F I D O N E W S -- Vol.12 No.27 (03-Jul-1995)
| A newsletter of the | ISSN 1198-4589 Published by: |
| FidoNet BBS community | "FidoNews" BBS |
| _ | +1-519-570-4176 |
| / \ | |
| /|oo \ | |
| (_| /_) | |
| _`@/_ \ _ | |
| | | \ \\ | Editors: |
| | (*) | \ )) | Donald Tees 1:221/192 |
| |__U__| / \// | Sylvia 1:221/194 |
| _//|| _\ / | |
| (_/(_|(____/ | |
| (jm) | Newspapers should have no friends. |
| | -- JOSEPH PULITZER |
| Submission address: editors 1:1/23 |
| MORE addresses: |
| submissions=> firstname.lastname@example.org |
| Don -- email@example.com |
| Sylvia firstname.lastname@example.org |
| For information, copyrights, article submissions, |
| obtaining copies of fidonews or the internet gateway faq |
| please refer to the end of this file. |
Table of Contents
1. Editorial..................................................... 1
2. Articles...................................................... 2
Make a Kid Smile!........................................... 3
Take editorial rights, guys!................................ 5
FIDONET - A QUESTION OF SURVIVAL............................ 6
A PUBLIC REPLY TO BOBBY GERMER.............................. 8
Original to: Mike Bader at 1:120/45......................... 9
A Solution to the Nodelist Problem.......................... 9
Censorship Laws and the InterNet............................ 19
3. Fidonews Information.......................................... 21
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 2 03 Jul 1995
There is another article calling for us to "edit" the snooze
today, and I suppose that I should make the standard reply,
since I have not given our motherhood and apple pie statement of
purpose lately (even if I agree with the sentiment).
The snooze exists as a newsletter for all fidonet sysops,
and each and every one has a right to place articles in it. To
a large extent, I (we) consider that right to be sacrosanct. We
do not cut articles, nor do we change them to meet our personal
definitions of "good".
Why? Well, fidonet is a society that exists largely as a
anarchy. Though policy four does exist, to a large extent it is
impossible to enforce. The snooze exists not only as a method
of proposing new methods/software/echos/etc., but also as a
forum of last resort, and a way of using public opinion/pressure
to redress grievances. It can only do that if each person has
their say. If we judge the articles, then that function
There are a few exceptions. Every once in a while we get an
article that says something like "fuck off asshole", and nothing
else. If they even give a reason, though, we print it. We have
also cut articles that had no content at all except quotations,
or commercial ads. But by and large, we print everything we get.
To the ones that demand apologies ... no, but we give you
To those that object to poorly written and vulgar articles, I
agree, but that is the price we pay for unniversal access. You
cannot legislate good taste or intelligence.
And last but not least, to those that threaten lawsuits, I
have a fair amount of faith in our courts. Libel and slander
can and do exist. However, one of the requirements is malice,
and quite frankly, I have none towards any contributer to date.
If you wish to sue, I would advise you to sue the writer of the
article. In some cases I feel that fidonetters do abuse the
snooze by indulging themselve in simple malice.
I, for one, would preferit be kept private, but then *I*
would have to render that judgement. It is a judgement that I
am not qualified to make. I doubt that anyone can make that
judgement based solely on email.
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 3 03 Jul 1995
Make a Kid Smile!
by Ernest DeBakey
as submitted by Michele Stewart
MAKE A KID SMILE!
For eight years, a small Texas BBS has sponsored one of the world's
most remarkable displays of good-spirited unity, collective generosity
and accomplishment ever recorded via an international electronic
While most networks just chat, argue and fuss, the GTPN is unique.
Hundreds of GTPN members who have never met (except via modem) have
unselfishly risen above politics and talk to actually produce real
smiles for thousands of kids each year. Despite the many network
"turkey" wars the Make a Kid SMILE Club remains the most consistently
remarkable Network achievement in GTPN history (and perhaps in world
The purposes (and affect) of Make a Kid SMILE, Inc. (The SMILE Club)
are self-stating. Through tax deductible donations, members of the
world famous GTPN ANSI Art Echo have supported and maintained a network
tradition, The "Make a Kid SMILE Club" a project of Make a Kid SMILE,
Inc. [state and federally approved non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation].
This project provides thousands of hospitalized kids with hi-tech
pre-programmed user-friendly SVGA/SB computers loaded with fun
adventure/education games, hi-tech graphics, drawing programs,
mouse, sound cards, stereo speakers, etc.
Make a Kid SMILE, Inc. is successful because it produces happiness
for kids. Shoot, helping Make a Kid SMILE makes everyone feel good.
