Dec 262017
Freemail mail package for people participating in nets such as Fidonet.
File FM106.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category BBS Files
Freemail mail package for people participating in nets such as Fidonet.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
ECHOSTAT.EXE 7854 7427 deflated
FIXED.106 32173 11849 deflated
FREEMAIL.DOC 46640 15139 deflated
FREEMAIL.EXE 85755 83636 deflated

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Contents of the FREEMAIL.DOC file

* * * * * * * * * * *

FreeMail, version 1.06
December 15, 1992

by Chad Nelson
1:109/[email protected]

Copyright 1992 by Chad Nelson

* * * * * * * * * * *


FreeMail is a program which allows you to import and export FidoNet messages.

FreeMail works well with most Fidonet front-end software, specifically
BinkleyTerm, FrontDoor, and similar packages (d'Bridge compatability is in the
works). It also supports several message base formats; Hudson format, used in
QuickBBS, RemoteAccess, SuperBBS, TAG, and others; Fido/Opus format (the *.MSG
format several packages still use); and the Spitfire format, for the Spitfire
BBS and compatable systems. It also supports multiple Hudson bases, compatable
with the TAG BBS system.

FreeMail is freely distributed copyrighted software. You may distribute the
original or repackaged archive, so long as no files are added, removed, or
modified, and no money is charged except to cover materials, which cannot
exceed $6US. Specific exceptions to this rule are BBS systems, which may
charge a fee for access, but must allow this package to be downloaded without
any additional charges.


FreeMail is fully multitasking aware including sharing message base files.
When used with BinkleyTerm, it supports and recognizes the .BSY flags Binkley
uses and can continue to toss mail in the background while Binkley is doing
mail sessions.

FreeMail will easily handle hub duties in any size network. There are no
artificial limits on the number of echomail areas it can handle -- your only
limit is what it can fit in free memory (one of my beta-testers runs over 520
areas). FreeMail also has full message-routing capabilities built in, and
supports up to ten addresses, for those who use multiple Fido-style networks.
And it can be used on a point system just as easily.

FreeMail uses easily configured simple text files. To add a conference, just
add a line to your AREAS.BBS file telling FreeMail the conference number, area
name, and where to send it. That's it! A companion program (now in early
beta) will allow Areafix-style requests from other systems, freeing hub sysops
from having to manually process area change requests.

Keep a finger near your "pause" key the first time you run it, or you might
miss it -- FreeMail is *very* fast. The only program I know of which compares
to it is Squish, which does not handle Hudson or Spitfire formats.

FreeMail is fully compatable with all Fidonet technical specs, and can be used
without problem in a fully-connected topology.

Oh, did I mention... it's also free!


To install FreeMail, follow these steps:

1. Create a subdirectory for FreeMail and unzip the FreeMail archive into it.
Any subdirectory will work; it does not have to be in your path. You will
be changing to this subdirectory when executing FreeMail.

Example: C:\FREEMAIL

2. Unzip the file PXDOS21A.* into any subdirectory in your path. FreeMail uses
this program, PolyXarc, to unpack archived mail. See the PolyXarc docs on
how to set up PolyXarc. If you don't have this file, it can be
file-requested from 1:109/536 or 1:106/4196 by the magic name POLYXARC.

3. Create an AREAS.BBS file specifying the message areas for your system. The
AREAS.BBS file is a simple text file which you may create with any text
editor. This file must reside in the same subdirectory as FreeMail.
See THE AREAS.BBS FILE section for detailed information about this file.

Example: (this is an example of a Spitfire AREAS.BBS)

!13 DBASE 1:106/1000
!14 CLIPPER 1:106/1000
!15 CONSULTING 1:106/1000
!16 NEW_SYSOP 1:106/1000
!17 SYSOP 1:106/1000
!18 SPITFIRE 1:106/1000

4. Create a FREEMAIL.CFG file specifying the options desired for your system.
The FREEMAIL.CFG file is also a simple text file which you may create with
any text editor. This file must also reside in the same subdirectory as
FreeMail. See FREEMAIL.CFG OPTIONS sections for detailed information
about the many options available.

