Free Software for DOS
Communication and Internet – 1

9 Dec 2005

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OTHER COMM PROGS (PC to PC, FAX, Talk, serial)

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Personal telephone dialers are listed in Calendars, Clocks, and PIMs.


Also see: Connect IDE and the DOS Navigator file manager (both include good integrated terminals).

Kermit — Outstanding network terminal.

* * * * *

[added 2005-09-24]

Kermit is a high-end, text and text-graphics terminal program that can run by itself, or embedded within some other program. It can run over a variety of networks, including the Internet when coupled with Telnet.

Partial list of features, from the docs:

Online screenshots.

Requirements: 8088+, DOS 2.0+, serial port or modem or network adapter, 160K-500K memory (depending on options selected). Also runs under Win3.x, full-screen or in a window.

Three variants of v3.14
Regular: Full-function
Medium: No networks, no graphics. Runs on 8088 / 256K.
Lite: No networking and no terminal emulator, but including full file transfer and scripting capabilities. Used as an external protocol or a script-execution engine, called from another application.

Four variants of v3.15
Regular: Full-function
Medium: No networks, serial connections only.
Lite I: Networks included, no terminal emulator.
Lite II: No terminal emulator or networks

Regular: Full-function

Kermit is owned by Columbia University. Releases are prepared by Joe R. Doupnik and the members of the Kermit Project (1995-99). Licensing: "...may be downloaded by individuals for their own use or for use within an organization...must be licensed for redistribution."

Full package with Regular, Medium and Lite EXEs, config, docs
Replaces Regular, Medium and Lite EXEs – install over v3.14
3.16 beta 7
Replaces Regular EXE only – install over v3.14 or v3.15


Go to the Kermit Project, for newer versions for many other OSes, general news & info.

DOS Kermit page.

ftp Access.

QMODEM Test Drive — Excellent terminal program with script language, host mode.

* * * * *

[added 1999-06-19, updated 2004-10-01]

An excellent term program, "one of the smoothest." Includes great docs, an integral host mode, and an extensive script language.

Notes: 1) For fast Pentiums patch install.exe using BP7PAT. 2) Ordinarily, qmodem uses the arrow keys for its scroll back feature, which can be annoying. Here is a fix: Download (11K).

"QMODEM 4.6 Test-Drive is licensed for individual personal use and evaluation for an unlimited time."

Author: John Friel III / Mustang Software, Inc. (1994). Suggested by Howard Schwartz, I. Smith; originally featured on Yves Bellefeuille's Best freeware for DOS list.

Download (350K), and (345K). 621K

BananaCom and Baby Banana — Easy to use terminal with Z-Modem file transfer.


[added 1999-05-15, updated 2005-06-05]

BananaCom is a simple and stable text mode terminal that received good reviews and achieved a high level of popularity among BBSes due to its easy setup and user friendliness. Includes a dialing directory, ANSI emulation, scrollback buffer, text capture, and internal Z-Modem transfer protocol.

Notes: Formerly shareware, now freeware. Development has ended. May lock up with some Pentium II PCs.

For BBS administrators: Baby Banana v3.3 creates a customized, limited version of BananaCom that calls one telephone number only. Install it on diskettes, which can be run from any machine to call your board only.

Author: Paul Wheaton (1998). Suggested by Bjørn Simonsen.

1998-03-19: BananaCom v4.0 (03-98)
1998-01-04: Baby Banana v3.3 (01-98).

Baby Banana

Conex — Small terminal program with Zmodem & TCP/IP support.


[updated 2004-06-27]

Some features, from the documentation:
  1. The IBM PC can be used as terminal via COM1-COM4, via Interrupt 14, FOSSIL, DECNET LAT, FTP TCP/IP, B&W TCP/IP, 3COM (BAPI) at a host.
  2. Adjustable baudrate (50-115,200), parity, full/half duplex, xon/xoff or hardware handshake.
  3. Files can be transferred without protocol, e.g. to save a session to disk.
  4. Several DOS commands can be used inside CONEX such as "cd", "del" or a DOS shell can be entered.
  5. All incoming characters can be sent to a printer.
  6. Transfer protocols: Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem or Kermit protocol (long packets, sliding windows).
  7. Tektronix 4010/4014/4105, ANSI, DEC VT52-VT320 / VT420 / VT520 emulation. The crosshair in GIN mode can be moved by a mouse.
  8. Up to 20-30 pages of screen output can be scrolled back to screen and edited.
  9. All keys and mouse buttons can be programmed.
  10. Incoming characters from the port can be remapped by the user.
  11. Supports a phonebook.
  12. Several sessions, including net sessions, can be opened concurrently.
  13. Context sensitive help screens.
  14. CONEX is written in assembly language – quick and small.

