Kermit - Technical Support
Most recent update:
Thu Dec 14 15:21:17 2006
KERMIT 95 SUPPORT AND UPDATE STATUS
All software has bugs. Every time a new version of
Kermit 95 is released,
no matter how thoroughly tested, bug reports arrive after the fact. We
document Kermit 95 bugs in several places:
- KERMIT 95
Known bugs (most of them fixed, or with workarounds provided) at the time of
the most recent release (HTML).
- KERMIT 95
BUG LIST ADDITIONS AND UPDATES.
Bugs discovered or reported since the most recent release, often with
workarounds (plain text).
- KERMIT 95
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
Commonly reported problems are addressed here.
Kermit 95 was written over a period of years by members of the Kermit
Project at Columbia University. It is essentially C-Kermit with Windows-specific code layered on top
(notably the terminal emulator and the GUI features) and underneath (Windows
file, device, and networking interfaces). Due to diminished revenues after
the economic decline of 2000-2001, Jeffrey Altman, the author of the
Windows-specific code (as well as of the security code – SSH, SSL/TLS,
Kerberos, and SRP – and much else) was laid off and now has his own
company, Secure Endpoints,
Inc. All our Windows development expertise is now at that company.
Jeff continues to work on Kermit 95, and has produced numerous fixes and
enhancements, listed here:
Since Jeff is no longer paid by Columbia to do this work, his updates are not
available from the Kermit Project. If you need any of the updates listed
in the document just referenced, you can get them directly from Jeff under
the terms listed here:
Similarly, those who need new features added or custom modifications made
to Kermit 95 should contact Jeff directly.
Kermit 95 support (questions, troubleshooting, etc) is provided by
the Kermit Project as outlined in the below, except that when a problem
involves certain facets of the program (such as terminal emulation or
security) it might be necessary to refer the case to Secure Endpoints.
We do expect to have a new Kermit 95
release incorporating all of Jeff's changes – as well as new
developments in C-Kermit itself – available at some point. The exact
timing and terms are yet to be determined. Changes to C-Kermit since K95
2.1.3 (which was based on C-Kermit 8.0.206) was released are listed in the
The new K95 release, if it comes, will be only for Windows XP and
later, will be fully checked out on Windows Vista, and will appear only in
GUI (not Console) form. It will come with a modern MSI installer (allowing
automated installation and upgrades via Group Policy and
organization-specific customizations, e.g. packaging of custom Dialer
entries, initialization files, and scripts). And since we won't be
supporting Windows 95/98/ME any more, we should be able to put the Dialer
back to using the convenient notebook tabs for its entries rather than the
current awkward "direct access" one-at-a-time method. We also expect that
the next release of Kermit 95 will support large files (transfer, access,
and management of files bigger than 2GB) and 64-bit integer arithmetic, and
perhaps also a GUI dialog for file uploads.
More about the next release HERE.
C-KERMIT SUPPORT AND UPDATE STATUS
C-Kermit is still supported and developed within the Kermit Project at
Columbia University, except for the security code (SSL/TLS, Kerberos,
and SRP), which depends on Secure Endpoints, Inc (see
previous section). The C-Kermit page is
MS-DOS KERMIT SUPPORT AND UPDATE STATUS
MS-DOS Kermit is still supported by the Kermit Project at Columbia
University on a best-effort basis, but is no longer in active development.
See the MS-DOS Kermit web page for further
OTHER KERMIT PROGRAMS
Other Kermit programs (IBM mainframe, PDP-11, DECSYSTEM-10/20, PRIME,
Honeywell, CP/M, and so on) are supported on a best-effort basis, but are no
longer in active development (except sometimes).
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:
- On the Web. Point your Web browser at
and look through the
Kermit FAQ (Frequently
Asked Questions) and other topic areas.
- By netnews. Read and post questions to comp.protocols.kermit.misc.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org. Members of the Kermit team will respond
within several days, usually faster.
- Telephone support is available by calling +1 (212) 854-5126
(USA, New York).
An organization (university, company, government agency) that provides Kermit
software to its computer users or clients 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.
HINTS FOR PREPARING A PROBLEM REPORT
. . . which might help you
solve the problem yourself
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, even if you
are accessing it through Kermit, then it probably is not a question
about Kermit software itself. The Kermit help desk does not offer help with
email programs or other non-Kermit applications, except to the extent that
we can advise you choose the appropriate terminal emulation and help you set
up the key mappings, if necessary. Otherwise, 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.
