Kermit is a popular file transfer and management protocol and suite of communications software programs with advantages over existing Internet protocols such as File Transfer Protocol and Telnet. It is freeware, developed and maintained by members of the Kermit Project at Columbia University. (However, you're invited to purchase shrink-wrapped versions and/or the manuals to help support the project.) The Kermit protocol is described as "fast, robust, extensible, tunable, and medium-independent." In addition to the protocol support, the Kermit suite includes terminal emulation, character-set translation, and scripting. The suite can be installed on almost any operating system, including Windows, UNIX, DOS, VMS, OS/2, and a number of mainframe operating systems. Most versions support both direct or dialed serial connections (with a modem) and network connections (Telnet and often others such as Rlogin, LAT, or X.25).

Some advantages of Kermit are:

  • You can write a script that will allow a sequence of file transfers to happen with a single command
  • You can transfer an entire file directory and its subdirectories with a single command
  • Text and binary files can be sent in the same file transfer
  • Character-sets can be translated as part of the transfer (for example, from EBCDIC to ASCII)
  • Files can be transferred through firewalls and network address translators
This was last updated in April 2005

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