The Kermit Project
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Date: 27 May 2021
This page last updated: Fri Jul 1 07:25:09 2022
EK (Embedded Kermit, E-Kermit) is an implementation of the Kermit file transfer protocol written in ANSI C and designed for embedding in devices or firmware, for use in realtime applications, or for construction of DLLs and libraries. EKSW is a new version of E-Kermit that includes true sliding windows packet transport. EK and EKSW should be reconciled back into a single code base but so far that has not happened.
Customers have adapted EK to various environments and platforms, including the Palm Pilot, various kinds of technician equipment (e.g. for diagnosis and maintenance of cell phone towers), and sometimes they contribute their adaptations or i/o routines, and we can make these available on a strictly as-is basis. We are not able to support or maintain customer-contributed code; thus (for example) if a new version of EK is released, customer-contributed modules are not necessarily updated. Customer-contributed code includes:
EK includes the following Kermit Protocol features:
The following Kermit Protocol features are not implemented:
Timeouts would be the responsibility of the Kermit program on the other end of the connection or, if needed in E-Kermit itself, the platform-dependent packet-reading routine which you would write.
As of version 1.5, E-Kermit includes preprocessor constructions to let you exclude various features such as long packets, sliding windows, and higher-order block checks to achieve the smallest possible memory footprint, and can also be built in a Receive-Only configuration.
EK is designed to work in a cooperative multitasking environment but does not require such an environment. The control program takes care of scheduling. Here's what the control program must (and/or can):
(When E-Kermit is to receive files, it waits passively for first packet from the file sender; thus it simply enters the packet loop.) In the packet loop, E-Kermit:
Each time the control program calls the
When done, the control program:
The function codes that the control program may call
K_INIT --Initialize data structures.
K_SEND --(Sending only) -- Initiate sending.
K_RUN --Run the protocol.
K_STATUS --Return a status report in the k_response struct.
K_QUIT --Quit immediately and silently.
K_ERROR --Send Error packet, then quit.
The return codes of the
X_OK --OK, protocol active.
X_DONE --OK, protocol complete.
X_ERROR --Fatal error.
X_STATUS --Returning status in response to K_STATUS.
(In fact status is retuned with every call.) Protocol state codes are:
-1 --Fatal error
0 --Receiver (protocol not running)
1 --Receiver waiting for S packet
2 --Receiver waiting for F or B packet
3 --Receiver waiting for A or D packet
4 --Receiver waiting for D or Z packet
10 --Sender (protocol not running)
11 --Sender sent S packet (start)
12 --Sender sent F packet (filename)
13 --Sender sent A packet (attributes)
14 --Sender sent D packet (data)
15 --Sender sent Z packet (EOF)
16 --Sender sent B packet (EOT)
Because EK is designed primarily for embedding, it does not use streaming or (except in EKSW) true sliding windows (although much of the sliding windows code is there). This is for the following reasons:
The lack of true sliding windows in EK is compensated by having EK pretend to support them without really doing so. This allows its sending partner to "stream" packets rather than waiting for ACKs after each one, as long as there isn't an error. If there is an error, the recovery strategy is "go back to n" (or perhaps in some cases "error out") rather than "selective repeat". EKSW, a separate program that has not been integrated with EK (but should be), supports true sliding windows with selective repeat; that is, only those packets are retransmitted that actually need to be.
In any event, since EK is intended primarily for embedding, it is anticipated that round-trip delays won't be a big factor; connections will generally be local, short, relatively fast, and if the connection is effectively flow controlled, error-free. When effective flow control is lacking, the speed and/or packet length and/or window size can be set to a combination of values that maximizes throughput and minimizes data loss.
The source files are:
The single entry point for the
int kermit(struct k_data * k, struct k_response * r)
The k structure contains all the operating parameters, variables, state information, and buffers; the r struct keeps the caller informed of the current state of the protocol, filename and file info, and transfer progress (bytes so far).
Development of EK takes place on a conventional Unix platform, such as Mac
OS, AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, ... or these days more likely some variety of BSD
or Linux, in which EK is built as a remote-mode Kermit file transfer
program, similar to G-Kermit, and tested against a desktop Kermit such as
K95 or C-Kermit. NOTE: The Unix version works over stdin/stdout; the "line"
is conditioned in the stupidest possible way
The Unix makefile has the following targets (it's easy to add more):
gcc:Build with gcc (default).
cc:Build with cc.
hp:Build for HP-UX.
gccnd:Build with gcc, no debugging.
gprof:Build with gcc, include profiling.
clean:Remove object and core files.
