The Mobile Computing Review of Kermit 95
Mobile Computing & Communications magazine printed a comparison and review of
Kermit 95 with three other Windows 95/98/NT terminal emulation products in its
November 1998 issue (Terminally Seeking Connection, Peter D. Varhol,
pages 42-46). Unfortunately, many of the facts are wrong, and therefore also
many of the conclusions:
- "Only Kermit file transfer is built in"
- XMODEM, XMODEM-CRC, YMODEM, YMODEM-g, and ZMODEM are also built-in and
- "[It has a] dialer and telephone directory that comes with several
- The dialer comes with over 200 predefined entries, and the telephone
directories include thousands of numbers.
- "It provides VT320, VT220, VT102, VT100, VT52, ANSI, and TTY terminal
- There are also other 27 other emulations.
The source of these errors might be the original box cover from 1995, which
was still used in 1998, but which, in the retail version, was updated with
stickers showing the current version number, list of protocols, emulations,
etc (the review copy lacked the stickers). But in any case, the reviewer
should have looked at the documentation -- or at least the menu selections.
- "Target user: Those who require basic terminal emulation and file
- We think our terminal emulations and file-transfer protocol
implementations are advanced, fast, accurate, and more complete than most.
- "Performance was adequate, primarily because of the program's use of
the slow Kermit protocol".
- K95's Kermit protocol implementation is as fast or faster than any other
well-known file transfer protocol, but of course it is limited by the Kermit
software on the other end of the connection, and by the protocol settings that
are used (Kermit, unlike other protocols, allows itself to be adapted to a
full range of connection types and qualities through a repertoire of settings).
The reviewer did not identify the file transfer partner. Kermit protocol
implementations that are not from the Kermit Project are almost always slow.
When a good a Kermit implementation is not available on the other end, ZMODEM
can be used; if ZMODEM is not available on the other end, YMODEM can be used,
and so on. However, in most cases, an advanced, high-performance Kermit
implementation is available from the Kermit Project for any host or service
you are likely to connect to.
- "While satisfactory for power users' basic needs, it runs out of gas
quickly for more sophisticated uses."
- More sophisticated than what?
Full programmability using a high-level language that includes variables,
arrays, block structure, scoping, macros, built-in and user-defined functions,
recursion, and loops, allowing complete automation of any task that can be
done by hand via scripts that are portable to hundreds of different platforms?
Securely authenticated and encrypted network connections? Character-set
translation encompassing many of the world's major writing systems? GUI
configuration of unlimited numbers of dialup and network connections with
hundreds of possible customizations for each one, and with one-touch access to
each one? Controls for adaptation to nearly any kind of connection method and
host in existence? A Web browser interface complete with URL hot spots?
Ability to send both numeric and alpha pages? A two-million line scrollback
buffer, with search and bookmark capabilities? A full range of printer and
mouse functions? Unparalleled key mapping and keyboard customization? A
compose key to allow entry of accented letters even with the USA keyboard
driver? Built-in keyboard modes for entering Hebrew and Cyrillic characters
on non-Hebrew, non-Cyrillic keyboards? Built-in keyboard modes for EMACS and
Word Perfect? Full understanding of country codes, area codes, toll-free
numbers, and PBXs, allowing dialing directories to be fully portable
worldwide? Automatic dialing and redialing through lists of numbers until the
call is answered? Automatic location-independent "cheapest-first" sorting of
telephone numbers when dialing a list of numbers? A full range of
client/server and file management functions that work with Kermit servers --
also from the Kermit Project -- on hundreds of different platforms? The most
comprehensive, correct, and flexible Telnet protocol implementation available?
A selection of network protocols that includes not only Telnet, but also
Rlogin and LAT? Full compatibility with screen-reading, speech, and Braille
devices? A host mode allowing remote access via dialup or Telnet without
compromising the security of the PC? And so on... The reviewer did not cite
examples of situations where Kermit 95 runs out of gas and the other packages
There is a file-transfer performance bar graph that shows Kermit 95 the
slowest of the four products, but there is no explanation of what they are
measuring, or how, on what kind of connections, with what settings.
Kermit 95 / Columbia University /
firstname.lastname@example.org / 14 Oct 1998