Dec 252017
Format of the QWK file format for off-line readers. Good detail.

Full Description of File

QWK File Layout 1.6 [19-Dec-92] - This is one
of the most comprehensive file on the QWK-
format. It covers everything from the format
to implementation notes. See related file
QWKP*.ZIP for a list of current QWK-format
products & author contact info.

File QWKLAY16.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category BBS Files
Format of the QWK file format for off-line readers. Good detail.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
FILE_ID.DIZ 257 190 deflated
QWK.TXT 52183 16587 deflated

Download File QWKLAY16.ZIP Here

Contents of the QWK.TXT file

QWK Mail Packet File Layout
by Patrick Y. Lee

Version 1.6 - December 19, 1992
Added off-line commands for QSO (door for TBBS), thanks to
message from Bob Hartman in the FidoNet Off-line echo. All
8-bit characters have been replaced with either blanks or
equivalent 7-bit characters so I can send this file easily via
Internet email. Line 9 of the CONTROL.DAT file seems to be
used by a few doors to indicate the NetMail conference.
Version 1.5 - July 30, 1992
Added off-line commands for Cam-Mail door. Fixed error in the
status flag section. The descriptions for `*' and `+' are
incorrect. Thanks to Bob Blaylock for bringing this up.
Version 1.4 - July 18, 1992
Fixed a few minor mistakes in the documentation (thanks to
Cody Gibson). Nothing really major. Also completed the
Netmail section of the documentation.
Version 1.3 - July 6, 1992
Added changes to the QWK format adopted by Qmail door. Spe-
cifically line 10 of CONTROL.DAT file and bytes 126-127 of
MESSAGES.DAT file. Please refer to the appropriate section
for the changes.
Version 1.2 - May 31, 1992
Added a few items to the DOOR.ID file that is being supported
by Qmail DeLuxe2 version 1.25.
Version 1.1 - March 15, 1992
Minor fixes here and there to make everything just right.
Version 1.0 - February 23, 1992
First release.

This document is Copyright 1992 by Patrick Y. Lee.

The QWK-format is Copyright 1987 by Sparkware.

All program names mentioned in this document are either Copyright
or Trademark of respective owners.

The author provides this file as-is without warranty of any kind,
either expressed or implied. You are using the information in this
file at your own discretion. The author assumes no responsibili-
ties for damages, either physically or financially, from the use of
this information.

This document may be freely distributed by any means (electronical-
ly, paper, etc.), provided that it is distributed in its entirety.
Portions of this document may be reproduced without credit.

The latest version of this file can always be found on Aardvark BBS
(New York, NY) at (212) 496-8324. It can also be found in the Lu-
natic Fringe BBS (Plano, TX) at (214) 422-2936 USR HST DS. First
time caller can download on both boards. The file can also be sent
via Internet email to anyone who asks. Mail request to
[email protected]


Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1. Intent
1.2. History
1.3. Questions, corrections, etc.
2. Conventions & overview
2.1. The BBS ID
2.2. Packet compression
2.3. Packet transfer & protocols
2.4. Limitations
3. QWK files
3.1. Naming convention
3.2. Control file (CONTROL.DAT)
3.3. Welcome file
3.4. Goodbye file
3.5. News file
3.6. Qmail DeLuxe2 menu file
3.7. New uploads listing (NEWFILES.DAT)
3.8. Bulletin file(s) (BLT-x.y)
3.9. Message file (MESSAGES.DAT)
3.10. Index files (*.NDX)
3.10.1. Conference indices
3.10.2. Personal index (PERSONAL.NDX)
3.11. Pointer file
4. REP files
4.1. Naming convention
4.2. Message file (BBSID.MSG)
4.3. Door control messages
4.3.1. DOOR.ID file
4.3.2. Qmail
4.3.3. MarkMail
4.3.4. KMail
4.3.5. RoseMail
4.3.6. Complete Mail Door
4.3.7. The MainMail System
4.3.8. BGQWK
4.3.9. UltraBBS
4.3.10. TriMail
4.3.11. Cam-Mail
4.3.12. QSO
4.4. Turning off the echo flag
4.5. Tag-lines
5. Net mail
A. Credits & contributions
B. Sample Turbo Pascal and C code
C. Sample message
D. Sample index file


To search for a specific section, look for "[x.x]" using your edi-
tor or viewer. For example, to jump to the tag-lines portion of
this file, search for "[4.5]" with your editor or text viewer.


[1] Introduction

[1.1] Intent

This document is written to facilitate programmers who want to write
QWK-format mail doors or readers. It is intended to be a comprehen-
sive reference covering all areas of QWK-format mail processing.
Detailed break down of each file is included, as are implementation
information. In addition, door and reader specific information may be
included, when such information are available to me.

[1.2] History

The QWK-format was invented by Mark "Sparky" Herring in 1987. It was
based on Clark Development Corporation's PCBoard version 12.0 message
base format. Off-line mail reading has become popular only in recent
years. Prior to summer of 1990, there were only two QWK-format off-
line mail reader programs. They were Qmail DeLuxe by Mark Herring and
EZ-Reader by Eric Cockrell. Similarly for the doors, there were only
two -- Qmail by Mark Herring and MarkMail by Mark Turner. They were
both for PCBoard systems.

