FrontDoor FAQ

Support and discussion of the FrontDoor mailer package written by Joaquim Homrighausen and Mats Wallin of Definite Solutions, HB.
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FrontDoor FAQ

Postby wkitty42 » Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:51 pm

File: FDFAQ102.TXT
Date: 13-Jan-1999
Desc: FrontDoor - Frequently Asked Questions (FDFAQ)
From: Definite Solutions
| FidoNet: 2:201/329 & 2:201/330
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Note: Each item has a header (***) followed by the revision (of the FAQ) to which the item was added and/or updated. E.g. "*** 102".

For notes that are relevant to a specific version or operating system, the version number and/or operating systems is listed to the right of the revision number; e.g. 102 (OS/2).

Each note also has a unique number attached to it. This is to aid in finding a specific reference given to the "FDFAQ" document. The unique numbers are indicated following a '$' character; e.g. $0042. The highest used reference number is currently $0049.

Some notes that require a somewhat detailed explanation have been placed at the end of the document, below the more common issues. These notes are for all intents and purposes considered to be a part of this document and have thus received a unique number as outlined above.

Copyright 1998, 1999 Definite Solutions; All rights reserved.


*** 100 (DOS) $0001

Q: The system locks up as soon as I start any of the FrontDoor programs.

A: show
This is often an indication that FrontDoor is configured to use extended keyboard calls on machines without support for the extended keyboard calls. Try running the program with the /NOEKBD command-line parameter.

If this cures the problem, the "Global.General.Extended keyboard" setting should be configured as NO.

*** 100 (DOS) $0002

Q: I am experiencing horribly slow screen updates in all or some of the FrontDoor programs.

A: show
One possible cause, specially under Windows NT, can be incorrect usage of the GLOBAL.GENERAL.SCREEN FLICKERS setting. It should only be configured as YES if the screen is flickering when the FrontDoor programs are writing to the screen; screen flicker typically only occurs on systems equipped with older CGA cards.

*** 100 $0003

Q: When FM, FD, and FDNC is started and terminated, there is a delay even though the programs do not appear to be doing anything.

A: show
One possible cause is that the programs are detecting the presence of a mouse driver. When a mouse driver is detected, the programs will execute the mouse initialization code on startup and the mouse deinitialization code on termination; this will cause some delays. If mouse support is not a requirement in the programs, it can be disabled. To disable the mouse support of a specific program, it should be loaded with the /NOMOUSE command-line parameter. To disable the mouse support for all FrontDoor programs, add "NOMOUSE" to the FDOPT environment variable setting.

*** 100 (DOS) $0004

Q: X00 (FOSSIL driver) cannot be unloaded. It is being used as a TSR and when asked to unload, it complains about "Not safe to uninstall".

A: show
This is usually a conflict between X00 and a mouse driver when X00 is used as a TSR. To fix this, either load X00 as a device driver, or disable mouse support in FD (by using the NOMOUSE command-line parameter or FDOPT setting).

*** 101 $0005

Q: When FM or FD is running, there seems to be minor but periodic disk activity taking place; what can I do to prevent this?

A: show
The disk activity is due to the various programs checking for certain files in the SYSTEM and SEMAPHORE directory. For the [ML] version, you can decrease the amount of disk activity by placing the SEMAPHORE directory on a RAM disk.

A small disk cache (HYPERDISK, SMARTDRV - for DOS - etc) will further improve this; the size of the cache need not be greater than 512 Kb.

FD also writes to its activity monitor database on a frequent basis. If you do not want this interface to be available (for example, if you are not using an activity monitor such as FDAMON), the interface can be disabled by specifying /NOACTMON on the FD command-line or add NOACTMON to your FDOPT setting.

*** 102 $0006

Q: I am concerned about Y2K (Year-2000) compliance, what gives?

A: show
FrontDoor versions 2.25 and above are Y2K-compliant.

*** 102 $0007

Q: Is there an OS/2 version of FrontDoor?

A: show
Yes; as of version 2.32.mL and 2.26.SW, there is a native 32-bit version of FrontDoor (FD, FM, FDNC, and FDSETUP) available for the OS/2 operating system. See also notes 0042, 0043, and 0044.