Example: (this is an example of a Spitfire FREEMAIL.CFG)

SYSOPCVT Vicki Surratt
SYSTEM Database Connections BBS * Houston, Tx * 713-495-4196 *
ADDRESS 1:106/4196
ROUTE CRASH 1:106/1000 ALL

5. Create a batch file to execute FreeMail automatically. This is not
required, but most people will want to run FreeMail in this manner. The
batch file simply needs to change to the FreeMail subdirectory and execute
FreeMail. See the COMMAND-LINE OPTIONS section for more detailed
information about the options available.

Example of importing mail batch file:


Example of exporting mail batch file:


That should do it! You will need to reference the sections specified with
each step to ensure compatibility with your particular setup. If you have any
questions, you may contact the following people for assistance:

Chad Nelson FidoNet 1:109/536
Rupa Schomaker FidoNet 1:106/1024
Vicki Surratt (Spitfire Format) FidoNet 1:106/4196


By default, FreeMail looks for a file called FREEMAIL.CFG in the directory it
is run from. If you want to use a different filename, or a different location,
specify the full path and filename of the alternate config file as the FIRST
option on the command line. All other options (listed below) may be used in
any order, separated by spaces.


ECHO TOSS: Unpacks *.PKT files, sends the messages to everyone you've
defined for the area (see the AREAS.BBS section), and puts them into your
message base(s).


ECHO SCAN: Scans your message base(s) for unsent echomail messages, and
sends them out.


NET SCAN: Scans your netmail area for unsent messages, and sends them
out. Not needed in some setups, but it won't hurt anything.


NET TOSS: (Hudson/Spitfire) Puts *.MSG netmail messages into the
Hudson or Spitfire netmail area.


MESSAGE TO SYSOP: Changes the specified into a netmail message to
the Sysop. WARNING: The file is deleted when this is used!


SCHEDULE: This runs the schedule called , which must be defined in
your FREEMAIL.CFG file.


SCAN ALL: (Hudson Only) Using this option has the same effect as adding
SCANALL to your FREEMAIL.CFG file. See the SCANALL option for details.


LINK: (Hudson Only) Links the messages in all areas by the subject


PURGE AND PACK: (Hudson Only) Deletes old messages based on the criteria
defined in FREEMAIL.CFG (see the PURGEINFO option) and packs the message
base(s) to remove unused space.


PURGE ONLY: (Hudson Only) Does the purging like -P, but does not pack
the message base(s). It can be used if you've got something that packs
better or faster than FreeMail, but want to use FreeMail's unique
purge-by-date-imported ability.


RE-INDEX: (Hudson Only) Recreates the index files from the information
in the MSGHDR.BBS file. Needed only if the index files become corrupted
or out-of-sync with the rest of the message base.


RENUMBER: (Hudson Only) Renumbers the messages in the base. If used at
the same time as the -P or -PO options, FreeMail will optimize the
functions to take less time.


There are many options which can be enabled in the configuration file. This
section will show the syntax of these options and give a short description of
each. Note that lines must not exceed 1000 characters, and anything after a
semicolon will be considered a comment, and ignored by the program. All
options and keywords are shown CAPITALIZED, but FreeMail will recognize them
in CAPS, lower case, or aNy MiXtUrE.

Notation used in this file:

<> required parameters
() optional parameters
... indicates more than one parameter is allowed
[] indicates only one parameter is allowed

General Options


(Required) Netmail for the Sysop will be addressed to this person. This
should be the name you use on your BBS.

NOTE for Spitfire Sysops: If you have configured your board to use a
handle such as "Sysop" for the Sysop's alias, use that here and use your
real name in the SYSOPCVT field (see SYSOPCVT, below). A conversion
between the name entered here, and the one in SYSOPCVT, will be made on
all outgoing and incoming mail in the TO: and FROM: fields. If you are
using a handle other than "Sysop," put the handle here. Pay attention to
capitalization; it must be the same here and in Spitfire, or Spitfire
will not find it when scanning for messages addressed to you.


(Optional) If used, all incoming netmail addressed to this name is
translated to the Sysop's alias (see SYSOP, above), and outgoing netmail
from the Sysop's alias is translated to this name.

On Spitfire systems (only), echomail areas are translated as well.