Members of The SMILE Club reliably produce these delightful devices,
the kids love 'em, and these multi-media "Dream Machines" seem to
genuinely help in the healing process.
If you have any doubts about joining the Make a Kid SMILE Club, ask
Jim Wilson who helps manage and maintain the SMILE "Dream Machine" we
gave Brenners Childrens Hospital in North Carolina, or ask Michael
Arnett who helps service and maintain the SMILE machines we've provided
to Depelchin Childrens Center and Texas Childrens Hospital. They've
seen the faces light up and they've seen the smiles. These hospitals
handle thousands of kids each year, so these amazing "Dream Machines"
get plenty of use (and they've been helping lots of kids SMILE for
Thanks to your continuing support, thousands of kids smile brightly
when they get these special "toys" each year. This year, we really
need your help. The holidays are growing near so today, please help
us provide a SMILE system to thousands of needy kids.
Since 1991, GTPN members have helped Make a Kid SMILE provide these
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 4 03 Jul 1995
wonderful computers to hospitalized children through the non-profit
corporation, Make a Kid SMILE, Inc. (dedicated to providing hospitalized
children with custom-programmed, point-and-shoot, multimedia computers
for fun, education and perhaps a more speedy recovery).
Most of these kids are 3 to 12 years old and, in addition to the usual
frightening illnesses, many suffer from traumatic physical and mental
abuse. Their injuries can take years to heal and ordinary hospital
equipment does not usually include computers for education, art and
entertainment. Anyone who doubts the kids' level of appreciation for
this amazing introduction to computers, is invited to join us when we
deliver our next system. Consider: (1) The Make a Kid Smile "Dream
Machines" may not cure physical illness, but they do cure boredom and
confinement, (2) The kids learn at their own pace, and most learn
computer skills quickly, and (3) The kids love the SMILE computers
and they stay thrilled for a long time.
Michael Arnett (artist extraordinaire and co-founder of Make Kid SMILE,
Inc.), together with the International GTPower Network's popular
ANSI/ASCII Art Echo, and The Gavel Email System, proudly present the
amazing SMILE MACHINE, a fantastic ANSI graphics Display program with
over 500 selected drawings of the best ANSI graphics ever created
(including: The Best of 1994)!
Yes, these are the best of an eight year world-wide search for ANSI ART
favorites (animated, still and musical ANSI drawings) gathered from
Hawaii, Australia, Great Britain, Tai Pei, etc. To display and manage
this massive library, Michael Arnett created a splendid ANSI display
program and built-in database for searching, sorting, editing, etc.
(Artist's names are displayed with the drawings).
Learn who created the "classics" (and view these spectacular graphics
with the best ANSI Display/Music/Edit/Sort/Library program on the
planet). Add your favorites to the collection, or start your own. Your
whole family will love the SMILE MACHINE and it makes a perfect gift for
friends, family and business associates.
Donate $20 to Make a Kid SMILE, Inc. (tax-deductible) and receive the
amazing SMILE MACHINE: ((( 500 ))) of the best ansi graphics ever
created, the best ANSI Display program ever written, and an expandable
seven-year record of the ANSI ART ECHO Artist Name/Screen Database
library. View, Sort-by-Screen/Artist, edit with your favorite Text and
ANSI editor, Toggle Music, Adjust Speed, View tagged files (slide-show),
including animated graphics and more. This special user-friendly SMILE
MACHINE is a must for all ANSI lovers!
For only $20, you can register Michael Arnett's marvelous SMILE 2.5
ANSI Display/Library/Edit utility AND (as if that weren't enough), have
the selected genius of Michael Arnett, Dave Hartmann, Vaclav Pinkava,
Rory Glasgow, Keith Arends, Gene Moody, Pretty Please, Michael C. Ling,
Michele Hamilton-Stewart, Michael Klinke, Noel Gamboa, Ebony Eyes, Joey
Crum, Marilyn Doolittle, Janee Duval, George Ramos, Darleene Leach, Tom
Hamlyn, Ian Cameron, Tim Maynard, Lou Dennis, Dan Loffler, Tom Ivey,
Andy Dunbar, Jan Ruhnow, Shihear Kallizad, Smooth, Cap'n Crunch, Dan
Mancuso, Ed Bragg, iCE, Ebony Eyes, D. Hopwood, Dennis Martin, ACiD,
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 5 03 Jul 1995
Moses Gates, and many more far too numerous to list! It's a fantastic
Youngsters love these gadgets so much, we want to supply at least one
childrens' hospital each year. So far, we've been successful, but this
year we really need your help. If you've donated before, please help
us again. If you use the program and haven't registered, please join
now. If you're hearing about this for the first time, don't miss this
opportunity. It's for a good cause, it's deductible, you get a nice
gift, and you help make kids smile.
As a small token of our appreciation, MKS co-founder Michael Arnett
provides the best thing to happen to ANSI art since it was invented,
a uniquely powerful user-friendly, configureable, animation/music
capable, management/display program called SMILE 2.5 (or optional Door
program) WITH the largest collection of quality ANSI graphics ever
assembled. This is a "Must Have" for ANSI lovers.
Make a Kid SMILE, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation so your
donations are 100% tax deductible. Everyone associated with this
project volunteers their time, efforts and talents out of love for the
kids. We use donated parts or buy new parts at cost, no salaries are
paid and all donations directly benefit the children. Please join our
club and help make a kid SMILE.
Help make a kid SMILE and pick up the best ANSI Display/Edit/Sort/Manage
package on the planet (AND the best ANSI graphics ever)!
Give a SMILE Machine to a friend! It's deductible!
(Your name will appear in the credits on each machine sponsored, absent
instructions to the contrary).
Help Make a Kid SMILE and get a SMILE Machine, send your $20 to:
Make a Kid SMILE, Inc.
9396 Richmond Avenue, Suite 209
Houston, Texas 77063
Voice: (713) 965-9555
BBS: (713) 785-5877
(C) Copyright 1987-95
Make a Kid SMILE, Inc.
Take editorial rights, guys!
By Brendan Keyport, 1:138/185
I just got through glancing at Fidonews 12-26, and am utterly dismayed
over lack of backbone in the editors. I would like to see a paper that
is actually worth reading.
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 6 03 Jul 1995
Please consider banning these topics:
o Lawsuits, and anything relating thereof.
o Bob Germer and replies
o discussions over any one person, good or bad
o discussions over anyone's actions
o Complaints to the editors (including this one)
Further, I would like to see you return any article that is considered
insulting, indecent, and/or rude.
Hopefully, this will return FidoNews to a valuible document to read.
I for one, will be disconnecting from distribution if FidoNews doesn't
clean up. I would suggest that if you are not willing to EDIT fidonews,
then give it to someone that WILL.
FIDONET - A QUESTION OF SURVIVAL
I was reading your editorial in FIDONEWS Vol. 12 No.19 about a
sysop in Hong Kong who complains about the "FidoGods" and we are
also experiencing some sort of "FidoDogs" down here in Region
80, zone 4. As you may have read already articles about what was
going on in our region, sent by a few region 80 sysops, I will
not be too long about the whole story of the happenings here.
I will limit myself to ask all the FIDO community of sysops to
start a new movement to change our Policy which seems not to be
so useful anymore. As you say in your Editorial:
"Ultimately, only the sysops in a particular area can remedy
problems in that area".
"People talk about the "fidogods" as if they have some sort of
power to change things".
If they have not, why are they given a lot of power within our
Policy? I understand your message, but lots of people (sysops,
users, NCs, RCs, ZCs) dont interpret things like this.
We understand that people will not apply anymore any rules in
our Policy, because they area strict and were meant for a
smaller number of nodes.
Today we have a sysop who is the RC of our region (I don't know
if I may say so, because I am not in the nodelist anymore, and I
am out by my own will) who is the first one to start flaming,
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 7 03 Jul 1995
arguing, and saying bad things against other sysops, just to
have them out of the net, or by pleasure, or by some sickening
psycological problem and he can do that just based on the
Fidonet's Policy. That's what I understand by "FidoGods".
A small group of sysops who distorts the good and smooth
functionality of the net, transforming it in a badly, badly
managed network. Who in good mind would join a net like this?
You can be in today, and out tomorrow! By the will of only one
person? And sometimes the attitude is so weird that we even
think about what is wrong with this person's mind! Will the *C
need a mental treatment? Or are Me and one hundred other sysops
really wrong about the whole thing? Or else:
Who cares about 200 bbs sysops being mistreated in region 80 or
Hong Kong, or anywhere else in the world? Fidonet has more than
35.000 nodes. But people are being mistreated by immoral and
anti-ethics issues, and also social prejudices, or whatever.
I tried to use our Policy to get things fixed in our region, or
to get an agreement between parts. But who cares about it? Does
the ZC cares about it? Does any other *C care about it? Here is
what I understand as a little of the stagnation of the net.
Well all I got is for trying was: you are selfish, dictator, et
cetera. But howcome if I was using the Policy and its rules to
Your editorial also says:
"Here in our own net, I am in the midst of a debate on whether
non-hubs should be allowed to vote in net decisions. As I gave
up being a hub a year or so back, I have been eliminated
suddenly from voting status to a non-entity. I argue against it
the same as any other sysop in any other net".
You also agree with my thoughts:
"It is time that we started to develope new methods. The
political shortcomings of fidonet are largely the result of
technological shortcomings. We are stagnating, and we should be
doing something about it".
I agree with you. But a lot of our problems could be solved if
we had a better Policy. There are political shortcomings, but I
say that most of them are caused by a weak (or at least a
document in need of change) document to rule the whole net.
Yes, let's start a new age for FidoNet. Internet is here, and is
much bigger, but hasn't got the romance of FidoNet, with its
amateurs sysops exchanging thoughts, words, and knowledge. This
is also culture. Let's change our Policy, wich is one of the
causes of the stagnation of the net.
This is also an ethical issue. The structures of *Cs everywhere
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 8 03 Jul 1995
must be changed somehow, or in the least have a more democratic
way to deal with people.
a former FIDO Sysop
A PUBLIC REPLY TO BOBBY GERMER
by Carl McCaskey
Fidonet -- 1:3605/75 & 1:3605/316
Internet -- email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently Mr. Germer replied to my article with the following crashmail:
BG> I don't know what you supposed qualifications as an attorney are, but
BG> I tend to believe the advice I receive from one of the largest law
BG> firms in New Jersey. Senior members of the firm who have won several
BG> libel judgements against, inter alia, the Philadelphia Inquirer assure
BG> me that I do have a valid suit and that your statements are absolutely
BG> wrong and exhibit a complete lack of knowledge about libel law.
First of all, either Mr. Germer is blatantly lying, this so-called
largest law firm in New Jersey is giving you extremely bad advice or Mr.
Germer is incompetent when it comes to expressing himself for in his
original article in the Fidonews, none of the examples he gives can
legally be considered libelous. His claims show a complete lack of
knowlege about libel law.
Also I would much appreciate it if Mr. Germer would not be so mysterious
about the identity of this unamed law firm. Therefore I formally request
that he make the identity of this law firm public for clarity as well as
giving others a contact for confirmation.
Mr. Germer further goes on:
BG> If you do delude yourself into believing you are a lawyer, I sure
BG> as hell hope you represent someone I sue.
_IF_ you sue. So far all I have read is merely bluster...weak, idiotic
bluster, but bluster nonetheless. Mr. Germer, your words are nothing but
symbolism over substance. No one should fear your thinly veiled threats
for you have no legal leg to stand upon. Threaten all you will, but until
you actually _FILE_, all your threats remain empty, weak and useless.
Bottom line: Mr. Germer has gone well past being a complete joke to be
laughed at and ridiculed to just being a petty little boy who deludes
himself with delusions of grandeur. It's not even worth the effort to
pity him. As far as I'm concerned (and as far as Mr. Germer has
demonstrated) he is all talk and no action.
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 9 03 Jul 1995
Original to: Mike Bader at 1:120/45
From: Don Dawson (1:150/730)
On Mike Bader (1:120/45) wrote to Don Dawson:
MB> Saw a strange message, pass thru 120/0, is everything OK?
Well...I've been in Net 150 since May 10 (my Birthday). I've
had two policy complaints, both of which have been "shot down".
The previous NC150, Mr. Chamberlain arranged to have me removed
from the phone book for 2-3 weeks. Mr. Chamberlain had me
arrested for "harassment". The trial date is late July.
I suspect the Snooze readership is at an all time low, however,
these two recent issues might supply details:
FNEWSC24.LZH 23K 6-11-95* FidoNews 6/11/95
Where's George Peace?
FNEWSC25.LZH 24K 6-18-95* FidoNews 6/18/95
A few words from Tom Jennings
Gawd it's wonderful when FidoNet Friends "circle the wagons".
The Indians almost had me.
A Solution to the Nodelist Problem
by Joel C. Maslak
A Solution to the Nodelist Problem
A problem which has plagued Fidonet since its very beginning is
that of the Nodelist. I have documentation dating from 1988 which
indicates problems with the St. Louis Nodelist Format (Baker 12-14).
Since 1988, there have been over 65 articles published in the "Fido
News" relating to the Nodelist (complete list of works consulted is
not published, to save space. Contact me at the address listed at the
end of this article for a copy).
Other proposals have been submitted, including one from Robert
Heller, which support a Internet-style Domain Name Service for
Fidonet. Unfortunately, Mr. Heller was ahead of his time. The
Fidonet community was not (and is still not) ready for his suggested
changes. While I'm not sure what the Fidonet reaction will be to my
suggested changes, I am publishing the results of over a year of
research in the hope that it is adopted as a standard.
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 10 03 Jul 1995
This research originally began as an attempt to "give something
back" to the Fidonet community. It later developed into a research
project which was entered into the International Science and
Engineering Fair (Maslak, "Roadblocks...") as well as the Wyoming
Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (Maslak, "Distributed...").
What follows is a modified version of my research report. Many
sections which describe the basic workings of Fidonet have been
omitted, while other sections, describing more advanced topics, such
as the details of the data files, have been added.
One of Fidonet's biggest problems is its extraordinary rate of
growth. Between the months of July 1993 and July 1994, Fidonet grew
over 30 percent! In the month of April 1995, a Nodediff was released
with a size, compressed, of 519,152 bytes. During the single week
ending April 7, 1995, Fidonet grew by 1,600 systems. During the
entire month of April, over 2,000 systems were added to the Nodelist.
This is extraordinary growth. (Note: Some Nodelist statistics were
taken from Mr. Bush's article entitled, "A Review of the Fidonet
Distributed Node Information Database
To solve problems with the nodelist, a distributed node
information database was developed. This system would allow for Net
Information Segments to be stored on systems throughout Fidonet. The
Net Information Segments contain nodelist information for systems
within a net. The Net Information Server would distribute the
segments via the Fidonet FREQ system. The Net Information Server
would be filled by the node in the position of Net Coordinator. For
example, the segment for net one in zone one could be requested from
1:1/0. The segment for net 10 in zone one can be requested from
1:10/0. Then segment for zone three, net 103 in zone one can be
requested from 3:103/0.
A program was then written to scan for outbound mail. Should
this program find a message with an unknown destination address, it
requests the appropriate net information segment from the net
coordinator of the net for which information is desired. Upon receipt
of the segment, the required node entry is merged into the local
nodelist, which is used by the Fidonet software to establish contacts
with other Fidonet systems. This is accomplished by using two
programs, as shown below. These programs, together with the actual
project research, took a total of 12 months to complete, and, for that
reason, are relatively complex. Complete listings can be found in the
research notebook. Contact the author via Internet E-mail at
email@example.com, or, via Fidonet CRASH MAIL (routed mail
will not reach this network), Joel Maslak@1:316/23.
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 11 03 Jul 1995
Although the programs which were written contact the appropriate
NC, as listed above, the test procedures did not exploit this
capability. Instead, the testing procedures were modeled after the
"transitional mode." In the transitional mode, some systems would
still keep the entire nodelist, allowing all net segments to be
requested from just one system. Because of financial concerns, and
because such a system would have to exist until all nets implemented a
Net Information Server, this was thought to be a valid test.
Net Information Segment Format
The Net Info Segment is very similar to the traditional nodelist,
except all lines relating to systems outside of the network have been
deleted. Note that the Net Info Segment for a region includes only
regional independents, not members of individual nets. Note that the
segment for a zone includes zone independents as well as both Regional
and Network Coordinators. Neither Regional Independents nor nodes
belonging to local nets are listed in this file.
Files are named according to the following:
xxxx - Hex number representing ZONE (it is this large to allow
for non-Fido zones to use this standard).
yyyy - Hex number representing NET
Example: 00010068.NL (net 1:104)
; Net Info Server Segment List, Generated by NETAX
Note that the segment itself would function as a nodelist!
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 12 03 Jul 1995
Nodelist.400 is a current list of Fidonet local nets, as well as
all nodes within the local net. It is merged with info from Net Info
Segments to form a 'personal phonebook' of systems which the node
contacts. For more info, contact me.
Format of LIST.NIR
It is a comma-deliminated file listing nodes for which net info
segments have been requested.
In the example, info segments for systems 1:23/162, 1:42/252, and
2:2/4 were requested. Note that since this file is only stored on the
local system, it's format is not relevent. It is presented here for
the sole purpose of documenting the test site's software.
