The Internet Kermit Service Daemon


The Kermit Project
Columbia University

4 February 2000

The Internet Kermit Service (IKS) is similar to traditional FTP service, but with several key differences:

  1. It uses Kermit protocol rather than FTP protocol for file transfer and management.

  2. You may interact with it through a client (such as Kermit program at its command prompt) or you may interact with it directly through a terminal emulator.

  3. You can access it not only from an Internet client, but also from a serial communications program, and it can operate through firewalls.

  4. It offers numerous services not available in FTP.


  1. Requirements
  2. Making the Connection
  3. Logging In
  4. Using the IKS Interactively
  5. Client/Server Access
  6. Tightly Coupled Access

1. Requirements

To access the IKS, you need:

  1. A Telnet client that includes a Kermit protocol implementation, or:
  2. A serial communications package that includes Kermit protocol.

No particular type of terminal emulation is required (or used).

Various commercial shareware, and freeware, communication software packages fall into one category or the other, some into both, and others into neither.

For best results, use C-Kermit, Kermit 95, or MS-DOS Kermit from the Kermit Project at Columbia University, since these can take full advantage of the IKS in terms of both performance and functionality.

2. Making the Connection

Depending on the capabilities of your communications software, you can access the IKS in interactive mode, client/server mode, or both. To access the IKS directly from your Telnet client in interactive mode, instruct it to make a connection to the desired host on port 1649. For example, from the C-Kermit or Kermit 95 prompt:

  telnet 1649

or invoking C-Kermit from the UNIX shell:

  kermit -J 1649

If you want to make a client/server connection, first make sure your communications software has a SET HOST command and a REMOTE LOGIN command. Then use the SET HOST command rather than TELNET; this makes the connection without also entering the terminal screen:

  set host 1649

You can also access the IKS indirectly through a terminal server or other Telnet-capable device or host to which you have dialup access. First use your communications software to dial the appropriate number; e.g. using C-Kermit:

  set modem type usrobotics
  set line /dev/cua0
  set speed 57600
  dial 7654321

Once the call is complete, enter the terminal emulator if necessary (e.g. with Kermit's CONNECT command), and then engage in any dialog required to make a Telnet connection to the IKS, e.g.:

  Welcome to XYZ Corp's Terminal Server
  xyz_ts> telnet 1649

3. Logging In

If your client software and the server both support, and are configured for, Telnet authentication negotiation, e.g. via Kerberos, this will be used automatically, and you will be authenticated automatically if your identity is registered in the appropriate host database.

If you made a client/server connection, use your communication package's REMOTE LOGIN command to log in, for example:

  remote login myuserid mypassword

If you made an interactive connection, then your communications software is in its terminal screen, and you should see a banner and a Username prompt:

  Internet Kermit Service ready at Fri Feb  4 16:32:21 2000
  C-Kermit 7.0.196, 1 Jan 2000


If you have a user ID on the system to which you have connected, enter it at the Username: prompt. If you do not have an ID, enter "anonymous". Then press the Enter or Return key. Now you will see a Password prompt:


If you have entered a real user ID, enter the corresponding password here. If you entered "anonymous", enter your email ID here. The text that you type at the Password prompt will not echo. Press the Enter or Return key at the end of the password.

If you made any mistakes, the IKS says "Access denied" and gives you a new Username prompt so you can try again.

If you logged in anonymously, your access is restricted in the same way it would be with anonymous FTP access.

What happens next depends on how the IKS was configured by the system administrator.

4. Using the IKS Interactively

After logging in interactively, your client program should still be in its terminal screen, and you should see a IKSD> prompt. At this point, you can issue any C-Kermit commands at all to the IKS. It will execute them or not depending on your access rights, according to the ID you have logged in with.

If, instead of a C-Kermit> prompt, you see the message:


then the IKS has been started in a manner that allows only client/server operation. In that case, return to your communication software's command prompt or menu and issue further commands from there (see next section).

C-Kermit commands are documented in the Using C-Kermit manual. You can get a list of commands by typing ? (question mark) at the prompt, and you can use the HELP command to get brief descriptions of each command. If you don't know anything about Kermit software at all, type INTRO at the IKS prompt for a brief introduction.

Interactive IKS access works best if your communications program supports "autoupload" and "autodownload" in its terminal emulator (as do C-Kermit, Kermit 95, and MS-DOS Kermit). This way if you give a SEND command to the IKS, your terminal program automatically enters RECEIVE mode. If you give a GET or REMOTE command to the IKS, your terminal program automatically enters SERVER mode. Thus you never need to "escape back" to your terminal program, give it the complementary file-transfer command, and then re-CONNECT when the transfer is done.

C-Kermit, Kermit 95, and MS-DOS Kermit have this feature enabled by default. If your terminal program does not support this feature, you'll need to follow the instructions in its documentation for Kermit file transfer.

When you are finished using the IKS, you can give any of the following commands at the IKS prompt to terminate your session and close the connection:


5. Client/Server Access

When you have a client/server connection, the server is hidden from you and you can only see the client, i.e. the communications software with which you made the connection. To make effective use of the IKS, your client must include the following commands (or equivalent choices):

  GET filename      To ask the IKS to send files to you
  SEND              To send files to the IKS
  REMOTE xxx        To request the IKS to "xxx" (see below)
  FINISH            To request the IKS enter interactive mode
  BYE               To terminate the IKS and close the connection
  HANGUP            To close the connection (and therefore terminate the IKS)

REMOTE xxx choices include:

  REMOTE CD         To change directory (RCD)
  REMOTE PWD        To tell current directory (RPWD)
  REMOTE DIRECTORY  To get a directory listing (RDIR)
  REMOTE DELETE     To delete files (RDEL)
  REMOTE RENAME     To rename a file (RREN)
  REMOTE HELP       To get a listing of available IKS services (RHELP)
  REMOTE MKDIR      To create a directory (RMKDIR)
  REMOTE RMDIR      To remove a directory (RRMDIR)
  REMOTE SET        To change various settings (RSET)
  REMOTE TYPE       To display a file on your screen (RTYPE)
  REMOTE WHO        To list users on your screen (RWHO)

Any or all of these might be disabled in the server, depending on your access rights and the configuration set up by the system administrator. Other, more advanced, options might also be available. Consult your client software documentation.

6. Tightly Coupled Access

C-Kermit 7.0, Kermit 95 1.1.19, and any other software that implements the new (draft, as yet unapproved) Telnet Kermit Option, will be able to switch back and forth between client/server and interactive mode automatically. Thus, for example, when you use one of these programs as your Telnet client, and you CONNECT to the IKS, then the IKS automatically gives you its interactive prompt; if you send it a file while it is at its prompt, it automatically switches into file-transfer mode. And so forth. Tightly coupled access is possible only on end-to-end Telnet connections.

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IKS User Guide / Columbia University / / 4 Feb 2000