Tenth Edition

                       TELNET User's Guide

                          Mark Crispin


Copyright (c) 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983 by
 The Board of Trustees, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

     This software is furnished under a license and may only be
used or copied in accordance with the terms of such license and
with the inclusion of the above copyright notice.  This software
or any other copies thereof may not be provided or otherwise made
available to any other person.  No title to and ownership of the
software is hereby transferred.

    The information in this software is subject to change without
notice and should not be construed as a commitment by Stanford
University.  Stanford assumes no responsibility for the use or
reliability of this software.


     User TELNET is a subsystem which allows a user to connect to
other systems on a network (called hosts) as if she were on a
local terminal at that host.  As of version 5.3(918), TELNET

 . TCP/IP TELNET protocol
 . TELNET protocol on Chaosnet
 . NRT20 protocol on DECnet
 . Chat protocol on 3MHz Pup Ethernet
 . TTY port connection

     TELNET requires TOPS-20 release 5.3 or later.

     TELNET was written by Mark Crispin to replace the older
Tenex TELNET program.  TELNET was written with the intent of
exploiting the superior command parsing facilities of TOPS-20 to
replace the older program's idiosyncratic command parser as well
as greatly improving performance.


     TELNET allows a user to communicate with other hosts on a
network as if she was on a local terminal on that host.  This is
done by mapping the terminal I/O operations on TOPS-20 to that of
a network virtual terminal (NVT) and sending this protocol over
the network.  The remote host then unmaps from NVT protocol to
its own idea of how a terminal works.  In addition, the TELNET
protocol provides for negotiated terminal options between the
user (ie, the local host) and the server (remote host) TELNET

     By design, TELNET insulates the user from this as much as
possible, so that the user may for the most part forget about the
presence of the local host and TELNET itself.  In general, once
the user has connected to a host all type-in is sent "as is" to
the remote host.  Another design goal of TELNET was to fit in
better with the TOPS-20 way of command parsing by allowing
command lines from the EXEC and using the COMND% JSYS.

     The simplest way to use TELNET is to give the EXEC command

        @TELNET host-name

where host-name is the official name or known nickname of the
host the user wishes to connect to.  For example, the command

        @TELNET Score.ARPA

will attempt to establish a connection to SU-SCORE, the Stanford
University Computer Science Department DECSYSTEM-20 (provided
that there is a path by which SU-SCORE can be reached).  Note
that "Score" is a recognized nickname for SU-SCORE.ARPA.  If
TELNET succeeds, the user will be typing to the SU-SCORE system.
If it fails, an appropriate error message is printed.

     When the user wishes to get out of TELNET, she can type
CTRL/^ C (control-caret followed by C), which closes the
connection (ie, it "hangs up") and returns the user to the EXEC.
CTRL/^ is the "escape character" and is the prefix for several
other commands, including a second CTRL/^ which sends it to the
remote host.  There are no other characters which are treated
specially by TELNET; in particular, characters like CTRL/C are
passed to the remote host instead of causing their TOPS-20

                          TELNET States

     This description is a bit complicated and may be skipped in
a first reading.  However, understanding the material on this
page is essential to be able to use TELNET effectively.  The
states that TELNET can be in are relatively straightforward and
intuitive once the user understands the functionality which
TELNET must provide above and beyond a simple "linker" program.

     TELNET has essentially four layered modes of operation.
Each mode can invoke its immediate inferior, or return to its
superior.  The superior of TELNET's highest mode is the subsystem
that invoked TELNET (usually the EXEC), and the inferior of
TELNET's lowest mode may also be an EXEC.

     Top-level mode is the mode that the user is in when she
invokes TELNET.  There is no connection to a remote host in this
mode.  Top-level searches for a TELNET command in the EXEC
command which invoked TELNET.  If one is found it is executed and
top-level returns to the EXEC when the command completes.
Otherwise, top-level prompts for a command line using the
standard TOPS-20 conventions.  After the command completes
top-level prompts for another command.

     When a connection has been established to a remote host,
TELNET enters talk mode.  In talk mode, the user is talking to
the remote host and not to TELNET (or rather, not in a way which
the user need be concerned about).  There are some exceptions to
this.  If the connection is not in transparent mode (see
TRANSPARENT under TELNET Commands), the 200 bit (ie, the EDIT
key) is suppressed.  This is the normal mode because some
terminals generate a parity bit which may be misinterpreted as
the EDIT key.  Also, both opaque and page mode affect the data
stream by inserting possible padding or other characters into the
data stream as well as intercepting certain input characters.
The final exception is if the user enters the escape character.
Talk mode returns to top level if the connection closes.