Netmail Scanner Program:
1. - Outgoing Netmail is scanned
- If a message exists go to 2
- Else go to 7
2. - Read the first message
- Go to 3
3. - If destination address is unknown go to 4
- Else go to 5
4. - Request Net Information Segment for destination net from
appropriate net coordinator
- Append destination address to list of Net Information Requests
- Go to 5
5. - If another message exists go to 6
- Else go to 7
6. - Read the next message
- Go to 3
7. - End
Nodelist Merger Program
1. - Received files are scanned
- If a net information segment (*.NL) file exists go to 2
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 13 03 Jul 1995
- Else go to 9
2. - Set ADDR variable to value of the net pointed to by first *.NL
- Go to 3
3. - Open list of net Information Requests (LIST.NIR)
- If an address is present go to 4
- Else go to 8
4. - Read first address from LIST.NIR
- Go to 5
5. - If LIST.NIR entry's zone and net correspond to ADDR file go
- Else go to 7
6. - Grab node information from net information segment (*.NL)
pointed to by ADDR
- Add to master nodelist (NODELIST.DAT)
- Go to 7
7. - If another address exists in LIST.NIR, grab it and go to 5
- Else go to 8
8. - If another *.NL file exists, set ADDR variable to next *.NL
go to 3
- else go to 9
9. - End
It was hypothesized that the distributed nodelist would be as
reliable as a non-distributed nodelist for the purpose of establishing
a connection with a remote Fidonet system. Thus, as it provides a
significantly smaller list of Fidonet systems, it should be adopted by
the citizens of the Fidonet network.
Phase I: Test Procedure
This test used the distributed node information database system
outlined previously. The purpose of this test is to determine the
feasibility of the distributed node information database.
Two groups of 20 nodes were chosen randomly, using a custom
computer program. These nodes were from the population of Fidonet
nodes in the continental US. Thus a total of 40 nodes were picked, 20
in the control group, and 20 in the experimental group.
The nodes in the control group were sent a Fidonet file request.
The nodes were then either placed in the 'successful' or
'unsuccessful' group depending upon the success of the initial
contact. The control group used the normal Fidonet nodelist to
establish the connection.
The nodes in the experimental group were also sent a Fidonet
Freq. The nodes were then either placed in the 'successful' or
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 14 03 Jul 1995
'unsuccessful' groups, as described above. A distributed nodelist was
used to establish the connection for this group. For this feasibility
study, all net information segments were stored on 1:316/19 (note:
This system is no longer accepting incoming Fidonet Netmail). In
actual practice, the net information segments would be stored on
various boards throughout the network.
Results were then compiled, using the BinkleyTerm log. All
connections which were successful were grouped into the 'SUCCESSFUL
CONNECTION' category, while others were placed in the 'UNSUCCESSFUL
CONNECTION' category. Connections were determined to be successful
if a session handshake took place.
Phase I: Test Results
- 15 Successful connections
- 5 Unsuccessful connections
= 75% Success Rate
- 16 Successful connections
- 4 Unsuccessful connections
= 80% Success Rate
Phase I: Discussion
This project did not test the distributed nodelist system fully.
The distributed nodelist standard currently does not allow the Net
Information Server to be a system other than the Net Coordinator.
This poses a problem because many net coordinators run busy systems.
It may be difficult to connect to such a system, delaying the
transmission of the net information segment. This, in turn, would
delay delivery of Netmail. Thus, in large nets, it may be appropriate
to have dedicated Net Information Servers. The problem with this is
that, currently, there is no method of signifying a net information
server in the nodelist.
It is believed that the small difference between the control and
experimental group is not due to the method of how the nodelist is
stored, but that it is due to the variation of systems in Fidonet.
From this research, it can be determined that this project would be
One interesting fact which was discovered during the process of
testing is that the Fidonet's perception of the nodelist is quite
different that the reality of the nodelist. Fidonet believes that the
nodelist is updated frequently, and very few systems in the nodelist
are represented incorrectly. In actuality, many systems listed in the
nodelist could not be contacted. This indicates a problem with the
nodelist, as it may be too large to be easily managed. A distributed
nodelist may be easier to maintain, as a dedicated position would be
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 15 03 Jul 1995
created - the Net Information Server. This server's only
responsibility would be to maintain the nodelist. Since that system
would not be the net coordinator, it would not be required to settle
disputes, test to see if new nodes comply with Fidonet technical
specifications, nor to manage the network hubs. The system's only
responsibility would be to manage the net information segment. A
person who wishes to maintain high integrity of the nodelist should be
appointed/elected (I don't want to write policy).
Phase II: Test Procedure
This test used the distributed node information database system
outlined previously. The purpose of this test, like phase I, is to
determine the feasibility of the distributed node information
database. This experiment is a further extension of the research
previously conducted in phase I.
Unlike phase I, only one group, consisting of 100 nodes, was
chosen. These nodes were each contacted once using the St. Louis
Nodelist and once using the Distributed Nodelist Standard.
The nodes in the control group were sent a Fidonet file request
(for a file that does not exist). The nodes were then either placed
in the 'successful' or 'unsuccessful' group depending upon the success
of the mail transfer, unlike phase I which determined success based
upon the negotiation of a session handshake immediately after a
connection is established. The control group used the normal Fidonet
nodelist to establish the connection.
