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The first new Kermit release for Windows in nearly twenty years...

  CKW: C-Kermit 10.0 for Microsoft Windows

Download   Install   Run   SSH   Coexist   Documentation

This page assumes a degree of familiarity with Kermit software; if you need an introduction, look HERE.

Frank da Cruz
fdc@columbia.edu
Created: 16 July 2022
Last update: Mon Aug 8 08:32:44 2022
News: Work on a free Open Source™ version of Kermit 95 for Microsoft Windows commenced in 2013 then ended inconclusively in 2015 (see this page). Work resumed in 2022 as part of the C-Kermit 10.0 rollout. The first Beta-test version appeared on 17 July 2022. The name of the executable program is K95G.EXE (which is the traditional name, but it might change); it is a text-mode application that executes in a GUI window. The Windows builds and packaging were done by David Goodwin in New Zealand, based on his 2013 work and the latest C-Kermit 10.0 Beta test source code. The result is called C-Kermit for Windows, CKW for short. Source code is not available yet; it will be included beginning with the next C-Kermit 10.0 Beta test, Beta.05. The first downloadable version of CKW announces itself as:
C-Kermit 10.0 OPEN SOURCE:, Jul 17 2022, for Windows
 Copyright (C) 1985, 2022,
  Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.
The copyright remains with Columbia U, in accordance with the separation agreement of 2011. CKW uses the C-Kermit version number, not the K95 one, which was different (the last K95 release was 2.1.3, which was contemporary with C-Kermit 8.0.207). The LICENSE command shows the new Open Source license.

SSH Connections

This section updated 30 July 2022.
The SSH support code from K95 2.1.3 has been retired because it doesn't work any more due to changes in the ciphers used by modern SSH servers, plus changes to the protocol itself, e.g. how/when it does compression, plus the fact that it's not exportable to all countries. For now, SSH connections can be made in K95 and CKW by using an external helper program as described in THIS PAGE. The goal is for the final CKW release to have an SSH command that works like Kermit 95's did before SSH changed out from under it.

Plan A was to "fork" an external pass-though SSH client such as Putty Plink through Windows' new ConPTY API, as described in an earlier version of this page. This was less than optimal not only because a second program would be required but also because SSH connections could work only in recent Windows versions. However, Plan A turns out not to be feasible at all because (contrary to expectations) ConPTY is less than fully transparent; it "interprets" and changes the data stream. That's bad enough in a terminal session, but it's fatal for file transfer. So...

Plan B is to see if CKW can be retooled to use the libssh DLL from www.libssh.org; early trials (30 July 2022) indicate that this approach can work.

Exportability of SSH client

The US Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Administration Regulations (EAR) govern the export of software that includes encryption features. These rules have changed since Kermit 95 was last released in 2003, at which time certain countries were barred from obtaining such software from the USA by mail order, download, or other means. As of 2021, however, Kermit software is no longer subject to these restrictions, and C-Kermit for Windows can include a built-in SSH client based on libssh that will, indeed, be exportable to all countries. See these references:
  1. https://linuxfoundation.org/blog/understanding-us-export-controls-and-open-source-projects-2021-update/
  2. https://www.linuxfoundation.org/tools/understanding-us-export-controls-with-open-source-projects/
  3. https://research.mit.edu/integrity-and-compliance/export-control/information-documents/publicly-available-public-domain-open
  4. https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/regulations/export-administration-regulations-ear
  5. https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/regulations-docs/2337-ccl5-pt2-4/file

In brief (paraphrasing from item 5):  Publicly available ready-to-use software such as Kermit that includes an openly available encryption component without modifications, and whose primary function is other than information security, and that is of interest to a wide range of individuals and businesses, is exempt from the BIS Export Administration Regulations. That's why OpenSSH and numerous SSH clients are downloadable on the Internet by anybody at all, no matter what country they are in. CKW will be no different.

Known Problems with C-Kermit for Windows

Send questions, bug reports, and comments to ckw@kermitproject.org.

Downloading

  1. Download ckn10b4-2-vc6.zip to your Windows desktop (just click on the highlighted link).
  2. Right-click on the .zip file and choose "Extract All...". This creates a subdirectory called .
  3. Delete the .zip file (right-click → delete).