A lot has changed in both off-line reader and mail door markets since
summer 1990. Now, there are more than a dozen off-line mail readers
for the PC. Readers for the Macintosh, Amiga, and Atari exist as
well. There are over a half dozen doors for PCBoard, and QWK-format
doors exist for virtually all of the popular BBS softwares. All of
these happened in less than two years! More readers and doors are in
development as I write this, keep up the excellent work. In addition
to doors, some BBS softwares has QWK-format mail facility built in.

Off-line mail reading is an integral part of BBS calling. Conference
traffic and selection on all networks have grown dramatically in re-
cent years that on-line reading is a thing of the past. Off-line mail
reading offers an alternative to reading mail on-line -- It offers
speed that cannot be achieved with on-line mail reading.

The reason why QWK-format readers and doors seem to have gained popu-
larity is probably dued to its openness. The format is readily avail-
able to any programmer who wishes to write a program that utilize it.
Proprietary is a thing of the past, it does not work! Openness is
here to stay and QWK-format is a part of it.

[1.3] Questions, corrections, etc.

Most of the message networks today have a conference/echo devoted to
discussion of off-line readers and mail doors. The ones I know are on
FidoNet, ILink, Intelec, and RIME. If you have questions after read-
ing anything in here, feel free to drop by any of the above conference
/echo and I am sure other QWK authors will try to help.

I can be reached at:

CompuServe: >INTERNET:[email protected]
FidoNet: Off-line echo
ILink: Off-line conference
Intelec: Off-line conference
Internet: [email protected]
PlanoNet: Reviews conference
RIME: ->RUNNINGB, Off-line, Common, Net Admin., Shareware, New Users,
and Session Manager conferences

Any corrections, extensions, comments, and criticisms are welcomed.
Messages from Internet and RIME will probably be answered first. But
I do check mail on all other places at least once a week.

[2] Conventions & overview

All offsets referenced in this document will be relative to 1. I am
not a computer, I start counting at one, not zero!

Words which are enclosed in quotes should be entered as-is. The quo-
tations are not part of the string unless noted.

You may have noticed I use the phrase "mail program" or "mail facili-
ty" instead of mail doors. This is because some BBS softwares offer
the option of creating QWK-format mail packets right from the BBS.
With those, there is no need for an external mail door.

[2.1] The BBS ID

The BBS ID (denoted as BBSID) is a 1-8 characters word that identifies
a particular BBS. This identifier should be obtained from line 5 of
the CONTROL.DAT file (see section 3.2.1).

[2.2] Packet compression

Most mail packets are compressed when created by the mail door in
order to save download time and disk space. However, many off-line
reader programs allow the user to unarchive a mail packet outside of
the reader program, so the reader will not have to unarchive it. Upon
exit, the reader will not call the archiver to save it. It is up to
the user to archive the replies. This is useful if the user has lim-
ited memory and cannot shell out to DOS to run the unarchive program.
For readers based on non-PC equipment, the user may be using less
common compression program that does not have command line equivalent.

[2.3] Packet transfer & protocols

There is no set rule on what transfer protocol should be used. Howev-
er, it would be nice for the mail program on the BBS to provide the
Sysop with options as to what to offer. This should be a configura-
tion option for the user.

[2.4] Specifications & limitations

There aren't many known limits in the QWK specification. However,
various networks seem to impose artificial limits. On many of the PC-
based networks, 99-lines appears to be the upper limit for some
softwares. However, most of the readers can handle more than that.
Reader authors reading this may want to offer the option to split
replies into n lines each (the actual length should be user definable
so when the network software permits, the user can increase this num-

[3] QWK files

[3.1] Naming convention

Generally, the name of the mail packet is BBSID.QWK. However, this
does not have to be the case. When the user downloads more than one
mail packet at one time, either the mail program or the transfer pro-
tocol program will rename the second and subsequent mail packets to
other names. They will either change the file extension or add a
number to the end of the filename. In either case, you should not
rely on the name of the QWK file as the BBSID. The BBSID, as men-
tioned before, should be obtained from line 5 of the CONTROL.DAT file.
In addition, mail packets do not have to end with QWK extension ei-
ther. The user may choose to name them with other file extensions.

[3.2] Control file (CONTROL.DAT)

The CONTROL.DAT file is a simple ASCII file. Each line is terminated
with a carriage return and line feed combination. All lines should
start on the first column.

Line #
1 My BBS BBS name
2 New York, NY BBS city and state
3 212-555-1212 BBS phone number
4 John Doe, Sysop BBS Sysop name
5 20052,MYBBS Mail door registration #, BBSID
6 01-01-1991,23:59:59 Mail packet creation time
7 JANE DOE User name (upper case)
8 Name of menu for Qmail, blank if none
9 0 ? Seem to be always zero. A few doors,
such as DCQWK for TAG is using this
field to indicate the conference where
Fido NetMail should be placed. This
gives the reader program the ability
easily send NetMail.
10 999 Total number of messages in packet
11 121 Total number of conference minus 1
12 0 1st conf. number
13 Main Board 1st conf. name (13 characters or less)
14 1 2nd conf. number
15 General 2nd conf. name
.. 3 etc. onward until it hits max. conf.
.. 123 Last conf. number
.. Amiga_I Last conf. name
.. HELLO Welcome screen file
.. NEWS BBS news file
.. SCRIPT0 Log off screen

Some mail doors, such as MarkMail, will send additional information
about the user from here on.

