Columbians kill Kermit

After 30 years, Columbia University is killing off the landmark Kermit project.

Kermit was developed in 1981 by Columbia University to connect different computers and the transfer of data between them.

It was mostly set up to allow file transfer between IBM or DEC DECSYSTEM-20 mainframe computers and different formats of floppies.

During the 1980s it evolved into a data communications standard for transferring files between dissimilar computer systems and was used to solve compatibility problems aboard the International Space Station.

An MS-DOS version of Kermit was developed in 1983. There was a C-Kermit for Unix and OpenVMS and and Kermit 95 for Windows.  And there it all appeared to stop.

In a statement on its site, Columbia University said that it has been pleased to offer the various versions of Kermit software for free or at exceptionally low fees over the years.

However from July 1st, 2011, development of any new Kermit software enhancements at Columbia University will cease, as will any ability of Columbia to provide maintenance and technical support for Kermit.

Commercial licences of the Kermit software itself are perpetual, so current users may continue to use their existing licensed copies of Kermit

The University said that it will make new Kermit 95 Bulk Right-to-Copy licences available after July 1st, 2011, for those who may wish to obtain them.

The university said that it is working out ways to make Kermit source code available to the public after July 1, 2011, so that development of Kermit can continue beyond Columbia’s involvement.

The cunning plan is to distribute the source code in a new Open-Source version bearing the BSD licence. The Kermit website and ftp archive will also remain available for a while.