[nos-bbs] including original message in replies, comment text in forwards

Michael E Fox - N6MEF n6mef at mefox.org
Wed Dec 17 14:15:42 EST 2014

O.K.  Thanks for clarifying Bob.  


Of course, options 3-5 won’t work for the average ham.  With over 90% of desktops using Windows, it’s just not a practical option to expect users to learn an entirely new operating system just to access one type of messaging.  And adding a hypervisor into the mix creates a third technology to learn.  Too much.


Option 2 is a bit like needing to install sendmail/postfix on your local PC in order to use Thunderbird.  It’s not a perfect analogy.  But both examples mean installing the server locally so you can use the client.  And the relative complexity of having to install and (properly) configure something like JNOS is about as big a leap above using Outpost as is having to install and configure Postfix is above using Thunderbird.  Then there’s the added complexity of technical support when things don’t work.   So, again, the jump in complexity is just beyond the capabilities of the average ham.


Option 1 is certainly a real option for most hams.  But our experience is that AGWPE is far too fragile and unreliable.  As a perfect example (and this is the honest truth!):  just yesterday I was having coffee with a guy who told me that he couldn’t send his weekly check-in the day before.  He said he’s been using AGWPE for a long time and he swore that nothing had changed on his end.  But it no longer worked and he didn’t know why.  He tried it on more than one BBS and had the same problem.  Yet everyone else had no problem.  Even the one guy in our county who is probably the biggest fan of AGWPE admits he has to tinker with it all the time.  In fact, it’s now a well-known joke within our group that his wife, also a ham, uses a KPC-3+ and scoffs at all the problems he has.  So, while AGWPE is a real option, we recommend against AGWPE for EmComm in our training classes.


I know that the Outpost developer has received a few requests to implement a native AX.25 stack so that it could be used with KISS-mode TNCs (such as the TNC-X).  I suppose if he went that far, he could go a little further and implement BBS forwarding so he could actually receive the whole message, headers and all.  This would make the Outpost to BBS relationship more like the email-client to email-server relationship.  I don’t know how much work that would be to implement and support.  But I presume it would be non-trivial.


So that brings me full circle back to wishing the mbox user interface -- specifically the SC and SF commands -- were more capable.  Oh well.  Thanks again for clarifying.






Some -OR- solutions are..

1) AGWPE (AGW packet engine) (Can also a sound-card as tnc) and use it
    a router for Thunderbird, etc.
2) Install Jnos compiled for dos, you need an additional driver for this
    so that multiple programs can access the same interface (virtual driver)
    I did this already in the Win3.1 days. and used nos as the router to amprnet.
3) Use virtualization if you have a modern laptop and install VirtualBox or VMware
    and install linux in a virtual machine with the ax25 utilities and you have both
4) Install linux in another partition of your hard drive and make it double boot. 
5) And the classic joke: Remove Windows and Install Linux as that is all what you need :-)


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