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Communication Scheme Makes Popular Applications 'gracefully Mobile'

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Mosh program

One of Mosh's advantages over SSH, the program it updates for the mobile-computing age, is that it doesn't need to wait for a response from a remote computer before displaying keystrokes on-screen. Mosh's guesses about what to display are underlined until confirmed.

Credit: MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed the mobile shell (Mosh) remote-login program, which addresses the lack of mobility of the popular Secure Shell (SSH) program.

The researchers also note Mosh's underlying communication scheme could upgrade the performance of many other mobile apps. Mosh accommodates roaming better than SSH by jettisoning the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). "[TCP] has this one big, big problem: It provides a reliable, in-order byte-stream abstraction between two fixed endpoints," says MIT professor Hari Balakrishnan.  '

He says with mobile apps, it is less critical that every byte of data be displayed in the exact order in which it was transmitted. Balakrishnan and graduate student Keith Winstein devised the state synchronization protocol, which favors the timely receipt of data about the most recent state of the app over the receipt of extensive information about previous states.

'"Mosh is a gracefully mobile application," Winstein notes. But he points out that there are many popular network apps that lack graceful mobile capability, even though they are intended for mobile devices.

From MIT News 
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