The nodes in the experimental group were also sent a Fidonet file
request. They were then placed in either the 'successful' or
'unsuccessful' group, as described above. A distributed nodelist was
used to establish the connection for this group. Like phase I, all
net information segments were stored on 1:316/19 (Note: This system no
longer accepts incoming Fidonet Netmail). In actual practice, the net
information segments would be stored on various boards throughout the
Results were then compiled, using a custom program which
determined if the individual mail packets were sent successfully to
the receiving system.
Phase II: Results
Control Group - Success Rate: 89%
Experimental Group - Success Rate: 86%
Phase II: Discussion
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 16 03 Jul 1995
The results of this test were analyzed with a two-tailed T-test.
The results of the T-test appear to indicate that there was no
significant difference between the results of the control group and
those of the experimental group. This would indicate that the
Distributed Nodelist Standard is a feasible alternative to the
Nodelist, based upon technological concerns.
The two groups, control and experimental, are a random sample of
the US Fidonet population, and representative of that population.
Since 100 systems were tested, a large base of data was collected.
This significantly reduces the possibility of these results being
attributed to chance, and this, indicates that the Distributed
Nodelist Standard was successful.
Phase I Compared to Phase II
Several significant differences exist between Phase I and Phase
II. First, Phase I used a control group which was independent of the
experimental group, which allows the possibility of variation between
groups affecting the results. Phase II used only one sample of
systems, polled once to form the control group, and then pulled again,
using the Distributed standard instead of the St. Louis Standard, to
form the experimental group. This is one of the reasons that phase II
was conducted. Phase I consisted of only 20 systems in each group.
Phase II used a larger sample size of 100 systems. The larger sample
size limited the possibility of randomly choosing a sample group which
did not represent the master population.
Two types of mailers were used in this project. In Phase I,
BinkleyTerm 2.59 beta was chosen. To demonstrate the ability of the
Distributed Nodelist Standard to function properly with a wide variety
of Fidonet systems. The success of both phases serves to indicate
that the Distributed Nodelist Standard would, in fact, function
properly with various Fidonet mailers.
The method of analyzing the results was also different. In phase
I, success was determined by analyzing session handshakes, which are
transmitted early in a Fidonet session. Phase II determined success
based upon the transmission of a file request (FREQ). If the request
was successfully sent, the trial was categorized as successful.
To compare the phase I control group to the phase II control
group, the results from phase I were re-analyzed using the methods
used in phase II. The phase I control had a success rate of 55%,
while the phase II control group had a success rate of 89%. These
results, when analyzed with the T-test, show that there was a
significant difference between the phase I and phase II control
groups. The difference is attributed to the types of mailers used, as
this was the only variable to change between the control groups.
Thus, it appears that BinkleyTerm 2.59 beta may be less reliable than
Frontdoor 2.02. Further research is warranted, though, as phase I
consisted of only 20 trials.
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 17 03 Jul 1995
It can be concluded that, based on the success of this
experiment, that further experimentation is warranted. The standard
tested in this project appears to have worked successfully. A system
similar to this would not require Fidonet software to be rewritten.
This would ease the transition from the St. Louis nodelist format to
the distributed nodelist format. As the software used for the testing
procedures has been donated to the public domain, others can freely
use it without fear of legal action. This project also discovered, by
accident--not design--that the current state of nodelist management is
not successful, when compared to commonly held beliefs. Also by
accident, this project determined that a flaw may exist in the
BinkleyTerm software, a very popular Fidonet mailer. Further research
should be conducted to test this hypothesis.
The test statistic of phase I was -.36972. The absolute value of
this statistic is less than 1.684, the value for the 90% level of
confidence. Thus, the difference observed in phase I was not
The test statistic of phase II was .63887. Since .63887 is less
than 1.645, no statistically significant difference, within a 90%
level of confidence, occurred. This indicates that the difference
observed in phase II was not significant.
The comparison of phase I and phase II's control group yielded a
test statistic of -3.3669. Since the absolute value of this statistic
is greater than 1.960, the hypothesized value for 95% confidence, the
difference was significant. This indicates that some event, which
occurred between phase I and phase II, may have caused a significant
difference in the chance of a successful connection.
All custom programs are of my own creation.
Ms. Mona Mitzel assisted with scientific research controls and
analysis using statistics. Without her, I would not have the interest
in the sciences that I currently have. She is an inspiration, and a
model of what today's teachers are doing right. She caries with
herself a highly contagious thirst for knowledge.