(Required) FreeMail will append this to any message leaving your system
that does not have an origin line already on it. This should normally
contain your system's name, location, and (optional) telephone number,
but can contain anything. You do NOT need to include your network
address here -- FreeMail adds that itself.


(Required) At least one ADDRESS statement is required, up to ten are
supported. The first format is standard FidoNet 3D or 4D addressing.
The second is a nonstandard format which supports the use of multiple
"pointnets," which is a kludge to let older, non-point-aware software
work with point systems. I highly recommend using a pointnet if you
will be running points. Note that the zone is REQUIRED on the first
address, and subsequent addresses will default to that zone number if
another is not specified.


(Optional) An AKA, as FreeMail uses the term, is an ADDRESS which is
never shown in the SEEN-BY lines. In all other respects it is identical
to an ADDRESS statement.


(Boss Nodes Only; Required) This option is only used on "boss-nodes,"
the parent nodes of point systems using a pointnet/fakenet address. It
enables the special processing required to keep these fakenet addresses
from getting out into the network. Using a pointnet is highly
recommended if you will be running points, as there are parts of the 4D
addressing scheme I haven't worked out yet.


(Required) This directory must already exist; FreeMail will not create
it. This is where FreeMail puts netmail when you don't use a Hudson-base
netmail area. It is also sometimes used as a temporary storage area for
inbound netmail, for programs like AreaFix. In such cases, you can use
FreeMail's command-line option -NT to control when netmail will be
imported to the Hudson base, and when it will stay in *.MSG format.


(Required) The directories must already exist; FreeMail will not create
them. These are the directories your mailer uses to store incoming mail,
and mail waiting to be sent out.


(FrontDoor/d'Bridge Mailers Only; Required) Tells FreeMail to use the
*.MSG file-attach method, instead of the BinkleyTerm *.FLO files. This
will automatically activate the NONETPACK option needed for these


(FrontDoor/d'Bridge Mailers Only; Optional) Provided for compatability
with previous beta-versions of FreeMail. NONETPACK tells FreeMail never
to packetize netmail, which provides compatability with these mailers.
See also NOFLO, above.


(Optional) FreeMail assumes a standard AREAS.BBS file will be found in
the directory it starts up in. If you use a different filename, or have
it in a different directory, use the AREAFILE option to tell FreeMail
where to find it.


(Optional) By default, FreeMail attempts to use PolyXarc to unarchive
mail bundles it finds in your inbound directory. If you use something
else for this, you can specify the entire command line for it here. This
command *must* be able to identify and unarchive any and all mail
bundles on its own.


(Optional) If your system supports something like the XRdoor by Mike
Ratledge, which uses fake point addresses, use the FAKEPOINTS option to
tell FreeMail not to forward netmail for those addresses.


(Optional) If defined, all messages that FreeMail cannot process will be
stored in this directory, in *.MSG format. The reasons it could not
process them will be sent to the Sysop in a netmail message.


(Optional) If defined, any message for an unknown echomail area will be
stored here, and the Sysop will be notified via netmail. This directory
will be scanned before each echo-tossing run for areas which have been
defined since the last run. THIS OPTION MUST BE SET TO A UNIQUE
a directory used to store other *.MSG messages, you'll regret it --
consider yourself warned.


(Optional) If this option is used, FreeMail will call Ralf Brown's
excellent SPAWNO library to swap out most of its code when executing an
external program such as PolyXarc, PkZip, or ARJ. This is usually
required for ARJ, but is not recommended for systems without EMS or XMS,
as it can slow FreeMail considerably on such systems.


(Optional) If this is defined, FreeMail will stop tossing mail if the
free disk-space on your outbound drive drops below the specified number.


(Optional) By default, FreeMail will not allow routed echomail through
your system. If you DO want to allow them, use ROUTECHO.


(Optional) By default, FreeMail will strip the Crash/Hold bits off of
incoming netmail, as a safety measure. If you need to disable this
behavior (to allow people to send crash netmail on your dime, for
instance) use KEEPATTRS.


(Optional) FreeMail forwards routed netmail by default, unless you use
NOFORWARD to tell it not to. If NOFORWARD is active, routed netmail will
be considered "bad" messages.