0 ?
25 Number of lines that follow this one
JANE DOE User name in uppercase
Jane User first name in mixed case
NEW YORK, NY User city information
718 555-1212 User data phone number
718 555-1212 User home phone number
108 Security level
00-00-00 Expiration date
01-01-91 Last log on date
23:59 Last log on time
999 Log on count
0 Current conference number on the BBS
0 Total KB downloaded
999 Download count
0 Total KB uploaded
999 Upload count
999 Minutes per day
999 Minutes remaining today
999 Minutes used this call
32767 Max. download KB per day
32767 Remaining KB today
0 KB downloaded today
23:59 Current time on BBS
01-01-91 Current date on BBS
My BBS BBS network tag-line
0 ?

Some mail doors will offer the option of sending an abbreviated con-
ference list. That means the list will contain only conferences the
user has selected. This is done because some mail readers cannot
handle more than n conferences at this time. Users using those read-
ers will need this option if the BBS they call have too many confer-

[3.3] Welcome file

This file usually contains the log on screen from the BBS. The exact
filename is specified in the CONTROL.DAT file, after the conference
list. This file may be in any format the Sysop chooses it be -- usu-
ally either in plain ASCII or with ANSI screen control code. Some
Sysops (notably PCBoard Sysops) may use BBS-specific color change code
in this file as well. Current mail programs seem to handle the trans-
lations between BBS-specific code to ANSI based screen control codes.

Even if the CONTROL.DAT file contains the filename of this file, it
may not actually exist in the mail packet. Sometimes, users will
manually delete this file before entering the mail reader. Some off-
line readers offer the option to not display this welcome screen; some
will display this file regardless. Some doors, similarly, will offer
option to the user to not send this file.

[3.4] Goodbye file

Similar to the welcome file above, the filename to the goodbye file is
in the CONTROL.DAT file. This is the file the BBS displays when the
user logs off the board. It is optional, as always, to send this file
or to display it.

[3.5] News file

Many mail doors offer the option to send the news file from the BBS.
Most will only send this when it has been updated. Like the welcome
and goodbye files, the filename to the news file is found in the CON-
TROL.DAT file. It can be in any format the Sysop chooses, but usually
in either ASCII or ANSI. Like the welcome screen, current mail facil-
ities seem to handle translation between BBS-specific control codes to
ANSI screen control codes.

[3.6] Qmail DeLuxe2 menu file

This file is of use only for Qmail DeLuxe2 mail reader by Sparkware.
The filename is found on line 8 of the CONTROL.DAT file.

[3.7] New uploads listing (NEWFILES.DAT)

Most mail programs on the BBS will offer the option to scan new files
uploaded to the BBS. The result is found in a file named
NEWFILES.DAT. The mail program, if implementing this, should update
the last file scan field in the user's profile, if there is such a
field, as well as other information required by the BBS. The mail
program should, of course, scan new files only in those areas the user
is allowed access.

[3.8] Bulletin files (BLT-x.y)

Most mail programs will also offer the option to include updated bul-
letin files found on the BBS in the mail packet. The bulletins are
named BLT-x.y, where x is the conference/echo the bulletin came from,
and y the bulletin's actual number. The mail program will have to
take care of updating the last read date on the bulletins in the user

[3.9] Message file (MESSAGES.DAT)

The MESSAGES.DAT file is the most important. This is where all of the
messages are contained in. The QWK file format is based on PCBoard
12.0 message base format from Clark Development Corporation (maker of
PCBoard BBS software).

The file has a logical record length of 128-bytes. The first record
of MESSAGES.DAT always contain a copyright notice saying "Produced by
Qmail...Copyright (c) 1987 by Sparkware. All Rights Reserved". The
rest of the record is space filled. Actual messages consist of a 128-
bytes header, plus one or more 128-bytes block with the message text.
Actual messages start in record 2. The header block is layed out as

Offset Length Description
------ ------ ----------------------------------------------------
1 1 Message status flag (unsigned character)
' ' = public, unread
'-' = public, read
'*' = private, read by someone but not by intended
'+' = private, read by official recipient
'~' = comment to Sysop, unread
'`' = comment to Sysop, read
'%' = sender password protected, unread
'^' = sender password protected, read
'!' = group password protected, unread
'#' = group password protected, read
'$' = group password protected to all
2 7 Message number (in ASCII)
9 8 Date (mm-dd-yy, in ASCII)
17 5 Time (24 hour hh:mm, in ASCII)
22 25 To (uppercase, left justified)
47 25 From (uppercase, left justified)
72 25 Subject of message (mixed case)
97 12 Password (space filled)
109 8 Reference message number (in ASCII)
117 6 Number of 128-bytes blocks in message (including the
header, in ASCII; the lowest value should be 2, header
plus one block message; this number may not be left
flushed within the field)
123 1 Flag (ASCII 225 means message is active; ASCII 226
means this message is to be killed)
124 2 Conference number (unsigned word)
126 2 Logical message number in the current packet; i.e.
this number will be 1 for the first message, 2 for the
second, and so on. (unsigned word)
128 1 Indicates whether the message has a network tag-line
or not. A value of '*' indicates that a network tag-
line is present; a value of ' ' (space) indicates
there isn't one. Messages sent to readers (non-net-
status) generally leave this as a space. Only network
softwares need this information.