Author: Erhard Hilbig, Germany (1998).

1998-11-26: v7.5 (11-98). Last version for DOS. (Thanks to Howard Schwartz and the author for obtaining the update).

Download (95K).

RBcomm — Small, memory efficient comm program with script support; uses external transfer protocols.


[added 1999-10-18, updated 2004-04-23]

From a user:
chiefly written for DESQview and blows away everything I've seen in almost every respect. It will run in DOS also...Configuration is a little involved, but not really hard. It uses an external xfer program (I'm using Texas Zmodem and getting consistent download speeds of 2200 cps on an 8088 at 19.2kb.) Another plus is that the ANSI/VT100 emulation doesn't screw up the screen every 10 seconds, but it's still a fast screen routine. Scripting, phonebooks, about everything imaginable...all this in a 33kb executable.

Author: Ralf Brown (1995). Suggested by Steve Stocker.

Download (120K).

Panther — Full featured terminal with script support.


[updated 2005-03-28]

I haven't tried this 1993 comm program but the feature list looks impressive, and it should handle fast modems. Developed primarily for accessing BBSes. I ran it through the auto-installation, which was a snap. I'll leave it to you to research how well it actually runs.

Features: Limitations:

Author: Mike Dickson / Black Cat Software Factory, Scotland (1993).

1993-07-01: v2.00 (07-93).

Download (358K).

Texas Zmodem — A very small ANSI terminal emulator with Zmodem file transfer support.

* * *

[updated 2005-09-24]

I used the "mini-terminal" component of this program quite a bit when accessing BBSes – it was then (1994) one of the few available freeware comm programs with Zmodem support, which is now considered the most robust and frequently used transfer protocol on BBSes. TXZM is a small program (33K) without script support, and I especially recommend it if you're short on diskspace.

Limitations: Only supports Zmodem file transfers. No scrollback buffer (but try using Peruse with TZ).

Author: Mike Dumdei (1994).

Download (42K).

Cyclone — Comm program with VT100 emulation, script support, Zmodem.


[updated 2004-04-25]

(Untested online). Cyclone probably represents one of the smallest comm programs with a scripting language. VT100 emulation only (useful for Internet progs [lynx, Pine] but not suitable for some BBSes).

Nice features (culled from the documentation):
  1. Small exe (80K)
  2. Impressive VT100 emulation
  3. custom dialing configurations
  4. Z-Modem file transfer – uses PDZM v1.20 (included), but see PDZM v1.24 on this page.
  5. Ability to mark and copy screen text to file, or capture entire screen to file
  6. Concise scripting language
  7. Popup notepad window (auto-save to file)
  8. Session logging
  9. Shell to DOS, Edit or view files while online using external programs


  1. Error handling of scripts needs improvement.
  2. No ANSI emulation.
  3. No mouse support.
  4. Only supports Zmodem file transfers.

Author: P.S. Karthikeyan, India (1997).

Download (109K).

COMTOOL — Tiny (3.6K) terminal program.


[updated 2004-04-23]

As its name suggests, COMTOOL's intended use is as a comm / modem tool rather than as a terminal program. But it can function as a simple TTY terminal. No file transfer capabilities. No built-in help – read the documentation. ASM source included.

Author: K.H. Weiss, Germany (1994).

Download (8K).

PDZM — Public domain Zmodem protocol.


PDZM is for use with comm programs that support external protocols and also is used with BBSes. Distinguishing features of this package include (from docs):

Notes: Xmodem, Ymodem and XON/XOFF (software) handshake are not supported. Good documentation, in English and German.

Author: Peter Mandrella, Germany (1996).

1996-04-06: v1.24.

Download (87K).

CE-XYZ — File transfer protocol module (X, Y, Zmodem, and variants).