- A lot of third-party software packages include a Kermit file-transfer
protocol implementation (usually not a very good one). 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).
- If you are using Kermit 95...
- Please take a look at the Kermit 95 Tutorial
if you are having trouble getting started. Also the Kermit 95 Read Me document for orientation, file
layout, etc. Then, before requesting assistance, please visit the Kermit 95 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document;
your issue might already be covered there.
- If you are using C-Kermit...
- Please take a look at the C-Kermit Tutorial
if you are having trouble getting started. Before requesting assistance,
please visit the C-Kermit FAQ and see if it helps.
Also see the Kermit FAQ for issues that pertain all
- 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
(see list of current versions), 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
HERE. If you are using the current version of
C-Kermit, we might recommend that you download the latest
Development Build to see if the problem is
already fixed (you might want to save time by doing this in advance).
- If it is Kermit 95 2.0 or later, are you using the GUI version or
Console version? This information is especially important if your report
concerns screen appearance, character sets, fonts, etc. At this point,
everybody should be using the version 2.1.3 of K95 in its GUI form. There is no reason to use the Console
version (which suffers from countless bugs and restrictions in Windows
console application support) unless you really know what you are doing.
- Do you have the manual for your 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?
(To overcome such problems as library version mismatches, you might want to
download and build from source.) If you built C-Kermit from source code,
which makefile target did you use?
- On what kind of computer is your Kermit program running?
- What operating system and version is used on this computer?
If your computer has Windows 95 or later but you are trying to use MS-DOS
Kermit on it, please note that this combination is not supported;
CLICK HERE for details.
- 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
- Which communication device are you using? Some operating systems
have a selection of drivers for the same device, which are selected by using
different names for the device; see, for example, the discussion of serial
port names in HP-UX in the
Unix C-Kermit "beware file".
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. See the K95 FAQ for
more about this.
- 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?
- 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? A terminal server? 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.
- If your complaint is that you see garbage when the connection is
made... please describe the garbage: is it 100% garbage?
Or is some of the text recognizable?
- If approximately 50% of the characters
are wrong, you probably need to tell Kermit to "set parity even" (or other
- If all of the characters are wrong, there is almost certainly a speed
mismatch between (a) Kermit and your modem, or (b) the answering
modem's serial port and the serial port of the computer or device it is
- How did you make the connection? – Did you use Kermit's built-in
DIAL command? If not, please try it ("help dial" for more information). The
DIAL command automatically does what it can to synchronize serial-port speed,
flow control, and other critical parameters between your computer and the
If it is a direct serial connection:
- Are you sure you have the appropriate kind of cable (e.g. null-modem
instead of modem)? CLICK HERE for more information
- Have you correctly identified the communication port to Kermit
(e.g. COM1 or COM2 or a TAPI device name in K95; /dev/ttyS0 or somesuch
in Linux/Unix, etc)? (SET PORT or SET LINE).
- Is the speed ("baud") the same on both ends? For example, if the speed
is 9600 bps ("baud") on the far end, then Kermit's speed must also be
set to 9600 (SET SPEED). A typical symptom of a speed mismatch is that you
see characters on your screen but they are total nonsense.
- If the computer on the far end uses "parity", you have to set Kermit's
parity to match: SET PARITY EVEN, ODD, or MARK. A typical symptom of a
parity mismatch is that some characters are intelligible, some are not.
- If the terminal screen is completely frozen, you might have a
flow-control deadlock, often caused by an
incorrectly or incompletely wired cable or by
transmission noise. Tell Kermit to SET FLOW NONE, and if that unsticks the
screen, then you can come back later and fix the real problem.
- What kind of computer or device or service is on the other end of
Is the device, host, or service text based? Is it a PPP server? Do you have
to log in to it? Do you get a login prompt? Do you get a menu? Are you
immediately connected to a Kermit server?
- 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? Does the transfer fail at the very
beginning (constant retrying of the first packet), or partway through? Does
it happen the same way every time? NOTE: Most current releases of Kermit
software do not support transfer of files larger than 2GB;
forthcoming releases will do so on selected
- 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. If you want to
send Kermit scripts for us to look at as attachments or enclosures,
please give them a name that ends with .txt, not (say)
.ini or .scr or .ksc. Virus scanners will remove
them. Anyway, since Kermit scripts and logs are plain text, you can just
include them directly in your message, there is no need to structure them as
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 for you.)
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
The Kermit Project
New York City
Kermit Tech Support / Columbia University / email@example.com / Last
update: 9 Dec 2006