*** 102 $0008

Q: Is the source code for FrontDoor available?

A: show
Not in the general sense, contact Definite Solutions if you have specific questions about this.

*** 102 $0009

Q: Is this the last release of FrontDoor?

A: show

*** 102 $0010

Q: Has development of FrontDoor stopped?

A: show

*** 102 $0042

Q: I have purchased or registered the DOS version, but the OS/2 version does not seem to accept my licensing information as entered into FDSETUP.

A: show
To run the OS/2 version, you need different licensing information. Contact your nearest registration site or Definite Solutions retailer; alternatively, you can contact Definite Solutions directly.

*** 102 $0043

Q: Can I run both the DOS version and the OS/2 version with the same basic configuration?

A: show
Yes, you can share SETUP.FD between different platform-specific versions of FrontDoor. Some notes regarding this:

  1. You need licensing information that indicates multi-platform support.
    (See also note 0042)

  2. Some platform-specific features can only be modified by the native configuration program; e.g. some DOS-only features can only be modified using the DOS version of FDSETUP.

*** 102 $0044

Q: I want to upgrade my current DOS version to the OS/2 version, what does it involve?

A: show
Very little of your configuration needs to be changed. The two biggest differences as far as your configuration is concerned are:

  1. The OS/2 version does not exit with errorlevels, instead it executes certain batch files (.CMD) to launch external programs such as BBS software, fax receiver, etc. This is outlined in the documentation.

  2. No FOSSIL driver is used/required by the OS/2 version.

See also notes 0042 and 0043.

*** 102 $0049

Q: FD and FDNC both claim that I am running Windows 98, but I know for a fact that I am running Windows 95, what gives?

A: show
There are a number of versions of Windows 95 and they all exhibit different behavior as far as OS-version detection goes. The various FrontDoor programs may get the version mixed up and display "Windows 98" although they are not running under W98. Either way, if the programs display "Windows 95" or "Windows 98", the correct time-slicing code will be invoked.

FD (mailer)

*** 100 $0011

Q: The MODEM.HARDWARE.LOCKED.PORT setting is configured as YES, and the FOSSIL driver is locked at 115200 BPS; and the modem always reports that calls are connected at 115200 BPS.

A: show
Check to ensure that the modem is configured to return the DCE (modem-to-modem) speed as opposed to the DTE (modem-to-computer) speed.

*** 100 $0012

Q: I am using a modem that requires the DTE (computer-to-modem) speed to be locked at 57600 or 115200 BPS to achieve maximum throughput and transfer efficiency, but FDSETUP only allows the baudrate to be set to 38400 BPS.

A: show
Set the baudrate in FDSETUP to 38400 BPS and configure the "Modem.Hardware.Locked port" setting as YES. Then configure the FOSSIL driver to lock the port at the required speed.

*** 100 $0013

Q: FD sometimes displays the message "xxxxxxxx.PKT contains conference mail, ignored" and refuses to unpack the messages in the mail packet file.

A: show
When FD scans received mail packets (.PKT files), it looks for the string "AREA:" in the body of the messages contained in the mail packet. This string indicates that the message is a conference mail message. FD only handles NetMail-type messages internally; an external Conference Mail application must be used to unpack mail packets containing Conference Mail.

*** 100 $0014

Q: The phone rings, but FD does not display "RING" in the modem messages section of its main screen; if the Terminal is loaded, the "RING" message is displayed when the phone rings.

A: show
Some modems with NVRAM (non-volatile storage space for settings, etc) seem to have a peculiar behavior when they are used at a speed different than the speed the NVRAM was last configured with. Go to the Terminal and issue the command used to update the NVRAM (this is usually AT&W<Enter>).

*** 101 $0015

Q: When FD answers the phone to process an incoming call and when it places an outbound call to deliver mail, the text "ERROR" is sometimes displayed in the log file and/or screen.

A: show
This is a message returned by your modem. FD does not issue this message. It is typically an indication of an incorrectly specified modem configuration option in FDSETUP or your modem's NVRAM configuration.

*** 100 $0016

Q: When using the RCVFAX program with FD and the ZyXEL modem attached to the system, it does not seem possible to receive fax transmissions. As soon as FD hands over control to RCVFAX, the program reports an error and the call is terminated.