     When the user enters the escape character, TELNET enters
talk command mode (this can be changed by the user; see EXTENDED
under TELNET Commands).  It is then waiting for a single
character command.  The most simple case is when the escape
character is entered twice, in which case it is sent once to the
remote host.  The escape character is initially CTRL/^ (octal
036).  See the ESCAPE command documentation for a complete list
of the talk command mode commands.  Talk command mode returns to
talk mode when the command has completed.

     The X command in talk command mode enters extended talk
command mode, which is similar to top-level except the command
set consists of the commands appropriate when a connection is in
effect.  Unlike talk command mode, extended talk command mode
prompts for its commands, echoes, and uses the COMND% JSYS for
command parsing.  Extended talk command mode returns to talk mode
when the command has completed.

     The reason for having both talk command mode and extended
talk command mode is to have a way to do all the "terminal"
functions (such as sending the escape character, sending ATTN,
etc.) without causing the extended talk command mode prompt and
echo to interfere with the typescript, yet still have the
functionality of a COMND% JSYS talk command mode.

     By using a TELNET.CMD file on the login directory the user
can change TELNET's default behavior to be similar to the old
Tenex TELNET program.  For example, if the user wants CTRL/Y for
the intercept character, immediate entry into extended command
mode at talk level, and to have the terminal in opaque mode with
local XON/XOFF handling, she can create a TELNET.CMD file on her
login directory containing the following lines:

        ESCAPE 031              ; or a quoted control-Y

                         TELNET Commands


     [Networks running DoD standard TELNET protocol only] Send
the protocol command to abort output to the remote host.  This
command is only valid in talk mode.


     [Networks running DoD standard TELNET protocol only] Send
the protocol command for the "Attention" signal (used mainly for
Multics or IBM systems).  This command is only valid in talk


     [Networks running DoD standard TELNET protocol only] Send
the protocol command for the "Break" signal.  This command is
only valid in talk mode.


     Close the network connection to the remote host.  Exit if
TELNET was invoked with a command line argument, else return to
the top-level command parser.  This command is only valid in talk

  [CONNECT (TO) CHAOSNET (HOST)] host [(AT CONTACT NAME) contact-name]
  [CONNECT (TO) DECNET (HOST)] host [(AT OBJECT TYPE) object-number]
  [CONNECT (TO) INTERNET (HOST)] host [[(ON PORT) port]
  [CONNECT (TO) TTY (LINE NUMBER)] line-number

     Establish a connection to the specified host on the
specified network using the specified contact identifier.  Only
networks that are actually connected to the local host are valid.
The host specification depends upon the network; in general it
must be a recognized host name.  This command is not valid in
talk mode.

     A host specification as a top-level command or a CONNECT
command without a network specification assumes that a connection
to that host on the "best network" is intended.  "Best network"
is a more or less arbitrary ordering usually based on network

     A Chaosnet host specification is any valid Chaosnet host
name string.  See the MIT Chaosnet documentation for more
information.  The contact name defaults to TELNET.

     A DECnet host specification is any DECnet node name.  The
object type defaults to 23.

     A Internet host specification is either an Internet domain
format host name or a bracketed set of four octets as defined by
the mail standards (e.g. []).  The port specification
consists of either one of the assembled in port names or two
octets delimited by period; the default is TELNET (or 0.23).

     A Pup Ethernet host specification should be a valid Pup
host specifier in conventional format.  See the PARC Pup
documentation for more information.  The socket defaults to
Telnet, and may be a socket name or number.

CONTROL (CHARACTER) [quoted character | octet]

     Sends the control form of the quoted character, or the given
octet as an ASCII code.  This command is only valid in talk mode.


     [Meaningful for networks running DoD standard TELNET
protocol only] Set or clear the flag controlling whether or not
TELNET protocol negotiations should be logged on the terminal.  A
negotiation log is of the form *R*...protocol...* for a received
protocol command or *S*...protocol...* for a protocol command
sent by TELNET.  This command is normally of interest only to


     [Networks running DoD standard TELNET protocol and TTY only]
Set or clear the flag controlling whether or not TELNET expects
the remote host to handle echoing of user typein.  If remote echo
is specified, the remote host must agree to the change, otherwise
TELNET will revert back to local echo.  In local echo mode,
TELNET handles the echoing.  Normally TELNET negotiates remote
echo upon establishing the connection.  This command is only
valid in talk mode.