Mr. Al Griffin, Net Coordinator (1:316), Former NC (1:105),
assisted by providing this project a Fidonet node number. Lets all
hope he gets well soon! (Al Griffin @1:316/23
Censorship Laws and the InterNet.
From: Darren Ryall (1:153/822)
Well, seeing as we seem to be going through a slight legal phase
in the Snooze, I thought that I'd throw in something a little
lighter, but more relevant to the average user.
Censorship on the InterNet.
Now first of all, I haven't an InterNet account of my own. I
run a free BBS, with all my bills coming out of my pocket. And
none of my hardware here can handle Mosaic/Netscape/etc, etc,
etc, et al, ad nauseum. But, all I've heard lately is that a
lot of American senators (and some Canadian political forces)
would like to try censoring the InterNet.
Anyone who has even connected to it once, and moved around a
little using the ftp: command, knows what a bloody idiotic idea
The InterNet is literally thousands of computer systems
connected simultaneously all over the world. International
sites means international laws. What may pass as okay message
and file wise legally in the Netherlands may then curl hairs on
American soil. But the point here is: When you are on one
system, and ftp to a site in the Netherlands...you're no longer
on American soil. You are now accessing a computer in the
Netherlands. Suddenly, all American laws go out the window.
And through the InterNet, you can access countries (I believe)
that don't even have any form of diplomatic relations (or chilly
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 20 03 Jul 1995
ones) with the Americans. Expecting them to go along (and be
bound by) American law is a ludicrous idea. Especially when you
realize that the people writing these laws aren't even aware of
what EXACTLY the InterNet is.
And finally, is the censoring of the InterNet going to apply to
the military sites as well? There's an interesting thought
isn't it...the American government censoring its own military.
=) Somehow, I'd rather doubt it...meaning, as I picture it, that
military sites like simtel.blah.blah.mil (not that familiar with
the site name)...would be unregulated and uncensored. This is,
of course, an inherently naive position and idea on my part of
course...but how to make politicians in general realize that
this is not something like a "Joe and Flo's Smalltown BBS" with
25 megs of smutty files online. They realize the problem, but
they simply cannot grasp the solution. It's too intuitive, too
evasive. And un-government oriented.
As parents, do you not try to make sure that a child does not
swallow Drano? Do you not also watch to make sure that the
child does not attempt to flush Rover down to visit the sewer
people because they may be lonely? Do you watch to make sure
that they're not watching the "Playboy Channel" so that you can
avoid answering embarrasing questions later on? Don't you think
that making sure that they're not also participating in "Playboy
Channel IRC" may also be considered a "good idea"?
Freedon of choice. That's a fundamental right in North American
culture. The right to choose what you do, or don't do. You
make your OWN way, and follow your OWN path. And, as such...I
feel that the entire responsibility of InterNet censorship
simply should rest on the parent. Not on a confused, misguided
(but surely well-meaning, right? Hmmmm..) group of lawmakers.
And let me drop in one more quick note to muse about everyone.
Tianamen Square. The way that the Western world found out about
this was through a few varied sources. Fax machines and the
InterNet were the two main ones. Radio and television coverage
was stamped down. And if it were not for the InterNet, there
would have been a good chance that the world would not have
known what happened there. Censoring the InterNet would not only
slow pornographic materials to a degree...(note: not stop)...but
it WOULD stop any available access to the InterNet for vital
information along the lines of Tianamen Square. Irregardless of
where it happened it the world. You open the door a little, and
you might as well say goodbye to it all. In the drive to make
the InterNet safe for "commerical traffic" (business deals,
actual currency exchange, etc)...the lawmakers are trying to
pave the superhighway right over top of the existing structure.
Not going to happen, and I'll tell you why.
If you build a bridge across a gorge, you provide a path across.
If you met on the bridge to do business, you might also feel
safe and away from all onlookers. But, at the base of the
bridge, in the gorge...you may find someone with a stethoscope
FidoNews 12-27 Page: 21 03 Jul 1995
writing down your conversation. Such situations would exist in
the InterNet as well. The only secure way to exchange mail
through it would be to use data-encrypters like PGP.
Anyways, I've rambled on enough... just a thought I had after
hearing someone going on about filth and pornography on the
InterNet. First we had televangelists, and now we have
cybevangelists. Next week, Surf the 'Net(c1995) to
http://god.revaltions.hallelujah and get God into IRC chat. =)
Only $4.95 per minute, pay at your local services provider.
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' ' disgreement is actually necessary,
or we'd all have to get in fights
or semethin to amuse ourselves,,
and create the requisite chaos."