A: show
Add a one or two second delay in the batchfile before RCVFAX is invoked.
[ML] The RCVFAX program can be replaced by using the internal fax reception capabilities if a ZyXEL modem is attached to the system.

*** 100 $0017

Q: The system successfully negotiates several EMSI sessions each day, but it seems that EMSI/MD5 session negotiation is never used.

A: show
There are three possible causes for this:

  1. FD requires that it is running on a system equipped with a 386-compatible (or better) CPU. If it is not, it will automatically disable EMSI/MD5 session negotiation.

  2. If the remote system does not support EMSI/MD5 sessions, the programs will attempt to negotiate a standard EMSI session.

  3. If the command-line parameter or FDOPT setting NOEMSIMD5 is used, FD will disable EMSI/MD5 session negotiation.

*** 100 $0018

Q: A NetMail tracker/manager program keeps complaining about a mismatch in the INTL/MSGID information for messages that FD has created when unpacking messages with file attachments?

A: show
When FD unpacks messages with file attachments, it inserts the path to which the attachments were received into the messages' subject (Re:) field. The problem is that the subject field can only hold 71 characters of data. FD solves this by creating empty attachment messages for those attachments that cannot fit into the subject field of the first message. When it creates these messages, it copies the addressing information from the original message, including the INTL information. The MSGID information is, however, not copied; instead, new MSGID information is created by FD. The NetMail tracker/manager program should be configured not to check for this.

*** 100 $0019

Q: After entering a file request from the console, FD does not seem to process it nor does it start dialing the system to which the request was entered.

A: show
FD will deliberately wait a short period of time after a file request has been entered from the console to allow for further console activities (such as additional file requests).

*** 100 $0020

Q: When the local system connects to a remote system to request a file, the message "Remote refused file requests" is displayed and/or logged, and after successfully completing the session, the remote system is called again, and again.. ?

A: show
The reason for the repeated calls is that FD cannot deliver the file request(s) to the remote system since it has indicated that it does not want them. Remove the file request(s), or delay the call manually until the remote system supports file requests.

Note that this should only occur with file request entries in the STQ. Messages with file request status are simply flagged as "Sent" by FD when the remote system does not indicate support for file requests when the session is negotiated.

*** 101 $0021

Q: When FD starts, it displays its main window and says that it is processing the NetMail folder and then it appears to lock up.

A: show
The reason for the lock-up is probably an event configured with no active days. This causes FD 2.30.mL to enter an endless loop when it is attempting to retrieve the currently active event. The solution is to upgrade to a newer version of FD or to configure the event as inactive; you can also configure the event with at least one active "Days" setting.

*** 101 $0022

Q: I am using FastEcho 1.46 or later together with FrontDoor and want to use the new STQ (Static Queue) feature of FD, does FastEcho support it?

A: show
Yes. You should specify the FrontDoor SYSTEM path in the FESETUP field SYSTEM.PATHNAMES.STATIC QUEUE. When doing this, you must ensure that all "ARCmail" .MSG attaches have been sent, otherwise FastEcho will truncate active ARCmail files. It is not possible to mix .MSG-style ARCmail attaches and use of the STQ by FastEcho.

It is possible to automatically convert remaining .MSG-style ARCmail attaches to the STQ by using the MSG2QUEUE program (available from the Definite Solutions website). When using MSG2QUEUE, you *must* use the /IsArcMail switch.

*** 101 $0023

Q: My telephone network operator offers something called "Distinctive Ring" whereby different audible ring signals are generated based on which number the caller used when calling me. How do I configure FD to only answer on a specific number/ring signal?

A: show
For the "Distinctive Ring" feature to be used with FD, your modem must be able to distinguish between the different types of ring signals and issue different RING messages; e.g. RING1, RING2, RING3, ..

Once you have configured your modem to issue the appropriate RING message for your modem/BBS number, you must change the MODEM.STATUS MESSAGES.RING setting to the appropriate message; e.g. RING1

*** 101 $0024

Q: I want to prevent FD from making ANY outbound calls, even if there is mail that is qualified by means of special status settings (such as IMMediate, etc), but I cannot find any setting to achieve this. I have configured the event to INBOUND ONLY, but FD insists on making outbound calls as soon as there are IMMediate messages or STQ entries.

A: show
Simply create the semaphore FDNOCALL.<task> in the SEMAPHORE directory. When FD detects this semaphore, it will not make ANY outbound calls.

*** 102 $0025

Q: FD does not appear to be detecting that new mail has been added to the System NetMail Folder and/or the static queue (STQ). If I force a rescan, FD does detect the new mail and starts placing outbound calls, etc. Why doesn't it detect the new mail automatically?

A: show
FD needs to be notified of updates to the System NetMail Folder and/or the static queue (STQ) by means of the FDRESCAN.NOW semaphore in the semaphore directory (system directory for the Shareware version). If this semaphore is not updated, FD will not detect the changes until it resets at the start of a new event, etc. Make sure that the application you are using is "FrontDoor semaphore aware" and that it knows where it should create/update the FDRESCAN.NOW semaphore.

*** 102 $0026

Q: FD seems to be very slow in detecting that the FDRESCAN.NOW semaphore has been updated. Sometimes two lines call the same system in succession.

A: show
This is typically an indication that the GLOBAL.GENERAL.SEMAPHORE TIMER setting is too high. This setting specifies how frequently FD should check for an update to various semaphores and some other important system files.

It should be noted that on a multi-line system and/or systems where programs are used to process mail in the background, the importance of this setting increases. Unless there is a very good reason for it, a multi-line system should use a setting of somewhere between 5 and 10 (seconds). This does, of course, increase the system load somewhat, but on a system properly configured as far as disk caching is concerned, the added overhead is usually not noticeable.

FM (editor)

*** 102 $0037

Q: Why does the "Change AKA" (<AltW>) feature no longer work? I want to change the originating network address before I write my message.

A: show
This function is still available, but it is only available in edit mode. Start writing your message as usual and then press <AltW> when the cursor is in the text/message body section of the screen; when you have selected the desired address, FM will update the originating address of the message. It should be noted that this technique does not work for CC (carbon copy) messages; only the first (original) message will be affected. If all else fails, you can edit an unsent message by pressing <E> and then using the <AltW> function.

*** 102 $0038

Q: I want FM to use a different/random origin line each time I write a message in conference-type folders, but I cannot find a reference to random origin lines. How do I accomplish this?

A: show
Refer to the section describing the "Editor menu" options of FDSETUP in the Administrator Guide (FDADMIN). The section contains a description on how to add random origin line capabilities to FM for a specific folder/origin line slot.


*** 100 $0027

Q: What are the various nodelist group tags, and what do they represent?

A: show
There are four pre-defined group tags: 1, 2, 3, and 4. In order of appearance, they represent the source for the nodelist entry:

  1. - Raw nodelist (typically, NODELIST.nnn)
  2. - Private nodelist (FDNET.PVT)
  3. - Private pointlist (FDPOINT.PVT)
  4. - An entry copied by means of the PHONE statement in FDNODE.CTL.

Group tags A through Z are user-defined groups.

*** 100 $0028

Q: [ML] When using the "Edit nodelist" function of FDNC, some automatically processed/compiled entries seem to belong to two groups, one of them is group four (4).

A: show
When using the PHONE command in FDNODE.CTL, FDNC copies the specified entry from its source to the internal nodelist database. Such entries are given an additional group tag (4). These can be separately exported by specifying four (4) in the groups to include option.

*** 101 $0029

Q: I've heard that the Nodelist Indices produced with the new version of FD are different to those of previous versions. Can I still use my existing software to process the nodelist?

A: show
There are essentially two types of program for processing nodelists. One type is used to merge NODEDIFF (Difference file) with existing Nodelist file to produce the new updated Nodelist. These programs are unaffected as they have nothing to do with the creation of the Nodelist indices.

(For example, Nodelist Updater, XlaxDiff, EDITNL etc.)

The other class consists of programs which actually create the nodelist index files (the .FDX files). Such programs may produce indices which FD 2.25 and above cannot use, and FDNC should be used instead.

(For example, XlaxNode)

*** 101 $0030

Q: After removing all PVTLIST and POINTLIST statements from FDNODE.CTL and re-compiling the nodelist, some entries that were previously included with these statements are still present in the nodelist database, why?

