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Software The Internet Networking

Columbia University Ending the Kermit Project 146

An anonymous reader writes "Columbia University has announced that the Kermit Project will be ended in July 2011, after more than 30 years in existence. Open Kermit (C-Kermit) will remain available, but without any support or ongoing development. Kermit-95, which cannot be open-sourced, will remain available for license purchases but without support or maintenance."
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Columbia University Ending the Kermit Project

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  • Re:somewhat sad... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Marillion ( 33728 ) <> on Thursday April 07, 2011 @05:17PM (#35750536)
    I feel as if a movie star I hadn't watched in forever has just passed away. "I didn't know he was still alive?"
  • Nostalgia. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @05:21PM (#35750598)

    More than Duke Nukem or anything else I've heard referenced recently, none have blasted me back to my youth more than hearing the words "kermit" and "zmodem". Right around the same time that you could go down to the local Hacker Shack (later renamed, due to conflicts with Radio Shack) and thumb through thousands of 5.25" floppies organized like mini-albums and you'd pay a buck just for a floppy with a looping black and white video you could watch on your grainy CGA.

    God damn, I miss those days. I'm glad the internet is widespread and aiding tens of millions of people in their life on a daily basis, but there was something delightful about being part of a tiny group of weirdos connecting to each other with ATA commands and some guy's hobby board.

  • by jabberw0k ( 62554 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @05:25PM (#35750638) Homepage Journal
    Kermit was my first foray into the advantages of Open Source, even if it was not Free Software.

    The company where I worked in college (Digital Techniques Inc. who made a line of touchscreen computers in the early 80s) had an MS-DOS machine that ran on STD-Bus, non-PC compatible... and with the source-code from Columbia (on 9-track tape!) I was able to write a communication driver for the 2661 DUART (same as in the Zenith Z-100, and as compared to the IBM-PC's 8250 UART). Finally we could zap files up to the VAX at a blazing 19,200 baud! Never could iron out all the interrupt issues for even-higher speeds.

    A few years later when this Linux thing came along I said, Aha! ... thanks Kermit for being Open before Open was cool.

  • by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @06:32PM (#35751248)

    Well that cannot be the real reason since as show on the C-Kermit site:
    Due to relaxations in USA export law, secure versions of C-Kermit are available in source-code form, supporting Kerberos IV, Kerberos V, SSL/TLS, and SRP. and from the C-Kermit man page it can also make SSH connections through your external SSH client application.

    So conceivably an open source Kermit-95 with just the SSH ripped out (if really necessary) could be made avaiable, if that would be all...

    Alternativelly a legitimate message could be: C-Kermit is better and allready BSD so it's better in the long run even if Kermit-95 has some adventage in dying old machines ... so we do not bother ..
    Or out contracts with Amazon, E-Academy, etc ... prohibits us...

    But "we can't", well why ? of course they have no obligation even no "moral" obligation after all they paid for the developpment and it helped lots of people...

    But on an other hand it is unlickely that they made any real revenue out of it even over 30 years, so as an historical and econonical case study it would be interesting to see what the motivations for the old licences where, and what the motivations for keeping K95 close are ...

  • Re:Nostalgia. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erice ( 13380 ) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @07:27PM (#35751730) Homepage

    I had more fun with computers back then. Nowadays, my quad-core desktop mostly sits idle unless I'm reading Slashdot, and I'm far less impressed with the speed of my 12Mbps VDSL circuit today than I was with v.32bis back in the day...

    In those days, getting online was an adventure. There was gold out there. You just had the figure out the right mix of technical and social engineering to get to it. I wrote layers of terminal and REXX scripts to automate the retrieval of freeware and Usenet articles and work around connection destroying misfeatures in the 7171 protocol converters. I used Kermit because nothing else could transfer through 7E1, even if it were available for EBCDIC machines. I wrote a DOS based terminal server to run on a friendly staff member's PC so I could get the sort of clean text interface Unix and VMS people took for granted.

    Nowadays, Internet connectivity is something that you buy and it mostly just works. It's a lot more useful but not nearly as much fun.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp