F I D O N E W S - Vol.12 No.27 (03-Jul-1995) -- | A newsletter of the | ISSN 1198-4589 Pub

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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=> editor@exlibris.tdkcs.waterloo.on.ca | | Don -- don@exlibris.tdkcs.waterloo.on.ca | | Sylvia max@exlibris.tdkcs.waterloo.on.ca | +----------------------------------------------------------------------+ | 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 ======================================================================== Editorial ======================================================================== 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 dissappears. 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 equal time. 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. ======================================================================== Articles ======================================================================== FidoNews 12-27 Page: 3 03 Jul 1995 Make a Kid Smile! by Ernest DeBakey GT:001/030 as submitted by Michele Stewart 1:369/21 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 communications network. 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 E-mail history). 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 years). 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 ANSI Festival! 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! (Satisfaction guaranteed!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (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. Brendan Keyport ---------------------------------------------------------------------- FIDONET - A QUESTION OF SURVIVAL ================================ Hi Editors, 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". and also: "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 complain? 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. Pedro Cunha a former FIDO Sysop Thanks... ---------------------------------------------------------------------- A PUBLIC REPLY TO BOBBY GERMER by Carl McCaskey Fidonet -- 1:3605/75 & 1:3605/316 Internet -- mccaskey@symnet.net & mccaskey@freenet.fsu.edu 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. <*chuckle*> _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. Take care. B-) Don ---------------------------------------------------------------------- A Solution to the Nodelist Problem by Joel C. Maslak jmaslak@cchs.ccsd.k12.wy.us 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. ================================================================= Nodelist Problems 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 Nodelist.") ================================================================= 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 jmaslak@cchs.ccsd.k12.wy.us, 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: xxxxyyyy.nl 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 ; Zone,1,North_America,Surrey_BC,Bob_Satti,1-604-589-8562,9600,CM,XA, H16,V32b,V42b,V34,VFC,V32T ; Region,15,REGION15_COORDINATOR,AZ_CO_NM_UT_WY,Marv_Carson,1-602-894-87 62,9600,CM,HST,V32,V42b,XA ; Host,104,Denver_Area_Net,Denver_CO,Tom_Johannsen,1-303-455-0507,9600, CM,XA,HST,V32B,V42B,V34,VFC,V32T ,1,Co-Op_Distribution_System,Denver_CO,John_Kaufman,1-303-343-0691, 9600,V32B,V42B,CM,HST,V34,VFC ,2,Net_104_UFGate,Aurora_CO,N104_UFGate,1-303-429-2713,9600,HST,CM,XX, UGTI ,3,Net_FILES_Coordinator,Littleton_CO,Bob_Simpson,1-303-770-4969,9600, CM,XA,V32B,V42B,MNP,VFC ,4,Net_Echomail_Coordinator,Denver_CO,John_Kaufman,1-303-343-0693,9600 ,V32B,V42B,VFC,CM,XA ; :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Note that the segment itself would function as a nodelist! FidoNews 12-27 Page: 12 03 Jul 1995 ================================================================= NODELIST.400 Format 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. Example: 1,23,162 1,42,252 2,2,4 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 (LIST.NIR) - 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 file - 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 to 6 - 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 file and go to 3 - else go to 9 9. - End ================================================================= Hypothesis 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 CONTROL GROUP - 15 Successful connections - 5 Unsuccessful connections = 75% Success Rate EXPERIMENTAL GROUP - 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 technically feasible. 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 network. 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 ================================================================= Conclusion 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. ================================================================= Statistical Analysis 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 significant. 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. ================================================================= Acknowledgements 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) Greetings all! 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 that is. 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. (Grin). ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ======================================================================== Fidonews Information ======================================================================== ------- FIDONEWS MASTHEAD AND CONTACT INFORMATION ---------------- Editors: Donald Tees, Sylvia Maxwell Editors Emeritii: Thom Henderson, Dale Lovell, Vince Perriello, Tim Pozar Tom Jennings "FidoNews" BBS FidoNet 1:1/23 BBS +1-519-570-4176, 300/1200/2400/14400/V.32bis/HST(DS) more addresses: Don -- 1:221/192, don@exlibris.tdkcs.waterloo.on.ca Sylvia- 1:221/194, max@exlibris.tdkcs.waterloo.on.ca (Postal Service mailing address) FidoNews 128 Church St. Kitchener, Ontario Canada N2H 2S4 voice: (519) 570-3137 sylvia: (519) 579-8029 Fidonews is published weekly by and for the members of the FIDONET INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR ELECTRONIC MAIL system. It is a compilation of individual articles contributed by their authors or their authorized agents. The contribution of articles to this compilation does not diminish the rights of the authors. Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of FidoNews. Authors retain copyright on individual works; otherwise FidoNews is Copyright 1995 Donald Tees. All rights reserved. Duplication and/or distribution permitted for noncommercial purposes only. For use in other circumstances, please contact the original authors, or the eds. FidoNews 12-27 Page: 22 03 Jul 1995 OBTAINING COPIES: The most recent issue of FidoNews in electronic form may be obtained from the FidoNews BBS via manual download or Wazoo FileRequest, or from various sites in the FidoNet and Internet. PRINTED COPIES may be obtained by sending SASE to the above paper-mail address. INTERNET USERS: FidoNews is available via FTP from ftp.fidonet.org, in directory ~ftp/pub/fidonet/fidonews. Anyone interested in getting a copy of the INTERNET GATEWAY FAQ may freq GISFAQ.ZIP from 1:133/411.0, or send an internet message to fidofaq@gisatl.fidonet.org. No message or text or subject is necessary. The address is a keyword that will trigger the automated response. People wishing to send inquiries directly to David Deitch should now mail to fidonet@gisatl.fidonet.org rather than the previously listed address. SUBMISSIONS: You are encouraged to submit articles for publication in FidoNews. Article submission requirements are contained in the file ARTSPEC.DOC, available from the FidoNews BBS, or Wazoo filerequestable from 1:1/23 as file "ARTSPEC.DOC". Please read it. "Fido", "FidoNet" and the dog-with-diskette are U.S. registered trademarks of Tom Jennings, and are used with permission. ' ' disgreement is actually necessary, or we'd all have to get in fights or semethin to amuse ourselves,, and create the requisite chaos." -Tom Jennings -- END ---------------------------------ooh----------------------------------

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