Fields such as To, From, Subject, Message #, Reference #, and the like
are space padded if they are shorter than the field's length.

The message text starts in the next record. You can find out how many
blocks make up one message by looking at the value of "Number of 128
byte blocks". Instead of carriage return and line feed combination,
each line in the message end with an ASCII 227 (pi character) symbol.
There are reports that some (buggy) readers have problems with messag-
es which do not end the last line in the message with an ASCII 227.
If a message does not completely occupy the 128-bytes block, the re-
mainder of the block is padded with space or null.

Note that there seems to exist old doors which will use one byte to
represent the conference number and pad the other one with an ASCII 32
character. The program reading this information will have to deter-
mine whether the ASCII 32 in byte 125 of the header is a filler or
part of the unsigned word. One method is to look in the CONTROL.DAT
file to determine the highest conference number.

Even though most mail programs will generate MESSAGES.DAT files that
appear in conference order, this is not always the case. Tomcat!
(mail door for Wildcat! BBS) generates MESSAGES.DAT that is not in
conference order. This is due to how Wildcat! itself stores mail on
the BBS. Another known system that behaves this way is Auntie, which
has its mail door QWiKer.

Note that some mail doors offer the option of sending a mail packet
even though there may be no messages to send -- thus an empty MESSAG-
ES.DAT file. This was tested with Qmail 4.0 door and it sent a MES-
SAGES.DAT file that contains a few empty 128-bytes blocks. Other mail
doors seem to be able to produce QWK files without the MESSAGES.DAT
file at all! Apparently, there was no standard established in this

[3.10] Index files (*.NDX)

[3.10.1] Conference indices

The index files contain a list of pointers pointing to the beginning
of messages in the MESSAGES.DAT file. The pointer is in terms of the
128-bytes block logical record that the MESSAGES.DAT file is in. Each
conference has its own xxx.NDX file, where xxx is the conference num-
ber left padded with zeroes. Some mail programs offer the user the
option to not generate index files. So the mail readers need to cre-
ate the index files if they are missing.

EZ-Reader 1.xx versions will convert the NDX files from Microsoft MKS
format into IEEE long integer format. The bad part about this is that
the user may store those index files back into the QWK file. When
another reader reads the index files, it will be very confused!

Special note for BBSes with more than 999 conferences: Index files for
conferences with four digit conference numbers is named xxxx.NDX,
where xxxx is the conference number (left padded with zeroes). The
filenames for three digit conferences are still named xxx.NDX on these
boards. I would assume filenames for conferences in the five digit
range is xxxxx.NDX, but I have not seen a BBS with 10,000 or more
conferences yet!

Each NDX file uses a five bytes logical record length and is formatted

Offset Length Description
------ ------ ------------------------------------------------------
1 4 Record number pointing to corresponding message in
MESSAGES.DAT. This number is in the Microsoft MKS$
BASIC format.
5 1 Conference number of the message. This byte should
not be used because it duplicates both the filename of
the index file and the conference # in the header. It
is also one byte long, which is insufficient to handle
conferences over 255.

Please refer to appendix B for routines to deal with MKS numbers.

[3.10.2] Personal index (PERSONAL.NDX)

There is a special index file named PERSONAL.NDX. This file contains
pointers to messages which are addressed to the user, i.e. personal
messages. Some mail door and utility programs also allow the selec-
tion of other messages to be flagged as personal messages.

[3.11] Pointer file

Pointer file is generally included so that the user can reset the last
read pointers on the mail program, in case there is a crash on the BBS
or some other mishaps. There should be little reason for the reader
program to access the pointer file.

The pointer files I have seen are:


Additions to this list are welcomed.


This file, if included, will contain the message scanning screen the
user sees from the door.

[4] REP files

[4.1] Naming convention

The reply file is named BBSID.MSG, where BBSID is the ID code for the
BBS found on line 5 of the CONTROL.DAT file. Once this file has been
created, the mail reader can archive it up into a file with REP exten-

[4.2] Message file (BBSID.MSG)

Replies use the same format as the MESSAGES.DAT file, except that
message number field will contain the conference number instead. In
other words, the conference number will be placed in the two bytes
(binary) starting at offset 124, as well as the message number field
(ASCII) at offset 2.

A private message is indicated by '*' in the message status flag. For
some reason, most mail doors only accept '*' as a private message and
not '+'.

The first 128-bytes record of the file is the header. Instead of the
copyright notice, it contains the BBSID of the BBS. This 1-8 charac-
ter BBSID must start at the very first byte and must match what the
BBS has. The rest of the record is space padded. The replies start
at record 2. Each reply message will have a 128-bytes header, plus
one or more for the message text; followed by another header, and so

The mail program must check to make sure the BBSID in the first block
of the BBSID.MSG file matches what the BBS has!

[4.3] Door control messages

These messages allow the user to change their setup on the BBS by
simply entering a message. The goal is to allow the user to be able
to control most areas of the BBS via the mail door. Different mail
doors have different capabilities. Most all of them offer the ability
to add and drop a conference, as well as reset the last read pointers
in a conference.

