Subject: Re: Adding gkermit
To: Thor Lancelot Simon <>
From: Manuel Bouyer <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 10/30/2006 21:14:11
On Sun, Oct 29, 2006 at 06:10:15PM -0500, Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 29, 2006 at 04:58:24PM -0600, Eric Haszlakiewicz wrote:
> > 
> > More seriously: if this is available through pkgsrc, why does it need
> > to be in the base system?  Aren't we trying to go the other direction,
> > and just have sysinst install some packages?
> Yesterday, we moved the disks from one of the NetBSD Foundation servers
> into a new replacement machine.  As it turned out, the new machine had
> network controllers that were not supported by the kernel on the disks
> from the old machine, but nobody was present where the new machine was
> by the time we realized this.
> We had a serial port, but no serial communications software; so to get
> a new kernel on the machine so we could use the network, I had to split
> a uuencoded g-kermit into many pieces and upload it with cu.  It seems
> to me we should ship a recovery tool like this as part of the system,
> because it was certainly not feasible in such a situation to get some
> external software from pkgsrc and install it!
> I have a network switch with Linux-based firmware.  This firmware has a
> 3-stage boot process in which, as it turns out, all _three_ stages
> include the option to abort the boot and upload a replacement next-stage
> by x, y, or zmodem.  This has been invaluable to me on several occasions
> when I have toasted the firmware, and at one point the second-stage boot
> loader, trying to boot NetBSD.  What it boils down to is that if you
> have access to the console, you can fix the machine.  We could use minirz
> for this, too, but G-Kermit is hardly any larger and the kermit protocol,
> in my experience, is a lot more robust over difficult serial connections,
> e.g. through ssh, then through conserver, with a DDB escape character
> you also have to not send, with no working flow control... you get the
> idea.  And G-Kermit can transmit, too, which minirz can't do, so you can
> get files off the hosed machine, to examine or patch them.

I think if we go this route we should import lrzsz instead of gkermit.
Most embeded device talk the x, y or z modem protocol and I think if we
add something to transfers files over serial (which I support), it should
also be usefull for non-netbsd (or non-unix) boxes. FWIW, hyperterminal will
do at last x-modem too.

Manuel Bouyer <>
     NetBSD: 26 ans d'experience feront toujours la difference