ESCAPE (CHARACTER IS) {quoted-character | octal-number}

     Set the escape character from talk mode to the specified
character.  The default escape character is CTRL/^ (ASCII 036,
control-caret).  When this character is input from the terminal,
TELNET will read a single command character as follows:

        Character       Action

            ?           Lists the command characters
            A           Equivalent to the ATTN command
            B           Equivalent to the BREAK command
            C           Equivalent to the CLOSE command
            O           Equivalent to the ABORT command
            P           Equivalent to the PUSH command
            Q           Equivalent to the QUIT command
            S           Equivalent to the STATUS command
            T           Toggle transparent mode
            X           Enter extended command mode

     Neither the escape character nor the following command
character are echoed.  If the escape character is given as a
command character, it is sent as a single character to the remote
host (which is how you send that character!).  It was a design
goal of TELNET to allow any character (including the escape
character) to be sent to the remote host without causing messing
up of the transcript due to prompts, etc.

     Extended command mode (see also the EXTENDED command below)
allows the user to have a more standard command parser at the
expense of a prompt and echoed input on the typescript.  Extended
command mode is the only way to do certain functions (such as log
file usage) while in talk mode.  Extended command mode is similar
to top-level, except that a different set of commands are valid
in talk mode; some, such as ECHO, are meaningful only in talk
mode.  Each command notes whether or not it is valid in talk
mode.  When an extended command has been completed (or has failed
with an error), TELNET returns to talk mode.


     Return to the superior process (normally the EXEC) without
closing the network connections.  This is the graceful way out of
TELNET once the connections have been closed.


     Set or clear the flag controlling whether or not TELNET will
enter extended talk command mode when the escape character is
typed immediately instead of going into talk command mode.  The
default is to go to talk command mode.  Note that if EXTENDED
mode is enabled there is no way to send the escape character to
the remote host.


     Type out a brief help text on how to use TELNET.


     Set or clear the flag controlling whether or not TELNET will
use line buffering when communicating to the remote host.  Line
buffering only takes effect when echoing is being done by TELNET.
When line buffering is enabled, the TOPS-20 editing characters
(rubout, CTRL/R, CTRL/W, CTRL/U) will work since line buffering
uses the system TEXTI% JSYS.  No text is sent to the remote host
until a carriage return or a line feed is typed.  This command is
useful for communicating with line-oriented systems such as

LOG (FILE IS) log file name

     Declare a log file, which will contain a transcript of the
user's session.  A CLOSE command automatically closes the log
file, which is reopened for append when another connection is
opened.  The log file name defaults to TELNET.LOG.  TELNET
defaults to not keeping a log file.

[NO] NETWORK [more commands]

     This is a privileged command available only to operators and
system programmers and is not documented further here.


     Set or clear the flag controlling whether or not TELNET will
use "opaque mode", ie, continue doing local terminal handling
such as padding and keeping track of the cursor position, etc.
In addition, certain typein characters may be affected by opaque
mode; nulls are ignored and character conversion may occur.  The
default is NO OPAQUE, which specifies an image link between
TELNET and the remote host with no local terminal handling.
Opaque mode generally precludes being able to do things like use
a display editor at the remote system, but it is sometimes
necessary when using certain inferior terminals.  Opaque mode
does not change XON/XOFF handling; this is controlled by the PAGE
command although opaque mode is required along with page mode to
get automatic holding at end of screen.


     Set or clear the flag controlling whether or not TELNET will
enable local host XON/XOFF handling ("terminal page" mode).  In
page mode, CTRL/Q (XON) and CTRL/S (XOFF) are handled by the
local TOPS-20 operating system and there is no way to send either
of those characters to the remote system.  Automatic holding at
the end of the screen requires opaque mode as well, so TOPS-20
can know how many lines it has output.  The default is NO PAGE,
which specifies that CTRL/Q and CTRL/S are passed to the remote
host in image mode.  Page mode is sometimes necessary when
XON/XOFF handling is required and the remote host does not or can
not handle it.  For example, old style DECnet connections do not
allow TERMINAL PAGE at the remote host, and certain terminals
(such as VT100's in smooth scroll mode) require faster XON/XOFF
handling than can take place over a network.


     Run EXEC in an inferior process.  The EXEC's POP command may
be used to return to TELNET.  This is useful for doing something
temporarily at the local host while preserving the TELNET
connection.  TELNET disables SC%LOG capability in the inferior
EXEC to protect the user against accidentally logging out with a
connection still open.


     This command returns the user to the EXEC without closing
any open connection; e.g. the effect is similar to that of
CTRL/C.  EXIT is the preferred command to leave TELNET, as it
closes any open connections.


     Report on the status of the TELNET connection, and send the
protocol command to request the remote host to send a status
message (ie, a reply to "are you there?").  Generally this takes
the form of a job/system status message or at least the word YES.
This command is only valid in talk mode.

