I Still Use Zmodem

On average I create a new Zmodem user every month.

Yes, that Zmodem. The protocol you used on BBSes in the 1990s.

The thing is that my SSH client, SecureCRT, supports Zmodem. So when I want to retrieve a file I type “sz” followed by a filename and it shows up on my desktop. How easy is that?

A number of people I support need easy ways to move a file from their desktop to various Linux hosts. They always ask for Samba, but running Samba to copy a couple of files every once in a while seems like overkill. Zmodem comes to the rescue again. No sftp clients to explain to people, no worries about security since it’s over SSH, no Samba to maintain, and very little hassle. The rz and sz commands are pretty straightforward.

SecureCRT isn’t free (and I’m not getting anything from VanDyke, else I’d have a disclaimer), but a good tool is worth the price you pay. The free & decent SSH client PuTTY doesn’t support zmodem directly (it’s a feature request) but LePutty is a variant which does. Seems to work pretty well, given my limited testing.

Of course, you also need server-side software. I use lrzsz version 0.12.20, which for being 10 years old still compiles on RHEL 4. I just add symlinks in /usr/local/bin to create ‘sz’ and ‘rz’. 🙂

9 thoughts on “I Still Use Zmodem”

  1. just had to switch back to a PC from a Mac – for the love of all things sacred, please point me to a ssh client on PC that has tabs like iTerm!

  2. DaveG: Good point, took me a second to realize that RHEL 3 didn’t come with it. So to standardize our machines we try to push out the same stuff everywhere.

    When we retire RHEL 3 we’ll audit for stuff like that. Actually, it’ll probably be when we create a build process for RHEL 6….

  3. I would love to use zmodem again … unfortunately neither the os x terminal nor iterm have support for zmodem transfers … f*&k

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