VOGONS


First post, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Possibly of limited interest here but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

What is it? A terminal emulator supporting telnet and serial connections. It emulates many different types of terminals and also supports file transfer using the Kermit protocol as well as FTP. There is some limited HTTP support there too (no https). The current build runs on Windows 95+ and Windows NT 4.0+ (3.51 may work - it had some UI glitches when I tried it a few weeks back).

Whats it good for? Logging into other computers via telnet or serial connections and transferring files using the Kermit protocol. Kermit implementations are a available for a lot of different platforms. Seemed to work pretty well with one or two BBS I tried it with the other day.

You can grab C-Kermit for Windows from the kermit project website here: https://kermitproject.org/ckw10beta.html.

Attachments

  • f.png
    Filename
    f.png
    File size
    21.49 KiB
    Views
    576 views
    File comment
    Downloading from a BBS via the Kermit Protocol
    File license
    Public domain
  • b.png
    Filename
    b.png
    File size
    20.55 KiB
    Views
    576 views
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • c.png
    Filename
    c.png
    File size
    24.36 KiB
    Views
    576 views
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • ckw.png
    Filename
    ckw.png
    File size
    16.87 KiB
    Views
    576 views
    File comment
    C-Kermit Command screen
    File license
    Public domain

Reply 1 of 6, by Yoghoo

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Looks nice but it's a shame it doesn't support XYZMODEM protocols anymore. Is it going to be added in the future? Is there a "killer" feature to use this instead of SyncTERM?

Reply 2 of 6, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Yeah, it is a shame. If the original library it was using got open-sourced then it would be pretty easy to add back in. The code to support it is all still there its just missing the one piece to make it work. Without that getting it going again would probably be quite a lot of work. Synchronet at least seems to support the Kermit protocol so downloads and uploads using that will work fine.

As for killer features vs SyncTERM, hard to say as I've never used it before though SyncTERM does look pretty nice. For talking to BBS there is perhaps not much difference - CKWs terminal emulations may be better (and more comprehensive) where that matters but I assume SyncTERMs emulation and other features are good enough for what its built for.

CKWs strong point is probably more in talking to and transferring files to/from more obscure systems over awkward communications links - there are Kermit protocol implementations for pretty much everything and C-Kermit for Windows emulates all sorts of odd terminal types.

The product page for Kermit 95, which is what this is based on, will give some ideas of what it was capable of 20 years ago. This is pretty much the same but with that connection manager GUI gone along with SSH, XYZMODEM and some other proprietary bits most of which are pretty obscure today (LAT client for talking to OpenVMS; Secure Telnet; SRP, Kerberos and NTLM Authentication).

Reply 3 of 6, by doshea

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Thanks, this is cool! I tried using an older version once to talk to Concurrent DOS or some other thing that wanted a weird terminal emulation (I can't remember how successful that was though).

I feel like I might have asked this before sometime in the last decade - apologies if so - but maybe I never asked: does OpenZinc mean that the connection manager can be restored? It's not that I care about the connection manager, I'm just curious about whether anyone noticed that some Zinc source is now available.

Reply 4 of 6, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I think the main reason the code dialer wasn't released was the Kermit 95 authors didn't like it much (it was just a thing to make the product more marketable) and it was built with a modified version of Zinc which was proprietary at the time so the code wasn't particularly useful for anything. Personally I would like to get the dialer back not because its particularly useful but so there is one less missing feature vs Kermit 95.

I've no idea to what extent Zinc was modified by Columbia but if there were no changes to the API perhaps the dialer will build and run OK with OpenZinc. When I get some other more important work out of the way I'll check if there are any roadblocks to open-sourcing it provided I can get it building with OpenZinc. In the meantime if you've got a valid Kermit 95 license you can just copy the K95 dialer over to the CKW folder and it should work fine. I have wondered if perhaps some sort of connection manager could be rebuilt as a kermit script - perhaps present a menu of hosts to connect to like SyncTERM does. Something for when my to-do list is much shorter perhaps if no one else gives it a go first.

There has been a bit of news on the XYZMODEM front - the original author of the code is fine with it being released under an open license. The release of that is being sorted out by someone else who is pretty busy so it may be a little while before I get my hands on an officially relicensed version but that feature should return I hope in the not too distant future. That said, the kermit protocol is better than X/Y/Z modem in most scenarios provided the implementation at the other end is decent.

In the meantime I'm working on getting built-in SSH working again. So far things are looking pretty good and if there are no unexpected problems I'm hoping to get a fresh beta version with built-in SSH and a collection of other bug fixes to Frank to put up on kermitproject.org sometime in a week or two provided US (or NZ!) Cryptography Export Controls don't get in the way.

I've also recently got the codebase building with OpenWatcom 1.9 for both Windows and OS/2. The OS/2 binaries don't want to start on a real OS/2 box though so more work is required there. The OS/2 version was previously built with some version of the IBM VisualAge compiler which I don't have access to so quite possibly I've not translated the VisualAge build flags over to Watcom well enough. Once the SSH work is out of the way I'll have another crack at it and see if I can get C-Kermit for Windows for OS/2 going.

Perhaps in a few months the only missing features compared to Kermit 95 will be: DECnet (cterm and lat protocols), plus Kerberos and SRP authentication. Maybe Kerberos will return too eventually - I've always wanted to have a play with that and this might just be the excuse I need.

