Tag Archives: protocol

telnet: The fundamental tool for entertainment

The bad part of writing about telnet — which is to say, the difficult part — is showing it in action.


As I understand it, telnet just gives you a tool for accessing the telnet protocol, probably in the same way that a browser is a tool for accessing http (and other) content. So once it’s up and running, there’s not much of telnet itself to see.

The good part is, if you have telnet access and a live line to the Internet, you will never, ever lack for things to do.


For every graphical game that requires a rat’s nest of dependencies and specific hardware support and only coughs up a generic shoot-em-up experience, there are probably 10 well written, well developed text-only games that only require an active connection and an 80×24 terminal space.


A thousand themes, a thousand environments and a thousand worlds to explore, in every variation imaginable, and no more hardware requirements than what you can scrape up with a leftover 133Mhz laptop and a lousy PCMCIA network card.


So in the end, the magic of telnet is not what it does, but what it gives you access to.


Perhaps that’s a lesson for elsewhere in life as well. 😉

P.S.: telnet is part of inetutils in Arch, but stands alone as telnet in Debian.

doscan: Oddly enough, I get nothing

In this business, if a program gives me nothing at all as its output, it means one of two things.


First, and the less likely of the two, it just doesn’t work. I’ve run into more than one of those in the D section; I’ll list them out for you in a day or two.

Second, and probably the problem in 90 percent of cases, I’m using it wrong, and being a dunderhead.

That’s probably what’s happening in the screenshot above. That’s the Debian version of doscan, which by all rights should list machines on my local network listening for a TCP connection.

I used the address above as a sort of generic network that I don’t mind sharing on the Internet, and of course as you can see, nothing comes about of it. Not even an error message.

But it’s the same for my actual network address. And if I try a wider, building-wide network? Nothing. What’s worse, the two commands there are straight from the man page as examples.

And yet, I see nothing as output. I assume that a null response yields nothing, but I also wonder if maybe something in doscan’s guts has gone sour, and all it will ever report is a blank line. 😦

It could be the case. Like I said, that was the Debian version. There is no version in Arch or AUR, and my attempts to build it from scratch resulted in make errors.

That does make me a little suspicious, not just because the last update listed at the home page was in 2003. Like I’ve said, 10 years is not a huge issue for Linux software, but it does make me look askance.

I open this one to the general public. If you can get doscan working and displaying some sort of output, please share. I am left wondering why, oddly, I get nothing. 😐