There are a number of communication packages available for . Many of them are terminal programs which allow a user to dial into another computer as if she was sitting in front of a simple terminal. The traditional terminal program for is kermit. It is, however, somewhat Spartan. There are more comfortable programs available that support a dictionary of telephone numers, script languages for calling and logging into remote computer systems, etc. One of them is minicom, which is close to some terminal programs former DOS users might be accustomed to. There are also X-based communications packages, e.g. seyon.
Also, a number of -based BBS packages are available for people that want to run a bulletin board system. Some of these packages can be found at sunsite.unc.edu in /pub/Linux/system/Network.
Apart from terminal programs, there is also software that uses a serial link non-interactively to transport data to or from your computer. The advantage of this technique is that it takes much less time to download a few dozen kilobytes automatically, than it might take you to read your mail on-line in some mailbox and browse a bulletin board for interesting articles. On the other hand, this requires more disk storage because of the loads of useless information you usually get.
The epitome of this sort of communications software is UUCP. It is a program suite that copies files from one host to another, executes programs on a remote host, etc. It is frequently used to transport mail or news in private networks. Ian Taylor's UUCP package, which also runs under , is described in the following chapter. Other non-interactive communication software is, for example, used throughout Fidonet. Ports of Fidonet applications like ifmail are also available.
SLIP, the serial line Internet protocol, is somewhat inbetween, allowing both interactive and non-interactive use. Many people use SLIP to dial up their campus network or some other sort of public SLIP server to run FTP sessions, etc. SLIP may however also be used over permanent or semi-permanent connections for LAN-to-LAN coupling, although this is really only interesting with ISDN.