TAKE (COMMANDS FROM FILE) take file name

     Accept commands from the specified input file.  At end of
file revert to accepting commands from the terminal.  TELNET does
an implicit TAKE TELNET.CMD at startup.


     [Networks running DoD standard TELNET protocol and TTY only]
Set or clear the flag controlling whether or not TELNET will pass
on the 200 bit (ie, the EDIT key) to the remote host.  Normally
TELNET suppresses the 200 bit on non-TTY connections.  This
command is useful in running remote display editors which use the
200 bit as a character modifier.  This command is only valid in
talk mode.

                         TELNET Messages

     Occasionally an event occurs that TELNET wants the user to
be aware of.  Some of these messages indicate perfectly normal
conditions and exist merely to confirm that it is doing what the
user told it to do.  Other messages indicate problems with the
remote host or the network which aren't due to any error on the
user's part.

Connection closed

     The user gave a CLOSE command.  TELNET is confirming that it
has closed the connection.  TELNET will either return to the
top-level command parser or will exit, depending upon whether or
not TELNET was invoked with a command-line argument.

Connection closed by foreign host

     The remote host has closed the connection for reasons known
to itself (and maybe the user) but not to TELNET.  TELNET will
take the same action as if the user gave a CLOSE command.

Foreign host sent a subnegotiation

     The remote host is using the subnegotiation part of the
TELNET protocol.  Since TELNET does not allow subnegotiations,
the host is violating protocol.  Some garbage may follow this
message.  This is not expected to happen.

?Time out

     TELNET spent more than 30 seconds trying to do a single
network output operation.  TELNET assumes that the host at the
other end is hung, and aborts the connection.


     The user gave a CONNECT command, and TELNET is attempting to
open the connection.  TELNET will report the result of the
connection attempt either by stating "Open" (at which point you
are talking to the remote host) or by giving one of a great many
information messages saying why the connection couldn't be opened.

                         Error Messages

     When an error condition happens such that TELNET can no
longer continue the command the user instructed it to do, TELNET
outputs one of the error messages listed below and generally
aborts the command and any TAKE file in progress.  Most of these
errors are errors in the user's command line.

?Abnormal fork termination interrupt

     TELNET's network input process died involuntarily.  Since it
is supposed to check for all error conditions, this message is
not expected to happen.  If it does a wizard should be contacted.

?Can't continue

     It is not possible to continue TELNET after a fatal error.

?Invalid ASCII value

     The number specified for the escape character was not
between 0 and 177 octal.

?Invalid port number
?Invalid socket number

     The number given was out of range for the named field.

?Log file error - ...more details...

     TELNET was unable to reopen the log file when opening the
connection.  The log file has been turned off, and the connection
continues without it.

?Must have CONTROL-C capability to run TELNET

     The superior process which invoked TELNET has denied TELNET
the SC%CTC capability, which is necessary for TELNET to be able
to trap CTRL/C's.  TELNET needs the capability to function

?Not implemented with this protocol

     The command the user gave is meaningless on the connection
in use, because the network protocol in use doesn't support that

?TAKE command in progress

     A command file run by the TAKE command tried to execute
another TAKE command.  TELNET doesn't support nested TAKE files.

?No such host name - ...more details...

     TELNET was expecting a host specification, but the input
given could not be interpreted.  Possibly a host name was


     A miscellaneous non-fatal JSYS error occured.  This is
usually a user error.

?...message..., ...instruction... at PC=...PC value...

     A horrible (and fatal) JSYS error occured.  The PC printed
is the location of the JSYS where the error occured.  The user
should contact a wizard to look into the problem.

                       Sample User Session

     The following is a sample user session with TELNET, as
actually taken on an ARPANET site (SU-SCORE).

TELNET>? command, one of the following:
 CONNECT    DEBUG       ESCAPE      EXIT        EXTENDED    HELP        LINE
 LOG        NETWORK     NO          OPAQUE      PAGE        PUSH        QUIT
  or host name
 Trying... Open

 Stanford Sierra, TOPS-20 Monitor 5.3(5000)-4
 Wed 28-Dec-83 06:13:33  Up 13:39:49
 0+5 Jobs   Load av   0.03   0.33   0.32

 Job  Line Program  User              Foreign host
   8*  145  SYSTAT  Not logged in     {Score}

   2   106  OPR     OPERATOR
   3   107  MMAILR  OPERATOR
   4   110  INTSRV  OPERATOR
   5   111  LSRSPL  OPERATOR
Killed Job 8, TTY 145, at 28-Dec-83 06:13:38
 Used 0:00:00 in 0:00:07

Connection closed by foreign host