A: show
When FDNC is processing PVTLIST and POINTLIST statements, it consolidates (combines) the contents of the various files into FDNET.PVT and FDPOINT.PVT respectively. When you remove the PVTLIST and POINTLIST statements from FDNODE.CTL, it is possible that these two files remain in the NODELIST directory; the solution is to remove these two files and re-compile the nodelist.

These two files can also be used to incorporate additional entries into the nodelist database without using the PVTLIST and POINTLIST statements.

*** 102 $0045

Q: When FD places an outbound call, it attempts to dial the telephone number exactly as it is entered in the nodelist, without translation, why?

A: show
This is most likely due to an empty or corrupt telephone number translation database. Check the Administrator Guide for how to create a translation table (in FDNODE.CTL).

If you already have a proper translation table configured in FDNODE.CTL, it is possible that FDNC has not compiled it properly. Run FDNC with the /P parameter (and no other parameters); this will force FDNC to re-create the translation database.

*** 102 $0046

Q: Is it possible to dynamically change the telephone number of a given system without having to recompile the nodelist?

A: show
Yes, this can be accomplished by using $[]-style macros.

  1. Override the telephone number of the remote system by using the PHONE keyword in FDNODE.CTL: PHONE z:n/n.p $[SYSTEMNUM]

  2. Run FDNC /P

  3. Set the environment variable SYSTEMNUM to the desired telephone number (raw format).

    For example:

    FDNC /P
    SET DEFSOLTWO=46-8-999888777


*** 100 $0031

Q: The Terminal seems to be ignoring all input, not even <AltQ> works.

A: show
This is typically an indication that the "raw" keyboard mode has been enabled in the Terminal. Make sure that the <ScrollLock> LED is not active and then try again. If the keyboard does not have a <ScrollLock> LED, try pressing the <ScrollLock> button once and then <AltQ>. See also note 0032.

*** 102 $0032

Q: Sometimes when using a service in the Terminal, I find I cannot access the menu system using <AltF> or any other key shortcut.

A: show
The Terminal may have entered "raw" mode, possibly because the terminal is configured to automatically do so and the remote has requested this. See also note 0031.

*** 100 $0033

Q: The Terminal seems to be displaying all characters twice, specifically those typed from the keyboard; e.g. "AATTII55" instead of "ATI5".

A: show
This is typically the result of the communications device "echoing" characters typed from the keyboard and the LOCAL ECHO Terminal setting (in the LINE menu) being set to YES. To solve this, simply change the LOCAL ECHO setting to NO.

*** 100 $0034

Q: When using the <AltD> (Nodelist dial) function, the Terminal does not prompt for the use of script files, but there are several script files (*.SCR) present in the system directory.

A: show
The TERMINAL.MISCELLANEOUS.SCRIPTS IN NODELIST DIAL setting controls whether or not the Terminal should honor the presence of script files and prompt for one to be used when the nodelist dial function is invoked.

*** 102 $0035

Q: When I return from the DOS/OS shell, I sometimes find my connection has closed. Why?

A: show
Some services you may use have idle timers which will automatically disconnect you after a period of no activity across the communications link. Ensure that you complete your tasks in the DOS/OS shell as soon as possible to avoid this.


*** 100 (DOS) $0036

Q: When the BBS is used locally (local logon), the BBS software reports a very low amount of time remaining, or no time at all. due to a system event; yet, no event is pending or due.

A: show
It is possible that the BBS software is reading the contents of an old DOBBS*.BAT file, generated by FD for the last remote caller. Try removing the applicable DOBBS*.BAT file and attempt to logon locally to the BBS again.

Creating a "maintenance" or "mail" task

*** 102 $0039

Q: I want to set-up a line/task that is only used to execute external events at specific times and to handle the processing of mail (tossing, scanning, and packing) as well as other general maintenance tasks. I do not want this task to place any outbound calls nor to require a modem, is this possible?

A: show
Yes, it is possible; and quite simple. Create/update the necessary configuration files as if you were to add a "normal" task. You will need to use a unique task number and create a new event and modem configuration database by using FDSETUP (with the new, unique task number).