There are two trends being developed for door control messages. The
one being referred to as the "old" style accepts one command per mes-
sage (command entered in the subject line); whereas the "new" style
accepts multiple commands per message (commands entered in the message
body). The old style is by far the more popular but more and more
doors are beginning to offer both.

[4.3.1] DOOR.ID file

The DOOR.ID file was first introduced by Greg Hewgill with Tomcat!
mail door and SLMR mail reader. Since then, many other authors have
picked up this idea and use the format. This file provides the neces-
sary identifiers a reader needs to send add, drop, etc. messages to
the mail door. It tells the reader who to address the message to and
what can be put in the subject line.

DOOR = This is the name of the door that creat-
ed the QWK packet, i.e. =
VERSION = This is the version number of the door
that created the packet, i.e.
= 2.9.
SYSTEM = This is the underlying BBS system type
and version, i.e. = Wildcat
CONTROLNAME = This is the name to which the reader
should send control messages, eg.
CONTROLTYPE = This can be one of ADD, DROP, REQUEST,
or others. ADD and DROP are pretty
obvious (they work as in MarkMail), and
REQUEST is for use with BBS systems that
support file attachments. Try out SLMR
with CONTROLTYPE = REQUEST and use the Q
function. (This seems to be a Wildcat!
BBS feature.)
RECEIPT This flag indicates that the door/BBS is
capable of return receipts when a mes-
sage is received. If the first three
letters of the subject are RRR, then the
door should strip the RRR and set the
'return-receipt-requested' flag on the
corresponding message. When the ad-
dressee reads this message, the BBS
generates a message with the date/time
it was read.
MIXEDCASE = YES If this line is found then the reader
will let you use upper and lower case
names and subjects. This is first found
in Qmail DeLuxe2 1.25 version. Most
other QWK readers permit the use of
mixed case subject lines but force the
names to upper case only.
FIDOTAG = YES If this line is found then the reader
will automatically use FidoNet compliant

None of the lines are actually required and they may appear in any
order. Of course, you would need a CONTROLNAME if you have any

[4.3.2] Qmail

Qmail uses the "new" style of control message; therefore, send a mes-
sage addressed to "QMAIL" with a subject of "CONFIG". Then, enter any
of the commands listed below inside the text of your message. Remem-
ber to use one command per line.

ADD Add a conference into the Qmail Door scanning
list. "YOURS" can also be added to the com-
mand if the user wishes to receive messages
only addressed them. i.e. "ADD 1 YOURS".
"YOURS ALL" can be added to select a confer-
ence for all mailed addressed to the user and
to "ALL".
DROP Drop a conference from the Qmail Door scan-
ning list.
RESET Resets a conference to a particular value.
The user can use "HIGH-xxx" to set the con-
ference to the highest message in the base.
CITY Changes the "city" field in the user's
PCBoard entry.
PASSWORD Changes the user's login password.
BPHONE Business/data phone number
HPHONE Home/voice phone number
PCBEXPERT Turns the PCBoard expert mode ON or OFF.
PCBPROT PCBoard file transfer protocol (A-Z).
PAGELEN Set page length inside PCBoard.
PCBCOMMENT Set user maintained comment.
AUTOSTART Qmail Door autostart command.
PROTOCOL Qmail Door file transfer protocol (A-Z).
EXPERT Turns the Qmail Door expert mode ON or OFF.
MAXSIZE Maximum size of the user's .QWK packet (in
MAXNUMBER Maximum number of messages per conference.

[4.3.3] MarkMail

Send a message addressed to "MARKMAIL" with the subject line saying:

ADD [value] in the conference you want to add
DROP in the conference you want to drop
YOUR [value] in the conference you want only your mail sent
YA [value] in the conference you want only your mail + mail
addressed to "ALL"
FILES ON or OFF in any conference to tell MarkMail whether to scan
for new files or not.
BLTS ON or OFF to turn on and off, respectively, of receiving
OWN ON or OFF to turn on and off, respectively, of receiving
messages you sent
DELUXE ON or OFF to turn on and off, respectively, of receiving
DeLuxe menu
LIMIT to set the maximum size of MESSAGES.DAT file can
be, it cannot exceed what the Sysop has set up

An optional number can be added onto the commands "ADD", "YOUR", and
"YA". If this number is positive, then it will be treated as an abso-
lute message number. MarkMail will set your last read pointer to that
number. If it is negative, MarkMail will set your last read pointer
to the highest minus that number. For example: "ADD -50" will add the
conference and set the last read pointer to the highest in the confer-
ence minus 50.

[4.3.4] KMail

Send a private message addressed to "KMAIL" in the conference that you
want to add, drop, or reset. The commands are "ADD", "DROP", and
"RESET #", respectively. The "#" is the message number you want your
last read pointer in the conference be set to.

