The Great Mailbox Debate
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: The Great Mailbox Debate
- From: email@example.com (Kevin Uhlir)
- Date: Tue, 4 Feb 92 11:08:02 CST
I have been watching the Great Mailbox Debate. Isn't controversy great?
At my station I have wrestled with the 'more compatible or less compatible'
question with regard to the mailbox (PBBS) of NOS. I even found a need to
support a KA-NODE of all things. Different people have different needs as
they integrate NOS into their ham shacks, their packet networks, and their
When a need arrives at my station, I 'Use The Source Luke'.
To meet some of the needs of my station and others I have created some code
for NOS that I call AXSOCK. Short for AX25 to SOCKET gateway. What AXSOCK
does is listen for AX25 connections to a specific callsign (not the callsign
of the interface -- probably a mortal sin for some). When a AX25 connect is
made, AXSOCK issues a TCP/IP connect to whatever host/port you have specified
for the callsign. It then serves as a two way gateway between the two
channels. Now your BBS, or any other program you can dream up can reside
on another machine. It is not locked into NOS. You can run the BBS on a UNIX
machine equipped with TCP/IP, but to an AX25 user it looks like it is running
on a packet machine. You can setup up to 5 AXSOCK listeners. Each with
a different callsign for listening, each with a different host/port to connect
I wrote companion process SOCKAX (SOCKET to AX25 gateway) too. SOCKAX listens
for a TCP/IP connection to a port you specify. When it occurs, it waits
for a single command line to be received. This command is a connect request
to the AX25 world. SOCKAX then acts on the connect request, and after the
connection is made, it acts as a two way gateway between the two channels.
SOCKAX is useful if you want to initiate AX25 connections from software
running on another host (like BBS forwrding?).
This arrangement allows AX25 packet users to be routed to any server located
anywhere. In theory you could route AX25 connects on your machine to another
NOS box that someone else is running, and let them worry about the BBS.
You guys with direct internet connections think of what you could do! (create
more security problems). The SOCKAX part of the code is not protected by any
security at all currently. This would be a requirement if you are attached to
a larger network where you wouldn't want just anyone to make an outgoing AX25
connect through your machine.
My main computer is NOT my NOS machine. I like to think of my NOS machine
as an I/O processor. It happily switches packets between 3 radio ports and
my ethernet which goes to my main machine. The NOS machine is an 8088 running
at I think 8Mhz (seems like 8Khz). My Main Machine is a Sun 3/50.
Yes, I was silly enough to write a KA-NODE emulator. I put it on my unix
machine, and routed AXSOCK to it. Connections to N0BEL-1 go right to it.
It issues whatever connects users request using SOCKAX. Go ahead call me
derranged. It fits my needs at the current time. When I wanted to start
using NOS, the only thing holding me back is the fact that I was a gateway
station between a VHF and UHF. Lots of BBS's were using me to gateway. Lots
of users were too. I didn't want to teach them all about NOS. There is an
intrenched feeling in the area the digipeating is old and inefficient, so
the digi-peat gateway code in NOS was not satisfactory for them. So I just
wrote the KA-NODE emulator. It seemed much simpler than fighting the hoards
AXSOCK and SOCKAX require changes to some internals of NOS. I had to change
listen() to allow more than one AX25 listener. I had to change other parts
of NOS to recognize callsigns in the ax25 connection table instead of just
the interface callsign. I'm sure there was other stuff too. I made my
changes to PA0GRI 1.7j 911022.
If anyone wants my code and diffs, please direct me to where to deposit it.
I have NO direct connection to Internet. I can only mail things.
Kevin Uhlir -> N0BEL -> Apple Valley, MN n0bel.ampr.org[22.214.171.124] 144.99
firstname.lastname@example.org Packet: N0BEL@WB0GDB.MN.USA CompuServe: 76615,1045