(Optional) If you are running a system which uses the same inbound
directory for several addresses, and you only want FreeMail to toss
packets for your addresses, use the NOTOUCH option. It will then ignore
any packet files not addressed to it, leaving them in the inbound area
untouched. If you didn't understand this description, you probably don't
need it.


(Optional) This is a variation on the NOTOUCH option above. Instead of
ignoring anything not addressed to you, it will only ignore packets meant
for one of the
es listed. Up to ten such addresses can be
specified, on one or more lines.


(Optional) This is primarily intended for use with Areafix, Filefix, and
other such "robot" programs. If a netmail message comes in addressed to
one of these names at your system, it will be left in *.MSG format in
the MAILDIR so that these programs can find it. Multiple names must use
multiple NOTOSS lines; maximum NOTOSS lines is 10.


(Optional) Tells FreeMail to impersonate TosScan in outgoing packets so
that TossCan on the receiving end will use the zone information FreeMail
puts in the packet header. As this violates Fidonet policy, it should
ONLY be used if absolutely necessary!

Hudson Only Options


(Required) Required for Hudson-base operation only. If using a single
Hudson base, it must be defined here. Multiple Hudson base setups should
define the Hudson-base directory where you keep your netmail board. If
the Hudson base files do not exist in the specified directory, they will
be created for you.


(Optional) This is the board number you keep netmail in, if using a
Hudson-base netmail area. In multiple Hudson base setups, this board
must be in the Hudson base defined in the MSGDIR (see above).


(Optional) Hudson-bases normally include two flag-files pointing to
messages that haven't been sent out yet. Some Hudson-base utilities
apparently do not support these files. If you use such a utility on a
regular basis, you can use the SCANALL option to tell FreeMail to scan
the entire message base for unsent messages. If you only need to do this
on occasion, you can use the -ALL parameter on the command line instead.


(Optional) This option allows FreeMail to subject-link new messages in
your Hudson-base as they arrive. Alternatively, you can re-link the
entire base at one time by using the -L parameter on the command line.
FreeMail will also attempt to link messages after a pack/purge or
renumber; this can be disabled by using NOLINK (see below).


(Optional) If you have another message-linking program, perhaps one that
links by MSGID/REPLY lines instead of FreeMail's subject-linking, you
can disable FreeMail's linking altogether by using the NOLINK option.

Spitfire Only Options


(Required) Required for Spitfire operation only. This directory must
already exist; FreeMail will not create it. The directory where the
Spitfire message files reside.


(Required) The message area number for your NetMail conference. For
example, if your NetMail message area is area 24, define SFNETBOARD 24.


(Optional) Some Spitfire packers apparently have problems when they
encounter "messages from the future" -- when the message date is later
than the current date. When the FIXDATES option is used, FreeMail will
check the dates on all messages in the Spitfire echomail/netmail areas
it scans. If a message has a date more than 24 hours in the future (to
allow for time-zone variations), or if it has an invalid date string,
FreeMail will change the date to "now."

NOTE: If this option is used, you must make sure you have the correct
date and time set on your computer. FreeMail has no way of checking it.

File Logging Options


(Optional) If a LOGFILE is defined, FreeMail will store important
information in human-readable log format. You may give a full path and
filename here.


(Optional; Defaults to BINK) Specifies the type of logfile desired.
BINK - BinkleyTerm Log
FD - FrontDoor Log

LOGLEVEL [1 | 2 | 3]

(Optional; Defaults to 2) Specifies the level of logfile desired.
1 - Logs only important items
2 - Logs important and general items
3 - Logs downright trivial items


(Optional) If defined, FreeMail will log cost-accounting information in
the specified file for each run. The entries tell how many bytes and how
many messages were imported for each echo-area, in a text form easily
digestible by humans or other software.

Duplicate Message Detection Options


(Optional) If defined, FreeMail will keep dupe-detection information in
this directory; otherwise, dupe-detection will be disabled. See also


(Optional) If defined, FreeMail will save duplicate messages in *.MSG
format in this directory for your review; otherwise, they're discarded.
If DUPES is used, you must define SIGDIR.


(Optional; Defaults to 2000) If not specified, FreeMail keeps the
signatures of 2000 messages per echo-area, at four bytes per message.
If the default of 2000 isn't desired, you can change it with SIGKEEP.
This option will be ignored if dupe-detection is not enabled.

