
somebody to make sure they can reply to you. Also don't send huge messages;
they are often stopped by the mail gateways, spam filters, etc.
An organization (university, company, government agency) that provides Kermit
software to its computer users should also provide technical support to them.
The organization may appoint a technical liaison with the Kermit
Project, and we will be glad to supply support to that person.
The organization should not send all of its users to us for technical
support. This can not possibly work, since (a) we do not understand the
hardware, software, communications, and networking setup of your organization;
(b) we do not know what customizations have been made to Kermit at your
organization, and (c) we do not have the resources to help large masses of
If you are member of an organization that provided you with Kermit software,
please obtain support from within your own organization. If they can't help
you, then have your organization's technical liaison contact us. This allows
the necessary information to reach your entire organization at once, rather
than one person at a time. If your organization does not have a liaison with
us, then they should appoint one.
Support contracts are available for Kermit 95 and C-Kermit.
A Kermit 95 Bulk Right-to-Copy or Academic Site
License includes a one-year support contract, renewable each year
C-Kermit support contracts are available to companies that require a formal
support agreement; CLICK HERE for details.
HINTS FOR PREPARING A PROBLEM REPORT
Many people are not aware that there are hundreds of different Kermit programs
on thousands of different hardware and software platforms, operating over all
kinds of different connections. Not everybody is using the same Kermit
software you are, on the same kind of computer, or over the same kind of
connection. Before we can begin to help you, we need the following preliminary
- Is your question about Kermit software?
- If it is a question about email or some other application, then it
probably is not a question about Kermit software. The Kermit help desk does
not provide help with email programs or other non-Kermit applications. In
this case, you will need to ask the owners, makers, or vendors of the
non-Kermit application, or your organization's or ISP's local help desk,
for help or instruction.
- If your software is not a Kermit software program from the Kermit Project
at Columbia University, it is not our software and we can't help you with it.
Kermit programs all have "Kermit" in their names, like MS-DOS Kermit, Kermit
95, C-Kermit, G-Kermit, Kermit-370, etc. If you are asking about the Kermit
implementation in somebody else's software, you'll need to go to the maker or
vendor of that software for help or instruction.
- If you have a problem transferring files with Kermit protocol between a
Kermit Project program and a third-party product, we'll support our end of it.
If the problem lies with the non-Columbia implementation, we'll do our best to
provide a diagnosis or workaround, but we can not be expected to support or
sanction improper or buggy Kermit protocol implementations in third-party
If there is a problem with the interface between some other vendor's software
and one of our Kermit programs, have the vendor of that software get in touch
- Which Kermit program are you using? (What is its name? How does it
identify itself when you start it?) The most commonly used Kermit programs Kermit 95, C-Kermit, are MS-DOS Kermit, and IBM Mainframe
Kermit. (If your question concerns Kermit-32 on VMS, please note that
Kermit-32 has not been supported since 1987; the supported Kermit software for
VMS is C-Kermit).
- What is the version number of the Kermit program? (Most Kermit
programs have a "version" command; if not, the version number is
announced when Kermit starts). If you are using an old version, we will
generally recommend that you install the current version and see if the
problem still occurs. A list of current Kermit software versions can be found
in the Kermit FAQ.
- If it is Kermit 95 2.0 or later, are you using the GUI or Console
version? This information is especially important if your report
concerns screen appearance, character sets, etc.
- Do you have the manual for this version
of Kermit? Have you consulted it?
- If it is C-Kermit or G-Kermit, did you build it from source code,
or are you using one of the prebuilt binaries? If you are using a prebuilt
binary, which one? Are you sure it is the appropriate one for your computer?
- On what kind of computer is your Kermit program running?
- What operating system and version is used on this computer?
- What kind of connection are you using (or are you trying to make)?
Direct serial, dialup, Telnet, SSH, Rlogin, X.25, ...? If it is a modem
- What kind of modem are you using? Is it internal or external? If
you have a PC with an internal modem, is it a real modem or a "Winmodem"? If
you think it might be a Winmodem, CLICK HERE.
- What kind of modem does Kermit think you are using? In other
words, has Kermit been informed appropriately as to your modem type?
If you are using Kermit 95, you should be aware that it has two
methods for accessing serial ports and modems; the traditional, built-in
"DOS" method ("set port com1, set modem type usrobotics, ...") and the
Windows-specific Control Panel interface ("set port tapi"). If one doesn't
work, try the other.
- What are the serial port communications parameters: speed, parity,
flow control? In most Kermit programs, these are listed by the SHOW
- What kind of modem is on the other end? What is the remote modem
connected to? -- A serial port on the computer, a terminal server?
- What other communications equipment is involved? -- An X.25 PAD? A
3270 protocol converter? An intermediate computer? etc etc...
A serial connection (direct or dialup) must have an effective form of
flow control at every junction between computer (or terminal server, etc)
and modem. This means that each pair of devices that are connected must be
using the same kind of flow control, usually either RTS/CTS (hardware)
or Xon/Xoff (software). If this is not true, there can be any amount of data
loss or corruption on the connection.
- What kind of computer or service is on the other end of the
- What operating system and version does that computer use?
- If you are reporting a file-transfer problem: what Kermit program
and version is on the other computer?
- If you are reporting a terminal emulation problem: What kind
terminal is your local Kermit program emulating, and what kind of terminal
does the host computer think you have? If you are using C-Kermit, see
the C-Kermit FAQ.
If you are having problems with F keys, Arrow keys, the Numeric keypad,
or the Backspace key, consult the appropriate items in the
- What is the exact nature of the problem? Is it a failure to make
a connection? A failure to transfer files? A problem with terminal emulation?
Exactly what happens, compared to what you think should happen?
- What commands did you give? Is the problem reproducible?
If you are using email to follow up on a previous or ongoing matter,
please include relevant portions of previous correspondence. We receive
hundreds of tech support requests each day, and can't always remember
the full context of each one.
Data communication is rarely as simple as we'd like it to be. From the
very basic set of questions above, you can see that there are at least
three, and perhaps as many as eight (or more) completely separate hardware
and software components to your connection, all of which must be configured
to interoperate with each other and to pass the desired data through.
This is why communications software can be harder to use than self-contained
applications that stay inside your computer, where (hopefully) all quantities
are known. Also note that when you are using Kermit to make a serial
connection, you are performing the job of a network specialist -- making a
connection that did not exist before, probably using a variety of equipment
and software from different makers. Network specialists need years of
training before they can do this -- don't expect it to be effortless, although
sometimes it might be. Every case is different. (Network connections are
usually easier, because network specialists have already set up the network
Kermit manuals are generally 400-700 pages long. A great many of these pages
are devoted to the many and varied communication methods, and what that can go
wrong on each one, and methods for diagnosis and repair of problems. Please
use the manuals. If you have suggestions for making them better,
send them to us.
Thank you for helping us to serve you better!
Frank da Cruz and Christine Gianone
The Kermit Project - Columbia University
Kermit Tech Support / Columbia University / firstname.lastname@example.org / 8 Feb 2002