[4.3.5] RoseMail

The RoseMail door allows configuration information be placed in either
the subject line or message text. The message must be addressed to
"ROSEMAIL". For only one command, it can be placed in the subject
line. For more than one changes, the subject line must say "CONFIG"
and each change be placed in the message text. Every line should be
left justified. Valid commands are:

Command Example
------------------------------------------------- ------------------
ADD [] [] ADD 2 -3 Y
EXPERT - RoseMail expert mode EXPERT OFF
PCBPROT - PCBoard protocol PCBPROT Z
- RoseMail protocol PROT G
PAGELEN - Page length PAGELEN 20
MAXSIZE - Max packet size in Kb MAXSIZE 100
AUTOSTART - same as jumpstart AUTOSTART OFF
OPT <##> - set door option OPT 2 OFF

[4.3.6] Complete Mail Door

Send message to "CMPMAIL", the commands are "ADD" and "DROP". This
message must be sent in the conference that you want to add or drop.

[4.3.7] The MainMail System

Send a message addressed to "MAINMAIL" with the subject line saying:

ADD [value] in the conference you want to add
DROP in the conference you want to drop
YOURS [value] in the conference you want only your mail sent
YOURS ALL [value] in the conference you want only your mail + mail
addressed to "ALL"

The optional [value] parameter functions identically to the MarkMail
door -- positive number indicates an absolute message number, negative
number will set your last read pointer that many messages from the
last message.

[4.3.8] BGQWK

The BGQWK mail door for GT Power supports file request via message.
To request a file, simply enter a message:


The FILENAME.EXT has to be exact name, wildcard is not supported. The
message text can be left blank.

The only limit on the file request feature is your time and/or your
file ratio. The transfer of the requested file(s) will start right
after the QWK download is completed. The only exception is when the
user is using a bidirectional transfer protocol. There, the REP and
QWK are sent at the same time, hence, the file request cannot be pro-
cessed until the QWK transfer is completed.

[4.3.9] UltraBBS

Send a private message addressed to "ULTRABBS" in the conference that
you want to add, drop, or reset. The commands are "ADD", "DROP", and
"RESET #", respectively. The "#" is the message number you want your
last read pointer in the conference be set to. The QWK mail door for
UltraBBS is built in and it generates the DOOR.ID file as well.

[4.3.10] TriMail

TriMail is the QWK door for TriBBS. This door will accept off-line
configuration options sent to Qmail, MarkMail, or TriMail. This means
you can send the message to: "QMAIL", "MARKMAIL", or "TRIMAIL" in the
appropriate conference and it will work. The available options are:

BLTS ON Turn bulletin scan on
BLTS OFF Turn bulletin scan off
FILES ON Turn new files scan on
FILES OFF Turn new files scan off
RESET Reset last message read pointer
DROP Drop this conference
ADD [value] Add this conference. The [value] is optional and
will set the last message read pointer.

[4.3.11] Cam-Mail

Address your message to either QMAIL or CAM-MAIL. Then enter the
command in the subject line. Valid commands are:

Add Add conferences for scanning
Bulletins On Download all new bulletins in QWK packet
Bulletins Off Turn off download of new bulletins
Color On Download the QWK packet in color, if available
Color Off Turn off download in color
Drop Drop a conference from scanning
Duplicates On Turn on duplicate checking in REP files
Duplicates Off Turn off duplicate checking
Files On Download new files list in QWK packet
Files Off Turn off download of new files list
Goodbye On Send the Goodbye files with the QWK packet
Goodbye Off Does not send the Goodbye files
Mailflags On Notifies users they have mail
Mailflags Off Does not notify users of mail
NDX On Create NDX files for QWK packet
NDX Off Does not create NDX files
Welcome On Send the Welcome file with the QWK packet
Welcome Off Does not send the Welcome file

[4.3.12] QSO

QSO supports both "old" and "new" style off-line configuration com-
mands. For the "old" style, message should be addressed to either
QMAIL or QSO. The message must be entered in the conference it af-
fects, with the subject line containing:

ADD Add conference
ADD -20 Add conference and set last read pointer to the
highest number in conference minus 20
ADD HIGH-20 Same as above
ADD LOW+50 Add conference and set last read pointer to the
lowest number in conference plus 50
ADD 1234 Add conference and set last read pointer to a
specific message number
ADD YOURS Add conference for messages addressed to you only;
the YOURS keyword may appear before or after the
message number; YOURS may be abbreviated as just Y
DROP Drop the conference
RESET Reset last read pointer to highest in conference
RESET -20 Reset to highest number minus 20
RESET HIGH-20 Same as above
RESET LOW+50 Reset to lowest number plus 50
RESET 1234 Reset last read pointer to specific number

For the "new" style message, enter the message addressed to either
"QMAIL" or "QSO" with the subject line saying "CONFIG". The message
text should have commands similar to the ones listed above. The only
exception is that the conference number must be entered immediately
after the first keyword. For example:

ADD 15 -20 Add conference 15, reset pointer to high minus 20
DROP 137 Drop conference 137
ADD 20 HIGH-50 Y Add conference 20 for mail addressed to user only,
and set the pointer to highest minus 50

QSO supports file sending in the mail packet as well. Attached files
have the name EMnnnnn, where nnnnn is a five digit leading zero padded
number indicating the message number in which the request was sent.
The plain text file ATTACHED.LST lists the real name of the file, and
has the following format (one line per record):

, , ,

Conference where the request came from
Message number where request came from
File as named inside the QWK file
Original filename as seen on the BBS

For messages that has an enclosed file, the last line of the message
has the line:

*Enclosed file: filename.ext

The reader program must send a request to obtain this file. The re-
quest is in the format similar to any other control messages:

Subject: REQUEST nnnnn

where nnnnn is the message number that contains this attached file.
This message must be sent in the conference where that contains that
message. Alternatively, the "new" style can also be used. With the
line "REQUEST confnum nnnnn" in the message text.