Use FDSETUP to modify the modem configuration for the new task and remove the configuration data for the following modem command strings:
On-hook, Off-hook, Dial, Prefix, Suffix, Init-1 .. Init-3, TermInit, Down, and Attention.
Configure "Manual answer" to "NO". Remove the configuration data for the Ok status message. Set the "Lower DTR when busy" and "Lower DTR to terminate call" settings to "YES".

For the DOS version, you will need to have a FOSSIL driver loaded since FD checks for a FOSSIL driver when starting. For the OS/2 version, you will need a COM port available. If you are using the SIO driver package by Ray Gwinn, you can create "virtual COM ports" (please refere to the SIO/VMODEM documentation for instructions on doing this).

Adding "drag and drop" functionality for sending files

*** 102 $0040

Q: Can I send files using "Drag and drop" functionality (Windows, OS/2, etc) so I can drag files from my desktop onto an icon or folder?

A: show
This can be accomplished by utilizing what is referred to as a "spool entry" or "spool directory" which is a feature of the static queue (STQ) introduced in 2.30/2.25.

  1. Create a spool directory. This directory can be located anywhere as long as FD can access it.

  2. FD must be told to treat the directory as a spool directory. This is done by using XRobot (available from the Definite Solutions web site); use the QSPOOLMAKE command and ensure that you specify a filemask that includes all files in the directory (*.*).

  3. Create a "shadow" or "shortcut" folder on your desktop that refers to the directory created in (1).

  4. When you drag a file to the newly created folder, it will be moved or copied to that folder by the operating system. It is then available for delivery and/or pick-up.

It should be noted that:

  1. FD will not detect that files have been added to the spool directory until it rescans. For a spool directory with "Hold" status, this is not a problem since such entries are always scanned when the remote (destination) system calls to pick-up mail, but for spool directories with "Normal", "Crash", and/or "Immediate" status, this may cause a delay in the delivery of the files.

    A possible solution is to create another desktop icon which refers to XRobot using the TOUCH command to update the FDRESCAN.NOW semaphore.

  2. A spool directory reference in the static queue (STQ) can only have one destination system. It is thus necessary to repeat the above procedure (1-4) for each system you wish to have "drag and drop" capabilities for.

Utilizing SIO/VMODEM for local access under OS/2

*** 102 $0041

Q: I want to access my mail system and/or BBS just like a remote system or caller would access it, but calling myself with a modem tends to be a bit expensive; is there a way I can accomplish this without handing over more of my hard earned money to the telecom company?

A: show
This can be done under OS/2 by using the SIO/VMODEM package written by Ray Gwinn. The SIO package is a set of replacement communications drivers for the OS/2 operating system; generally recommended as very good drop-in replacements for the standard OS/2 COM.SYS driver.

The SIO package also includes a FOSSIL driver (VX00) which is recommended over using a standard FOSSIL driver if you are running the DOS version of FrontDoor.

Finally, the SIO package includes something referred to as "VMODEM" which basically allows FrontDoor to communicate over a TCP/IP network. It can be used to communicate between two sessions ("windows") on the local machine, as well as other machines; next to each other or anywhere else you may want to go using the Internet.

You need to install and configure SIO/VMODEM; as well as TCP/IP. Then you use either an existing TCP/IP loopback address, or create a new (using "ifconfig lo <ip address>"). This address is then used to call from, for example, the FrontDoor terminal in one session ("window") to your system running in another session. You must, of course, configure a line/task to handle inbound calls that are received through the TCP/IP (VMODEM) interface.

The above procedure can also be used to make your system available for telnet and VMODEM sessions over the Internet.

Interfacing a DOS BBS application with the OS/2 version of FrontDoor

*** 102 $0047

Q: I want to use the OS/2 version of FrontDoor, but I need to interface with a DOS BBS package, is this possible?

A: show
Yes, it is possible; although perhaps not entirely obvious. The below example was submitted by Mark Lewis and illustrates how the OS/2 version of FrontDoor can be interfaced with the RemoteAccess DOS BBS package. It should be noted for the data below that Mark is using the SIO package by Ray Gwinn and the HSTART package by Henk Kelder.

It should also be pointed out that the below data is meant as an example.