Packing and Purging Options (Hudson Only)

GROUPDEF [ | @]...

(Optional) Defines groups of areas to be purged on the same criteria (see
PURGEINFO for more information). The group name is of your choosing.
The echotag is the actual echomail tag -- to purge non-echomail boards,
use the Hudson-base board number (with directory if necessary) instead.

[ | @]

(Optional) The PURGEINFO list defines the criteria on which the various
message areas will be purged.

A GROUP is one of the previously defined groups of areas (see

GROUP DEFAULT contains all areas which are not included in another
GROUP or used elsewhere in the PURGEINFO list.

The is the maximum number of messages FreeMail will
leave in that area when it purges. Any messages older than
days will also be deleted. Either (or both) of these criteria can be
disabled by using a zero for it.

NOTE: FreeMail purges messages by the date they were *imported*, not the
date they were written. As far as I know, it is the only Hudson-base
software with this capability. For this to work, you must use FreeMail
for both importing and purging messages.

Security Options


(Optional) This enables packet-passwording for certain systems. It is
best used when combined with SECURE mode and your mailer's session-level
passwording. Don't confuse this with the session-level passwording
offered by mailer software; it's an entirely different beast. Notice
that you must have a PKTPWD line for each address you want passworded.
There is no limit on the number of PKTPWD lines you can have.


(Optional) The SECURE option checks all incoming messages' origination
addresses. If the originating address is not listed as one that gets the
echoarea in question, the message is considered bad, and will not be

Output Control Options


(Optional) When an archived bundle grows past the limit set by this
option, FreeMail will no longer add to it; it will start a new one
instead. If not used, FreeMail will continue adding to existing bundles
'til the cows come home. You must define an archiver to use this option.


(Optional) Does for packets what ARCSIZE does for bundles. When a packet
reaches or exceeds the specified size, FreeMail will take time out to put
it into a bundle and start a new packet. Obviously, you have to define
an archiver for this to be possible; FreeMail will complain if you don't.

Message Options


(Optional; Defaults to ADD) This defines how the tearlines are handled.
Any message with a blank or non-existant tearline will be treated as if
RETEAR REPLACE was used regardless of the RETEAR option specified.

ADD: Unless told otherwise, FreeMail will add its name to the
tearline of all outgoing echomail messages created on your system,
keeping the original tearline intact after it.

REPLACE: FreeMail will replace any existing tearlines on these
messages with its own name and version number.

NO: FreeMail will not touch the tearline at all.


(Optional) FreeMail adds a one-line banner to name-forwarded netmail
telling where the message was forwarded. To suppress this banner, use


(Optional) The ADDTOSEEN keyword defines addresses that are to be put in
the SEEN-BY lines of each message going through your system. No echomail
messages will ever go to any address in this list. This is very seldom
desirable, and I recommend it not be used unless you know exactly what
you're doing.


(Optional) When used, FreeMail will strip any "Private" flags off of
echomail messages both inbound and outbound. Does not affect netmail.


(Optional) This will tell FreeMail to change any high-ASCII characters to
the specified character (or a space, if no character is specified) when
importing and exporting messages. It does not affect messages already in
the message base, and does not change the messages passed on to other
systems. High ASCII is not allowed in most (English-speaking) Fidonet
echomail areas, but is required for some non-English languages -- if you
use another language in any of your mail, do *not* use STRIPHIGH.


(Optional) Similar to the STRIPHIGH option, STRIPCTL works on control
characters (ASCII values of less than 32). This should not affect
non-English languages, but it *will* prevent ANSI strings -- the ESCAPE
character will be changed. Don't use it if you want to exchange
ANSI-coded screens.

Compatability Fix Options


(Optional) WARNING: DO NOT USE "IMPORTALL" unless you're having
problems with your uplink!!! It will effectively blind FreeMail to the
destination addresses on the individual messages. It is intended to
deal with very primitive software on your uplink system. If FreeMail
starts spewing forth message packets to lots of nodes that probably
don't exist, see if IMPORTALL will solve the problem -- or get a new


(Optional) If you run a point system, you may need to use the IMPORTBOSS
parameter to get FreeMail to toss your mail, depending on the software
your bossnode is using.