To upload a file that is attached to a message, the file ATTXREF.DAT
must be created. The file is a plain text file with one line corre-
sponding to each message in the reply file. Blank lines must be in-
cluded for those messages that do not have files attached to them. A
non-blank line has the following format to indicate a file is attached
to that message:


is any non-conflicting filename
the name as it should appear on the BBS

[4.4] Turning off the echo flag

In order to send a non-echoed message (not send out to other BBSs), a
user can enter "NE:" in front of the subject line. This feature may
not be offered in all mail doors.

Some mail doors strip out the "NE:" from the subject line. However,
that leaves the recipient with nothing to tell that the message was
not echoed. Therefore, it is better if "NE:" is not stripped.

[4.5] Tag-lines

The most common format for a reader tag-line is:

* My reader v1.00 * The rest of the tag-line.

(The asterisks above should be replaced by IBM extended character
number 254 - a square block.)

The three dashes is called a tear-line. The tag-line is appended to
the end of the message and is usually one line only. It is preferred
that tag-lines conform to this format so that networking softwares
such as QNet and RNet will not add another tearline to the message
when they process it.

Softwares on FidoNet does not like mail readers adding a tear-line of
their own, so if your mail reader offers a FidoNet mode, you will need
to get rid of the tear-line. Another item which differs between the
FidoNet and PC-based networks is that FidoNet does not like extended
ASCII characters. So your reader may want to strip high ASCII if the
user has FidoNet mode on. Acceptable tag-line style, I believe, is
just this:

* My Reader v1.00 * The rest of the tag-line.

[5] Net mail

QWK mail doors can be used along or in conjunction with QWK network
softwares to operate a network. Many such network exists. A Net-
Status packet (one that can be imported to BBS message base) is very
similar to a normal mail packet users get. The only difference is at
the end of the MESSAGES.DAT file. There, a series of 128 byte blocks
are appended to indicate Net-Status.

One byte represent one conference, in groups of 128. A non-zero value
means the user is allowed Net Mail status for that conference. The
number of Net Status blocks appended to the MESSAGES.DAT file only
needs to cover the highest conference the user has access to.

The reason these packets have to be different? Using QWK mail doors
to send and receive messages require you to be able to send messages
in other user's name as well as receive private messages in conferenc-
es. The Net-Status tells the mail door to import the messages even if
they are from another name.

The only weird implementation here is that the block with the highest
conference numbers come before the lower ones. Hence, to illustrate:

Conference 128
| Conference 129
| |
vv vv
0000 00 00 FF 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 Flags for
0010 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 conferences
0020 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 128-255
0030 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0040 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0050 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0060 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0070 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 00

Conference 0
| Conference 1
| |
vv vv
0080 00 FF 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 Flags for
0090 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 conferences
00A0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0-127
00B0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00C0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00D0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00E0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
00F0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 FF

This example shows that this user has Net Status in conferences 1,
127, 130, and 254.

MarkMail and KMail doors (both for PCBoard) choos to implement things
a little differently. Instead of appending Net-Status blocks to the
end of the MESSAGES.DAT file, they simply put "MarkMail" or "Kmail..."
in the first 8 position of the file and the user is granted Net-Status
in all conferences.


[A] Credits and Contributions

Mark "Sparky" Herring, who originated the QWK-format.

Tim Farley, who started this documentation back in the summer of 1990.
The general outline here is the work of Tim. I filled in the blanks.

Jeffery Foy, who gave us the format for Microsoft single binary versus
IEEE format.

Greg Hewgill, who (if I remember correctly) wrote the Turbo Pascal
routines (included in here) to convert between MKS and TP LongInt.

Dennis McCunney, who is the host of the Off-line conference on RIME,
is very knowledgeable in off-line reading concept and programs. His
goal is to have one reader that can read mail packet from any source.

Cody Gibson and Jeffery Foy, whose information on Net-Status packet
are included here.

All those who have been around the Off-line conferences on ILink (the
oldest of the four I participate), RIME, Fido, and Intelec, who have
provided great help over the past three years. The bulk of the infor-
mation presented here are from messages in those conferences. These
people include, but are no limited to, the followings: Dane Beko,
Joseph Carnage, Marcos Della, Joey Lizzi, Mark May, and Jim Smith.