The makefile creates a Unix executable called "ek" (embedded kermit). The
$ ./ek -h Usage: ./ek options Options: -r Receive files -s files Send files -p [neoms] Parity: none, even, odd, mark, space -b  Block check type: 1, 2, or 3 (default = 3) -k Keep incompletely received files -B Force binary mode -T Force text mode -R Remote mode (vs local) -L Local mode (vs remote) -E number Simulated error rate (0-100) -d Create debug.log -h Help (this message) $
When sending files, if you don't specify Text or Binary, EK scans each file and chooses text or binary mode based on its contents.
Remote vs Local mode is used only to enable the test for keyboard interruption of file transfer.
Version 1.0 of EK was ported to VxWorks by Airvana, Inc, Chelmsford MA. The complete VxWorks EK 1.1 package is included as an example of a production system by Airvana's permission (note that the EK API has changed slightly since then, so before the VxWorks code can be used, it must be updated). To port to a new platform:
Here are a few tips for creating an i/o module:
The device i/o routines are expected to handle communications parameters
themselves, including communication line speed, parity, and flow control. In
particular, Kermit does not handle parity, but still must be told about it.
This is done in the setup by
API Change between EK 1.1 and 1.2: Calling conventions (function argument lists and return values) were changed between version 1.1 to 1.2, mainly to give all routines access to the k struct in a consistent way, and also to provide better feedback to the caller. In each case where a change was made, both the old and the new format are shown.
The device i/o functions are:
Note the F_CTRLC feature. This is enabled by default. It allows EK to be broken out of packet mode by sending it three consecutive Ctrl-C's in the data stream. You normally would not need to disable this since, even if the sender is "unprefixing" Ctrl-C, three of them in a row would normally be collapsed into a repeat-count sequence.
The file i/o functions are as follows; of course they can be used for reading
or writing anything -- not just files: memory, tape, cards, laser beams,
instrument controllers, whatever. It doesn't matter what you call these
routines, but the argument list and return type must be as shown; also if you
give them different names, you'll have to change the prototypes in
The precise calling conventions are shown in the
If EK was built without NODEBUG defined, then if you include the
||Initial release. VxWorks version still at this level.|
|1.2||2003/01/28||Improved API, Java port (which is still at this level).|
|1.3||2004/03/04||Fix file transfer with HyperTerminal.|
|1.4||2004/03/20||Fix reception of empty files.|
|1.5||2004/04/10||Fix problem with A-packets, allow super-small and/or receive-only configurations.|
|1.51||2004/09/23||Adapt to Philips XAG30 (John Dunlap)|
|EKSW 0.94||2010/06/24||True sliding windows with selective retransmission (John Dunlap)|
|1.6||2011/03/30||Published and released under the 3-Clause Revised BSD License.|
|1.7||2011/06/06||FORCE-3 protocol, works together with C-Kermit 9.0 (explained here)|
|1.8||2021/06/26||Fix problem with -B and -T command-line argument (Unix demo only)|
|E-Kermit 1.8||Portable to all platforms, with Unix demo.||Download||Download||Download|
|E-Kermit 1.7||Portable to all platforms, with Unix demo.||Download||Download||Download|
|EKSW 0.94||E-Kermit with true sliding windows, adapted to Linux.||Download||Download||Download|
|EKVX 1.1||E-Kermit 1.1 adapted to VxWorks.||Download||Download||Download|
|Java||E-Kermit 1.2 converted to Java||Download||Download||Download|
|Simirid||Kermit protocol stress tester [description]||Download||Download||Download|
|Polish||Polski||2016-01-21||Patrii Patricia Motosan||State University of Moldova|
|Romanian||Română||2015-12-27||Natalie Harmann||University of Amsterdam|
|Russian||Русский||2018-02-27||Timur Kadirov | Тимур Кадыров||clipartmag.com|
|Vietnamese||Tiếng Việt||2022-07-01||Caitlin Ganz||TopEssayWriting|
|The Kermit Project hosted by Panix.com||This page created: 01 January 2003||Last update: 1 July 2022|