The first thing to do is to ensure that you are using Ray Gwinn's SIO package. Configure SIO with the trailing '-' parameter as detailed in the SIO docs and as shown in Fig 1.

Code: Select all
   DEVICE=C:\SIO\SIO.SYS (COM1,3F8,4,-) (COM2:115200,2F8,3,-)
   (Fig 1.)

You need a CMD file to run FD/2 from. Fig 2 is a sample.

Code: Select all
   @echo off
   set task=1
   set fd=c:\fd
   echo MyOnlineService/2 Node %task% initiating...
    cd %fd%
    if errorlevel  33 goto end
    if errorlevel  32 goto midnight
    if errorlevel  31 goto inbound
    if errorlevel   1 goto end
    goto end
    hstart "Maint on %task%" /DOS /S:%fd%\HS-BBS_2.CFG /C /WIN /B /MAX /WAIT
    (cont. of prev. line)%fd%\midnite.bat %task%
    goto start
    hstart "MailRUN on %task%" /DOS /S:%fd%\HS-BBS_2.CFG /C /WIN /B /MAX
    (cont. of prev. line)/WAIT %fd%\tossmail.bat %task%
    goto start
    echo MyOnlineService/2 Node %task% terminating...
   (Fig 2.)

The CMD file shown in Fig 2 demonstrates the ability to start a DOS task from an OS/2 task using a third party util called HSTART. We are using HSTART in this example because it is able to start OS/2 tasks from the DOS side if/when needed.

FD/2 executes EXEBBS.CMD directly so we need to create one. Fig 3 is another example.

Code: Select all
   @echo off
   echo Entering EXEBBS.CMD...
   rem <Speed> <Port> <EventTime> <Task> <ConnectMsg> <CallerID> <Port Handle>
   rem   %1      %2        %3       %4       %5           %6          %7
   echo Creating DOBBS%4.BAT for RemoteAccess to use...
   echo EXEBBS %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 > c:\ra\dobbs%4.bat
   echo Starting RemoteAccess BBS...
   echo hstart "WPUSA %4" /DOS /S:c:\ra\HS-BBS_2.CFG /WIN /B /MAX /C /WAIT
   (cont. of prev. line) c:\ra\EXEBBS.BAT %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7
   hstart "WPUSA %4" /DOS /S:c:\ra\HS-BBS_2.CFG /WIN /B /MAX /C /WAIT
   (cont. of prev. line) c:\ra\EXEBBS.BAT %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7
   (Fig 3.)

This EXEBBS.CMD shows how to create a DOBBS.BAT for those BBS packages that can use it. Then we use HSTART to start the DOS BBS via a .BAT file like normally used. In this example, we have chosen to use the DOS name EXEBBS.BAT. An example is found in Fig 4.

Code: Select all
   @echo off
   rem <Speed> <Port> <EventTime> <Task> <ConnectMsg> <CallerID> <Port Handle>
   rem   %1      %2        %3       %4       %5           %6          %7
   echo Starting EXEBBS.BAT...
   echo Passed Parameters are :
   echo -----------------------
   echo                 Speed : %1
   echo                  Port : %2
   echo Minutes till NoHumans : %3
   echo                  Task : %4
   echo    Connection Message : %5
   echo  CallerID Information : %6
   echo    Passed Port Handle : %7
   set RA=c:\ra
   cd %ra%
   if '%2' == '0' goto local
   %ra%\ra.exe -E10 -N%4 -B%1%5 -C%2 -T%3
   if errorlevel  3 goto aftercaller
   if errorlevel  2 goto local
   if errorlevel  0 goto aftercaller
   %ra%\ra.exe -E10 -L -D -N%4
   goto afterra
  (Fig 4.)

That's pretty much it except for the HS-BBS_2.CFG file. It is only used by HSTART to set the necessary parameters for the DOS box. You only need it to change the settings from the defaults. There are a lot of settings that can go in that file. It's main use in this setup is to allow or deny access to the comm port. In a multinode environment, we don't want to allow access from other tasks. Its bad enough that we have to use the '-' on the SIO line. Fig 5 contains all the known settings that can be in a HSTART config file. Those that start with a '*' are commented out but left for the curious. The ones that are not commented out are the ones that are necessary for this site to operate. I can't guarantee that all settings are followed by the correct options. Only the numerical ones are known. You'll need to refer to the HSTART package for more information on the use of the config file with HSTART. This writer is using HSTART04.ZIP dated 11 December 1993 by Henk Kelder, 2:280/ according to the documentation.

