Most recent update:
Tue Jun 25 10:35:38 2002
A brief overview of the changes in Kermit 95's graphical Dialer for Kermit 95
1.1.21. The form and mechanics of adding and editing Dialer connections have
changed; this page explains the changes.
Summary of Changes
The SSH Settings Page
The FTP Settings Page
The GUI Settings Page
The Kermit 95 Dialer offers a graphical user interface for defining and
managing connections. It is a separate program from Kermit 95 itself. When
you launch a connection from the Dialer, it creates a script (plain-text
command file) for Kermit 95, and starts Kermit 95 with instructions to execute
the script. The script contains commands that correspond to each of your
selections on each of the pages of the notebook for the connection you are
When Kermit 95 was first written in 1995, our aim was to make it portable to
different operating systems, primarily Microsoft Windows and IBM OS/2. This
was relatively easy in Kermit 95 itself (K95.EXE), because we have
decades of experience in writing portable text-mode software. But the Dialer
is a GUI program, and GUI programs are not portable across operating systems.
In those days, however, when portability was still a widely held value,
companies made GUI development tools that could generate the same GUI program
for different operating systems. One such tool was Zinc, which we chose for
the Dialer, allowing us to create a single Dialer for Windows and OS/2, and
opening the possibility for someday porting it to Macintosh, X, and other
graphical environments, as well as semi-graphical environments such as curses
But after OS/2 disappeared from the landscape and Macintosh receded into
its niche, portable GUI builders became less important and Zinc disappeared
from the scene.
Meanwhile, the Windows underpinnings of the Dialer's Connection Notebook model
have run out of steam, at least in Windows 9x, which provides only 64K for all
Graphical Display Interface (GDI) resources shared by all the applications
loaded at any one time. The Dialer in K95 1.1.20 required 23K. This amount
is simply not available on most Windows 9x systems with a typical mix of
applications running, let alone the increased amount required by K95 1.1.21's
new features. Thus the Dialer had to be reorganized before the new SSH and
GUI settings pages could be added.
The new Dialer no longer has connection notebooks or Add, Edit, Clone,
or Remove buttons on the Toolbar. The underlying structure is still the same
-- each connection has all the properties formerly listed in the notebook.
But now each notebook page is a separate dialog (a notebook containing many
dialogs requires many times more GUI resources than a single dialog), and
there is a new Connections item on the main menu bar.
The Connections menu contains four items: Add, Edit, Clone, and Remove,
which were formerly Toolbar buttons, of which the first three behave somewhat
differently from before:
- The "Add..." Selection
- This creates a new entry, as always, but in a slightly different way.
Instead of seeing the entire settings notebook for the entry, which allows
you to move freely back and forth among pages by clicking their tabs, you
get the relevant settings pages in sequence, in the forward direction only
(no going back). On each page you can click:
- Save the current page, proceed to the next. Once you save the first
page, the entry is created.
- Cancels the current page and quits the Add session. If you use the
Cancel button on the first ("general") page, no new entry is created. If you
use it on subsequent pages, the entry has already been created.
- Displays help text for the current page, as always.
- The "Edit..." Selection
- Since we don't have settings notebooks any more, this brings up a menu
instead of a notebook. Click on the settings category you wish to edit:
Terminal, File Transfer, etc. To edit multiple settings pages, you have to
use the Edit menu to access each page -- either through the Connections menu,
or by right-clicking on the entry in the main Dialer panel.
- The "Clone..." Selection
- This creates a new entry based on the highlighted (existing) entry.
Unlike Add, Clone does not cycle through the settings pages; it simply uses
the ones from the entry on which the new entry is based. If you wish to make
changes to the settings pages, you can always come back and Edit the new
To offset the inconvenience of the new regime, the Dialer now offers a handy
Action menu that appears when you right-click an entry in the main
panel. The selections include Add, Clone, Connect (i.e. launch a connection),
Edit, Generate Script file, Remove, and (make a) Shortcut.
Finally, the Quick dialog has been modified to allow the new connection
types: SSH and FTP. However, this dialog now requires that you specify an
existing entry of the same type upon which to base the connection. Thus Quick
is now just like Clone, except it does not put a new entry into the database.
Everything else works as before, but new pages have been added as described in
the following sections.
The SSH Settings Page is used to configure or customize Secure Shell (SSH)
connections, a new feature of Kermit 2.00. This page contains selections
corresponding to the SSH configuration commands explained HERE. If you wish, you can leave this page
completely unchanged and still make encrypted SSH connections in which you
supply the host password locally and have K95 send it over the encrypted
As of K95 1.1.21, you can specify FTP connections in the Dialer. The
Connection -> Add page has a Connection Type list box that includes
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Service. When you create an entry of this
connection type, you can make or change FTP-related settings on the
Connection -> Edit -> FTP Settings page. The parameters are
explained in the
This is documented in the K95 2.0 manual as well as
The New K95 Dialer / The Kermit Project /
Columbia University /
25 June 2002