CE-XYZ can be used as a free substitute for external protocol modules, such as DSZ and GSZ. Intended for comm programs that support external protocols, and BBSes. Free for non-commercial use.

Supports the following protocols
Zmodem: 16, 32-bit CRC
ZedZap: 32-bit CRC
Ymodem: Batch, 1K, G
Xmodem: 1K, CRC/Checksum
Ability to use 3 different serial port communication methods
FOSSIL communications (most compatible with FidoNet systems – default)
Direct communications (standard for most comm programs)
Interrupt driven communications (fastest, takes over INT 14h)

Author: Cutting Edge Computing (1993).

Download (57K).

ZEST — Zmodem protocol module for EGA/VGA displays.


[added 1998-03-06]

ZEST is yet another free Zmodem driver I can't test. This one requires EGA/VGA compatibility since its control panel is graphically rich with progress meters and status bars. I've heard some praise for this one. Documentation sparse.

Author: Hyok-Sung Choi, South Korea (1996).

Download (56K).


Development of most of these programs has ended.

Renegade BBS — A relatively easy-to-use BBS.


[updated 2005-04-03]

This is the only BBS listed here that I've attempted to run. One of its claimed strengths is ease of use, and I'd agree. Seems to be popular.

Authors: Cott Lang and Patrick Spence, et al.

Get files and info from the Renegade page at the BBS Software Directory.

Other: There's a newsgroup alt.bbs.renegade dedicated to it. A GPL version for several OSes (but not DOS) is in development – see the Renegade BBS Project for more info.

Maximus — Full-featured BBS; free for non-commercial use.


[added 1998-06-24, updated 2005-12-08]

A popular and complete BBS, in versions for DOS, OS/2, Win9x, WinNT, Linux. Free for non-commercial use. "You are a noncommercial user only if you are running Maximus as a private individual with no 'sponsors' and only if your BBS is not making (or helping to make) a profit."

Author: Lanius Corporation (1995).

1995-12-30: V3.01c, last for DOS.

Download all
EXEs 1
EXEs 2
Y2K fix

Get versions for Win32, OS/2 & Linux, and language modules (German, Russian, Spanish, Swedish) at the FileGate Archive.

Telegard — Full-featured BBS.


[added 1998-06-24, updated 2004-08-06]

From the description file:
Full featured BBS software for beginners to experts alike! JAM and Squish format message bases, powerful file section w/file tagging, multinode support, full multilingual support, languages with text and key configs (>length, 255 colours, 100+ MCI codes), RIP support, powerful menus, scripts, doors and more!

Author: Tim Strike, Canada (1998).

1998-12-19: v3.09.g2 Service Pack 4 released, "fixes all the known Y2K problems".

For more info & downloads of the program and helper apps, go to the Telegard Product Information Page.

Oblivion/2 — BBS with powerful menuing system.


[added 1998-06-24, updated 2005-04-03]

From the old Oblivion/2 web page:
Whether you're a beginner or a veteran Sysop, Oblivion/2 can offer you what few other software packages can. Amazing expandability and flexibility, molding the look and feel of the software to any other software you might like (without their annoying qualities), and a simple, Sysop-friendly configuration.

Note: Oblivion/2 is now freeware, but you need to use a serial number generator to "register" it.

Author: Paul Cox (1999).

Y2K compliant
Security patch

Download all
Install this first
Install on top of first package
Serial number generator

Synchronet — Multi-node BBS.


From the docs:
Synchronet BBS Software is a freely distributed program (with complete C source code, available soon) which can turn your DOS, Windows, or OS/2 machine into your own multi-line online service. Once a commercial application selling for as much as $499 (for a 250 node license), you can now use this great software for FREE for as long as it serves your needs – there are no "registration" or "licensing" fees of any kind. There is also no support (from the author) of any kind.

Although there is a newsgroup alt.bbs.synchronet devoted to the program, it is not on many news servers. Here is a Synchronet chat board which looks like a good place to converse with other "Synch-Ops." Last version for DOS. A Win32 version is also available and is open source GPL.

Author: Rob Swindell (1999).

Program, utils, config, docs
2.30c beta
Program upgrade

Download both

Get other files and info from the Synchronet home page.


For a comprehensive list of shareware and freeware Offline Mail Readers (for several platforms), see Jim Hanoian's offline readers pages.

NFX — Offline QWK and Soup Mail read / reply.

