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Current Version: 2.5b5 (March 13, 1996) / 3.1.7 (May 2, 2006) / 3.2.4 (July 24, 2006)

The "old standard" freeware tn3270 tool for the Macintosh from Brown University. Although the advent of the web has made this tool less relevant to many people, it's still required equipment for serious researchers who access remotely-hosted IBM "big iron" services. It does a fine job, and is second in capability only to dataComet (above), which offers many more features as well as complete "standard" telnet services. That said, for basic access, tn3270 fits the bill nicely.

Note: Brown University distributes two VM/CMS commands for use with tn3270: RMAC and WMAC. These commands provide the ability to upload and download CMS files using the tn3270 session connection. Until recently, RMAC and WMAC were not year-2000 compliant. However, the versions made available as of 12/30/99 have been updated and are compliant.

The Mac OS X version was introduced in May 2003, and is still actively updated and maintained. Version 3.1.7 - the latest version for Mac OS X 10.1.5 - 10.2.7 - includes the following changes:

  • Fixed a bug which caused tn3270 X to crash if a pending SSL connection is closed.
  • Fixed a bug which caused tn3270 X to crash when opening an SSL connection on an Intel Mac (under Rosetta.)
  • Added Courier 34 as a large font which is useful for vision problems. It allows a 24-by-80 window to fill a 20" display.
  • Added support for the Bitstream Vera Sans Mono font, and included the font on the tn3270 disk image.

Version 3.2.4 - the latest version for Mac OS X 10.2.8 and higher - includes the following changes:

  • Added support for Kerberos encryption
  • Added support for Kerberos 4 and 5 authentication
  • Added support for the Telnet Start TLS option
  • Removed "glue" code for 10.1.5 compatibility (since Kerberos requires 10.2.8 in any case.)

The tn3270 for Mac OS listserv has an active discussion where you can interact with the author.

User Reviews

"The tn3270 emulation works very well. It has allowed me to keep a small Mac enclave alive in an otherwise very hostile Wintel environment. Even when running on a bunch of old LCII-IIIs, it is quick and faster than the dumb terminals being pushed at us by the IS support team. It is this kind of software which unfortunately doesn't get enough press and support."
—Julian Wan

[3.2.4] "I'm using this on a Mac Pro running 10.4.7, and it's very stable. Intuitive UI for connections, and I found it easy to make larger screen sizes work (36x80 versus 24x80, for example). I was also able to create a shortcut for the missing "Insert Key" on my Apple keyboard by creating an app-specific command in the standard keyboard prefpane. My one gripe is the lack of a robust keyboard mapping function, as I have yet to find a way to enable destructive backspace, but that will hopefully be solved by a system-level utility in the future."
—Jared Hunter, September 22, 2006

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Also See . . .

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Also, if you have an older Mac, be sure to check out the "Classic" applications page for more options.

Finally, take a look at ALEMIA if you think you know that name of an application, but aren't quite sure.

Also Consider . . .

These are applications that are newer and of potential interest, but which I haven't yet selected for permanent inclusion. Have a look, and let me know if you think they deserve to be part of the permanent collection!