So just over two weeks ago I decided to find out how I could attach my new BBS to a second message network, after I managed to get easily connected to the fsxNet (many thanks to Avon in NZ for your help here). I decided that I would go after the biggest name in EchoMail networks that I know about, one that has been around for getting on for 40+ years if my estimate is anywhere near close. Yep, FidoNet was my network of choice. (More information on FidoNet can be found here)

I managed to find an online application form for the network after a little “Googling” and filled it out as best as I could. Fast forward 2 weeks and I get a reply from a guy called Vince who is the Zone 2 (Europe) Coordinator, saying that my IP address and Domain name were not appearing to be within the UK. So after a reply saying that my server is in a Data Centre located in the UK, the IP address did actually come from the UK with evidence, and stated that the domain name was not from the UK, but I use it because it’s short (I wanted a 3 letter domain name) and the TLD was free to use for anyone anywhere in the world (.pw).

After my reply, I got to thinking about it, and to me the whole idea and principal of having your own BBS, especially back in the day, was to have it located actually at home, not in a Data Centre. So even though I have oodles of bandwidth for my server, I decided to move it to my own server at home, and configure my router to accept telnet sessions to and from my server for use with the BBS.

After a few more days I receive the news that I have been allocated a node number, and was given some information to use for my config, and basically I was ready to go. After a little while of setting up the BBS backend to accept this new network, and ironing out a few human errors on my end and a spelling mistake for my name on the HUB end, everything now seems to be working fantastically.

The only real issue I had after everything was set up was that sending a Netmail (that’s a direct message from my node to another unique node) was that I didn’t get a response from the HUB’s AreaFix / FileFix system. AreaFix and FileFix is basically used to subscribe or unsubscribe to different message / file areas on the network. Due to the mis-spelling of my name at the HUB, any Netmail sent from me to AreaFix / FileFix were being sent back to “Christain Sacks” instead of my name, and I only discovered this when I looked in the messages folder and opened the main message file which was luckily in plain text, to see the responses being sent to “Christain Sacks”. After discovering this I went straight into the mailin.ini and added a forward name so that any Netmail coming in to “Christain Sacks” is forwarded to “Christian Sacks”. (Mutil is Mystic’s utility for handling messages and files, and mailin.ini is the configuration file I have to tell Mutil what to do with messages and files). After doing this, and sending one more test echo to AreaFix, I suddenly got the response I was so desperately after.

So, after getting it to work, I messaged the Zone 2 Coordinator to inform of the mistake, and it was rectified immediately. Woohoo, now I have my BBS fully linked up to one of the oldest messaging networks I know about, if not the oldest.

It feels very awesome to be a part of something like this, it’s something I often thought about for many years, and getting my finger out the last month to get my BBS and all the messaging networks is now paying off nicely.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Christain Sacks! 😉