* * * *

[updated 2004-03-23]

Read and reply to messages sent in the form of QWK or Soup packets. Uses external archivers (PKZIP, ARJ). Includes built-in editor for replying. NFX automatically creates subdirectories for storing incoming and outgoing packets, config files, etc. Note: A freeware version of NFX is also available for Windows 3.1, but no link on the Net? Y2K ready.

Author: Blueview Software (1996).

Download (180K).

SLMR (Silly Little Mail Reader) — Offline QWK Mail read / reply with mouse support.

* * * *

Not at all silly – it is an excellent mouse driven, offline QWK packet reader with reply capability. This was the predecessor to the OLX mail reader. SLMR has many many options, most of which I've never tested. SLMR has been free for individual use since 1992. There is still a small nag function left in the program from its shareware days (you have to press a key to activate the main menu). If you are adventurous, instructions to "cure" this have been widely distributed on BBSes in the file SLMRFIX.TXT. Note Y2K issues.

Author: Mustang Software, Inc. (1992).

Nag fix

OLX (Off-Line Xpress) — Offline QWK Mail read / reply with mouse support.


[added 1998-03-06 updated 2004-11-30]

This is Off-Line Xpress 2.1 Test Drive, a non-disabled, no expire version of the OLX reader, the descendant of SLMR. Splashes a message on exit, but otherwise, fully functional. Complete documentation. Note the Y2K issues.

From the docs:
...licensed for individual personal use and evaluation for an unlimited time. Use and evaluation by businesses, corporations or individuals in a commercial venture is limited to 60 days, after which time the REGISTERED version of OLX must be purchased or the use of OLX 2.1 Test-Drive must be discontinued.

Author: Mustang Software, Inc. (1992). Suggested by Robert Bull.

Status: Mustang no longer markets it – sold to Santronics Software, Inc..

Download (200K).

ReadMail — Offline multi-format message reader / creator.


[added 1999-01-03, updated 2005-03-05]

ReadMail is an offline news and message reader that employs the familiar Borland text mode multi-document interface, well-suited to mouse or keyboard users.

From the docs:
The most notable feature of ReadMail is its ability to handle many different message formats, including ones which can be defined by the user. ReadMail allows the user to customize how to read mail, news, bbs bulletins, or other messages by defining their headers in an easy-to-use screen. It opens listserv "digests" in a separate window and lets you read each message in the digest one at a time. It reads, for instance, soup and QWK packets directly, without having to decompress them. And it lets you write mail, news or message replys. ReadMail has a resizable "preview" window just like MS Outlook – you can view the first few lines of each message as you browse a list. It also lets you mark a set of messages and then operate on the set (e.g., delete or save messages 3, 5, 9). You can define your own editor or viewer if you wish to view/edit messages.

Note that an older release of ReadMail is distributed through Simtel mirrors as but it lacks the ability to create mail / messages. The version 5.0 listed here is a free beta from 1995 and seems quite stable.

Author: Jeroen Schipper, Netherlands (1995). Thanks to Howard Schwartz for suggestion & comments.

Download (167K).


Personal NetWare (PNW) — Novell NetWare for the PC.

* * * *

[added 2005-08-22]

Personal NetWare can run a peer-to-peer network or connect to a Novell server. Along with NetWareClients, it was bundled with some versions of DR-DOS and OpenDOS that are now free, and still available.

Authors: Novell, Inc. and Caldera Systems (1993).

Get DR-DOS / PNW / NetWareClients packages, CARDS.ZIP (hardware drivers), and PNWTUTOR.IMG (tutorial) from any of the DR-DOS / OpenDOS download sites listed on the Operating Systems / Shells page.

Caldera's Introduction to Personal NetWare is online at Unofficial DR-DOS Resources.

Novell's Personal NetWare 1.0 Technical Information Documents (plain text): Download pnwtid.exe (178K).

For more info, go to Personal NetWare at Novell Support.

DOSVNC (DOS Virtual Network Computing) — Remote control of one computer by another, over a LAN or the Internet.


[added 2005-03-11, updated 2005-08-22]

VNC is a cross-platform, open source system that allows any networked computer to access and control others, in a "virtual network". DOSVNC can control other DOS, or Windows or Unix machines. 32-bit DJGPP port to DOS, requires 80386+ and a DOS Protected Mode Interface (DPMI), supplied either by CWSDPMI (included), or by Windows. Also required: VESA SVGA video, network connection (hardware + packet driver).

