Getting Started

Chapter V

Introduction to Telnet

Configuring Netscape for Telnet

Your First Connect

I'm connected,now what?

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Introduction to Telnet

In this section of Beginners Central we will explore using telnet as a means of connecting to various services on the internet. Telnet is a character based terminal application, and is one of the oldest services available on the internet for what seems like eons.Before we begin, lets backtrack a little and talk about the internet first.

The internet is a basically a network of thousands of computer systems. There are two basic types of computers connectedd to the internet, Hosts and Clients. Clients are machines which access the internet on a part time basis. They have no permanentt connection to the internet, but instead are capable of hooking to the internet via a dial up modem, or some similar method. Thee odds are very good that you are reading this tutorial right now using a internet client computer.

It's the HOST computers which we are going to be concerned about. Host computers are always connected to the internet,, and in most cases rarely are disconnected from the network. Host computers are where web pages reside, where your email iss stored until you retrieve it, where chats and muds are played. How many hosts are there? No one knows for sure, but it's aa safe bet to say there are at least 100,000 of them if not more.

When the internet was first designed, telnet was just about the only means of people accessing information on another computer from their own. In effect telnet turns your computer into a dumb terminal. Whats a dumb terminal? Well in the early days of home computers (back in the mid 70's) a dumb terminal was a common way of talking to your computer. It was a video display and keyboard, nothing more. It had the ability of displaying the information your computer put out and allowing you to enter new information into your computer via the keyboard. No or very limited graphics, extremely limited functionality.. Obviously we have come a long way since then, but some things haven't changed all that much. A telnet session today still looks remarkably like it did in the late 70's.

Which brings us today. Once you are connected to the internet, you can start a telnet session. If you don't have a telnet program, you can obtain one from any of the ftp site archives. We recommend that our windows based friends find a site containing QVT16 for windows 3.x and QVT32 for Windows95. This shareware program is full featured, and contains a built-in ftp program which is especially nice to use. Windows95 users should also note that there is a Telnet application on your distribution CD for windows95. Mac users will need to find a telnet program on one of the public software sites also. Since wee are not Mac users, we can't suggest an application for you, so look carefully before you download.

Assuming you have your telnet program already, the next question should be; why do I want to telnet? Well the answer is quite simple really, despite the enorminity of the web, the richness of the ftp sites, there is still some things which you can only get to via telnet.

IRC/Chats MUDS/MOOS Public Access Servers, ie libraries, stores etc..

The above list is only a partial listing of things you can do with telnet.

IRC/Chat - IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. It's a system which allows you to talk live with other people around the world. Even such applications as mIRC, a very popular windows based client for IRC's, is nothing more than a fancy, dedicated telnet front end with IRC extensions built right in. Warning!!! IRC can have an addictive effect on both your working and social life! The ability to talk real time with people from anywhere in the world has proven to have a strong effect on people, and yet, IRC can be a wonderful resource for people looking for information.

MUDS - MUDS or Multi-User Dungeons are online games with a fantasy role playing theme. Public Access Servers. There are a considerable number of public access servers available from the internet. A very comprehensive list of telnet resources, can be found by clicking here! Please note that the data contained in this site is held in IRD format, you will need to download the IRD reader software, also available from this location.

Now before you go running off to telnet to the world, lets talk a bit more about connecting to other computers.

Nearly every internet service provider has the ability to accept telnet sessions. Does that mean you should try telneting into them? Of course it doesn't. First of all in order to telnet into a system you will either need to have an existing account or the system will need to be a public access system.

Attempting to gain entry to a system which you do not have an account on is called ;Hacking and is against the law. If you have a legitimate need to access something on a system, an email to the root/sysop/sysadmin may get you an account, or at least the data you require. But never, ever, attempt to access a system to which you do not have an account.

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Configuring Netscape for Telnet

Multipurpose, the designers of Netscape made it very easy to configure it to work with your telnet program. Once you have downloaded and installed your telnet, follow these steps to configure Netscape to work with telnet.

Select Options Then Selection General Preferences... Click on the Tab labeled .Apps;

Place the telnet application's filename along with the correct directory structure into the field marked Telnet Application. If you don't remember why you put it or what it's named, use the browse button to see if you can locate it.

Thats it. Your Navigator is now configured to use telnet!

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Your First Connect

Well by now you should be armed with your telnet program in one hand, and the other poised over your mouse ready to take on the strange world of telnet. WAIT!!!!! HOLD YOUR HORSES!!!!

Like everything else on the internet, it's not as easy as it sounds. To begin with you will need a telnet address of a server too connect to. Telnet addresses can be in one of two formats, and they contain two parts. Lets look at a few telnet addresses andd how they are constructed.



IP Address






Here we have the addresses to two multiuser dungeon online games. The first item is the name of the resource and basically it can be ignored here. We don't need to know the name of the resource, we need to know where it's stored, which can be found in the second field. and are server names, these are the easiest things to remember, but in some cases you can't always use the server name. In those cases, you will be able to resort to using the IP address (contained in the third column). and the IP address are interchangeable, they both mean the same location. The final field is the Port Identifier and is a required field. So establishing a connection to 3-Kingdoms mud can take shape like these unix command prompts;

telnet telnet telnet p:5000 telnet p:5000 telnet 5000 telnet 5000

Now calm down, it's not as hard as the above commands, in fact for those of you running some sort of windowing environment, either PC based or Macintosh, it's a lot easier. In fact you will be presented with a simple dialog box with a Server/IP address field and another field for the port ID. It's a simple matter of filling in the fields and hitting the connect/go/ok button. The final piece of information you will require will be the login information. Now most public access telnet servers will provide you with that information in the welcome message. Notice the message provided by the welcome message from 3-Kingdoms mud.

Mail to for non-mud related connection problems Login as guest to take a look around Amylaar LPmud Version: 03.02.1@104 Currently 122 of 140Reg/160HM/180 Hard Limit - players on. What is your name:

(We have taken the liberty of highlighting the line with the login information)

Nearly all of the public access telnet servers will provide information in their welcome message in regard to logging to that particular server. So when in doubt, read the welcome message.

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I'm connected, now what?

Depending upon the server, one of two things might occur after you log into a public access telnet server. In most cases you will be presented with a clear menu of things you can do on the server. Remember you are using someone else's computer and they don't know you, so don't expect to have access to everything on that server. In most cases the menu will be self explanatory as to your capabilities while logged in.

Use of menus to control a telnet session is very common among the public access telnet servers. Read carefully the menus, if you don't understand them, check for a help menu option, or try typing help or question mark at the command prompt.

The level of functionality will vary from server to server. Largely it will depend upon the intended use of the server. A good rule of thumb is to KNOW BEFORE HAND WHAT YOU ARE CONNECTING TO AND WHY.

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