What is KERMIT?

Kermit is a robust transport-independent file-transfer protocol and a large collection of software programs that implement it on a wide variety of platforms. In addition to file transfer, many of these programs also make network, dialed, and/or serial-port connections and also offer features such as terminal emulation, character-set conversion, and scripting for automation of any communication or file-management task. The Kermit Project originated at Columbia University in New York City in 1981 and remained there for 30 years. Since 2011 it is independent.

Kermit is the name of a file-transfer and -management protocol and a suite of computer programs for many types of computers that implements that protocol as well as other communication functions ranging from terminal emulation to automation of communications tasks through a high-level cross-platform scripting language. The software is transport-independent, operating over TCP/IP connections in traditional clear-text mode or secured by SSH, SSL/TLS, or Kerberos IV or V, as well as over serial-port connections, modems, and other communication methods (X.25, DECnet, various LAN protocols such as NETBIOS and LAT, parallel ports, etc, on particular platforms).
The Kermit Project was founded at the Columbia University Computer Center (now CUIT) in 1981.

The major features of the most popular Kermit programs are:

  1. Connection establishment and maintenance for a wide variety of connection methods (TCP/IP, X.25, LAN, serial port, modem, etc).
  2. Terminal emulation.
  3. Error-free file transfer.
  4. Internet protocols including Telnet, Rlogin, FTP, and HTTP.
  5. Internet security methods including Kerberos, SSL/TLS, SSH, and SRP.
  6. Character-set conversion during both terminal emulation and file transfer – a unique feature of Kermit software.
  7. Numeric and alphanumeric paging.
  8. Script programming to automate complicated or repetitive tasks. 

 Our premiere Kermit software implementations are:

Kermit 95 for Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10, and OS/2;
C-Kermit for UNIX, VMS, VOS, and several other operating system families;
E-Kermit for embedding.
MS-DOS Kermit for DOS and Windows 3.x;
IBM Mainframe Kermit for VM/CMS, MVS/TSO, and CICS. 
Kermit protocol has developed into a sophisticated, powerful, and extensible transport-independent tool for file transfer and management, incorporating, among other things:

  • Transmission of multiple files in a single operation.
  • File attribute transmission (size, date, permissions, etc)
  • File name, record-format, and character-set conversion
  • File collision options, including an "update" feature
  • File transfer recovery (resumption of an interrupted binary-mode transfer from the point of failure)
  • Auto upload and download
  • Client/Server file transfer and management
  • Automatic per-file text/binary mode switching during file-group transmission
  • Recursive directory-tree transfer, even between unlike platforms
  • Uniform services on serial and network connections
  • An Internet Kermit Service Daemon 

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