From: Rick Moen (rick at domain linuxmafia.com)
Date: Mon 18 Jun 2001 - 01:32:24 IST
begin kevin lyda quotation:
> cool, fidonet. never did use it, but heard about it. what's the
> story with using linux with it?
Many years ago, in DOS days, I ran a FidoNet node (1:125/27) in San
Francisco, operating under Quarterdesk's DesqView, and for a while ran
Tim Pozar's Fidogate translator to bidirectionally gate FidoNet
"netmail" (e-mail) and "echomail" (group discussions) to SMTP e-mail and
Usenet articles, respectively. FidoGate operates a sort of UUCP
gateway, for that purpose.
Back then, the DOS/DesqView side of things was a horrific kludge,
largely on account of limitations on file namespace and performance
associated with the FAT filesystem. Obviously, those drawbacks would
not apply if you attempted to participate in FidoNet and other FTNs
(Fido-technology networks) using entirely native-Unix software.
However, that brings us to the rather horrific limitations of FTN
standards, themselves: The network topology is strictly hierarchical,
and thus prone to single points of failure (and also to squabbles over
central control). Propagation of mail (both echomail and netmail)
tended to be very slow, as most of it went (and, I assume, still goes)
hop-to-hop via local-only telephone demand-dial links between FidoNet
nodes. Also, mail loops were a perennial problem with gatewayed groups
In general, a large majority of the sysops (system operators) comprising
FidoNet seem devoted to the proposition that reliable communications
infrastructure can be done with either no money or someone else's money
-- and using kludged, poorly standardised protocols that reinvented early
Usenet and ARPAnet protocols badly and in parallel with the real thing.
It seems better than nothing as minimal infrastructure in the developing
countries, but I closed my node around January 1994 (I think), and
wouldn't even consider going there again, personally.
Incidentally, I loved your letter to LWN
-- Cheers, Rick Moen "SYN! .. SYN|ACK! .. ACK!" -- the mating call of the Internet rick at domain linuxmafia.com
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