MS-DOS Kermit for DOS and Windows 3.x
This page updated:
10 February 2022 07:33 NY time to change FTP links to HTTP.
Effective 1 July 2011, MS-DOS Kermit should be considered Open Source
software under the Revised 3-Clause
BSD License, even though the software itself and associated files
may carry the old copyright and licensing information. For further
information CLICK HERE.
MS-DOS Kermit is not designed or intended for use in Windows 95,
98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 or later, or IBM OS/2. The
recommended, supported, native, and (still) current Kermit software for these
operating systems is Kermit 95.
CLICK HERE for details.
MS-DOS Kermit 3.14 is a compact and efficient communications software
package for IBM PCs and compatibles with MS-DOS or PC-DOS offering a wide
range of faithful text and graphics terminal
emulations, an astonishing variety of serial and network communication
methods, a vast array of international character-set conversions,
exceptionally flexible and powerful key mapping, a powerful, easy-to-use
script programming language, and advanced Kermit file transfer.
MS-DOS Kermit supports communication through serial ports, a wide variety of
local networking methods (like NetBIOS, BAPI, DECnet, NASI, SuperLAT,
TELAPI, and TES, plus it has its own built-in TCP/IP stack and Telnet
client. Modem dialing is accomplished with modem-specific dialing scripts
It includes faithful emulation of the DEC VT52,100,102,220,320 terminals;
ANSI, Heath-19, Wyse50, various Data General DASHER models, and the
Tektronix 4010 Graphics terminal, as well as DG terminals in graphics mode.
MS-DOS Kermit runs directly under DOS 2.0 and later and under Microsoft
Windows 3.11 or earlier. MS-DOS Kermit is not supported in
Windows 95 and later.
MS-DOS Kermit Version 3.14
MS-DOS Kermit 3.14
, 21 May 1995, is the most recent complete
distribution. If you don't have MS-DOS Kermit at all, begin by downloading
MS-DOS Kermit Version 3.15
MS-DOS Kermit 3.15
, 15 September 1997, issued as an update
to version 3.14 (you can install this on top of version 3.14):
The source code
for MS-DOS Kermit is in the
directory. The filenames all start with "ms" and end with ".asm", ".h" and
".c". For convenience, the source code for the IBM PC version of MS-DOS
Kermit is also available in a ZIP file:
MS-DOS Kermit Version 3.16
MS-DOS Kermit 3.16
is an even later release with a lot of
improvements in the script language to make it almost the same as that of
C-Kermit and Kermit 95. You can install this one on top of 3.14 or 3.15:
- A guide to "bootstrapping" MS-Kermit when you don't have it on a
diskette and your PC is not on a network.
- TCOMTXT, a tiny bootstrapping program that can be used to load
programs onto a DOS PC through the serial port starting with only a diskette
with the minimum system files.
MS-DOS Kermit was one of the original Kermit programs, first released in 1982,
shortly after the IBM PC was announced, following just behind the Kermit
programs for the DECSYSTEM-20
, CP/M-80, and the IBM
mainframe. It was written in response to overwhelming demand to make this
PC, which was very soon to dominate the universe, communicate with other
kinds of computers, including IBM's own (a service that not even IBM could
offer at the time).
The prototype was done by Bill Catchings of the Kermit project in a single
EMACS editing session (the
early pre-GNU TECO-based EMACS) using macros to convert his CP/M-80 Kermit
from 8080 assembly language to Intel 8088 assembler. "PC Kermit", as it was
called at first, was turned over to Daphne Tzoar who polished it
sufficiently for general use and maintained it for some time, and later to
Jeff Damens who produced several major new releases through version 2.28.
There were separate releases for the IBM PC,
the Heath-Zenith 100, the Victor 9000, the NEC APC, and many other of the
DOS machines of mid-1980s that were not code- or disk-compatible with each
In 1985 MS-DOS Kermit was taken over by Professor Joe R. Doupnik of Utah
State University, who added more improvements than can be listed in a short
web page, but most notable among them:
- A script programming language compatible with that of C-Kermit.
- VT100, 220, and 320 terminal emulation; "ANSI" emulation for
BBSs; Wyse50, Data General DASHER (under contract with DG), and Tektronix
graphics terminal emulation, making MS-DOS Kermit the only Kermit program
ever to emulate any graphics terminal, and in fact it emulated two since
the DASHER was also a graphics terminal.
- Sliding Windows transport protocol for file transfers, which in
itself required hardware-specific memory management support for acquiring
the necessary buffer space on the earlier PC generations.
- Conversion of international character sets in both terminal
emulation and file transfer, including Russian and Hebrew (with
right-to-left screen-writing support).
- Most notably of all, a full TCP/IP network stack built in
to MS-DOS Kermit itself, supporting DNS, BOOTP, and DHCP connections via
Ethernet, SLIP, or PPP, and over that the ARPANET TELNET protocol. Plus
support for many other long-forgotten PC networking methods: 3COM, Novell,
NetBIOS, LAT, etc. Among these were IBM's LANACS, a product that included
MS-DOS Kermit under license to the Kermit Project, and AT&T STARLAN, which
also included a licensed copy of MS-DOS Kermit.
All this in a program that fit on a floppy disk
, together with its
documentation and supporting files (dialing scripts, keymaps, fonts for
Hebrew and Cyrillic, utilities, packet drivers, and so on). For about 15
years, MS-DOS Kermit was mass-market software, found on practically every
desktop PC on earth. New releases were big news in the trade press. The
manual, Using MS-DOS Kermit
, by Christine
M. Gianone of the Kermit Project, is a masterpiece of
user-friendly technical writing
, and went through two best-selling
editions, was also published in German and in French, and was also the basis
for a Japanese edition. MS-DOS Kermit was so popular in the USSR and
Eastern Europe (because of its ability to do Cyrillic terminal emulation)
that an International
in Moscow in 1989 was attended by representatives of 35
MS-DOS Kermit's popularity waned as DOS was phased out in favor of
Window 95 and its successors, where MS-DOS Kermit could not be fully
functional for the reasons described here. But to
this day, MS-DOS Kermit remains one of Kermit's Greatest Hits.
MS-DOS Kermit / Columbia University / firstname.lastname@example.org / Updated
10 February 2022