(Optional) The d'Bridge system by Chris Irwin uses a non-standard
extension to the PATH lines for point-systems. FreeMail can understand
these extensions but will not create them by default since they break
some other mail tossers. If you're running a point system under a
D'Bridge-running bossnode, you can tell FreeMail to generate this
extension with the D'BOSS parameter. This will automatically activate
the IMPORTBOSS option.


(Optional) If you send echomail to points and keep it in *.MSG format on
your system, you may find duplicate messages going out to your points.
If so, use the NORESEND option.


(Optional) In *.MSG setups, previous versions of FreeMail would scan all
*.MSG areas after each toss, regardless of whether or not you told it
to. By default, FreeMail will no longer do this, instead waiting until
you specify -ES or -NS. If you would like to emulate the previous
behavior, use SCANAFTERTOSS.


(Optional) If you find that outgoing netmail is piling up in your MAIL
directory, use the KILLSENT keyword. This will only affect messages in
the in the MAILDIR. If this is used, FreeMail will delete outbound
messages with the "sent" bit on, next time it is run. NOTE: This will
also force FreeMail to import all inbound netmail to the Hudson or
Spitfire base immediately.

Remapping Options


(Optional) If a netmail message arrives addressed to at your
address, it will be forwarded to at
. This is useful for
points or users that have moved, for example.


(Optional) The LIST option simulates the Carbon Copy function available
in many message-readers and BBS packages. After defining a LIST, you
send a netmail message to LIST , where is a name you
pick. It will be forwarded to every name in the list, at their
addresses. If you don't specify an address for a particular name, your
primary address is used. The is optional. If used, messages
for that LIST must be sent to LIST , or they will be
considered bad messages. This option is a left-over from FreeMail's
earliest incarnations, which I found useful enough to keep around.

Routing and Archiving Options


(Optional) The ARCDEF line(s) tell FreeMail how to use your favorite
archiving software. The is a tag of your choice, usually
something like ARC or ZIP. The command line is what you would pass to
the system to add a file to an archive -- FreeMail appends
and before calling it. For PkZip, the line would simply
read "ARCDEF ZIP PkZip", while LHarc 2.0+ would require "ARCDEF LZH Lha
a". Up to ten ARCDEFs are supported. See also the USE option.


(Optional) This option tells FreeMail to use an alternate archiver or no
archiver for certain addresses. The is the one you chose
to represent that type of archive (see ARCDEF) or NOARC to send
unarchived mail to that address. Any address which is not specified will
use the first archiver defined with an ARCDEF option. The ALL keyword is
supported here -- USE ZIP 2:ALL would use PkZip for all zone 2 addresses,
while USE ZOO 1:109/ALL would use Zoo for addresses within zone 1, net


(Optional) These tell FreeMail how to "flavor" the mail for particular
nodes. The ALL keyword is supported (see USE for more info on ALL). The
meaning of HOLD, CRASH, and DIRECT depends on the mailer software you
use, and how it is set up on your system. See the documentation for
your mailer for more information.


(Optional) Routes all mail destined for the
es listed to the
, and flavors it HOLD, CRASH, or DIRECT. The ALL
keyword is fully supported in the
list. A full description of
routing is beyond the scope of this file, but will be in the tutorial
with the next release.

Scheduling Options (BinkleyTerm Mailers Only)


(Optional) A full description of how schedules work and what they're good
for will be included in the tutorial that will be with the next release,
but is well beyond the scope of this file. If you're familiar with their
usage in other software, you should be able to figure these out easily

NOTE: Short-form addressing is *NOT* yet supported in the POLL command.
You must specify the net, even if it's the same as the previous one.


This section demonstrates everything FreeMail will understand in an AREAS.BBS
file and explains the rules it follows in interpreting the lines. It is aimed
at the user who is not familiar with FidoNet mail programs. I recommend all
users at least skim it to get the syntaxes FreeMail allows.

AREAS.BBS is a text file which gives FreeMail (and most other FidoNet
compatable mail programs) the information it needs about the message areas. It
is required. Notice that everything after a semicolon (;) is ignored, and can
be used for comments.