Installing

There is no "one-click" installer yet. Here is the procedure for the first Beta; hopefully it will evolve into something simpler:
  1. Open the "" folder (double-click it).
  2. See a folder called "dist"; double-click it.
  3. The dist folder contains 14 files, which include:

    • k95g.exe - the executable C-Kermit 10.0 for Windows (K95) program
    • k95.exe - ditto, but runs in "console mode" (like DOS, not recommended)
    • MSVCP60.DLL - Microsoft Visual C++ 6 SP6 DLL appropriate for this version of Kermit
    • MSVCRT.DLL - The C Runtime Library that C-Kermit was built with
    • And a bunch of others that can be ignored
    The DLL's are required for Kermit to run, so don't delete them.
  4. If you already have an icon on your desktop called "k95g.exe - Shortcut" from a previous CKW test version, delete it (right-click → delete)
  5. Right-click on k95g.exe and choose "Create shortcut" This creates a file called "k95g.exe - Shortcut"
  6. Drag the "k95g.exe - Shortcut" to your Windows desktop or wherever else you want to run Kermit from.
Leave the folder as it is, don't move, rename, or delete it.

Running

Start (run) the new C-Kermit for Windows program by double-clicking the "k95g.exe - Shortcut" icon. The first time you start it you'll get warnings from Windows and/or your antivirus software because this is a new program and it's free and open-source. Examples of warnings:

  1. Windows protected your PC
    Microsoft Defender SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized app from starting. Running this app might put your PC at risk.
    More info ← click this
    App:  k95g.exe
    Publisher:  Unknown publisher
    [ Run anyway ] ← click this

  2. Symantec Endpoint Protection Download Insight
    Our information on this file is inconclusive. We recommend not using this file unless you know it is safe.
    k95g.exe
    [ Remove this file from my computer ]
    [ Allow this file ] ← click this

    Unproven: There is not enough information about this file to recommend it. Very few users: This file has been seen by fewer than 5 Symantec users. Very new: Symantec has known abou this file approximately 2 days.

    Permission: If you press OK, an application exemption will be created for this file. You should allow only files you are sure are safe. Are you sure you want to allow this file?
    [ Cancel ]
    [ OK ] ← click this

These warnings appear only the first time you start the new Kermit.

Coexistence with K95 2.1

If you already have Kermit 95 2.1.3 (or earlier) installed on your PC, CKW won't interfere with it and you can use both versions, and you can still use the K95 Dialer. At present CKW is installed in a folder on your desktop, whereas K95 2.1 was installed in the normal Windows way:
File Filename Directory Kermit variable
Executable (GUI) k95g.exe C:\Program Files (x86)\Kermit 95 2.1\ \v(exedir)
Executable (console) k95.exe C:\Program Files (x86)\Kermit 95 2.1\ \v(exedir)
Initialization file k95.ini C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Kermit 95\ \v(appdata), \v(inidir)
Customization file k95custom.ini C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Kermit 95\ \v(appdata), \v(inidir)
CKW uses the same initialization and customization files. If these files contain any commands not supported by CKW (e.g. "set ssh") or by K95 ("set rename"), you can protect them with:
if < \v(version) 1000000 {
    commands for K95    
}
if >= \v(version) 1000000 {
    commands for CKW
}
\v(version) is all-numeric version number of the C-Kermit code used for the Windows build. 1000000 is C-Kermit 10.0 and 800207 is C-Kermit 8.0.207. When CKW is finally released it will still peacefully coexist with K95, although the exact mechanisms have yet to be worked out.

Documention

There is no single comprehensive user manual but since C-Kermit for Windows is C-Kermit, you can refer to the C-Kermit documentation for most everything:
https://www.kermitproject.org/ckbindex.html
https://www.kermitproject.org/ck90.html#doc
For an introduction to the Kermit script language (which lets you write procedures to automate common tasks), see this page:
https://www.kermitproject.org/ckscripts.html
For CKW's Windows-specific aspects, see:
  1. Chapter 6 of the Kermit 95 manual: Using the Command Screen,
  2. Chapter 7 of the Kermit 95 manual: Using the Terminal Emulator, and
  3. Chapter 8 of the Kermit 95 manual: File Transfer.

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