Reply 5 of 6, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Its been a bit over a month so... time for a new beta!

The big new feature is built-in SSH on Windows Vista and newer. Windows 10 version 1809 and newer also gets PTY support (pty cmd.exe will open the window shell inside the CKW terminal emulator). The SSH commands this uses are the same as those in Kermit 95, which are documented here though not all commands are implemented yet. See the included ssh-readme.txt for what works, what doesn't, and any known issues.

Because of the return of SSH support, there are now two versions of CKW to choose from depending on how new (or old) the computer you want to run it on is:

  • ckw-b2.zip - Has SSH and PTY support. Requires Windows Vista or newer. Built with Visual C++ 2022.
  • ckw-b2-vintage.zip - Does not have SSH or PTY support. Works on every 32bit or better x86 version of windows except for Windows NT 3.1 and 3.50 (win32s is also unsupported due to lack of support for threading). Supports telnet and serial connections. Frank has some notes and a script for transparently making SSH connections through a telnet connection to a machine on your LAN here if you want to SSH places from a vintage computer.

You can grab the binaries and code (BSD license) from my secondary FTP server on the US West coast here - see the README file if you want to know everything that's changed as well as known issues. Further details and notes from Frank da Cruz are up on the Kermit Project website. If the FTP server isn't responding or performing badly let me know and I'll mirror the content on to my somewhat more well resourced primary server in New Zealand.

If you're used to PuTTY, creating a file called 'k95custom.ini' in the same directory as k95g.exe with the following contents will make some of the more obvious differences it a bit closer:

set term type linux
set term remote utf8
set gui window resize-mode change-dimensions
set mouse button 2 none click \Kpaste

This will set the default terminal type and remote character set to Linux and UTF8, set right click to paste (instead of double right-click), and set CKW to change the terminal dimensions when you resize it rather than scale the font. This also shows a tiny portion of CKWs configurability and scripting abilities - you can remap any key or mouse button to suit your needs. There is lots of other stuff you can customise too - just type ? at the kermit prompt to see the list of commands and use the help command (eg, 'help ssh') for more information on anything that looks interesting.

I'm still expecting XYZMODEM support to turn up in some future release but there is no news to report on that front at this time. The Dialer/connection manager may also return - I've stripped out all the serial number/registration code and got it building with OpenZinc so just waiting on permission to release the code. In the meantime I'm going to have another go at getting the OS/2 version working as well as tidying up support for Windows NT 3.50 (I've got a branch that builds with Visual C++ 2.0 if you turn off enough features, just need to make window resizing work nicer as all the window sizing messages changed between NT 3.50 and 3.51) and maybe see if I can fix the issues with NT 3.1 - then I can say it supports all 32bit or better x86 windows. Plus there will be further enhancements to SSH support and other misc things depending on free time, etc.

Attachments

  • win10.png
    Filename
    win10.png
    File size
    24.16 KiB
    Views
    353 views
    File comment
    On windows 10 showing PowerShell running in a PTY
    File license
    Public domain
  • win7.png
    Filename
    win7.png
    File size
    349.04 KiB
    Views
    353 views
    File comment
    SSH-enabled Beta 2 running on Windows 7
    File license
    Public domain
  • nt351.png
    Filename
    nt351.png
    File size
    27.54 KiB
    Views
    353 views
    File comment
    Beta 2 running on NT 3.51. The fonts on NT 3.51 are less good than newer windows.
    File license
    Public domain

Reply 6 of 6, by davidrg

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Its been a bit under a month so... time for a pretty big update

Big new things:

  • SSH now works on Windows XP Service Pack 3
  • C-Kermit now works on Windows NT 3.50 (with a special build done with Visual C++ 2.0)
  • The mouse wheel now works! And if you'd rather it do something other than scroll, the new set mouse wheel command will let you adjust its behaviour.
  • An option to stop idle SSH sessions from timing out has been added
  • SSL support is back and needs Windows XP SP3 or newer - the http command now supports https, the ftp command now supports FTP secured with TLS, and the telnet command now supports telnet secured with TLS (compatible with the debian telnetd-ssl package)
  • You can now adjust the screen update interval for a smoother experience
  • The dialer is back if you want it. Aside from changing the branding and a few new bugs its identical to what shipped with Kermit 95 v2.1.3 warts and all. (screenshot)
  • A bunch of other SSH improvements
  • A bunch of fixed bugs

If you'd like the full list of all thats new and less broken, see the whats-new document.

This version also includes a sample k95custom.ini file which you may like to check out. Its pre-populated with a bunch of settings you can uncomment some of which will make C-Kermit behave a little more like PuTTY if you want it to.

You can grab the binaries and code (BSD license) from my secondary FTP server on the US West coast - see the README file to find out what you should download. Further details and notes from Frank da Cruz plus the dialer binaries and code are up on the Kermit Project website. If the FTP server isn't responding or performing badly let me know and I'll mirror the content on to my somewhat more well resourced primary server in New Zealand.

Attachments

  • nt350.png
    Filename
    nt350.png
    File size
    14.2 KiB
    Views
    211 views
    File comment
    Special NT 3.50 version of C-Kermit
    File license
    CC-BY-4.0