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Guide to the Frank da Cruz Kermit records
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Collection Overview
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The Frank da Cruz Kermit records consist of organizational and administrative materials related to Columbia University’s Kermit project, documents that provide a historical context to the project, Kermit books and manuals published by Frank da Cruz and his colleagues, press and publicity concerning Kermit, Kermit software, and standards related to Kermit or the general development of the character and data-set standards fields.
Francis (Frank) da Cruz was born in Washington D. C. on November 10, 1944. Da Cruz, whose parents were both in the military, grew up in rural Virginia as well as on Army bases in Germany. He was first exposed to computer programming while a member of the US Army in the early 1960s. He began attending Columbia University in 1966 and received a BS in Sociology and later a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Da Cruz was an employee and faculty member of Columbia from 1974, when he began in the Computer Center, until his layoff in 2011. In 1981 da Cruz began working on the 30-year project known as Kermit. Kermit is a file transfer and management protocol, and communications software tools set which was initially developed by da Cruz and Bill Catchings. Kermit was intended to facilitate the ability of Columbia’s students to save their work and move those files between diverse computers on campus that used different character sets, file systems, and communications. Conversion between EBCDIC and ASCII character sets was one of the earliest functions built into Kermit. The first file transfer with Kermit occurred in 1981 and Columbia University coordinated the development of Kermit for many different computers both inside and outside of the University, and distributed the software for free. In 1986 the University officially founded the Kermit Project which took over version development and started charging a fee for commercial use. By 1988 Kermit was available on more than 300 computers and operating systems. Columbia University ceased supporting the Kermit Project in 2011 and released it to open source. The project was named after the fictional character in The Muppet Show television series with permission from Henson Associates, Inc.
32.64 Linear feet, 21 record cartons, 5 manuscript boxes, 1 newspaper box
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The collection is open for research.