Code: Select all
  (cont. from prev. line) C:\OS2\MDOS\ANSI.SYS,SIZE=0 C:\SIO\VX00.SYS;
  SET SIO_Allow_Access_COM1=0;
  SET SIO_Allow_Access_COM2=1;
  SET SIO_Allow_Access_COM3=0;
  SET SIO_Allow_Access_COM4=0;
  SET SIO_Idle_Sensitivity=100;
  *SET SIO_Mode_DTR=No Change at OPEN or CLOSE;
  *SET SIO_Mode_FIFO_Load_Count=16;
  *SET SIO_Mode_IDSR=Ignore DSR During Receive;
  *SET SIO_Mode_OCTS=HandShake Signal, as in RTS/CTS;
  *SET SIO_Mode_ODSR=Ignore DSR During Transmit;
  *SET SIO_Mode_RTS=HandShake Signal, as in RTS/CTS;
  *SET SIO_Mode_XON/XOFF=No XON/XOFF flow control by SIO;
  SET SIO_Screen_Sync_Kludge=0;
  SET SIO_Share_Access_With_OS/2=1;
  SET SIO_Virtualize_16550A=1;
  SET SIO_Virtualize_COM_Ports=1;
  (Fig 5.)

Some settings in the HSTART config file are not needed for normal use. Of note is the TCPIP entry which is needed on this system for DOS tasks to access TCPIP network protocol stack.

Running the DOS version of FrontDoor under Linux

*** 102 $0048

Q: I want to use the DOS version of FrontDoor under Linux, is this possible?

A: show
Yes, it is possible to run the DOS version of FrontDoor on the iNTEL platform version of Linux. The below example was submitted by Francois Thunus and illustrates how the DOS version of FrontDoor can be used under Linux.

It should also be pointed out that the below data is meant as an example.

Setting up DosEMU
Please report to DosEMU configuration manual for precise details.

The general idea is this:

Create a bootable dos floppy with whatever dos version you want. Set up CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files to run whatever you would in dos like BNU (FOSSIL driver). Set your paths to reflect paths on the C: drive (assuming that's where your FrontDoor is). Try booting it in DOS to make sure everything runs OK. Then in linux, make a disk image using this floppy using: dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/var/lib/dosemu/adrive bs=16k where "if"=location of linux floppy drive, "of"=path/name of disk image (in my case "adrive" in the /var/lib/dosemu dir).

Now modify /etc/dosemu.conf to use this file to boot from. There is a line in it that is probably commented out. If not, add it in floppy disk section:

floppy {heads 2 sectors 18 tracks 80 threeinch file /var/lib/dosemu/adrive}

(of course change any path to your setup and comment out any other "floppy" lines, for now)

In the dosemu boot section, setup a line to boot from the floppy image: bootdisk {heads 2 sectors 18 tracks 80 threeinch file/var/lib/dosemu/adrive}. Now dosemu should boot from that disk image file.

Now running xdos should boot from your disk image and your /dev/hda should give you read/write access to your C: drive.

Linux configuration
in /etc/rc.d/rc.local:
setserial /dev/ttyS1 spd_vhi

in /etc/dosemu.conf:
serial { com 2 device /dev/ttyS1 }
ttylocks { directory /var/lock namestub LCK.. }

FrontDoor configuration
in mailer.bat (on dosemu):
LH BNU /R=4096 /T=8192 /P1 /L1:115200,8N1
You have to make sure that you lock the port for reliable transfers.
(BNU is a FOSSIL driver written by David Nugent)

FD (mailer) is reported to work with:
Slackware 3.4 (Kr 2.0.30) / DosEmu 0.66.7 / DOS 6.22

For FM (editor), it may be necessary to use the FDOPT=NORES environment variable

Try to avoid forward slashes in names and paths.

// end of file "fdfaq102.txt"
Last edited by wkitty42 on Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Cleaned and reformatted for this environment
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