Shell In A Box
Why another telnet application

ShellInABox stands in the tradition of programs such as telnet and rlogin. These applications have long been popular with users who had access to low-performance terminal servers or workstations on their desktops, but needed shared remote access to a more powerful server. While desktop machines have become considerably more powerful, the basic need still exists. One thing has changed though, most sites no longer sport terminal servers and even many popular operating systems no longer ship with adequate terminal emulation. To add insult to injury, even if the system provides all the neccessary features, it might not be possible to connect to remote systems because firewalls prevent conventional programs from establishing a network connection.

Using ShellInABox, your server can now be reached from any computer on the net that runs a modern webbrowser. The only requirement on the client side is Java support. Local proxies will automatically be used if this is required by firewalls.

Supported Platforms

The client code is written in Java and will therefore execute from within any modern webbrowser independent of operating systems and locally installed programs. Incompatibilities are currently not known and should be reported as bugs. You can test whether your client is compatible with ShellInABox by pressing the "Connect" button in the applet on this page. If you do not see a button then most likely you forgot to enable Java support in your browser.

The server code has been developed and tested under Debian Linux. It is written in C and does not require any Linux specific features. If you compile the code on other platforms please report back to the author. The server needs to run a CGI enabled http server. To make full use of ShellInABox's features, it is neccessary to install parts of the server application with elevated privileges. It is possible though, to install a limited version of ShellInABox that only requires regular user privileges.

How do I get it?

Like all good things, ShellInABox is free! The source code is available under the conditions of the GNU General Public License which makes this application OpenSource compliant.

Download the 1.0beta release that was current on June 24, 2001. Or download the corresponding binary-only files for Linux x86/Glibc. Check back regularly for updates.

Reporting Bugs

ShellInABox is beta software and as such still has bugs. It isn't even quite feature-complete, yet. Nonetheless, it has reached a state where it starts being useful for many applications and I think it is fit for public testing. If you want to contribute to the project, either by reporting success in running on a new platform, by reporting bugs, or by contributing code or documentation, then please contact the author. You should also subscribe to the mailing list.


*VT102 Emulation *Clickable URLs
*ANSI Colors *Clipboard Support
*Scrollback Buffer *No Client-Side Installation neccessary
*UTF-8 Support *Automatic Proxy Configuration
*Loadable Unicode Fonts *Stores Preferences in User's Browser
*Mouse Position Reporting *Licensed under the GPL