Author: DOSVNC by Marinos Yannikos, Austria (1999).

1999-04-28: v1.1.

Download (618K).

Get more info, utils & source at DOSVNC – a DOS Viewer for VNC.

Go to RealVNC for more info and commercial versions for other OSes.


ZIP — PC-to-PC file transfer, through parallel or serial ports.

* * * * *

[added 2001-07-04, updated 2005-06-05]

ZIP is a super-small (19K) and fast utility which permits exchange of files between two PC compatible computers with parallel or serial ports, including HP-LX Palmtops. Requirements: Any DOS 3.x or later (including DOS under Windows) and a PC-to-PC type, parallel or serial (null modem) cable. Formerly paid shareware, now freeware (author retains copyright). Screenshot.

From the docs:
Under Windows 95/98...ZIP is aware of Windows 'Long File Names', and will preserve them when LFNs are supported on both systems. ZIP shows LFNs (when present) during file transfer, but otherwise accepts and displays only 8.3-character DOS-style filenames.
Notable features:

Author: Eric Meyer (2002).

2002-12-04: v2.21 (12-2002).

Download (51K).

More in these pages from Eric Meyer.

BGFAX — FAX program in DOS, OS/2 & Win32 versions.

* * * *

[added 2000-07-05, updated 2004-04-23]

From the docs:

Formerly shareware, now freeware, still copyrighted by the author. Package includes DOS, OS/2 and Win32 executables.

Author: B.J. Guillot (1997, 2000). Suggested by: tip from Surv-PC Forum.

Program, support files & docs
Revision U beta, program only

Download both
Install this first

See the BGFAX Page for more info.

Talk — Talk (chat) client / server.

* * * *

[added 2005-09-24]

This DOS utility, based on a Unix original, can be used on its own, or integrated into a Telnet or browser setup. Uses WATTCP libraries, requires packet driver (DOS PPPD, or Crynwr). Source code (C) included. This is a better version than tcptalk, in the WATTCP and the Watt-32 packages.

    talk [-lo] user@{host|alias} [tty] תתתת Talk to another user
    talk [-aq] תתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתת Wait for talk requests

    -l   Log the talk session to talk.log
    -o   Use old-style talk protocol
    -a   Enter answer mode
    -q   Be quiet in answer mode
Other features & functions:

Author: Michael Ringe, Germany (1994).

1994-04-05: v1.3.

Download (56K).

SERIAL — TSR serial port monitor, adjustable on-screen display.

* * * * *

[added 1999-10-07]

SERIAL is an excellent serial port monitor that displays the status of a designated COM port on screen (default COM1, upper right corner of display). Using hot key (default CTRL-ALT-S, but easily modifiable) the user can move the display anywhere on screen. After intitial loading, SERIAL can be invoked repeatedly from the command line with new or changed options – you can even change which COM port to monitor, on the fly. Requires about 3.7K RAM, and includes options to disable and uninstall.

SYNTAX: SERIAL [/ or -]option1 [/ or -]option2 ...

  ?,H,/?,/H  HELP
  /V         Be VERBOSE (tell me everything)  (default)
  /Q         Be QUIET (shut up unless there's an error)

  /E         ENABLE (Show the SERIAL port) (default)
  /D         DISABLE (Hide the SERIAL port)
  /U         UNINSTALL from memory

  /T         Show SERIAL only in TEXT screen modes (default)
  /G         Allow SERIAL to be shown in GRAPHICS screen modes
  /K:Letter  Change the HotKey to Ctl-Alt-{Letter}, default is Ctl-Alt-S

  /1, /2, /3, /4  Show COM1(2,3,4) (default is COM1)
  /P[:address]    Show a specific port address (hexidecimal)

  /R:n  Put SERIAL at ROW #n (default is first row of screen)
  /C:n  Put SERIAL at COLUMN #n (default is last column of screen)

Author: Bret Johnson (1999).

1999-09-30: v2.02 (9-99).

Download (18K).

More in these pages from Bret Johnson.

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©1994-2004, Richard L. Green.
This Edition ©2004-2005, Richard L. Green and Short.Stop.