The accepted format for each line is...

... (; )

...where is the official area tag of the echo, and the
are addresses of other systems which you share this echo with. The
tells FreeMail where and how to store the messages for that area; the format
depends on the type of message-base you use:

(a single-Hudson-base board)
@ (a multiple-Hudson-base board)
! (a Spitfire conference number)
(a *.MSG echomail directory)
# (a pass-through area; the is optional)
P (alternate pass-through designation)

FreeMail also recognises three control lines in the AREAS.BBS file. The first
is the /FROM line. This is used when running echomail in multiple networks. It
tells FreeMail to use one of your alternate addresses as the primary address
for the areas following it. For example, if you had an AREAS.BBS file like

!05 HOUSTON_CHAT 1:106/1000 ;Houston Chit-Chat conference
!06 SPITFIRE 1:106/1000 ;Spitfire Support conference
!07 DBASE 1:106/1000
/FROM 81:400/21
!81 OS2MSGS 81:400/100
!82 OS2BUGS 81:400/100

Every area listed after a /FROM line will use the address on the /FROM line as
the origin. The message will be shown to have come from that address, and the
Origin line (if FreeMail has to append one) will use it also. The address
*must* be one of yours, listed in an ADDRESS or AKA statement in the
FreeMail.CFG file. If it isn't, FreeMail will complain and refuse to run.

The second control line FreeMail understands is the /ORG line, to specify a
customized Origin line for one or more echo areas. This is mostly useful only
in Spitfire setups, in which FreeMail must add an Origin line to every
outgoing message. Like the /FROM line, it affects every area listed after it,
until another /ORG line overrides it. If you had:

/ORG The Jhereg's Den -- Home of FreeMail
!10 FREEMAIL 106/4196
!11 SPITFIRE 109/50
/ORG The Jhereg's Den -- An it harm none...
!21 MUNDANE 109/120

The first /ORG line would affect both the FREEMAIL and SPITFIRE conferences.
The second would affect MUNDANE and any conferences listed after it. Those
areas which have no /ORG line will use the SYSTEM line from the FREEMAIL.CFG
file, or a default origin line if SYSTEM is not specified.

The last control line is the /GATE. This allows you to set up a "gateway"
between two different echo areas. All messages going into one of these areas
will be "gated" into the other as well. Most people will never need this.

The format of the /GATE line is:


...where the is the address (must be one of yours!) that you
want these messages to come from; the is the name of the gated
echo, and the
es are the systems you want to send that echo to.

To set up a gateway between the echos ERIS and ERIS&MOO, for instance:

/FROM 1:109/536
!93 ERIS 1:109/120 228
/GATE 93:9800/0 ERIS&MOO 93:9300/0 9800/3 9810/0

Using these lines, the ERIS echo would be stored in the Spitfire message area
93, and sent from 1:109/536 to 1:109/120 and 1:109/228. It would also be gated
to the ERIS&MOO echo in zone 93, from 93:9800/0 to 93:9300/0, 93:9800/3, and
93:9810/0. Any messages coming into either of these echos would go out in
both, with the proper origin lines appended on the gated side. WARNING:
Because gating removes all SEEN-BY and PATH information, there must only be
*one* system doing the gating per echo area!


2 L_SYSOP 271/247 ; Felicia's Local messages-to-sysop area
9 SYSOP-109 109/5 40 400 500 700 800 ; Sysop-only echo for net109

In the first example, the first line shows that the echo L_SYSOP should be
stored in the Hudson-style echomail area #2, and it is being sent and received
from 271/247. The zone, if not specified, will default to that of the origin
address for that echo.

The second line is similar. The echo SYSOP-109 is being sent to six different
addresses from here. Notice the short-form address list -- you don't have to
specify the "net" portion again if it's the same as the previous one on that
line. The same it true for the zone, if you use multiple zones.

Hudson-style message bases are limited to 200 areas each. The board number
MUST be between 1 and 200, inclusive, or FreeMail will complain and refuse to
run. I don't know of any specific limit on the number of Spitfire areas. There
is no limit to the number of areas FreeMail can handle except memory; it
stores the area file in a digested form for speed. One beta-tester runs over
520 areas with no problems.