[B] Sample Turbo Pascal and C code

Here are a few routines in Turbo Pascal and C to convert Microsoft
BASIC MKS format to usable IEEE long integer. These are collected
over the networks and there is no guarantee that they will work for

Turbo Pascal (Greg Hewgill ?):

bsingle = array [0..3] of byte;

{ converts TP real to Microsoft 4 bytes single }

procedure real_to_msb (preal : real; var b : bsingle);
r : array [0 .. 5] of byte absolute preal;
b [3] := r [0];
move (r [3], b [0], 3);
end; { procedure real_to_msb }

{ converts Microsoft 4 bytes single to TP real }

function msb_to_real (b : bsingle) : real;
preal : real;
r : array [0..5] of byte absolute preal;
r [0] := b [3];
r [1] := 0;
r [2] := 0;
move (b [0], r [3], 3);
msb_to_real := preal;
end; { function msb_to_real }

Another Turbo Pascal routine to convert Microsoft single to TP LongInt
(Marcos Della):

index := ((mssingle and not $ff000000) or $00800000) shr (24 -
((mssingle shr 24) and $7f)) - 1;

C (identify yourself if you wrote this routine):

/* converts 4 bytes Microsoft MKS format to long integer */

unsigned long mbf_to_int (m1, m2, m3, exp)
unsigned int m1, m2, m3, exp;
return (((m1 + ((unsigned long) m2 << 8) + ((unsigned long) m3 <<
16)) | 0x800000L) >> (24 - (exp - 0x80)));

Microsoft binary (by Jeffery Foy):

31 - 24 23 22 - 0 <-- bit position
| exponent | sign | mantissa |

IEEE (C/Pascal/etc.):

31 30 - 23 22 - 0 <-- bit position
| sign | exponent | mantissa |

In both cases, the sign is one bit, the exponent is 8 bits, and the
mantissa is 23 bits. You can write your own, optimized, routine to
convert between the two formats using the above bit layout.

[C] Sample message

Here is a sample message in hex and ASCII format:

019780 20 34 32 33 32 20 20 20 30 32 2D 31 35 2D 39 32 4232 02-15-92
019790 31 33 3A 34 35 52 49 43 48 41 52 44 20 42 4C 41 13:45RICHARD BLA
0197A0 43 4B 42 55 52 4E 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 53 54 CKBURN ST
0197B0 45 56 45 20 43 4F 4C 45 54 54 49 20 20 20 20 20 EVE COLETTI
0197C0 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 51 45 44 49 54 20 48 41 43 QEDIT HAC
0197D0 4B 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 K
0197E0 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 34 30 33 36 4036
0197F0 20 20 20 20 37 20 20 20 20 20 E1 0A 01 00 00 20 7
019800 2A 20 49 6E 20 61 20 6D 65 73 73 61 67 65 20 64 * In a message d
019810 61 74 65 64 20 30 32 2D 30 39 2D 39 32 20 74 6F ated 02-09-92 to
019820 20 53 74 65 76 65 20 43 6F 6C 65 74 74 69 2C 20 Steve Coletti,
019830 52 69 63 68 61 72 64 20 42 6C 61 63 6B 62 75 72 Richard Blackbur
019840 6E 20 73 61 69 64 3A E3 E3 52 42 3E 53 43 20 AF n said: RB>SC
019850 20 65 64 69 74 6F 72 20 69 6E 20 74 68 65 20 28 editor in the (
019860 6D 61 69 6E 66 72 61 6D 65 29 20 56 4D 2F 43 4D mainframe) VM/CM
019870 53 20 70 72 6F 64 75 63 74 20 6C 69 6E 65 20 69 S product line i
[ etc. ]
019A00 6E 6F 74 20 61 20 44 6F 63 74 6F 72 2C 20 62 75 not a Doctor, bu
019A10 74 20 49 20 70 6C 61 79 20 6F 6E 65 20 61 74 20 t I play one at
019A20 74 68 65 20 48 6F 73 70 69 74 61 6C 2E E3 20 20 the Hospital.
019A30 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
019A40 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
019A50 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
019A60 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
019A70 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
019A80 E3 50 43 52 65 6C 61 79 3A 4D 4F 4F 4E 44 4F 47 PCRelay:MOONDOG
019A90 20 2D 3E 20 23 33 35 20 52 65 6C 61 79 4E 65 74 -> #35 RelayNet
019AA0 20 28 74 6D 29 E3 34 2E 31 30 20 20 20 20 20 20 (tm) 4.10
019AB0 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 48 55 42 4D 4F 4F 4E HUBMOON
019AC0 2D 4D 6F 6F 6E 44 6F 67 20 42 42 53 2C 20 42 72 -MoonDog BBS, Br
019AD0 6F 6F 6B 6C 79 6E 2C 4E 59 20 37 31 38 20 36 39 ooklyn,NY 718 69
019AE0 32 2D 32 34 39 38 E3 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 2-2498
019AF0 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

[D] Sample index file

Here is a sample index file in hex format:

000000 00 00 28 87 19 00 00 30 87 19 00 00 38 87 19 00
000010 00 7E 87 19 00 00 07 88 19 00 00 0B 88 19 00 00
000020 0F 88 19 00 00 14 88 19 00 00 19 88 19 00 00 1E
000030 88 19 00 00 22 88 19 00 00 27 88 19 00 00 2C 88
000040 19 00 00 31 88 19 00 00 3B 88 19 00 00 40 88 19
000050 00 00 46 88 19 00 00 49 88 19 00 00 4D 88 19 00
000060 00 52 88 19 00 00 55 88 19 00 00 59 88 19 00 00
000070 60 88 19 00 00 66 88 19 00 00 70 88 19

This index file is for conference 25. The values for the offset are as
follows: 84, 88, 92, 127, 135, 139, 143, 148, 153, 158, 162, 167, 172,
177, 187, 192, 198, 201, 205 210, 213, 217, 224, 230, and 240.

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