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A Monthly Newsletter – February 2004

This month we poke around in the world of VanDyke Software applications, exploring topics like why it matters that the new versions of SecureCRT® and SecureFX® share host key data, and how to set up SecureCRT to support entering characters for languages like Greek and Chinese. Then just when you need to make time in your schedule to do your laundry, your taxes, or read a good book, our recommended reading looks at how to get more done and keep your workday from becoming another worknight.


1. Feature – Meaningful Sharing: Host Keys, Agent Cache
2. Tip –- Entering Non-English Characters in SecureCRT
3. Recommended Reading –- The Simplicity Survival Handbook
4. New Releases
5. Current Releases

******************************** New VShell 2.3 ********************************

VanDyke Software is pleased to announce the beta release of the
VShell™ server 2.3 for Windows and UNIX. The VShell 2.3 server
gives you fine-tuned controls to lock down access to your server
environments. The new vsftp client is an interactive SFTP command-
line utility for secure file transfers. New download triggers let you
trigger an action, such as running a shell script or sending an e-mail,
when files are downloaded.

The VShell 2.3 server also extends SFTP Virtual Directories to the
UNIX platform, allowing administrators to precisely define access
and file transfer privileges on a user or group basis.

Learn more about the VShell 2.3 beta release at:

****************************** Beta Now Available ******************************

1. Feature – Meaningful Sharing: Host Keys, Agent Cache

The SecureCRT 4.1 and SecureFX 2.2 applications have a new level of integration that can simplify the lives of users who connect to the same server regularly with one or both applications. SecureCRT and SecureFX now use a single location for host keys, and also share the private-key agent cache.

With these shared resources, host keys only need to be verified once for both applications. And when using public-key authentication, there is no need to reauthenticate to the same server with SecureFX when SecureCRT has already established a connection, and vice versa.

SecureCRT 4.1 and SecureFX 2.2 automatically share a host key database if SecureCRT or SecureFX were not previously installed on the machine. If you are upgrading from a previous version,
the databases can be shared with some configuration and a manual merge of host keys. The VanDyke Software web site has an FAQ with instructions on setting up a shared database when upgrading.

Shared host key resources ease the path to improving an organization's security practices. Eliminating redundant host key verification enables user training to focus on following a secure procedure the first time. New hosts can be validated using the host key fingerprint, which ideally
is available to users to compare to the one shown in the SecureCRT New Host Key dialog.

If you are new to host keys and fingerprints, the following are brief descriptions.

Host key — an encrypted key provided for validation purposes by a server. It is an important factor in establishing the identity of a Secure Shell server each time you log on.

Host key fingerprint — A host key fingerprint is a short group of characters that represent an entire complex key sequence, in the same way a human fingerprint identifies a person with a small but unique pattern. If the key changes in any way the fingerprints do not match.

For more information on the latest versions of SecureCRT and SecureFX, including prices, please visit the VanDyke Software web site:

********************************** Shape the Future ***********************************

Play a part in shaping the future of VShell 3.0, SecureCRT 5.0, and
SecureFX 3.0 — Join the new VanDyke Roadmap forum to discuss
the features and capabilities you need with other VShell, SecureCRT,
and SecureFX users and VanDyke developers.

If you're one of the first 50 people to post a message to the roadmap
forum (a new thread or a response to an existing one) you'll win a free
upgrade to SecureCRT 5.0 or SecureFX 3.0.

Registration is not required to read messages, but you will need to
register in order to post threads or vote in polls.

Join today!

****************************** Join a Roadmap Forum ******************************

2. Tip – Entering Non-English Characters in SecureCRT

If the ability of SecureCRT or CRT™ to handle international character sets is important to your organization, we have put together some pointers on how to set up your systems to do this.
Three different parts of your client and host systems need to be configured:

  • Set your Windows system to the language needed
  • Configure the remote system's shell for the language used
  • Select a font in SecureCRT that supports the needed character set

For the complete tip, including examples using the Greek and Chinese languages, visit the VanDyke Software web site:

3. Recommended Reading – The Simplicity Survival Handbook

Most authors don’t tell you on page one to throw away the book you just opened: Bill Jensen does. He advises ripping the 15 page "Do-Less Toolkit" out of "The Simplicity Survival Handbook" (Basic Books 2003, ISBN: 0738209120) and tossing the rest. Why?

"The Toolkit reduces everything in this book to summary check-lists. Of course, you’ll miss out on BlahBlahBlah…but you’ll still get a huge return on whatever you paid for this book.”

Indeed you would. But the book is well worth hanging on to. There are a wealth of strategies and tactics for reducing the amount of meaningless, ineffectual “stuff” you’re doing every day so you can focus on what’s really important. Jensen offers 32 ways to do less and accomplish more: how to write e-mail that will get read almost every time, and how to delete 75% of your e-mail messages without even opening them.

The most important technique from this book can be summed up in a single number: 1440. Fourteen forty is the number of minutes in a day. After you subtract the non-negotiable time commitments in your life—like sleeping—how many minutes do you have left? Jensen encourages you to review your “1440 balance” many times each day. Whenever you're asked to do anything, estimate how many of your 1440 minutes are left. This approach can make saying “no” and “not right now” easier.

Jensen challenges you to reevaluate the "hows" and "whys" of the way you work. But there’s a lot of humor in this book that makes addressing hard questions easier. That is not always a comfortable thing to do, but you will come out of the process with a clearer focus on what is most important to you and your work.

4. New Releases

A new beta release for VShell 2.3 is now available introducing download triggers and a new vsftp client, an interactive SFTP command-line utility for secure file transfers.

Maintenance updates of official releases were made in February of 2004 to SecureCRT 4.1.2, SecureFX 2.2.2, VShell 2.2.5, CRT 4.1.2, and AbsoluteFTP 2.2.2.

The official release of Entunnel™ 1.1 was made available January 22nd. This new version adds Kerberos support and a host key database shared with SecureCRT 4.1.2 and SecureFX 2.2.2.

When used with VShell version 2.2 or later, SecureCRT, SecureFX, and Entunnel provide support for Kerberos v5 authentication.

You can download new releases at:

For quick access to previous official releases, go to:

5. Current Releases

The following lists the latest official product releases:

SecureCRT 4.1.2
SecureFX 2.2.2
Entunnel 1.1
CRT 4.1.2
AbsoluteFTP® 2.2.2
VShell 2.2.5 Server for Windows
VShell 2.2.5 Server for UNIX
  Red Hat Linux 7.x
  Red Hat Linux 8.x
  Red Hat Linux 9.x
  Red Hat Enterprise v2.1 / v3
  Solaris 8
  FreeBSD 4.8
  Mac OS X 10.2
  AIX 4.3 / 5.2

To download any of our current releases, go to:

All VanDyke Software products may be downloaded and evaluated at no cost for 30 days. Licenses include one year of free upgrades and unlimited access to our expert technical support.

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  VanDyke Software, Inc.
  4848 Tramway Ridge Drive, NE
  Suite 101
  Albuquerque, NM 87111 USA


VanDyke Software, AbsoluteFTP, CRT, Entunnel, SecureCRT, SecureFX, and VShell are trademarks or registered trademarks of VanDyke Software, Inc.

All other products and services mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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