C:\BBS\FUBAR\ FOOBAR 109/542 536 271/248

This line says that the FOOBAR echo is a *.MSG-style area, stored in the
C:\BBS\FUBAR directory. It is being passed to three other systems: 109/542,
109/536, and 271/248. The trailing backslash on the directory name is

# SAMPLE 109/542 271/248
P SAMPLE 109/542 271/248

These lines are identicle in meaning. They say that the echo SAMPLE is being
passed between 109/542 and 271/248 through my system, but not stored here --
it is a PASS-THROUGH area. I don't read the hypothetical SAMPLE echo, and my
users aren't interested, so I don't want to keep it around taking up disk

Most Hudson-base mail programs use the 'P' to designate pass-through; most
others use a pound sign (#) followed by a directory name. FreeMail recognises
either, but does NOT need a directory name for such areas. It uses one pass to
toss and scan such messages and does not store them locally.

An Example of a simple Spitfire AREAS.BBS File:

!05 HOUSTON_CHAT 1:106/1000 ;Houston Chit-Chat conference
!06 SPITFIRE 1:106/1000 ;Spitfire Support conference
!07 DBASE 1:106/1000
!08 CLIPPER 1:106/1000
!09 FOXPRO 1:106/1000
!10 PARADOX 1:106/1000
!11 CLARION 1:106/1000
!12 CONSULTING 1:106/1000
!13 PC_CONSULT 1:106/1000
!14 DBRIDGE 1:106/1000
!15 NEW_SYSOP 1:106/1000
!16 SYSOP 1:106/1000


A NetMail message is created by entering coded information in the subject of
the message in the NetMail conference. The message MUST be entered in your
NetMail conference. If you have not set up a NetMail conference, this feature
will not work.

Any message in your NetMail conference that is not addressed as a NetMail
message is considered a local message and not sent.

The syntax to address a NetMail message is as follows:


The ZONE:NET/NODE stands for address of the system in which you wish to send
the NetMail message. TEXT stands for the body of the subject. You must leave
at least one space between the address and the text of your subject.

NOTE: If the zone is not entered, the message will default to your primary zone.


1:106/4196 I Love FreeMail!

This message will be sent to 1:106/4196 as NetMail with the subject of "I Love

NOTE: Spitfire 3.3 will include a new field for the destination address. If
there is a readable address in this field, FreeMail will use it instead of
searching the subject line.

FreeMail now supports limited file-attaches and requests from the Spitfire
netmail conference. To use this, the *first* line of the netmail message must
be one of the following:

@FATT ...
@FREQ ...

The first creates a "file-attach" -- the file(s) you list after the @FATT will
be sent to the destination address along with the message. The second creates
a "file-request," asking the destination system to send you the file(s) you
list. Both are currently limited to 70 characters, and one line, per message.


FreeMail would not have gotten where it is now without the efforts of many
people, especially the beta-test team. These dedicated folks have suffered
through countless new versions, enduring bugs and incompatabilities, and
always manage to come up with "just one more feature..."

In no particular order, and please forgive me if I misspell anyone:

Rupa Schomaker Robert La Ferte Sid Balcom
Vicki Surratt Dan Guenthner Michael J. Klein
Bill Arlofski Doug Cox Kevin Leger
Russ Trahan Rick Sweares Jeff Norton
Jack Crawford Bill Huttig Randy Lilleston
Joe Salemi Aaron Goldblatt Matt Barton
Bill Meck Rich Davies Danny Burdick
Gary Hagwood Jeff Balderson Renald Loignon

... and all the others I'm sure I've missed. Thanks also to the entire
Net109 "Crewe," in spite of themselves, and a special thanks to Bill Hampton,
who I blame for getting me into this stuff to begin with. 😉


The author hereby disclaims all warranties relating to this software,
whether express or implied, including without limitation any implied
warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The
author will not be liable for any special, incidental, consequential,
indirect, or other damages resulting from loss of data or other reason,
even if the author has been advised of the possibility of such damages. In
no event shall the author's liability for any damages ever exceed the
price paid for the license to use software, regardless of the form of the
claim. The person using the software bears all risk as to the quality and
performance of the software.

 December 26, 2017  Add comments

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