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AlphaCom3 Terminal Emulator

© December 1999 Tony Lawrence

Alphacom has a newer version of this that includes SSH support, Linux terminal emulation and more. I plan a full review later but I can tell you now that I REALLY like this product.

Omnicom Technologies, Inc (https://www.omnicomtech.com) offers an inexpensive ($25 per user, volume discounts available) terminal emulator which is very suitable for unix and Linux systems .

I downloaded this and their AlphaLPD product from their web site, but found that it was unnecessary to download the LPD program as the terminal emulator already includes it. Apparently Omnicom had sufficient requests for just the Windows LPD server that they decided to offer it separately; if you are downloading the terminal emulator don't bother with this.

The emulator handles RS232, modem and telnet connections. A nice feature is that once you have made a connection to a particular host or telephone number, you can do a "Save As" and that icon will remember the number or host when it is executed again. Multiple windows can be open at the same time, including serial and telnet connections concurrently. You can cascade or tile the multiple sessions or just arrange them as you want. Each session can be individually configured for fonts and color preferences, etc.

The only terminal types supported are SCOANSI, VT100, DUMB, ANSI132X42, WYSE60 and WYSE60-25, but that's more than enough for most SCO installations. My testing indicates that the emulations are correct, even for some of the tougher and more demanding programs that many of the less expensive emulators fail to work with. For example, I used the Wyse60 emulation with Mas90 and with Filepro; both worked perfectly (and have not with some of the other low priced emulators).

It's unusual for a low priced product to include LPD support, and while this is less necessary with Visionfs printing (see VisionFs Printing), it is nonetheless a nice feature to have.

I especially appreciated the simplicity of this product. I've had recent experience with Procomm, which used to be a very nice, straight forward product, but has now turned into an unwieldy monster offering every communications method in every possible variation, and therefore has become completely confusing. This, by contrast, offers just the basics, and is simple and obvious to configure.

As you get a 30 day evaluation period with the download, I'd say this is definitely worth looking at. It may not have all the features and capabilities of the more expensive packages like ICE-TCP and ICE-TEN ( see ICE-TEN and ICE OFF-SITE), but it is a quarter of the price and may very well have all the features you actually need.

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